Interview with Mark E. Smith and Kay Carroll
by David Nichols and Michelle Truscott
Melbourne, (probably) August 7, 1982
Published in three parts in the Distant Violins fanzine, issues no. 2 (August 1982), no. 3 (December-January 82-83) and no. 4 (February-March 1983)
I'm still not exactly sure how we managed to get our interview with the Fall... all sorts of things went through my head at the time -- maybe they've got me mixed up with someone else, maybe they think this is a big magazine or something.... but no, they had got it right, and I must say I'm extremely grateful to them for taking the time to speak with us.
This is by no means any sort of definitive interview... the range it covers is quite small, but to my mind very interesting.
We awoke Mark (lead singer/writer) and Kay (manager) at 2:00 on a very lovely Saturday afternoon -- after a cup of tea and a bit of time to get accustomed to each other's accents, we strolled over to the St. Kilda public gardens and began our "interview situation".
Dave: Why are you a musician?
Mark: I look at it as a vehicle for my writing, you see, I like music and... it's a lot easier to do it through rock 'cos rock's a bit too easy for a lot of people... so in a way I'm using my writing and putting it through the Fall.
D: Do you think there were a lot of people, say last night 'cos I was there, listening to the things you were saying as opposed to just listening to the music?
M: It's half and half... (when) we were playing last night, this drummer came through and said yeah, your lyrics are great and your music's shit, I said "No", 'cos, you know, the music reflects what I'm trying to say. He was drunk.
D: How do you feel about the audience in general? An audience... your audience...
M: It changes y'know, sometimes they get pretty... I get to dislike them a lot sometimes. I tend to sort of work in front of them a lot of the time. Lately I am. Like last night was the first time I actually faced a lot of the audience, you know, not... they're just like any other audience, it is distracting, that's why I... don't do it. Not a lot... not like the old days, you know, you were doing stuff you knew off parts... that what you were trying to get at?
D: Yeah, sort of.
M: It sounds arrogant but I'm not bothered with it. I'm really not...
D: What do you think of audiences in Australia... when you are live?
M: They're very open minded... I mean they won't walk out. They just sort of stand there, waiting until it gets better... It's quite impressive... 'Cos in other places, you know like last night these guys sat in front of me yawning... I hate that. I don't think that's nice. They do that in Germany, stand there and never go away, and they're fucking obviously bored to tears.
Kay: People around the other areas... the audience never know whether to react or not.
M: Yeah right. People are watching what everyone else is doing before doing anything. You get it in London though as well.
D: I was reading that NME interview this morning (issue dated 14/11/81) in that you said people were walking out halfway through.
M: Yeah. It's not like I care really.
D: Well what do you think are the differences between here and England in attitudes in general?
M: They take print a lot more seriously here y'know, the printed press... 'cos it means fuck all in England.
K: A lot of the people who come to the gigs start going on about what you said in 1979 in the NME or something.
M: That's what I'm saying.
K: In England they do that as well don't they?
M: Oh yeah. But here people just take their word for it. In England a lot of people say "That's 'cos they've been following the group for years". No-one takes any notice if you get on the front page of the NME. I mean genuinely. No-one takes any notice unless you're in the fucking London music scene. Makes no difference to the people you meet or your friends or anything.
D: 'Cos the NME's got a lot of influence... I'd say about 70% of the people who come to see you would be regular readers (I now consider this a slight exaggeration, but I certainly believe that more than 70% of the Fall's audience would have been influenced heavily by what was written in the NME without necessarily having read it).
M: That's pretty much how England is now, it's funny 'cos that's one of the reasons we came out here was to get away from that, 'cos at the end of the year the NME started fawning over us 'cos there was nothing fucking else left... we in a way hold the editor of the NME and all that in contempt 'cos we've been around 4 years, and they always give us a chance and that, sure.
K: Bloody well made sure you knew about it too.
