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Blog: Validator Permutations

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Today we're beginning an in-depth look at gigs I have done with The Validators. I say "Beginning" because there was SO MUCH DATA I had to split it into two blogs, both IMMENSELY FASCINATING!

Before we get into any of this the first question that needs answering is "What Does 'The Validators' Mean?" These days that is PEASY, as The Validators are Tim, Emma, Tom and Frankie and have been for LITERALLY DECADES. However, in our early days it was a bit more complicated, as we had various additional members at different gigs, notably Ollie on bass for much of the Say It With Words era. There's also the pre-history of me and some of these ROCK TITANS - Tim and I did several gigs together before The Validators were even an idea, most often in The Council, and Frankie and I palled up onstage several times too.

I'm going to call those four people the Core Validators for the next bit, and look at gigs where one or more of them played WITH me. As discussed in previous blogs, when recording PEOPLE I also recorded whether they played with me or just on the same bill (or indeed BOTH), and clearly in order to count as a Validators gig it needs to feature some of these Core Validators in the same band as me, rather than playing seperately. THUS, looking at the actual data I found 186 gigs overall at which I played alongside at least ONE of the Core Validators mentioned above, but 15 of those were Council gigs with Tim, another was the legendary "Voonlapse" gig, where Voon and Prolapse formed a SUPERGROUP, and five were various early adventures with Frankie before the official First Ever Validators Gig - this took place on 26 April 1999, and I know this was the first one because we got together SPECIFICALLY to do that gig so we could get in free to see Half Man Half Biscuit!

So, if we ignore any gig BEFORE that date we're left with 165 gigs with at least ONE Validator involved, and they break down as follows:

Number of Core Validators Involved In Performance
Number of ValidatorsGigs

The interesting thing here, to me at least (and surely to all Scholars Of ROCK) is that 59% of gigs that feature a Validator also feature ALL Validators. That's pretty good, I think! However, there have been a LOT of gigs where one or more was absent, so let's have a look at how that all worked.

Gigs As A Four-Piece

Top of the Pops here is Tim, who was in ALL Me + Validators four-piece line-ups. Well done Tim! Tom is not far off, and then a little further down we have Frankie followed by Emma (who joined the band later than the rest of us). NOTES were recieved on ALL occasions when a Validator was unable to attend and, without wanting to go into TOO much gory detail about what some of these notes were to do with, it should be noted that as a group we have brought several NEW HUMANS into the world over the course of our Validations!

Things get EVEN MORE interesing when we delve into THREESOMES. These differ markedly from the four-piece versions - in most cases where we operated as a four-piece it was MEANT to be all of us but someone couldn't make it, but when it was just THREE of us it was often PLANNED as such. Also, these groupings tended to RECUR and so have SPECIAL NAMES, as shown below.

Threesomes (with names)
Me/Tim/Tom9Cleator Moor Validators
Me/Tim/Frankie3Berlin Validators
Me/Tim/Emma3Performing Pattisons

The Cleator Moor Validators were so named because that line-up first played at the EPIC gig at the Brook Inn in Cleator Moor. OH WHAT A NIGHT that was - we did TWO sets and drank LONG into the night, and were so hungover that, the next morning, Tim Couldn't Finish His Breakfast. This event in ITSELF has passed into Validator Legend and is mentioned pretty much EVERY time we gather together.

The Berlin Validators have only ever played in Germany, performing on the three dates of our first TOUR there with Mr Martin Petersdorf. The Performing Pattisons meanwhile was an ANNUAL affair from 2006 to 2008, and for some reason each gig went on REALLY late. I imagine this is due to promoters seeing Emma and Tim and thinking "This is clearly a ROCK POWER COUPLE, I will put them on LATE!" Finally, the Pop-A-Go-Go line-up was, as far as I remember, not planned like the others but was mostly a result of Frankie and Tom being there and us doing a song together. For some reason I cannot remember it clearly, I Cannot Think Why.

Finally for this batch, let's have a look at the times I played in a DUO with one other Validator.


Tom is very much ahead of the pack here, mostly due to a RUN of duo performances we did in the 2000s. We got quite an ACT going during this time, and I THINK that might be where we first started doing The Tiger's Roar. The gigs with Frankie are a right old mishmash, including some ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS and various occasions when we were on TOUR together as seperate acts and ending up doing a couple of songs together.

Emma's duo gigs are the CLASSIEST, comprising one WEDDING (hers) and one performance with an ORCHESTRA (i.e. A Little Orchestra) at Indietracks. Finally Tim's duo gigs have all been examples of us both saying "SOD IT, let's do it anyway!" when gigs have been suggested that nobody else was able to do. Oddly, both Tim and I thought this had only happened ONCE but actually occurred THRICE!

So, with all of this information to hand, I think we can safely say that a gig with all four Core Validators is DEFINITELY a Validators gig, as is one with at least THREE. I would also suggest that the fact that ASSIGNED NAMES exist indicates that gigs with me and TWO Validators ALSO count as Validators gigs, but then when we get down to there just being two of us all together I think the safest course is to say that that's something else. As I say, some of the duo gigs (i.e. the me and Tim gigs) were SUPPOSED to be Validators gigs in the beginning, but the others definitely weren't.

Oh, and in case you're wondering - there were never any cases when there was any kind of Validators gig with LESS than two Core Validators in attendance but OTHER early Validators onstage instead. PHEW!

Now we've got THAT sorted out we can gather ourselves for tomorrow's onslaught of FACTS, when we'll be seeing how all of this changed over TIME! There will be GRAPHS!

posted 31/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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