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Friday, November 8, 2013

Guest Author, Bob Deakin Returns with "Simple Minds = Complicated Sale"

Simple Minds featuring Jim Kerr (front) on lead vocal and Mel Gaynor (right) on drums
"Simple Minds" By Bob Deakin

Homeowner John Gillespie received a disturbing knock on his door this past Friday evening. The knuckles doing the knocking belonged to Rob Wixted, an attendee of Gillespie's tag sale the previous weekend. Turns out Wixted wasn't happy with his purchase at the sale – an old VHS tape of rock band Simple Minds from the early 1990s.

The videotape is from a 1992 concert shortly after the band's Real Life album release and features original members with the exception of drummer Mel Gaynor, who’d left the band for a brief spell during that tour.

Therein lies the problem.

Turns out Wixted's fixation with Simple Minds begins and ends with the drummer, and he was none too impressed with Gaynor’s replacement.

“If you buy a Beatles album would you expect to hear Ringo Starr playing the drums?” he asked Gillespie rhetorically, from his doorstep. “Sure, Jim Kerr’s lead vocals were great on the tape but Simple Minds is about the symbiotic fusion of art and sound and that doesn’t happen without Mel Gaynor on drums.”

“I didn’t produce the f…ing album,” Gillespie responded indignantly. “I’ve never even watched it. I just had the thing lying around and sold it at my tag sale. Who the hell is Mel Gaynor?”

“Who is Mel Gaynor?” Wixted responds with eyebrows raised above his hairline as he glances to and fro. “He only played the best drum fill in rock history.”

Mel Gaynor on drums in the 90s

Gillespie pauses then suddenly and surprisingly knows exactly the fill to which Wixted refers; the pseudo-march, reverb-laden drum fill late in Simple Minds’ biggest hit, Don’t You (Forget About Me).

“Oh yeah,” he says excitedly. “You mean that fill followed by all the la la las.”

“Duh… Yeah… That’s the one,” Wixted responds sarcastically.

“Love the way he does that roll thing then clangs on the cymbal really loud for the rest of the song,” Gillespie exhorts.

“It’s actually 32nd notes he plays on the snare with syncopated open hi-hat hits followed by 8th notes on the off-beats of the closed hat combined with down beats on the ride,” Wixted declares. “Nobody else could have played that fill and it makes the song, the band and the decade.”

“It makes their career,” Gillespie responds with a laugh. “That’s the only thing they ever did and it’s only famous because it was in The Breakfast Club movie.

At that moment a pall descends over the front porch as Wixted takes a step back in horror at what he has just heard: a hard slap in the face of his favorite band.

“Who are you!” Wixted utters in disgust, his voice quivering with revulsion. “And how dare you say that about the quintessential band of the eighties?”

Gillespie then steadies himself, lifts his head and holds his ground.

“Quintessential band of the eighties?” he asks, pompously, before launching into an impromptu critique of several of the bands lesser hits. “Let’s see, Sanctify Yourself – not exactly Stairway To Heaven. Alive & Kicking…”

Gillespie chuckles as he continues to ridicule the band and the homely looks of the lead singer.


At that, Gillespie pulls out his wallet, peels out a dollar bill and hands it to Wixted, refunding his money for the purchase of the tape before politely bidding him adieu.

“And don’t you,” he pauses, “forget about me.”

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