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The Fall played...

Sun., May 19 11th Annual Wave-Gottik-Treffen goth festival in Leipzig, Germany
Tues., May 21 Starclub, Dresden, Germany (phone +493514210302, doors @ 8pm)
Fri., May 24 Loppen, Christiana, Copenhagen, Denmark (phone +45 3257 8422)

reviews of any of the above would be very welcome.

band at present: MES (v.), Ben Pritchard (g.), Jim Watts (b.), Dave Milner (d.). Ed Blaney is still the manager, despite rumours to the contrary.

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Upcoming releases:

2G+2, out now on Action Records (cat# TAKE18CD) comprises nine tracks recorded at the Nov. 2001 US gigs, plus three studio tracks (New Formation Sermon and Distilled Mug Art are from the withdrawn "The Present" EP; I Wake Up in the City was on the Flitwick freebie).

1. The Joke
2. New Formation Sermon (studio)
3. My Ex-Classmates' Kids
4. Enigrammatic Dream
5. I Wake Up in the City (studio)
6. Kick the Can
7. F-'Oldin' Money
8. Bourgeois Town
9. Distilled Mug Art (studio)
10. Ibis Afro-Man
11. Mr. Pharmacist
12. I Am Damo Suzuki

sleeve by Pascal Le Gras

You can get the CD direct from Action for £7.99 at http://www.action-records.co.uk/cgi-bin/tame/Action/action_f.tam. Don't forget to claim the Fall website 10% discount - just make a note in the comments box when ordering online.

Conway:

I stand to be corrected but here's where I believe all the tracks come from:

01. The Joke (3:47) live Seattle, Tuesday 20 Nov. 2001
02. New Formation Sermon (2:03) studio
03. My Ex-Classmates' Kids (3:25) live New York, Sunday 25 Nov. 2001
04. Enigrammatic Dream (2:08) live New York, Sunday 25 Nov. 2001
05. I Wake Up In The City (4:39) studio
06. Kick The Can (1:59) live New York, Sunday 25 Nov. 2001
07. F-'Oldin' Money (4:23) live New York, Sunday 25 Nov. 2001*
08. Bourgeois Town (4:44) live New York, Friday 23 Nov. 2001
09. Distilled Mug Art (3:32) studio
10. Ibis-Afro Man (3:45) live L.A., Thursday 15 Nov. 2001
11. Mr Pharmacist (2:22) live New York, Friday 23 Nov. 2001
12. I Am Damo Suzuki (6:41) live L.A., Thursday 15 Nov. 2001
Total time: 43:35

* about 1 min 15 - 1 min 20 has been edited out of F-'Oldin' Money at the 3:56 mark, a mostly instrumental section towards the end of the Kick The Can reprise. Why, who knows? Maybe MES didn't like Ben's macho guitar-hero solo. It's a rather obvious cut too, not on the beat! I reckon I could've made a less evident join on cooledit with the kids screaming in one ear and the TV blasting in the other.

2G+2 launch party - a message from Action Records:

"We are having a small launch for 2G+2 on Friday evening - 8.30pm 14th June at NORTH BAR in Blackburn, the venue is significant as it is where the original deal went down.

"It is invite only and what I intend to do is put all email addresses in a hat or something and pull out the lucky 10 pair of winners on Thursday 12.00 -High Noon. There will not be a ticket as such as there is not enough time, but names will be on the door. If your names not down your not coming in, as the saying goes.

"The venue is quite intimate so we have to be strict with numbers, I just did not want it to be all media people only, we need real fans as well. Please note that unless you really think you can make the launch it is not worth trying to win. The highlight of the evening will be a band appearing called the Mod Goths, they will play for possibly 15-20 minutes, sorry no further info being given out but they are not a FALL covers band."

