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Fall News

The Fall play ...

11 Aug. Oya Festival, Oslo, Norway (schedule of bands)
26 Aug. Reading Festival (Radio 1 / NME stage)
27 Aug. Leeds Festival (Radio 1 / NME stage)
2 Sept. Indian Summer, Victoria Park, Glasgow
8 Sept. Bestival, Robin Hill, Isle of Wight
10 Sept. Opera House, Bournemouth. Tickets here
11 Sept. 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, London. Tickets here
12 Sept. 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, London. Tickets here
14 Sept. The Galtymore, Cricklewood, London. Tickets here (see note below for a cheaper option)
15 Sept. The Galtymore, Cricklewood, London. Tickets here (see note below for a cheaper option)
13 Oct. The Canteen Media and Arts Centre, Barrow in Furness. Tickets on ticketline.
14 Oct. Boardwalk, Sheffield. Tickets on ticketline.
15 Oct. Custard Factory, Birmingham. Tickets on ticketline.

A limited number of Indian Summer day tickets were available on their site as of 5 August.


added 8 August; udpated 13 August

Great news for Monks fans. Play Loud!, a German film company, has produced a documentary called Monks - The Transatlantic Feedback. There's a press release and clips on their site. And more good news: they're also releasing a companion tribute CD called Silver Monk Time, which will include the Fall covering Higgle-dy Piggle-dy.

To coincide with the release of the film and CD, the Monks are playing Volksbuehne in Berlin on 23 October. Rumour has it that M.E.S. will appear as one of the evening's guest vocalists.

Here's the lineup of bands -- it looks like it'll be a great CD.

The Raincoats are covering Monk Chant; S.Y.P.H. covers Oh How To Do Now. Any other confirmations?


added 11 August; updated 12 August

11 August - Oya Festival, Oslo, Norway

Bo Demmick / What About Us / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Mountain Energei / Wrong Place, Right Time / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness

There's about half an hour of the gig on the NRK site. I had intermittent problems with choppy/stalled video but your mileage may vary (and you can vary the bitrate depending on your connection). Many thanks to Hans for the link. Reviews on the message board.


added 23 June; updated 12 August

Spencer Birtwistle's new band -- The Blimp -- had their second gig last Friday (11 August), at the Bakers Vaults in Stockport.

Footage of the 14 July gig at Spring Gardens, Marple Bridge, is available on youtube.com courtesy fallfandave.

Speaking of youtube, I probably don't need to mention that there's a cornucopia of Fall videos available.


added 8 August

M.E.S. was interviewed recently for UK men's fashion magazine Arena Homme Plus. The transcript is on interviewer Mark Simpson's blog. Not much in the way of Fall news.


added 4 August

Artrocker (August 2006) review; thanks to Graeme for scanning it in.


added 28 July

Voiceprint is at it again. They've decided to release (on 11 September) audio CDs taken from two of the live DVDs they released a couple of years ago: The Garage, London, 20 April 2002 & Knitting Factory, NY, 9 April 2004.

The lineage of the latter will give you some idea of the quality standard involved (thanks to Conway for technical specs):

When Joly at punkcast.com compiled the original Punkcast VCD he replaced his camcorder audio track with Stefan's DAT recording. Encoding to VCD though you basically get MP3 audio at 224kbps sampling (the VCD standard).

Voiceprint used the VCD to master their DVD - so 352 × 240 pixel NTSC mpeg1 video at 1.15mbps video bitrate and 224kbps MP3 audio.

Joly offered them his camcorder tape & a CD of Stefan's DAT recording, so they could have mastered to proper DVD standards, obviously well above the VCD standard. But Voiceprint had already done the mastering, so they went into production with that source.

So the CD Voiceprint is now releasing originates from a 224kbps MP3 source.


added 14 July

The "Perverted By Language" short story book, mentioned on the Fall news last October, has a release date of 28 June 2007. There's a page on Amazon.co.uk about it.


added 8 July

Steven Trafford's new band, Tycoons Follies, were mentioned by David Simpson in yesterday's Guardian ("Tycoons Follies, House of Toys: Marvellous psychedelic pop from recent Fall departure Steve Trafford's new band. Look them up on myspace." (http://www.myspace.com/tycoonsfollies).