M: I think a lot of it is like pseudo-art... it's sort of like ravaged (?) with all this horrible sort of liberalism... but that stuff backfires on you. We did an English tour before this one and we were just packing out halls, but, as you say, 50 or 60% of them were there 'cos the NME said. I mean they fucking hate my guts. I've got nothing in common with these people (it's) what I've been working against for years and they all stood there and I thought "great" when Australia came along... we played the outskirts of Sydney, family inns and that, that was great. In a way though Melbourne's pretty alright, I understand the Birthday Party a lot more after coming here. They've got quite good taste. You go to parties, I don't know if it's trendy or something, but they've got quite a bit of taste, like every party I've ever been to I've always wanted to smash the record player up -- but here it's not stuff I like particularly... they put the Ramones on and the Monkees...
K: The Kinks.
M: Yeah. Got quite a bit of taste.
D: We've been finding something quite heartening at parties we go to -- they put on the Rolling Stones and other people come and take them off. (What I did not mention was that a couple of weeks previously I had played the Fall's "Lie Dream of a casino Soul" at a party and it was very well received).
M: Yeah at an English party you look through the records and there's just fucking absolutely nothing there -- the Rolling Stones.
K: Mike Oldfield... Genesis.
D: You went to America a while ago. How does that differ from here?
M: It's just a few years ahead, I think. Well it's in decline, America, for a start.. (while) I think Australia will replace itself on the global scheme of things. In a lot of ways similar to Sydney, but...
K: It's only the pace that's different here, the pace is a lot slower, America is faster, it's always moving, never keeps quiet.
M: It's got a sort of taint of inefficient Britishness...
D: What did you think it would be like here?
M: Oh, you're just fed misconceptions about Australia from day one... but it's sort of like the year of Australia in England, so I was quite glad we came out here... I think next year it'll be different... everywhere you go in England there's some fucking article on Australia, you know "best food I ever had" etc, these pictures of blonde women on rocks, sea diving and all this... so you had all this crazy juxtaposition of what it's going to be like, I was quite dreading it... it's not like that at all.
K: Thought it was going to be a lot rougher...
M: Whereas you go to America and it is, it's like being in a film all the time.
D: Yeah I was reading this thing about some guy from the Clash saying he thought Australia would be like 1950s England.
M: It's ahead in a lot of ways y'know. (He surveys the St. Kilda streetscape, which I imagine might seem a bit similar to 1950s England... in fact I seem to remember him telling us that he grew up in an area that looked quite similar).
K: They don't even go out on the streets, The Clash, they stay in bloody... they don't know anything. They make it up as they go along.
D: I suppose it just depends where you go, you can't generalize like that.
M: You can't, you can't say anything... I always think that. You can't really have a fucking viewpoint.
D: Is that a question that people ask you a lot?
M: Yeah. I always like to come out with the most biased thing I can say. It's the only fucking answer you can give. If someone went to Manchester for two weeks they still wouldn't know what I know about it. The city in Manchester's like three streets and a few buildings. Most people who've been to Manchester think it's like living fucking death -- I think it's alright, Manchester.
K: It's good.
D: How do you find the press out here? Have you been interviewed a lot?
M: Yeah... they speak their mind a bit more.
D: What do you think of the music press in England?
M: The NME used to slag us off like fuck a couple of years ago, and like Sounds... I always look on it as poison, it's the English way, y'know... I'm always quite embarrassed when the NME is complimentary, it's like something is seriously wrong. Hahahaha. But take Sounds, I mean Sounds is completely against us, the whole staff despise us, bar about one person.
D: The NME does seem to have its token working-class writers now...
D: Barney Hoskins and X. Moore.
M: Yeah yeah. That's because Sounds got a lot of readers at the expense of the NME, so they some obligatory working class idiots. We went to this NME party, they had these skinheads there, like it was hire a skinhead or something.
K: It was the Anti-Nowhere League.
M: Fucking hell (surprised), you're kidding. It was these guys like about 28 trying to be 14 year olds. They go round shouting their heads off like morons.
K: (skinhead noises).
D: What have you noticed about the way English music influences Australian bands?
M: Yeah it's funny, it's schizophrenia though, I've noticed they're always going for a nationalist thing now, has it always been like that?
D: It's always been... sort of.
M: It's always been Anglophile?