Email your entry to sales@action-records.co.uk.

early album reviews:

  • So, what's the general verdict on 2G+2 then? My verdict is really fucking shite - dull live versions of fairly crappy songs (apart from Damo Suzuki) and a (very small) handful of uninspired studio songs, one of which is the same as one of the live ones but with different words. And on these songs MES sounds like he's just a bit too close to the mike, as if he's trying to eat it. I'll listen to the studio songs again and may reconsider, but the live ones can fuck right off. Really. I'm totally sick of live Fall albums.
  • You know what, it's not that bad really. The live ex-classmates/enigrammatic > studio version of wake up in the city was a bit jarring though. Quite like Distilled Mug Art. And one of the new ones had a line about a rabbit in the headlights or sommat like that - shoulda been a feckin' squirrel! Sleeve notes just say LA/New York/Seattle, so I'll have to dig out all those gigs tonight to see which tracks come from where. Ibis-Afro is obviously from LA, with our man Ed going on about "I live in LA..." before MES takes the mic.
  • I'm not buying it. Life's too bloody short.
  • Saw the expected slaggings off on the news site, have to say that I partly agree (sadly). Although the live versions of The Joke and Damo Suzuki are fantastic, other live tracks vary between merely decent 'Ibis-Afro' and 'Mr. Pharmacist' and pretty shoddy - all the rest. The studio tracks are mostly naff (except Wake Up In The City), and the live Enigrammatic Dream is a waste of what was a pretty good live track (except not at this concert). Cover art is rather nice, but typos and mis-credits spoil the rest of it. R.Jonson (sic)did not write Bourgeois Town, and Spencer wasn't the drummer! But can't complain too much when it was 8, and it is certainly listenable... [Spencer was the drummer at all the US gigs - Stefan]
  • To be honest the most recent Fall album I have is Kurious Oranj, mainly because I'm cheap and the Beggar's Banquet releases are the only ones I find in bargain bins. Anyway, apart from Damo Suzuki I can't compare any of the live recordings with album versions and I don't know how it compares with their recent albums. The recording on some of the live tracks isn't great, most of them are listenable but nothing special. I found Damo Suzuki disappointing compared with the album version and Ibis Afro-Man just irritated me. It's redeemed by three great studio recordings, plus decent live material like F-oldin' Money and Bourgeois Town. It's not a classic, but there's an EP of great music on the disc and it's well worth the 8.
  • Not bad at all, better clarity than many live recordings. You can tell it's recorded in the USA with the whoops and oh yeah's from the audience whereas we tend to be a bit stuffier over here!

other new releases:

According to Amazon UK the 2xCD (downgraded from a 3xCD box?) "Totally Wired" (Essential #CMETD461) has been pushed back to July 15. Tracks are:

CD1
TOTALLY WIRED / NEW FACE IN HELL / FIT AND WORKING AGAIN / THAT MAN / CONTAINER DRIVERS / ROWCHE RUMBLE / HOW I WROTE ELASTIC MAN / AN OLDER LOVER / CARY GRANT'S WEDDING / PAY YOUR RATES / CITY HOBGOBLINS / MIDDLE MASS / GRAMME FRIDAY / LEAVE THE CAPITOL / ENGLISH SCHEME / NEW PURITAN / PROLE ART THREAT
CD2
THE NWRA / THE MAN WHOSE HEAD EXPANDED / LIE DREAM OF A CASINO SOUL / I FEEL VOXISH / HIP PRIEST / HOTEL BLOEDEL / WINTER ONE / LUDD GANG / SMILE / TEMPO HOUSE / HEXEN DEFINITIVE-STRIFE KNOT / WINGS / EAT YOURSELF FITTER / KICKER CONSPIRACY

(sorry about the CAPS - I didn't feel like rekeying it all)


Castle/Essential/Sanctuary also have "The Rough Trade Singles Box" 4xCD set (#CMGBX526) due for release on the same day:

The Singles Box Set
The FALL
Sanctuary Records Group Ltd (Record Producer)
CMGBX 526 SET (4 CD)

CD1: HOW I WROTE ELASTIC MAN / CITY HOBGOBLINS
CD2: TOTALLY WIRED / PUTTA BLOCK
CD3: THE MAN WHOSE HEAD EXPANDED / LUDD GANG
CD4: KICKER CONSPIRACY / WINGS / CONTAINER DRIVERS / NEW PURITAN

The box will package the CDs in exact miniature replicas of the original 7" releases and includes a poster.

 

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Dave Allen has put together a couple of Fall Flash movies...

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Simon Ford, "Primal Scenes"
The Wire, May 2002 (No. 219)

25 years ago this month, in a basement arts space in central Manchester in front of an audience that included The Buzzcocks and composer Trevor Wishart, The Fall stepped onto a stage for the first time. Simon Ford documents the earliest moments in the life of one of the most uncompromising groups of the age, and talks to original members Martin Bramah, Tony Friel and Una Baines.