They'll have an e.p. out soon on Timbreland Records.


added 7 July

Billboard, 6 July

New Album On The Way From Yet Another New Fall
Dan LeRoy, N.Y.

Although a hastily recruited new lineup has only been in place for a few weeks, British post-punk pioneers the Fall are already halfway finished with a new album.

"It's quite strange, really," says frontman Mark E. Smith, who recruited a trio of American musicians to fill out the group's lineup after several Fall members quit during a recent U.S. tour. "I've never really played with that many Americans, but I was very impressed. We really got down to it."

Guitarist Tim Presley and bassist Rob Barbato (of California psychedelic rock act Darker My Love) plus drummer Orpheo McCord were drafted to join Smith and his wife, keyboardist Eleni Poulou. The move followed a bizarre show in Phoenix on May 7, where Justin Williams, lead singer of opening band the Talk, threw a banana peel at Smith onstage, and three members of the Fall quit immediately afterward.

"We weren't getting along for about a month," says Smith of ex-bandmates Ben Pritchard, Steve Trafford and Spencer Birtwistle. "But I didn't find out they were leaving until the next morning." Of the now-infamous banana incident, Smith contends Williams "hit me very hard on the left ear. I'm f*cking singing, for God's sake. If he hit me another inch or two lower he could have killed me." Williams, who later posted an obscene response to Smith on the Talk's MySpace.com page, was reportedly upset by Smith's behavior on the tour, and had learned that most of the Fall was planning to quit, throwing future tour dates in jeopardy.

After being hit, "I chased [Williams] into the car park," says Smith, adding with a chuckle, "He runs very fast. It's a good thing I didn't catch him. I didn't want to spend another night in jail." In 1998,
Smith was arrested in New York and charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend and Fall keyboardist Julia Nagle, the day after an onstage fight with his bandmates also led to departures from the group.

The subject of the Fall's fluctuating lineup has always made good copy. Since forming in Manchester in 1976, Smith has employed more than 40 different bandmates, several of whom have left the Fall on less-than-amicable terms.

But Smith says the new incarnation is one of the most promising yet. The new recruits recently entered a Los Angeles recording studio where Smith had already booked time, and knocked out several tracks. One of the new songs, a powerfully droning number called "Reformation," is described by Smith as a "parody of all the Manchester groups of the '80s and '90s, and how they're getting back together again."

"I told the [new members] that was what it was about, and they just said, 'Awesome, we'll do it,'" says Smith. "To get half an LP out of those sessions was like a million-to-one shot."

A spokesperson for the Fall's American label, Narnack, says the as-yet-untitled set could be out late this year or in early 2007.


added 24 June; updated 22 July

Tony Friel has posted a treasure trove of early Fall memorabilia on his atomicsoup site, including several letters from MES, a very early set list, lyrics, flyers, etc. A bonanza for Fall archivists! Thank you, Tony!

12 July: Tony's removed the MES letters; not sure if that's a temporary or permanent move.

22 July: Tony's Fall archive is still oflline so it looks like a permanent move.


added 15 June; updated 27 June

The September gigs above have been confirmed on the official site. John Cooper Clarke will support at Bournemouth and Cricklewood. Apparently, the Fall will continue as MES, Elena, Tim, Rob and Orpheo.

Alan Wise is selling tickets minus the booking/handling fees for the Galtymore gigs. One gig £16, both gigs £30. Send a cheque (payable to T.A. Wise) and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Wise Moves, 26 Lockett Gardens, Trinity, Salford M3 6BJ. You can also buy tickets from the Galtymore if you're in the neighborhood.


added 27 June

A phone interview with MES by Patrick Southern of the Brooklyn Vegan. Their site has a clip of my Southpaw recording (Reformation).

PATRICK: Do you think the American audiences that The Fall draws are any different, fundamentally, than the British audiences?

MARK: Well it depends where you go, really. In Britain, in the north, it’s very fanatical. There isn’t that great difference though, no. Not a great deal of people leave. (Laughter)

PATRICK: I actually saw you at the last stop of your most recent American tour.

