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Fall News

The Fall play ...

30 Sep GDMW Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 0100 hrs 1st Oct, according to their site.
1 Oct* Manchester Academy 2, Manchester University Students Union
2 Oct** Huddersfield University Students Union
4 Oct** Central Station, Wrexham
5 Oct* The Mill, Preston
6 Oct* Boardwalk, Sheffield
8 Oct*** Carling Academy, Liverpool
9 Oct** The Mechanics, Burnley
10 Oct* Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
11 Oct** The Crypt, Middlesbrough
12 Oct Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; a John Peel Day event. Details here.
13 Oct Fat Sam's, Dundee cancelled
16 Oct* Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow
17 Oct* Liquid Room, Edinburgh (not the Venue as previously listed)
19 Oct** The Sage, Gateshead
20 Oct* Irish Centre, Leeds
21 Oct** Roadmender, Northampton
23 Oct* Zodiac, Oxford
24 Oct* Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
25 Oct* The Charlotte, Leicester
26 Oct*** Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
27 Oct** Coal Exchange, Cardiff
28 Oct** Patti Pavillion, Swansea cancelled
29 Oct**** The Brook, Southampton (not Portsmouth as previously listed)
30 Oct* Concorde, Brighton
31 Oct** Academy, Bristol
2 Nov* Islington Academy, London
3 Nov* Islington Academy, London

Support acts

Those marked * (1) Resist
Those marked **  (1) John Cooper Clarke (2) Resist
Those marked ***  (1) John Cooper Clarke (2) Pubic Fringe (3) Resist
Those marked **** (1) John Cooper Clarke (2) to be announced

Action Records will be handling the merchandise table on the UK tour. Clayts hopes to man the stall on the next one.

A US tour in early 2006 is a definite possibility. The Fall has a new US booking agent, Inland Empire Touring (there's a huge press photo of the band on their site, or there's a smaller one here, thanks to Clayts).


added 21 September; updated 30 September

Fall Heads Roll review corner:

The Wire (issue # 260), by Sam Davies:

As he delivers the first song, Mark E. Smith's voice lurches between warbled and garbled. But, within seconds he's tuned in fully to the strident Merseybeat stomp of "Ride Away" and delivers the line "You're talking about yourself" with such offhand contempt it sounds like a judge handing down sentence. And once in its stride, this album hardly falls out of it. This is a full-blooded Fall, fired up and amped up by some muscular production and rhythm playing.

"Assume" blasts through a venomous abbreviation of The Stooges "No Fun", which alternates with the cheap headachy guitar lines for which they are better known. "Blindness" persists over seven unrelenting minutes with the same bass hook - a close relation of Roots Manuva's "Witness (One Hope)" - and occasional flickers of guitar until it feels as inescapable and claustrophobic as sensory deprivation itself.

There is respite. "Assume" is bracketed by "Midnight Aspen" and "Aspen Reprise" where softly chiming guitar is matched by suprisingly lyrical bass outburst with Smith almost waxing pastoral. But "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" best sums up Fall Heads Roll, lean, charged, unfussy and deceptive. It's harder than it looks to make simplicity sound this satisfying.

NME, October 1, 2005 (8 out of 10), by Louis Pattison:

The title could refer to MES's Stalinist approach to line-up management - 30 changes in nearly as many years - but the Fall are actually at their most settled, stable and plain rocking in years. A moment of full disclosure here: virtually every new Fall LP that wasn't recorded in a cattleshed in Macclesfield on a dictaphone is hailed as a return to form. But hear Smith and crew careen into Pacifying Joint' - equal parts polished-chrome buzzsaw guitar and mutant synth swirl - and try to deny this is a band on form. Oh, and listen out for one of the finest Fall covers to date, in the shape of The Move's LSD-tripping classic 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow'.

Stop Smiling (online edition; not sure if it's in the printed version), 22 September, 2005.

SF Weekly, 28 September (Abigail Clouseau)

I've done some bad things in my day; I suppose all of us have. Still, I've recently been turned around, for good this time, and I owe it all to Mark E. Smith. See, in the 56 minutes it took me to listen to the Fall's "Fall Heads Roll," I saw exactly how oppressive eternal damnation could be. There you are, having passed peacefully, when all of a sudden this old British man starts speak-singing with sloppy articulation, like someone mugged him and stuck his mouth with nine shots of Novocain. He speak-sings to you about things like jackals and walking down the street and the lyrics to "Hey Jude." And just as you think, "Wow, not only can I not really understand what he's saying, but this is far more irritating than Chinese water torture," you realize that accompanying this man's voice is a weird pastiche of country and punk rock played by synthesizers and distorted bass guitars, which means it resembles the badly misshapen love child of Blondie and Garth Brooks. And so you think to yourself, "Hmm, maybe the devil appears to me like this because I squashed that bug when I was still alive, or maybe it's because I had that job that paid me under the table." Then you think, "No, nothing I ever did warrants being subjected to this for all of eternity."