Everything has to start somewhere, even a group that seems to have been around forever. This month marks the 25th anniversary of The Fall's first live performance. Fittingly for a group that soon became a byword for credibility among members of the musical underground, the performance took place in a basement space in central Manchester. It was the primal scene that set The Fall on the road to creating a body of work which has been described by Michael Bracewell, in his 1997 book England Is Mine, as being "as important to the history of English pop as cubism was to the development of European painting" - quite an achievement for a bunch of disenfranchised, Northern working class youths.

But who were these people and how did they meet? The oldest member of the group, Mark Edward Smith, was born on 5 March 1957 in a quiet, leafy avenue in Prestwich, about five miles north of Manchester city centre. The name of the area derived from the Old English words 'preost' and 'wic', meaning "priest's retreat' or 'the dwelling of a priest' - a fitting lair for the future Hip Priest of legend. Smith was a smart kid: he passed his 11-plus exam and went to Stand Grammar School in nearby Whitefield. Among previous 'Old Standians' was Lord Clive of Plassey (1725-74), famous for his role in the expansion of the British Empire into India.

From an early age Smith was healthily immune to the blandishments of pop music, preferring instead anything that sounded strange or different: Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", The Groundhogs, Van Der Graaf Generator. He left school in the summer of 1973 and enrolled as an A-level student at St John's College. One of his fellow students at the College was Una Baines. The two had already met during the summer at a fair in Heaton Park. "When I met Mark I was still wearing my black satin Marc Bolan jacket and was into Bowie and stuff like that," Baines recalls. "But it was like I was outgrowing that sort of stuff; the glam scene had become just too commercial. Mark introduced me to The Velvet Underground."

Baines was a month younger than Smith. They both found studying at St John's College financially difficult and soon left. After a stint working as an office clerk, Baines began training as a psychiatric nurse. She left home and rented a flat with an attic on Kingswood Road, just round the corner from Prestwich Hospital. Smith, meanwhile, was working as a clerk in an import-export business on Manchester Docks. It provided a steady income at a time when unemployment in Manchester and the rest of the country was growing. His desk job also provided cover for his writing, and he took full advantage of his breaks to use the office typewriters, tapping out short stories and poems, fragments of which he would later transmute into lyrics, inspired by the 'weird' tales of HP Lovecraft and the strung-out science fiction of Philip K Dick.

One day in the mid-70s (no one remembers when exactly), Smith and Baines were relaxing on the couch at Smith's parents' house, listening to The Velvet Underground and The Doors, when Smith's sister, Barbara, came home with two new friends, Martin Bramah and Tony Friel. "Mark and I shared an interest in music," Friel recalls, "and would spend many evenings listening to records. Mark had an interesting collection, lots of bands I never listened to before, like Can, and 60s US punk bands."

Bramah and Friel had met at Heys Boys Secondary School. Bramah remembers Friel as "a very eccentric boy. He got picked on a lot, but he had this wild imagination. I was drawn to him because he was full of mad ideas and tall tales". Bramah left school with just one 0-level, in art. "We were really just factory fodder," he says. "It was a boys' school, very military in attitude, so we just tried to avoid it as much as we could. We would wander into town and do shoplifting. To be honest, most of the instruments we used to start The Fall were stolen." Like Smith and Baines he lasted just three months in further education. His teacher at Radcliffe Further Education College described trying to teach him as like "pissing against the wind". Friel left school without any qualifications but was determined to make his way as a musician. "I always had an interest in art and music," he says. "The first record I bought was The Rolling Stones' "Get Off Of My Cloud". At the age of 11 or 12, I really got into Marc Bolan, and he inspired me to play guitar." Friel, Bramah, Smith and Baines would often meet at the Kingswood Road flat to take drugs (acid, speed, magic mushrooms), play music and talk about what they wanted to do with their lives. "We were totally wrapped up in music," Bramah says. "it meant a lot to us. The bands we loved, we loved dearly, it was our escape from what the world was offering us. Every weekend we were getting out of our faces. But we didn't see it as a nihilistic thing because to us it was a quest for knowledge, we were hungry to see different ways of being. We were all writing poetry."