D: Like on Countdown, have you seen Countdown?
M: Yeah (laughs).
D: Countdown have always said they were supporting Australian music, but they've never really backed it up.
M: Exactly right, which I've always found quite annoying... this is the first time we've been to a country where the actual resentment in the established music scene... you could almost see it, you just don't get that if you go abroad usually, the people who are in bands and that, they don't like us but they respect us for what we're doing and that... the audiences are always up in the air -- sometimes they like us, sometimes they don't, whereas here the audience is right behind us. Everyone says it's 'cos we're English, I don't believe that. But the establishment here is really resentful, like we should be a fucking Australian band. I find that ridiculous. Like it or not most of the Australian bands I've seen, they're only like that 'cos of not what you've got in America -- some kind of nationalist thing where they're genuinely better -- here it seems to be like envy that they can't be like some big British rock stars 'cos that's what they deep down fucking want. And it's funny that the Fall have come here and been numbered in that and the Fall are the antithesis of that. It's quite funny really. Well lets hope we get all people who are imitating the Fall who go abroad and flop like fuck.
D: There's this sort of thing where there's a lot of mods around and stuff like that, there's a lot of people who just worship English things; the commercial stuff is sort of American type material so the only way people think they can go is to go English.
M: I see etc..
D: Well Duran Duran are pretty popular but if you don't like the Rolling Stones and stuff like that the only other way is to go English.
M: Go Brit, yeah right.
D: All your support acts have been supposedly the cream of Australian progressive music...
M: That's not true.
K: There's great little bands working in bars and that, just playing amazing stuff...
M: They take music very seriously here though, that's one thing I despise, like fucking everywhere I go there's fucking rock music pouring out of the tv, the fucking radio, gets on my nerves.
D: That's fairly recent.
M: I'm firmly against music on tv, I don't think it should... England doesn't get much of that sort of thing. But its happening now with the video boom, it's cheap tv -- the group comes up with the video, they shove it on tv for 5 minutes and it cost the tv companies like absolutely nothing to make. We've been on tv twice here, which is like double what we've been on tv in England. They have every other fucking shit group on, but they won't have us 'cos we're, y'know, we want to do it our way.
D: You did make a video though... .
M: Oh yeah, we've made two videos, they're only videos of live stuff -- I'm not saying I'm against videos, I'm saying we're never on tv over there and like considering what we are, like we've been voted best group and all this shit, and we're never on... I mean like the groups you get on English tv are like the groups you get here, some of them haven't even got a record out. And us we've been going 4 years and we've never been on radio, live radio stuff -- they never put us down for live radio 'cos we weren't visual enough!
D: How about public radio? You were on 3RRR on Tuesday or something, apparently there's no public radio stations (in England).
M: It's a daft attitude, but I'm very skeptical about things like that. I don't think it would be good if everyone could just set up their own radio station. I don't think it's all that great a thing. In America every town you go into there are 7 radio stations all with a listening capacity of about 3,000. It's meaningless, it's very much a separation process which a lot of people are getting into, it's a theme of the times, y'know... people can just shut themselves off from everybody else, they don't have to sit through what they don't like anymore. If I ever feel like getting some bile up I just turn on the radio in England and after half an hour I'm really mad, but here I could like, get my guide out, y'know? It's what you're brought up to listen to, isn't it really.
D: But I mean if you had a public radio station in Britain and they were more geared to your type of music, you could get a lot more exposure...
M: I don't know what you're talking about, I mean what type of music's that -- you mean they play the Fall all day?
D: No, but stuff that's not commercial.
M: Well they have two hours of that a night on the BBC and I never listen to it. I'd rather listen to a really fucking bad radio station. I'd rather listen to what the mass of people are listening to. That's why you don't get any good groups any more, there's no strife... Like people are always saying to me there should be more rock on tv. I say who wants to watch rock on fucking tv? Only your fucking mother and father or something. D'you get my drift? I mean I don't want to fucking listen to A Certain Ratio on the radio. Last thing I want. I'd rather have the top 10.
D: Well, I s'pose.