Daily Mirror, 30 September

The late John Peel's favourite band are, as ever, masterminded by Mark E Smith who now looks like a scary toothless gargoyle.

But the group's ferocious blend of lo-fi intrigue and brain-busting underground rock is as strong as ever.

Peel is no doubt smiling down.

Record Collector, October(?) 2005, by Mick Middles (3 out of 5):

Laughing Boy Returns

New Fall albums tend to emerge slowly from a dense fog of rumour. Occasional live previews of new material are seized upon and dissected by their increasingly ferocious fanbase long before the item actually hits the record racks. At times, the circle of rumour can be destructive, whether praising an uneven package to the heavens - which leads to a profound sense of disappointment on first play - or casting unfortunate advanced doubts.

Such is the case here, an album all but impossible to approach with a fresh perspective. The band's lackadaisical appearence on Later... didn't help, with three numbers premiered, I Can Hear The Grass Grow, Pacifying Joint and Blindness. The former, also a single, improves little on an original that, frankly, wasn't particularly entertaining in the first place.

Pacifying Joint, awful on TV, has now attained an arresting sharpness, and placed second, thunders the listener towards the heart of the album. And that heart is the towering Blindness, a chunk of grunge and growl magnificently topped with Mark E Smith's eternal irony, it's bewildering, of course, but quite beautifully so and few bands - Pere Ubu? Red Crayola? - would even consider such an unhinged epic.

The problem here is that the sheer brilliance of Blindness has few peers. Unprepared listeners will be amazed at the sound of Fall reggae, dripping with Elena's ironic backing vocals and Mark's glorious disdain.

Unusually for The Fall, hints of the formulaic do start to appear before the album's eventual conclusion. In short... it's too long.


added 23 September; updated 26 September

There was some Fall content on BBC6FM's Roundtable on Friday evening; you can listen to the archive on their website.


added 22 September; updated 23 September

From playlouder.com:

When the younger bits of PlayLouder were first getting into The Fall you'd be lucky to find 50 souls at their gigs -- now Mark E Smith's found himself so popular he's been asked to read the footy scores on BBC1. A longtime football fan and supporter of Manchester City, Smith will read the results on BBC One's Final Score television programme on Saturday, November 19th [now confirmed as the correct date -ed.].

A Fall spokesperson said that "the programme's producer's are obviously big fans of the famous left fielder."

The band's 'Theme From Sparta FC' has recently been used as the title music on television football coverage gubbins.


added 19 September; updated 21 September

The Fall are on the bill for the 12 October night-before-John-Peel-Day show at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Details on the BBC site. The show is sold out but Radio 1 will broadcast some of it on 13 October.

And a tribute 2xCD is forthcoming:

"John Peel – A Tribute" is out on October 17, following on from a tribute
concert in London on October 12 and John Peel Day on October 13. The tribute concert, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, will feature the likes of New Order, The Fall and Super Furry Animals, while hundreds of gigs will go on around the UK in tribute to the broadcaster on John Peel Day.

The compilation contains many Peel favourites, including his hero Lonnie Donegan, his favourite band The Fall and his all-time favourite song, 'Teenage Kicks' by The Undertones.

A portion of profits will go to charities - The Salvation Army, East Anglia's Children's Hospices and The Kariandusi School Trust.

The full tracklisting is:

Lonnie Donegan – 'Lost John'
Tyrannosaurus Rex – 'Deborah'
Pink Floyd – 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun'
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – 'Spanish Castle Magic'
Van Morrison – 'Sweet Thing'
David Bowie – 'Life On Mars?'
The Doors – 'Five To One'
Tim Buckley – 'Song To The Siren'
The Faces – 'Stay With Me'
The Misunderstood –'I Can Take You To The Sun'
Country Joe & The Fish – 'Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine'
Fairport Convention – 'Meet On The Ledge'
Captain Beefheart – 'Big Eyed Beans From Venus'
Loudon Wainwright III – 'Be Careful There Is A Baby In The House'
Roy Buchanan – 'I Am a Lonesome Fugitive'
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – 'Mr Apollo'
The Ramones – 'I Don't Want To Walk Around With You'
The Clash – 'Complete Control'
Joy Division – 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'
New Order – 'Ceremony'