Soon after coming together this quartet of friends decided to form a group. At first Bramah was going to be the singer, with Smith on guitar, Friel on bass and Baines on drums. It soon became apparent, however, that Smith was never going to learn to play the guitar, and he swapped roles with Bramah. Baines was also unlikely to be able to afford a drum kit and instead she started saving up for a keyboard. Even then they might not have taken it any further had it not been for the visit to Manchester in June 1976 of The Sex Pistols. The four decided to go to the gig, at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, after reading a reference to The Stooges in Neil Spencer's legendary NME review of an early Pistols show. It turned out to be an empowering experience, reinforced a month later when The Pistols returned to Manchester and were supported by local groups Slaughter And The Dogs and The Buzzcocks. As Bramah explains, "The music scene was very different then. People didn't start bands in Manchester. The gigs were all at big venues and bands came from out of town and half of them were American. You didn't think you could really do it, until the punk thing happened."

A new urgency was injected into the group, but there was still the important question of what they should call themselves. According to Bramah, Smith's nominations included Master Race And The Death Sense and, somewhat less inflammatory, The Shades. For a while they were The Outsiders, after the novel (L'Etranger) by Albert Camus. When they discovered another group were already using that name, Friel suggested The Fall, the title of another book by Camus (La Chute}. At a draft stage entitled "A Puritan Of Our Time", La Chute told the story of Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a successful Parisian barrister who came to regard his bourgeois existence as a sham and exiled himself to Amsterdam where he became a self-styled 'judge penitent', prosecutor of both himself and those he met. It was a perfect name for the new group: simple, distinctive and evocative of the withering social and moral critiques that would come to define Smith's lyric writing.

At the beginning of 1977 there were few signs to indicate that Manchester would become a centre for innovation, the site of a new wave in music. The consequences of The Sex Pistols' appearances took some time to filter through to live venues and works on vinyl. The first hint of what was to come occurred on 29 January, when The Buzzcocks' Spiral Scratch EP was released on the group's own New Hormones label. The city's music scene continued to develop out of the sight of the national music press, until Melody Maker ran a story, on 14 May, titled "New Wave Devolution: Manchester Waits For The World To Listen". The article focused on The Buzzcocks, The Drones and Slaughter And The Dogs, and included a succinct description of the local milieu by Tosh Ryan, who ran Rabid Records, the label which had issued Slaughter And The Dogs' first single: "The area is so neglected, so economically deprived and full of massive housing complexes, that the mood of the place was right and ready for a new movement in music with a markedly different criteria of success. What has developed is peculiar to Manchester and I can only hope that instead of going to London for future deals, the agents and record companies will come here."

An important component in this 'new movement in music' was the Manchester Musicians' Collective, which had been established at the beginning of the year by Dick Wilts and Trevor Wishart. Wilts was a musician who had come to Manchester to study percussion. With money he earned working for The Halle Orchestra, he promoted concerts of contemporary classical music and became interested in the idea of musicians organising themselves into co- operatives and collectives. At the same time, Wishart was employed as a composer-in-residence by North West Arts, the regional branch of the Arts Council. It was Wishart's idea to set up a collective to share equipment and put on gigs. "We wanted to know how these kids made music when they were musically illiterate," Witts explains. "This was fascinating because we were overburdened with knowledge about music, we were just playing other people's stuff, and here were these kids coming along playing something from nowhere."

North West Arts occupied an office, shop and basement cafe on King Street, one of the most exclusive streets in Manchester's city centre. Witts persuaded the organisation to let out the basement on Monday nights for the Collective to use. From The Fall, it was Friel who first made contact with Witts and the Collective. "It had quite an impact on me personally," Friel says. "I met lots of interesting people and it turned me on to 'New Music', which has been an interest ever since." Friel persuaded the other members of The Fall to attend the Collective's meetings, and eventually the group were offered the chance to play. There was one problem: The Fall didn't have a drummer. Through a local advertisement they found 'Dave', an insurance salesman and rabid Conservative whose one attempt at songwriting was entitled "Landslide Victory". He was far from perfect, but for the moment he had to do. Another problem was that Una Baines had nothing to play. The bank loan she had applied for in order to buy a keyboard was still being processed. So with no instrument, she had to stand in the audience.

No one involved can remember the exact date of the gig, but Witts recalls the venue as being "like a fashionable restaurant in the late 70s, with everything white. It was done out like a small white cave. We just took the tables and chairs out. Mark and Martin, who were taller than the others, had to bend down because of the low ceiling. It wasn't really public, the audience was just a group of other musicians sitting around listening."