M: You can just block it off.
K: They're all getting taped. You can get every bit of music you want off there like John Peel, y'know, he's always first to play our stuff when it comes out and people just tape it. Our sales suffer. Whether you like it or not we depend on the sales for our living. So in other words you're going to destroy the groups, by having them on radio...
D: What I was thinking was that if you came out here without having those radio stations for exposure playing your stuff you wouldn't have people saying 'this is OK, I'll go out and see them' or whatever.
K: There are two sides to the story.
M: It's not like that in England, it's different strokes, isn't it? I don't give a damn. I don't listen to radio here. I'm very grateful and all that folks but... it's like the Saints, they were so good 'cos they just had nothing to listen to on the radio. They had to get something going. I had that when I was a teenager, the radio was completely redundant, tv was completely redundant, so you'd go out and buy fucking decent records and that was hard, too, but when you fucking got them it was like fucking fulfillment. Rather than getting a station and going "Oh yeah, that's the station with the Velvet Underground and the Stooges all day". Bam! Y'know, turn it on and sit there, great, so what. I hate it when I see a group that wants to be just like us. It's disgusting you know, a group that just listens to us all the time... In England it's always worked out for us, we virtually live off playing live, because people can't see us on tv. We haven't got a big record company, we don't make much money on it, no big back up there. We're one of the few groups that can get big crowds. People are interested, they want to know. What's wrong with that?
D: OK... you change the sets a lot. Why?
M: I get a bit guilty just going on and doing the same set.
D: I was just thinking -- some people are going to come and they're going to say, "I'm going to see the Fall, I hope they play this song I really like, a single or something...
K: "Totally Wired! You're not doing Totally Wired are you"?
D: Then if you don't play it they'll be disappointed or something, and they may never see you again. Don't you feel you have a sort of...
M: No, no obligation whatsoever.
D: No neither do I really but I thought...
M: Yeah right. One advantage I've got is we've been around a long time... it's funny that people call out for stuff that we're not doing, we'll probably do it the next night, or the night before, it's so funny, it's so random and yet it's never right. They always call out for what's not in the set and people are like that, the more you give them the more they fucking want. If they want to see the Fall, they don't want to see a fucking record. I could go out and do the hits, but I wouldn't enjoy it. It wouldn't be any good. The band would happily do it, tomorrow. But I say no, I'd rather do something where we're half-naked in front of them a lot of the time. It's a lot more interesting. There's something disgusting about greatest-hits shows. Every group does it -- like this group, they've got the fucking set lists printed! (support act Scapa Flow).
K: It's unbelievable.
M: So they decided the set weeks before! To me that's like spitting on the audience. I'll make a set up and if the gig strikes me as having something wrong with one of the songs I'll change the set. Do y'know what I mean? Especially if you're playing the same city 7 times, people are going to see you once or twice. I think it's disgraceful.
D: When UB40 came out last year they played just greatest hits, they didn't play anything which isn't already out on record, which is a real nuisance if you've got all the records and they do the same things.
M: When I was a teenager I used to go to gigs and I used to like groups, and I'd just see like fucking unproduced versions of the records. I'd be really disappointed and never play their fucking records again. I get really hassled, genuinely hassled -- people talk to me before a gig and they go "would you play so-and-so for us" and I say "no" and they say "well, I'm never going to see you again" and I say "tough".
D: You do an encore at the end.
M: We always do an encore, yeah.
D: It seems to me though that every group does it. They turn the lights off and get the audience to stand there and shout for more, then you come back and play some more, then they turn the lights on and there's no more encores.
M: We've played places we're they've fucking told us to get off before we've finished! I'm talking about 9 months ago. For me it's still a great thing for people to call for more. But I always do the sets... even now, and we've had an encore every night in Australia, we could have played for an extra half an hour on top of it, I still do the sets every day as if I offer the best in the sets, what people get in the encore is just... we're warmed up, so to play the encore is just simple, like relaxation.
K: The thing you've got to remember in the production team we are working with they've got like this conventional thing like for an encore, then they put the tape on. And I always say "put a tape on, put a tape on, if he wants to he'll walk back on and take the tape off".