The Undertones – 'Teenage Kicks'
Altered Images – 'Happy Birthday'
The Smiths – 'How Soon Is Now?'
The Cocteau Twins – 'Pearly-Dewdrops Drops'
The Jesus & Mary Chain – 'Sidewalking'
Blur – 'Song 2'
Culture – 'Lion Rock'
Billy Bragg – 'A New England'
Robert Wyatt – 'Shipbuilding'
The Wedding Present – 'Brassneck'
PJ Harvey – 'Sheela-Na-Gig'
Pulp – 'Common People'
The Fall – 'Theme From Sparta F.C.'
Super Furry Animals – 'Something For The Weekend'
Nina Nastasia – 'Bird Of Cuzco'
The Delgados – 'Pull The Wires From The Wall'
Belle & Sebastian – 'Lazy Line Painter Jane'
Laura Cantrell – 'Two Seconds'
Orbital – 'Chime'
Elmore James – 'Dust My Blues'


added 21 September; updated 28 September

Narnack version

Narnack are issuing three limited edition versions of Fall Heads Roll for obsessive collector types:

  • limited to 5000, solid black CDRs - $14ppd
  • limited to 1250, black 180 gram vinyl double LP - $15ppd
  • limited to 750, marble swirled vinyl double LP - $17ppd

Prices include U.S. shipping (international is extra); you can order from their website.

The LP editions will contain an alternative version of Blindness, apparently.


added 15 September


Readers may want to have a browse in their local WH Smiths at a special issue of Uncut magazine... "The 100 Greatest Guitar Heroes" (or similar...I didn't buy it, just riffled!). No Fall guitarists featured, but Craig Scanlon gets to give his opinion on No. 96, the great Zoot Horn Rollo. Unfortunately for Craig, the accompanying mugshot is that of Steve Hanley!


added 15 September

roman totale on the forum:

The September issue of French magazine "Chronic'art" features a Fall article with some photos from the Feedback Festival and some interview samples (the full length version of the interview will be issued on the website, when the new album is released, in october, and it is worth reading, according to me!)

See it at: http://www.chronicart.com/chro21.htm


added 12 September

johnfm on the forum:

I picked up a promo DVD today, "Blast Off - Caroline distribution DVD Sampler", mainly because it had the Mountain Energei video (directed by Paul Kermizian), which I don't think I knew about. It turns out to be really awful, mostly black and white grainy stills of some live gig, along with some slow motion shots and regular-motion shots, all in grainy or blurred or obscured black and white. Extremely disappointing, but how could I pass up a DVD with a Fall track on it? Luckily it has my favorite Grandaddy video ( Nature Anthem ) which is so cute it could perk up any miserable bastard's day, with all of its animal costumed folk doing silly dances.


added 7 September


On 25 September we (that's me and two other Fall fans) will organize an unofficial Fall fanclub day in Venlo (The Netherlands).

The program:

  • We will show the documentary "The wonderful and frightening world of Mark E. Smith." This has never been shown on Dutch television and we are not able to watch BBC4, so for most people this will be new.
  • There is a Fall pop quiz with some nice prizes.
  • Lots of good music from The Fall and from artists and bands who influenced MES
    (Can, Captain Beefheart, Lee Perry, Gene Vincent, Velvet Underground, Saints and so on).

This will take place at:
Perron 55
Kaldenkerkerweg 55
5913 AC Venlo

Date: 25 September from 16.00 - 20.00
More information on: www.perron55.nl

Entrance is free and everybody who likes the Fall is invited. Venlo is very close to Germany so we would like to also invite German Fall fans.


added 5 September, updated 9 September 2005

Another new celebrity fan of The Fall has emerged, with comedian Frank Skinner (the bloke on the right in the picture) recently discovering and falling for the band's musical output. (Giles then wrote in to say that he spotted Skinner at the Fall's gig at the Forum in London gig this past May.)

And we at Fall News received exclusive insider information that a future edition of Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned was to feature Skinner and his mate David Baddiel (the bloke on the left in the picture) performing How I Wrote 'Elastic Man' as the traditional "popular" sing song at the end of their show.

The exclusive was spot-on: the show was aired in the UK on ITV2 on 5 September 2005, and is due to be repeated in most regions on ITV1 on 6 September 2005, at 11pm.