Part of that audience consisted of local heroes The Buzzcocks. "The first gig was recorded, so somebody might have a tape somewhere," says Bramah. "It was a small room and about half the audience was The Buzzcocks. Mark just let fly with such venom from day one. I remember he just sort of reached into the audience and virtually poked his finger up Howard Devoto's nose."

For Friel the gig was the opportunity he'd been waiting for: "As you'd expect it was a bit rough -just right! We were really pleased to have a chance to play outside the bedsit. People were kind and it was very encouraging." What hit the small audience immediately was the intensity of the group, especially Smith, who, according to Witts, "howled the place down". Later, Baines told Witts: "I don't know what the fuck he was doing. I've never heard him do that before, it scared me!" Bramah was not so surprised: "It was just welling up inside us all. That was the way we were living, that was the way we felt and that was the way Mark was. I mean, if you went out to a club with Mark he'd pick a fight with someone. But that was just Mark: irrational and erratic. He didn't practise it, he didn't plan it, he was just like that."

A belief in their own creativity dictated against The Fall playing any cover versions that night. Instead the set consisted of original material, including the anti-racist rants "Hey! Fascist" and "Race Hatred" (complete with its "What yer gonna do about it?" chorus), the bitter humour of "Bingo Master's Breakout", and the adrenalin rush of "Psycho Mafia". The set ended with an extended two-chord dirge titled "Repetition". The song was almost a manifesto for the new group, albeit one laced with a heavy dose of sarcasm, with Smith's lyric prophetically announcing, "Repetition in the music and we're never gonna lose it".

The sound was poor and the musicianship rudimentary, but the commitment, range and charisma were there for all to see. It was a phenomenal debut but before The Fall could move on, they needed to find a drummer who shared at least some of the group's ethos. The answer was close to hand.

Prior to The Fall, Bramah had been a member of a putative group called Nuclear Angel, which also included Karl Burns. "I first met Karl Burns on the street," recalls Bramah. "He had this picture of Hitler and two of his henchmen and one had a ring round his head and Karl was insisting this was his father. That was my first meeting with Karl Burns, this mad kid claiming his dad was a Nazi."

Burns was a natural musician on guitar and drums. Nuclear Angel never performed live but used to rehearse in the cellar of a shoe shop off Deansgate (in Manchester city centre) that was owned by the bass player's father. Here they would thrash out New York Dolls and Stooges covers - until one night they got carried away and trashed all their equipment. At the time Burns had long hair and was into Heavy Metal, but Bramah persuaded him to give the new group a chance. 'Dave' therefore holds the dubious honour of being the first of many members to be sacked from The Fall.

The Fall's second gig took place on 3 June at a 'Stuff the Jubilee' festival (1977 marked 25 years of the Queen's reign) in a space known as The Squat on Devas Street. Earlier the group had attended an anti- Jubilee demo. "There was about 12 of us," Baines recalls. "Someone tried to unfurl this banner with "Stuff the Jubilee' on it and the police came along and said, 'Put that banner down'. He refused saying it was his democratic right to protest and they just pulled him into the back of a police van and kicked his head in. So that was the end of the demo."

The Squat was situated in a decrepit building that had once been the home of the Royal Manchester College of Music. When the College revealed plans to demolish the building, it was occupied by students who then successfully campaigned for it to be turned into a live music venue. Other local groups appearing at 'Stuff the Jubilee' included The Drones, Warsaw (who would soon rename themselves Joy Division), The Worst and The Negatives (which included Paul Morley on guitar and photographer Kevin Cummins on drums). Baines, who now had her own keyboard, remembers the night well: "I played the national anthem with all these explosion sounds from my new keyboard. It was called a Snoopy and the week after I bought it, it got reviewed in Sounds or Melody Maker as the worst keyboard you could get - totally slated. It was just the cheapest, but even so I never did pay off the loan."

Later that month The Fall played a Rock Against Racism benefit supporting The Buzzcocks and The Verbals at North East London Polytechnic. As Martin Bramah explains, there was always a strong left wing element in the group, but they were wary of bandwagons: "The core of that left wing attitude was working class struggle and that's what we related to. Una was a very strong feminist and would be prepared to strike up an argument in a pub with any man who said anything remotely sexist. Tony Friel was a member of the local Communist Party."