M: In England now no-one does encores. Very unhip to do an encore. You also get a 20 minute set, which is ridiculous, 'cos every band in the world takes 10 minutes to fucking warm-up. Like you get all these Scottish bands in England, they do 15-20 minutes and they're not even in tune at the end of the fucking set. They go off and everyone says oh fantastic, oh great, so uncliched and then they all start fucking doing it. And you get these people coming up to you and going (posey intellectual voice) "You did an encore, that's a bit clichéd isn't it?". I say not as fucking clichéd as not doing one just for the sake of it. Like in England you get bands who just do all hits, you get bands who just do new material. It's just a lot of fucking shit. I can't be bothered with it.
K: We were playing the Venue once and it was really good and we got an encore and came back and there were only about 100 left - it holds about 1500 this place. People were coming out, the lights were going on but I could see the audience wanted us to do another one so I said "right, go on, get on", and all of a sudden these doors open and they're all trying to run back in, all chaos going on... it was really good...
M: Like we played Georgia in America last year, y'know, the redneck place, and there was a packed hall when we went on, did about 2 numbers and everybody walked out. So we did the set and there was about 15 fucking people. So we were walking off and this redneck says to me "You dare go back on there boy" so I says "right lads, back on". We did and it was fucking great, we did about another quarter of an hour for about 5 people.
K: Belgium was the same, we did a gig in Belgium and there was this hall of about 4,000 people and only 20 turned up, so you can imagine what it looked like, and they were all into it and we did an encore there, y'know. But as I say a lot of that like the tape and the lighting and all, that's down to your Australian conventional sort of... production teams really.
D: Yeah, I s'pose, like UB40, I wasn't pissed off with them at the time but I am now 'cos they didn't do anything new. The Teardrop Explodes were sort of the same. You did play...
M: It's quite exhausting to keep changing it y'know, people don't appreciate that. But otherwise its fucking money for old rope.
K: Shall I go and get some beer?
M: Oh yeah, we've got some in the 'fridge, haven't we? Yeah,
(The rest of this little sidetrack has been deleted in the interests of your continuing to be awake.)
D: Why did you leave Rough Trade when you did?
M: Ummm. I'd just had enough. Rough Trade were just... they were taking more than they were giving, I think. They were always alright with us, it's just that we were a part of that fucking morass of untalented groups, we were just being treated the same as other groups, and we're not like that, we're better than all that other shit.
D: It seemed like it was a really obvious company for you to be with.
M: We stuck with 'em as long as we could, I'd just had enough of fucking idiots who'd been working there for about 3 weeks, fucking socialist art student never done a day's work in his fucking life, coming up and telling me what he thought would be a good idea for the record. I'd rather hear it coming from a fat executive. It was so commune run, every idiot thought he had a fucking say in everything. The covers'd take about 10 people to do a square inch of cover, none of 'em would do it right, and they'd be coming in on songs saying 'that's a bit fascist' and all that shit. I'd say 'fuck off'! And they'd start all these big label games, you get it with every independent when you want something done -- 'we're independent, we don't do that sort of thing'... and when it suits them they act like a big label, like if you say "alright, you're going to say you don't want that single out, give us fucking 50,000 pounds', they go "Oh no no no" -- they want their fucking cake and eat it.
D: So what's the difference with Kamera?
M: Well Kamera are good 'cos you never hear from them. They never bother you, they just get things done. They're miles away from us. Got a small stable. No fuss, don't make a mountain out of a molehill, we do the covers and give 'em to a bloke who gets 'em printed up rather than "oh hello, this bit on the bottom, I was thinking it'd be good in pink and red -- what do you think? Alright Roger, hang on" and he's on the phone and there's fucking music blasting out in the background and then you get a foreign fucking Swedish student or something, who's doing a tour of fucking Rough Trade coming on. I mean it's like a fucking English colony. You go there and it's all Japs fucking taking photos of ('jap' voice) "1st independent label in England".
D: Do you stay on independents on purpose, or is it... ?
M: Not out of idealism... it's just that the big record companies have had nothing to offer us.