Baddiel sure plays a mean guitar : none too shabby his playing, it has to be said !

Apparently Mr Skinner is hoping to get to see The Fall on their upcoming tour - may we at Fall News suggest Wolverhampton might be the easiest for him, although we'd fully understand if he didn't want to enter into enemy territory (this is a football related reference, apologies to non-footie fans).

Stephen has posted a clip of the relevant bit on his site.


added 31 August

The guest vocalists featuring on forthcoming Fall Heads Roll track Trust In Me have been revealed as :

  • Ding, co-producer and former Fall bassist

  • Billy Pavone, engineer at Gigantic Studios

  • Kenny Cummings of Shelby

  • Phil Schuster also of Shelby

Kenny and Phil have recalled the momentous occasion in New York on their section of the Gigantic website:

February 2, 2005
Click for a closer lookShelby arrived at the Gigantic Music offices this evening to sign their recording contracts. Celebration was in the air. Hanging out in the lounge of the recording studio were Mark E. Smith and Elena Poulou of The Fall (who were there recording their new album for Narnack Records, using the beautiful facilities known as Gigantic Recording Studios).

Enjoying a break from recording their parts, Mark and Elena were happy to join in the signing ceremony acting as official witnesses. One thing led Kaa - disappointed, apparentlyto another, and before the ink was dry, Kenny and Phil were in the recording studio adding vocals to one of the new Fall tracks. Mark christened the song Kenny and Phil and Billy and Ding also commemorating vocals added by engineer Billy Pavone and producer Dingo. We donít know if the track will make the album, but it was a fun experience.

Kaa the singing python is reported to be "very dissssssssssssssssssappointed" that the track is not a cover version of the song from Walt Disney's animated take on The Jungle Book, noting "I really could have done with the royaltiesssssssssssssss - there'sssssssss not much call for sssssssssinging ssssssssnakessssssss these daysssssssssssss", etc. etc. etc....

[Thanks for that, Clayts... also, someone's been listening to Queens of the Stone Age, judging by this track.]


added 31 August; updated 8 September


No, you're not seeing things: these are some Jacob's Cream Crackers with Fall album sleeve artwork painted onto them. Click on the images for a closer look if you don't believe us.

Many thanks to Chris and Rosie for sending these in. They were painted by "someone who exhibited at last year's Liverpool Biennial" - can anyone put a name to the artist ? [yes, see below]

The House That Crackers Built

Dave wrote in:

The person who created The Fall cream cracker paintings is Manchester-based artist David Alker. David taught me on the Foundation course at Salford Technical college in 1979-81, at which time I used to try to persuade him of the merits of Salford's finest. In recent years he has seen the light (his favourite Fall track is U.S. 80's-90's). David is now head of Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire.

as did co-artist Peter Liddell:

The set of paintings of The Fall album covers on cream crackers shown on the website are by David Alker and Peter Liddell.

Some of these paintings were also featured in an interview with Mark E. Smith in the issue of Flux magazine dedicated to The Fall in March of this year.


added 24 August, updated 30 August

BBC Radio 1 has declared 13 October to be Peel Day, a day dedicated to the memory of the late great John Peel. Concert venues around the UK are being invited by Radio 1 to stage gigs under the banner Peel Day and a special gig is being organised for London.

The Fall were to have been playing in Dundee on this date, but according to Fat Sam's website the band have had to cancel as they have a live commitment with the BBC...watch this space for more news.


added 23 August

The BBC's love affair with The Fall continues with the news that DJ Gideon Coe, who is standing in for Phill Jupitus on the Radio 6 Breakfast Show, has made forthcoming double A side release I Can Hear The Grass Grow/Clasp Hands his single of the week. The Beeb states a UK release date of 26 September, although Sanctuary have told us it is actually due out on the 19th.


added 22 August

That media-shy celebrity Fall fan, Stewart Lee, has again been found guilty of proclaiming his love for the band at every given opportunity in a public place by mentioning them in answer to two questions in Saturday's Fall-packed edition of The Guardian newspaper (20 August 2005) :

Which living person do you most admire?

People who plough their own furrow, irrespective of public taste: Mark E Smith, Billy Childish, Bob Dylan. And Stan Lee, who created Spiderman when his publisher told him not to because people don't like spiders.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

The Fall.