These were politically polarised times. A month later in August 1977 there were violent clashes as demonstrators tried to halt a National Front march through Lewisham, South London. Although appreciating the exposure Rock Against Racism gigs gave the group, Smith found the populist and sloganeering attitude of the organisers ideologically suspect. "I was disillusioned very quickly," he told lan Penman in NMEin August 1978. "I'd always equated left wing politics with revolution... What happens is before you go on they say, 'Will you hold this poster up?', and it's a picture of Belsen: 'DON'T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN'. I would say, 'We're a political band, that's what we sing about.' But they want you to make announcements between songs; they see you as entertainment. You might as well be singing Country & Western."

Along with Rock Against Racism benefits, The Buzzcocks continued to be the best source of gigs for the new group. On 4 July The Fall supported The Buzzcocks at the launch party of the Vortex at Crackers on Wardour Street, London. The Buzzcocks were now the leading group in Manchester, and in August signed to United Artists for 75,000, which must have seemed like a fortune at the time. Record company interest in other Manchester groups was stimulated by articles such as Paul Morley's cover story for NME in July 1977. The cover line read: "Manchester: The Truth Behind The Bizarre Cult Sweeping A City's Youth." The article featured The Buzzcocks, Howard Devoto, Slaughter And The Dogs and The Drones. The Fall were classed - alongside Warsaw and The Worst - as interesting newcomers.

Over the weekend of 1-2 October the new Manchester groups put together their first real collective show of strength. The venue was the Electric Circus, an ex-bingo hall situated two miles north of the city centre. Like many Manchester venues, it had seen better days, but its scuzzy informality was perfect for the new groups and their fans. In fact it was the popularity of the local groups that led to the club's downfall. The Electric Circus had a legal capacity of 280, but the likes of The Buzzcocks were regularly attracting audiences of 500 or more. By October the club was facing closure due to numerous breaches of fire regulations.

The line-up for the first night of the two day festival consisted of Manicured Noise, The Swords, Big In Japan, Steel Pulse and The Drones. The second night opened with Warsaw, followed by The Prefects, The Worst, The Fall, the debut of Howard Devoto's new group, Magazine, and finally The Buzzcocks. At the end of the night there was a stage invasion, and as with many Manchester gigs of the time, John The Postman came on to sing a version of "Louie Louie". Both nights were recorded by Virgin and selected tracks were released on a 10" album, Short Circuit, in June 1978. The two songs by The Fall - "Stepping Out" and "Last Orders", both dominated by Tony Friel's lead basslines - represented the group's first appearance on vinyl.

By the time of the Electric Circus festival The Fall had found champions in the music press in the shape of Paul Morley at NME and Chris Brazier at Melody Maker. Both writers emphasised how the group's strong political content and complex song structures placed it in a different league from its peers. The Fall were growing in confidence and hitting a peak of productivity, but they were still loosely organised as a collective, and decision-making was increasingly difficult. In an attempt to solve the problem, a new figure was brought into the group's structure.

Kay Carroll was almost ten years older than the rest of the group and had already been married, had two children, got divorced and was now a nurse at Prestwich Hospital. It was there that she met Una Baines and she soon became a regular at the Kingswood Road soirees, eventually moving into the flat. "When I heard the band for the first time it blew me away," says Carroll. "I wasn't expecting it at all, I wasn't expecting anything to tell you the truth, but their sound was so hypnotic, they had a sound like Can, and Mark's poetry was - and still is -just pure genius. I was hooked!"

As The Fall's workrate increased, Smith's prolonged absences from his office desk became increasingly problematic, and he eventually left to sign on the dole. It was not long before he was joined by Carroll, who used part of her last pay cheque to pay for a phone to be installed in the flat, so she didn't have to use the public phone box across the road to book gigs. At the end of October, The Buzzcocks released "Orgasm Addict", their first single for United Artists, and set off on a UK tour. Among the support acts were The Worst, The Flys and The Fall. Richard Boon, The Buzzcocks' manager, was very supportive of the group and the following month put up the money for its first studio session.