D: In Australia you're through Gap, which is done by EMI.
D: So you're on a big label here.
M: Yeah. We haven't seen fucking anything of fucking anybody from EMI yet. For distribution it's fucking great. Can't beat a big label, that's one thing we lose out on, being independent. Where I live, in Manchester, you can't get any of our records. Then again if people want them they'll hunt 'em down, won't they...
D: So how do you regard an interview? Do you think of its as an advertisement or a service to the paper or... I think of it as a service to me, but you might think of it as publicity for yourself...
M: A lot of it is that I like to hear what people are thinking of us. That's where a lot of rock mags are all a bit boring, I think what they've done is took the NME on their lap... it's really funny, like on English radio stations you get grudgingly asked to an interview, as though they didn't really want you, so you go along there and it takes about 10 minutes and you sit there and they've got, like, a press kit on their knee, like these things I type 'em out -- about the LP, like jokey press kits with swear words -- all on their knees like this... I like to see what people are thinking, it's one of the few ways you can... and it's publicity.
D: What do you think people should ask you? What do you think people should be interested in or is that up to them or what? Every time I do an interview I ask them something like that and generally they just say it's my own concern...
M: ... Yeah, I am surprised at the lack of imagination shown, all the things you could ask about the Fall. Like that guy out of Virgin Press, he was sort of obsessed with the religious aspects of the lyrics... like I sort of use the names of old gods and things like that which I'd completely forgotten about I suppose... and he started asking me about that and it was good, y'know, we had a big rap about Welsh legends and that was dead different for me, different from "How was Iceland?", "What's it like being working-class?" etc blah blah blah.
D: That's like these people there last night, they said we had to ask you that. There are about 4 standard questions or something. I didn't even know about Iceland.
M: I know! It's crazy isn't it... In Australia with the music scene being so tight-knit and smug, it's so transparent it's incredible. Like we got the Melbourne Sun ringing up and the 3rd question was like "How was Iceland?"... it's amazing. "Cos I'd fucking forgotten all about Iceland 'til I got out here.4
D: I didn't really like to ask you about lyrics... I thought it'd be self-explanatory...
M: Yeah of course I don't want to talk about all that... this is good, it's a bit different isn't it?
D: I find... . I interviewed (a fairly well-known band) recently and it was hard... I couldn't tell if they were trying to be trendy in what they said, or trying not to be trendy and so be trendy by being anti-trendy...
M: I know what you're saying, the NME's like that, groups are so fucking trendy these days and usually like complete printheads, the sort of people who never have their nose out of a fucking newspaper, in interviews you read half the views you've read of other groups. I've read loads of interviews where people have said what I've fucking said word for word, jumbled up so they've got the complete wrong end of the stick.
D: I was worried about using the term 'rock'n'roll'... I thought they'd say 'rock is shit'...
M: (laughs) How passé... I'll give you a tip, they're always more frightened than you are. Every group is much too frightened to be interviewed.
D: Someone told me you only came out 'cos the Birthday Party came from Melbourne...
M: I didn't know the Birthday Party came from Melbourne to be quite honest.
K: No, I thought they came from Sydney. When we got offered this tour I didn't know anything about it and I'm a bit of a gambler but I thought, y'know, there's a point where you've got to stop gambling. It was quite a big gamble 'cos we had to find the airfare, something like $8,000 and we didn't have record company back-up. So I had a word with Mick Harvey and I asked what Ken (West) was like and he goes he's alright, you won't get ripped off... so in a way they did instigate it...
M: Yeah that's true, we did ask them about it, 'cos for all we knew it could've been a complete con. "Cos we did that in America once, which was a fucking joke, we'd play fucking mud-wrestling halls.
K: I knew the Party wasn't... I knew they weren't reflecting Australia, they could've come from any country in the world y'know.