In next Saturday's Guardian, a special 32-page Fall colour supplement (this statement may be a lie).


added 21 August

Stefan forgot to mention that from 6 August 2005 an instrumental version (less the lads' and Elena's shouts of "Hey !") of The Fall's 'Sparta #2' is the current introductory music to not one, but two bastions of Saturday afternoon televised sports coverage in the UK, Football Focus and Final Score, both part of the infamous and long-running BBC Grandstand sports programme.

davedeath on the forum notes that The Guardian of 20 August 2005 (second story down) has reported on this welcome turn of events thusly:

Football Focus has new music for the new season, provided by the legendary Manchester band The Fall. But did BBC producers listen to the lyrics of the song, Theme From Sparta FC, before picking it?

They have used an instrumental version of the football-themed tune, perhaps not having heard the words. The song is a violent taunt directed at Chelsea fans from those of Sparta (Prague?). The lyrics read, in part: We live on blood/We are Sparta FC/English Chelsea fan this is your last game/ We're not Galatasaray, we're Sparta FC.

"We chose it because it was No. 1 in the Festive 50 [John Peel's annual listeners' poll] and really liked the tune," said a BBC Sport source. "We obviously weren't aware of the content of the lyrics but we didn't include them anyway."

Rumours that Fallshop will soon be selling a new Sparta range of scarves and bobble hats in time for winter, along with a wooden rattle, are grossly exaggerated...


added 9 August; updated 18 August

perhaps a slight resemblance to...


The official word from Sanctuary -- the UK release date for Fall Heads Roll is 3 October 2005.

The release on Sanctuary's imprint Slogan Records will be on CD and limited edition LP (1,000 copies).

Prior to the album will be a double A-sided single I Can Hear The Grass Grow/ Clasp Hands. Out Monday, 19 September.

The album will have 14 tracks with the running order...

Ride Away / Pacifying Joint / What About Us / Midnight Aspen / Assume / Midnight Aspen Reprise / Blindness / I Can Hear The Grass Grow / Bo Demmick / Youwanner / Clasp Hands / Early Days of Channel Fuehrer / Breaking The Rules / Trust In Me

... and the Narnack version of the single has been pushed back to September 6: I Can Hear the Grass Grow (album version) / I Can Hear the Grass Grow (alt. mix) / Bo Doodak (alt. version of the album's Bo Demmick).


added 19 August

In case you missed it, Steven has a clip from the television broadcast of Mark accepting the Deisel U Matic lifetime achievement award last month on his site. It's well worth downloading!


Claus Castenskiold still has some of his artist-signed PBL tour posters for sale on his site -- http://www.clauscastenskiold.com.

30 Sept. 2005

This is the latest news and gossip off Fallnet and elsewhere 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:

ta to biv for this

Recent news...

18aug05 Paul Hanley BBC radio int., MES Metro "60-second" & Kitchen Sink ints., 1979 Jamming! int., Deisel U Matic award, Paul Wilson's Fall Mix, Stewart Lee's favorite things.

26jul05 Berlin & Paris gigs, Fall site news, Diesel-U-Music & Mojo awards, Live from the Vaults: the "real" story, Sanctuary / Slogan Records announcement, Mayo Thompson, Commercially Unfriendly CD, links to loads of Peel box reviews.

14jun05 UK & Lyon gigs, Conway's guitar tab and Adult Net pages, Jools Holland, Deeply Vale cd, MES int. w/BBC on Peel, Lime Lizard 1993, Festive 50 book, Live from the Vaults delayed, Wake Up in the City, Cuz'n Roy's yard sale on ebay, Jahn Rhondos.

27apr05 UK gigs, Left of the Dial & Scotland on Sunday interviews, Deeply Vale CD preview, Bingo Masters press release, Scherzo Schist, Live from the Vaults, Simon Reynolds, Simon Armitage, Prenzlauer Berg, Fall Cafe, Poloraoids special offer, Brix & Gromit, MES on Funhouse, Fall documentary transcript, the Fall wants your photo.

25feb05 BBC4 Fall doc, Hex reissue, KFNY gig, Fall Forum's TNSG, Ice Magazine (UK) MES int., Sun Zoom Spark articles, Playlouder appreciation, unofficial Sparta FC video, Peel set postponed 1 month, MES's New Years Honours list, 9may81 photos, Hunter S. Thompson, RIP.

07jan05 Jim Watts resigns, UK gigs, Pseud Mag, Festive 50, Deeply Vale, documentary, City Bar "fall-out", Polaroids on the Fall, Wipe That Sound, Narnack sampler.

Fall News archive