On 9 November the group went into Manchester's Indigo Studios and recorded four songs, "Bingo Master's Breakout", "Psycho Mafia", "Repetition" and a version of "Frightened". The plan was for all the tracks to be released by Boon on either New Hormones or United Artists as a 17 minute EP, but interest waned as Boon's time was increasingly taken up with managing The Buzzcocks' burgeoning career. The tapes were returned to the group and hawked around various other labels, but none seemed able to deal with The Fall's uncompromising attitude and commitment to self- determination over matters such as marketing. The group thought about releasing a single themselves, but as they could barely afford their own phone it wasy never going to be a feasible proposition. (Three of the tracks, "Bingo Master's Breakout", "Psycho Mafia" and "Repetition", were eventually released as the group's first single in August 1978 on the Step Forward label.)

By the end of 1977 the Manchester Musicians's Collective had relocated to the Band On The Wall on Swan Street in the Ancoats area of Manchester. Three groups would play each week, with the takings, after expenses, being distributed equally among the musicians. The Fall debuted there on 13 November along with Trevor Wishart and Pride. The set ended with "Repetition", which Smith prefaced with the warning: "This song's gonna last for three hours."

The year ended with a Rock Against Racism benefit on 23 December at Stretford Civic Centre. The Fall topped a bill that included John Cooper Clarke and The Worst, plus an encore by John The Postman. An ultra lo-fi recording of The Fall's set was recently released as Live 1977 by Cog Sinister/Voiceprint. It was a significant gig for Friel, because, as Bramah announced to the audience: "It's the bass player's last gig. It's like losing your left leg."

The main reason for Friel's departure was his disapproval of the amount of managerial control taken on by Carroll. Bramah and Baines were also concerned about her growing influence and how it was affecting the internal politics of the group. "When Mark and Kay became a team," Bramah explains, "it became a bit of a dictatorship and that changed the band because we'd started as equal friends. Kay was his enforcer, his strength and his mouthpiece within the band. We all recognised his talent and just put up with things, but I think Kay made it harder to be in the band, especially for Tony, who thought The Fall were as much his vehicle as Mark's. He'd thought of the name and was the primary musician within the band."

Friel had lasted for just eight months. Baines left not long after in early 1978. Later that year, Karl Burns departed, followed by Bramah in April 1979. Within two years of forming, The Fall, with the exception of Mark E Smith, had a completely new line-up, a pattern of attrition and renewal that has been repeated to this day. After The Fall, Friel went on to form The Passage with Dick Witts. He is currently the bass player in The Woodbank Street Band. Baines and Bramah subsequently formed The Blue Orchids, and a compilation of their work, A Darker Bloom: The Blue Orchids Collection, has just been released by Cherry Red. In 1989 Bramah rejoined The Fall but left again the following year. Today he still writes songs and plays the guitar, but earns his living as a van driver. Baines works at a community centre in Whalley Range, South Manchester. She helps organise the annual Whalley Range festival and, showing admirable consistency, is in the process of setting up a women's musicians' collective. As for Mark E Smith...

This article originally appeared in The Wire Magazine issue 219 May 2002.
http://www.thewire.co.uk

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Conway:

Anyone wanting a 1024x768 wallpaper featuring all the album covers including 2G+2 have a look here (about 500K download): http://liquid2k.com/conwaypaton/fallpaper.jpg.

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Richard Sanderson of the Hideous Replicas played a gig in London last month:

It was a success I thought - the 12 Bar Club was rammed (although it's not that difficult to fill!), with well over 100 punters. It seemed to go down well - the word "authentic" was used (although we're all between 10 and 20 years older than the group we were emulating). The gig was recorded and videoed - although I've only seen a tiny portion of the video whilst coming back from the gig a bit worse for wear but seemed pretty good.

There are 3 pictures from the gig at the bottom of this page - http://members.lycos.co.uk/richardsanderson/newpage6.html

Set List- -Steppin Out -Rowche Rumble -Fiery Jack -Choc-Stock -Last Orders -Repetition -No Xmas for J.Quays -Container Drivers -Totally Wired - we did Slates, Slags etc as an encore.

We're working on a load more songs now- but we'll keep them secret till after the next gig!