M: But then again I think it's good the way people in Melbourne stick by them, it's quite good y'know. You never see that anywhere. Like in Manchester, the Fall -- it's an old fact -- people don't appreciate what's on their own doorstep, you get it everywhere else but you don't get it in Melbourne... like in New York everyone hates the Cramps. It's incredible, envy and dislike, and the Velvet Underground apparently were the same... The New York Dolls... everywhere else heroes but there, shit, y'know. It's like that for us in Manchester, everyone hates our guts 'cos we're still there, spoken of quite a lot, and it's like "what's so fucking different about him?" People are like that, while here it's great, everywhere you go they'll say "oh, the Birthday Party, how are they doing?"
K: It's like a gang, it's great.
M: America's really bad, y'know, like/
(END OF TAPE)
M: ...said "that fucking guy from Countdown's coming". I said "so fucking what. They're going to let him in for free, you make him fucking pay!" The bastard y'know, he didn't turn up anyway -- he prob'ly fucking sensed it. If they'd introduced me to him I would've fucking...
D: He is a pain, but all the shows are pretty much the same. What'd you think of Donny Sutherland?
K: Oh he's a darling, he's a darling, he's great... I wish we had someone like that in England... he's so ambivalent to what he's doing, it's all surreal to me: "Go and see these guys, it'll be really fun!"
M: I did like that, yeah. He was really weird with us, he was completely terrified. I liked the fact he obviously knows nothing about music.
K: It's great.
D: They had this big thing on Sounds a while ago about their cameraman, 'cos he knew something about music...
M: He was very funny 'cos he was asking "what are you going to do next, where are you going to go?" and we were going "don't know". He was making quite funny jokes about us...
D: D'you think it's been a success coming out here?
M: It's not finished yet... .
K: We're trying to get into Adelaide at the moment but the guy says it's not worth it.
D: I think it would be, if it's worth going to Queensland...
M: I'd like to go there.
D: Oh you haven't been there yet?
M: No no no, but I've heard some great stories about it... Hitler's Germany.
K: They're all supposed to be like smoothies there or something?
M: No it's the police run everything, like a police state -- they obligatory bust every band that goes in there and everything.
K: I'm going to sit there with a candle and wait for them.
M: I hope they fucking come and bust us, I'd go "fucking British passport, mate. Fuck off." We've played places like that before. Interesting. Places like that the youngsters are always fucking active -- the ones that are into it are right into it. Belgium's like that, any kid looks at a copper, the copper hits him over the head.
K: It's that heavy.
M: But the kids go the gigs and the energy in the air... fantastic.
D: Don't you think you could be a hero the same way the Clash are?
M: Who me?
K: He is a hero.
M: I'm a fucking hero compared to the fucking Clash -- fucking hell. They're not fucking heroes.
D: It's a...
M: Yeah yeah I know what you mean. In a lot of ways it's good for me, that keeps people away from me. 'Cos I'm not a very friendly person. Really. I think it's a shame that people aren't actually given good heroes. Fucking shame. That's what I mean... I'm not saying Strummer's a bad man or anything, I'm just saying it's a bad thing that people like Strummer are heroes. I've met Strummer a few times and he's like... he's just like anybody. I don't like that. I didn't like that about Lennon. I don't like these 'common heroes' -- they stink. So I'm quite flattered when you tell me that 'cos I think it's about time people were given decent heroes, that actually sacrifice a bit to be it and don't fucking patronize the people. That's the trouble with nowadays -- like Joe Strummer in fucking New York -- we supported them and he comes up and he's got a rasta on each arm, a fucking Jamaican rasta, and he's walking around with these people all the time showing what a great guy he is, makes me sick...
K: 'Course he goes "Hello Mark", even though he's never met you, "Hello Mark".
M: He says "You can't stand to play with us can you". I said, "No I can't".
D: The Clash are the sort of archetypal 'band with integrity'.
M: I've noticed -- I've had some right arguments about the Clash over here, yeah.
K: See I reckon the Pistols had've been where the Clash are, the Pistols would've been where the Clash are now.
M: They walked in, the Pistols opened every fucking door for the Clash. The Clash never did anything with it. They just walked in on opportunities made by the Pistols with a lot of fucking socialist rubbish, full of fucking guilt supposedly, for everything thing they everything they ever fucking did.
