“If it’s me and yer granny on bongos, it’s The Fall.”
Mark E. Smith, never short of an opinion or five, was unequivocal in his opinion about who the only important member of The Fall was. Him.
Over the 31 albums and nearly 40 years of their existence, the provocative, cantankerous, belligerent ringmaster of The Fall has worked (or, more accurately, berated and punched) his way through more than 60 band members. Music fact: you’re never more than 5 feet from someone who played in The Fall.
It simply underlines the idea that, to all intents and purposes, Mark E. Smith is The Fall. It really could be him and your gran on the bongos and fans would still accept that this was the new direction for the band. The question is how far can you go? When would it stop being The Fall?
Look in the dictionary and you’ll see a band defined as ‘“a group of instrumentalists playing music of a specialised type.” It’s hardly helpful - we all know it’s more than that. But what gives a musical group its unique identity? And how much can you change the personnel of the band before you should lose the right to keep using the name?