___________________

A few PDFs of old Select articles with many thanks to Stephen Bending:

and a recent one from Q thanks to Jon Anderson:

___________________

Tommy Crooks (ex-Fall guitarist):

I`ve got a new band called abuse.We1re playing at the Dundee City Arts centre on July 4rth.I`ve also got a solo album out called Farmhand Quintessence.Are you still a Fall Anorak? yours Tommy Crooks
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
http://www.farmhandorganization.com

___________________

Tom Hingley (ex-Inspiral Carpet) and the Lovers (including Steve and Paul Hanley) tour dates:

May 10 hartlepool studio 01429273615
May 11 newcastle uni 01912393926
May 18 salisbury arts festival old ale house 07799553889
May 21 life, manchester
June 27 sheffield boardwalk 01142799090
Aug. 23 scooter rally isle of wight 07774893178
Sept 14 fibbers york

Also Tom says: "more dates to come, call 07973861540 for more details."
http://www.tomhingley.co.uk/

___________________

May 19: 11th Annual Wave-Gottik-Treffen goth festival, Leipzig, Germany:

Setlist (thanks to Steve): Mansion / 2 Librans / Cyber Insekt / The Joke / new song / And Therein... / Kick the Can > F-'Oldin' Money > Kick the Can / Bourgeois Town / I Am Damo Suzuki / Mr. Pharmacist / Enigrammatic Dream / Ketamine Sun / Dr. Buck's Letter / encore: Way Round

___________________

May 21: Starclub, Dresden, Germany:

Setlist (thanks to Heiko): Mansion / 2 Librans / The Joke / And Therein / new song / Cyber Insekt / My Ex-classmates' Kids / F-'oldin' Money > Kick the Can / Bourgeouis Town / Mr. Pharmacist / Enigrammatic Dream > Ketamine Sun / Way Round / I Am Damo Suzuki / Dr. Buck's Letter

 

June 13, 2002

This is the latest news and gossip off FallNet for those with weak stomachs.

If you have anything to say, you can mail Stefan, but you can't mail the FallNet mailing list direct anymore. To subscribe to FallNet, send mail to fallnet-subscribe@ yahoogroups.com. The Freedonia list is out of action.

ta to biv for this


Recent news...

16may02 Blackburn, London, ATP gig reviews, BBC 6FM, Sydney 1990 int., French cartoon
19apr02 US tour cancelled, Mojo article, Select (June 91), bits & pieces
19mar02 Euro tour reviews, Record Collector interview., Wire review, new Fall discog., misc.
13feb02 comp results, Athens review, Bournemouth Runner, Pan
13jan02 Timekode, Pan, bad German translations, NME 2/25/89 interview
02jan02 album reviews, ancient Usenet refs
12dec01 MCR gig reviews, album reviews, Pan
28nov01 mammoth US tour edition
13nov01 first batch of AYAMW reviews, London Forum gig reports
5nov01 Euro gig reports, Knitting Factory Knotes interview
19oct01 UK gig reports, studybees interview
30sep01 tour / booking details, 1979 fanzine interview
9sep01 not much
28aug01 Flitwick single, 82/83 gig pics
27jun01 Faustus
31may01 Dublin pics, Cash for Questions, Guardian interview
29apr01 IR, UK gig reviews
9apr01 NL gig reviews
3mar01 Dublin gig, Invisible Jukebox
28jan01 World Bewitched details
1jan01 some ace Castlefield pics
19dec00 more reviews
1dec00 tour reviews, crap interviews
10nov00 Unutterable reviews
21oct00 Stanza festival, HighSmith Teeth, comedy dogs
11oct00 RFH reviews, new Cog Sinister releases
12sep00 DOSE interview, Fall calendar
22aug00 Portugal, Manchester gigs 
9aug00 bits & pieces
23jul00 Psykick Dance Hall, Pure As Oranj details, Triple Gang reviews
9jul00 few bits
20jun00 Ashton, Hull, Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Edinburgh reviews, old Volume piece
30may00 LA2 reviews
22may00 few old LP reviews
2may00 bits & pieces
24apr00 TBLY #19 details, Prop details
8apr00 more Leeds reviews. WSC interview, other interview snippets
26mar00 Doncaster, York, Leeds reviews, BravEar interview (plus others)
14mar00 various reviews, old Liz Kershaw i/view
24feb00 Past Gone Mad details
13feb00 few bits & pieces
30jan00 tour details, Tommy Blake stuff
20jan00 TBLY #18 details, Hanley in Mojo
10jan00 Dragnet doylum, New Year message, etc

Old stuff: Nov 1997 - Dec 1999


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