MARK: In Brooklyn, you mean?

PATRICK: Yes, and it was my first time seeing The Fall.

MARK: Yeah, well it was a good show actually. It was really coming together. It’s like a lot of tours, you’re just getting it together and then it’s over. But the group came over and we played Manchester about a week later and it was great. That was good for me because I was a bit worried about the new group getting it right in Britain.

PATRICK: Do you plan on keeping the new group around for subsequent tours?

MARK: Yeah, well, strangely enough, after they joined, we only did two gigs and then we were in the studio for ten days. So we’ve got quite a lot of stuff done actually. We’re about half way there with the next record.

PATRICK: That’s great to hear.

MARK: It is, I’m amazed really.

PATRICK: So, what happened with the singer from The Talk? Reports seem to vary.

MARK: Right! Ha-ha! Well is on the ‘Net over there or something isn’t it? I don’t know. Well all I know is, I was in the middle of – I was just singing you know? And this guy… he didn’t throw a Banana at me, he came on my left side and hit me very hard with Banana. I was really mad actually, because I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Especially, you know, when you get hit on the side when you’re not ready for it… I was in middle of singing, you know what I mean?

PATRICK: So this was a full banana, and not a banana-peel or something like that?

MARK: (Laughter) Well that’s the funny bit about it. [Mumbles something about a Banana] All I’ll say is this: if it has been a half and inch lower, I could have been dead. I know that. You don’t… erm… Oh, you know, he must have been upset. You see, I only knew the next day why he was upset. [The rest of The Fall] sort of left that night, you see. In the night, not telling me. That’s why he did it, obviously, because he was upset because he thought the tour was over. I was the last one to know, as fucking usual. I just thought he flipped his lid.

PATRICK: Do you typically choose your opening acts?

MARK: Usually, I do, yeah. It’s funny, because with this one, they sort of wanted to come on the tour. So we made a deal. They didn’t pay us anything, but the deal was that they keep to themselves. The thing I’m annoyed about is that the British musicians [again, the rest of The Fall] obviously told him before they told me. That’s the only thing I’m mad about really.

PATRICK: That sucks.

MARK: Yeah, it does, but it’s all for the best.

PATRICK: Well, the openers you had in Brooklyn were great. I especially enjoyed Safi Sniper.

MARK: Yeah, he lives in Berlin. He’s Israeli and he lives in Berlin. Ha! He’s actually a vegan. A fanatical one, as only Germans can be.

PATRICK: Now, about the new Fall band. Did you personally choose them yourself?

MARK: They haven’t really played together. Two of them have a group called Darkness My Love, the bass player and the guitarist. But the drummer just knows them. He’s never played with them, never mind me. But it just fell together very well.

PATRICK: What do you think of some of these bands that are around now, such as Franz Ferdinand, who are citing The Fall as an influence? It seems to me like a weird thing for a band like that to say.

MARK: Well it does to me too, to be quite honest. If I could afford a lawyer, I just might pull an injunction on them mentioning our name. Haha! I mean, if you’re new to The Fall… a lot of these groups… I don’t know what it is. I think a lot of these group use it to sound a bit hip. When I was a teenager, people used to say “oh well this group sounds a lot like this group”, and then when you go and see them they sound like a pack of shit. They sound like the Talking Heads to me, and I’m not knocking them, it’s just misleading.

PATRICK: Are there any bands out now that you think are particularly interesting?

MARK: Well, there’s a couple of good groups in Liverpool. They’ve got a bit of an edge to them. They don’t sort of walk the line like a lot of British group tend to do nowadays. It’s a bit like The Talk, really. They sound like it’s a business, in a strange way. I don’t relate to that a lot. It’s always, “thank you to my manager” and “thank you this,”
and it’s not really the way I started the group. I’ve got some builders in my building, these guys who work in construction companies, and they’re much more interesting than these people. There much more fun. That’s why The Fall keep going, in a strange way. A lot of people see that.

PATRICK: You’ve been doing this for almost 30 years. Do you have any plans of stopping, or are you just going keep going indefinitely with The Fall?