K: Like in America, they stayed in this big casino for 10 days and they were going to get all these bands who didn't have a chance - the same crap they play in England, they probably played it here; Strummer getting photographed with Abos, Strummer getting photographed with blacks and all this shite -- and you turn up there and they don't even give these bands soundchecks!
M: And they're getting these rapping bands off the street and they're being bottled. We went on there and we were the only band in 10 that didn't go on and get killed. 'Cos their attitude was "we're not going to go through America, everyone's a fat idiot'. I mean, that was their attitude! It's disgusting.
K: It's not true.
M: And they just played in New York, but it was really funny 'cos the people who traveled to NY, from the fucking mid-west, must be stupid anyway. Do you get my drift? So in a way they were right, they were just reassuring themselves, because like nobody of any worth is goin' to travel from Chicago to NY to see the Clash, y'know. But it was really funny, we went to the soundcheck and this fucking guy comes up -- he was about 15 and he's got his mother and father with him -- and he goes "Oh it's the Clash, it's the Clash, oh you're Mick Jones"
K: "Come on, where's Joe Strummer, he's hiding behind there..."
M: Yeah, "I know Joe Strummer's under that seat". He thought Karl was Mick Jones! It was really funny.
K: Anywhere that Karl went they kept thinking he was Mick Jones. He was nearly committing suicide. In fact he reckoned he'd kill Mick Jones.
M: And we went along to the gig right, and the way they were selling England was really obscene. It was really horrible. They had all these light shows, like the front of newspapers with dole queues on and pictures of the Ripper. It was really fucking horrible. It was like watching some sort of 'Carnival of England'. I thought, "Fucking hell, they're selling England like that"! It was really bad, giving these Americans 'The English'. I felt really ashamed, 'cos I used to like the Clash when they started out.
K: I was at this gig in Sydney and this guy says "you're Kay Carroll, it's great all the work you've put in" and I said it was just 3 phone calls, it's no big deal. All these bloody bands make out that it is. For all I know there are 2,000 people over here who haven't seen the Fall so let's bloody go 'cos we haven't seen them!
M: People don't understand that. They think you've come here on some sort of Clash trip, but we just wanted to come here. We had this interview with New Zealand people, and they're going "Why are you coming here, the money?" We fucking could've lost a lot of money. We're out here right, just forget it -- it's like over-analysis all the fucking time. With us anyway. It's a fucking change -- a change is as good as a rest and it's a challenge. What other reason is there to do things. It's not to fucking back up the record release, as much as the fucking record company would like to fucking believe that. We could've had a comfier time at home, we could have played fucking packed halls at home, but what's the point of doing things you can already do?
K: The thing is we get to places because there are quite a few people in powerful positions who want to see us. Take for instance this tour... Ken wanted to bring out New Order and (?) says what about the Fall, and Ken said he'd never heard of 'em, and he says you know, the Fall, they're really great and that. And like he actually convinced Ken that if he could bring us out it'd be great.
M: It's the way of the Fall, we're always like opening doors for inferior groups. The next is like you'll get New Order coming out...
D: That'll go down well...
M: Yeah right, of course. Other groups'll come over and make more money and make a better deal of it.
K: Get them a better name and all.
M: It doesn't matter, they're still behind us.
K: It's the same with Iceland, it's such a small place for a record company it's not worth sending a band up there. Even if they were successful they'd sell about 300 records.
M: Yeah we went up there and the next thing you've got fucking Killing Joke going up there. It's ridiculous, 'cos there's nobody there. People copy us, it'd be great if loads of Australian bands copy us... and fall flat on their backs! That'd be great. And when they got a single everyone'd go "what's this fucking shit"!
K: You see with the Birthday Party the illusion is that they're quite big over here and that's why they went to England. It's not true! It works. One day we'll rule the world. In England a band's a real sellout going to America. Like we'd been away 7 weeks and we go into this pub every day when we came back and they never even mentioned it -- all the postcards we sent were stuck up and that... bigheads.
M: Is that it now then?
D: Oh if you want it to be then.
M: Yeah, d'you?
D: That's ok.