MARK: Well, for now I am. I mean, the main thing was to get America done and to get started on the next LP, and I’m pretty much there. So, with this new group, they’ve got their projects, but I think I can work with them for a good bit. What’s good about them is, you can say to these L.A. guys, “Can”, you know the old German group, and they say “Yeah, we like that.” They’ve got a very open mind about things. Like a lot of British groups, they want to be a certain thing. Some of them want to be U2, some of them want to be the fucking Smiths. But these ones seem to be quite open. You can put ideas to them and they’ll say, “well, we’ve never thought of that but we’ll try it.”

PATRICK: You were in 24-Hour Party People, is that correct?

MARK: That’s right.

PATRICK: Are you going to see you on the screen in the future?

MARK: I don’t know. I’m not a big fan of it. I watch TV and films, but it’s not for me, really. I’d like to make a film, but doesn’t everybody? I think it’s more important to keep Hollywood actors out of music groups. (Laughter)

PATRICK: Well, those are all of my questions, Mark. Thanks for taking the time to answer them for me.

MARK: Good man! Take care.


added 23 June; updated 9 August

Spencer Birtwistle has joined a new band -- The Blimp -- which he describes as very "punk/zappa/beefheart." They have two gigs booked in the Stockport area: Spring Gardens, Marple Bridge, 14 July; and the Bakers Vaults, Stockport, 12 August.


added 7 June

I released a short movie (creative commons license) that uses *a hard sampled* version of "Blindness" for its soundtrack. If you like it enough, would you publish a link to it?


warm greetings from a friendly visitor,
M. Koppenberg: Soul Representative of the Tesla-K.Organization

Well, it's just about the coolest video I've seen all year, and MK uses the hard Blindness sample to fantastic effect.


added 7 June

Greg Harrison has copies available of his excellent poster advertising the 1 June Knitting Factory show. If you want to purchase one ($20 + $3 s/h for US orders, international postage will be a bit more), email Greg at texecution@gmail.com and tell him you saw it on the Fall news.


17 August 2006

This is the latest news and gossip off the message board, 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...

06jun13 US tour (second leg), more US press (NYT, The Pitch, SLC Weekly, Stop Smiling), Manchester gig (inc. MEN preview & FT review), What Sven Could Learn from Me (Guardian int. from last year)

06may23 US tour (first leg), US press (LA Alternative, LA City Beat, SF Chronicle, OC Weekly), Smog Monsters, Morley on MCR/L'pool

06may01 Berlin gig, Reclaimers' footy song, MES "In Their Own Write", Praxis Hagen exhibit.

06apr06 UK tour, Greek/ Swiss gigs, "The Two-Year Gap" announcement, John Peel Fall intros/ outros mp3, Wire's Fall Primer, Q's Manchester special, Monks Beat Club clips, Fallnet's "Dr. Buck's Letters", Fall album survey results, Nikki Sudden / Ivor Cutler r.i.p., Brix's new house, cult musicians, Gavin Esler.

21feb06 Official Fall site now Unofficial, Guardian ex-Fall members article, Mojo interview and poll results, IS, IAH, MCR & CC remaster details, Mixing It session, Antwerp & Wigan gigs, Ding's two new bands, Ghostigital, New Year's Honours, fashion corner: Brix interview & Lagerfeld show, Blue Orchids new album, history of Salford bands.

03jan06 Word MES interview, ticket refund information, Festive 50, misc. year-end press roundups and Fall forum poll results, preview of Guardian's ex-Fall members article, MES lego minifig, Armitage Shanks & Necropolis Fall-related songs, Ghostigital's "Not Clean" & "Codomatopoeia," Corsa ad back on TV, John Peel's Record Box.

08nov05 Fall Heads Roll reviews, UK tour, Incendiary, Rock Sound & Pitchfork interviews, PBL book preview, Commercially Unfriendly cd.

30sep05 Fall Heads Roll details, MES to read footy scores, Peel tribute CDs, ChronicArt preview, Blast Off DVD sampler, Frank Skinner, Jacob's Cream Crackers, Stewart Lee, Deisel-U-Matic award.

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