Great British Alternative Music Festival, Butlins Holiday Camp, Minehead. With From the Jam, Bad Manners, Toyah, Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Blockheads, The Rezillos, The Ruts, The Members, Boomtown Rats, Selecter, Secret Affair, and more...
R.I.P. Anna Paton 1964-2013. Anna passed away peacefully in her sleep after a long and brave battle with breast cancer (2002) and breast cancer secondaries in the liver (2010). Much loved wife of Conway and mother of Katie (16) and Isabella (13).
The Fall's Birthday Song (Remix) was the soundtrack to a photo slideshow played at Anna's funeral.
added 26 April; updated 28 April
Thursday, 25 April 2013 The Grand, Clitheroe
Blindness / Hot Cake / Strychnine / Irish / Fall Sound / Jetplane / Hittite Man / Mr. Pharmacist / Sir William Wray / Spider // White Lightning // I'm Not from Bury
Fallnews HQ status=LOCKDOWN; recd Precog communique from Darin H.
Haven't been on fallnet for years, so everyone may be way ahead of me here, but this morning brought chills up my spine when it occurred to me the line about Chechnya in "Two Librans", possible precog of both WTC and now Boston attacks on Amercan soil, written 2 years before Boston suspects were emigrating ("Exit to two years...")
Of course the problem with postdiction or hindsight bias is it is a cherry picker's game.
Sometimes "Tolstoy in Chechnya" might just simply mean the Crimean War...
Mark E Smith speaks out as The Fall return to Clitheroe after 28 years
Twenty-eight years after The Fall played their legendary gig at Clitheroe Castle, Mark E Smith and his band open their British tour at the Grand in Clitheroe on April 25. The Fall’s mercurial frontman spoke to TONY DEWHURST
MARK E Smith arrives exactly on time, offers a warm handshake and politely asks if he could have a bottle of cold beer.
“Yeah. I remember Clitheroe,” he grins. “We played in an old, green bandstand with a creaking floor and a guy called Steve Barker put it out live on Radio Lancashire.
“I drove the van with all the gear in and we got lost near Sabden.
“I like Clitheroe. One of The Fall lives there and another has a nice cottage in Colne.
“It will be our first gig of the year — I want it to be a night for real Fall fans.”
The Fall’s leader is the only original member in a line-up that has seen over 60 members come and go, often messily, since Smith and a handful of mates formed the band in Prestwich 35 years ago.
Smith once famously said: "If it’s me and your granny on bongos, it’s the Fall."
“That’s pretty much it,” he said. “And I reckon my granny would have made an excellent bongo player. She should have applied.
“I don’t look back to who has played with us in the past. We had battles but I’m not interested in any of them.”
Yet Smith continues to face the future head-on, and is scathing of anyone who takes refuge in cosy nostalgia.
“People wallow in looking through rose-tinted spectacles and saying, ‘Wasn’t it great in those days,’ when really it was rubbish.
“I constantly look forward because The Fall’s a work in progress, and we are just as relevant as ever.
“This group’s really hot and they understand what it’s all about. We’re just coming into fruition.
“They’re not rabid Fall fans and I think that helps. They play their music, have a beer and go home. They’re nice, friendly folk.
“We played Liverpool last year and all the old crocks turned up — Echo and the Bunnymen and The Icicle Works — and they said that was the best they’d ever seen The Fall.”
Smith appears content with his new work and admits he was disappointed with the last album, Ersatz GB, released in 2011.
“I didn’t like it. I can say that, can’t I? But this one (Re-Mit) is what we are all about and I think it will terrify people.
“It does get harder though. You’ve got to kick a lot of backsides to get a record out.
“But every time I do an album it still feels like my first LP because I still have a great energy.
“I want my music to be as punchy and aggressive as Black Sabbath. I don’t want it to be something simpering that sounds like Jarvis Cocker.”
We sit in a quiet corner of a busy bar next to Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, and when I ask him about the state of the nation he jabs his finger at a newspaper on the table.
“I think the press is under great threat. What’s happening is disgusting. Nobody seems to care that we are losing our free press.
“My dad and his grandfather fought for that precious freedom and there’s people like Hugh Grant cosying up to politicians with those terrible Hacked Off people.
“What cultural use is Hugh Grant to the country anyway?”
A text bleeps on my mobile phone and Smith, rocking back in his chair, laughs out loud.
“Thank goodness I haven’t got one of those things. I’m allergic to machinery and machinery is allergic to me.
“I can just about turn channel 27 on. My mates go, ‘Get on Twitter Mark . . . It’s never too late to learn.’ “Learn what exactly? That the bloke next door has just mowed his lawn or his missus has bought a bag of sprouts in the supermarket.
“We toured Croatia and none of the band’s mobiles would work. It was like life had somehow ended. I loved it.”
Smith remains the complete antithesis of what the music industry stands for.
From the early days of Industrial Estate, Fiery Jack, Psychic Dancehall to Laptop Dog and new single Hittite Man, Smith’s remarkable catalogue of work has provided a razor-sharp social commentary too.
“Music seems like an alternative to banking these days,” he groans. “I can just hear the conversation in Surrey or somewhere: 'What are you going to do when you leave university darling?' '“I might go into banking Mama.' 'No dear, you must form a rock group.' “All the danger and risk has gone, hasn’t it?
“I’ve been backstage at these awards shows and I’m the oldest one there. I felt like E.T. when his spaceship landed on earth.
“These kids are young businessmen. It is like chatting to the chief executive of BP.
“They’re going, ‘What about the European tour? It has got to be a watertight deal, man.’ “It is just so depressing.”
Smith says he never saw The Fall as part of the Manchester music scene and still doesn’t.
“I don’t relate to anything from Manchester — I can’t stand the place,” he said.
“Tony Wilson asked me to join Factory Records and I said, ‘No, sorry.’ “We used to shout abuse at each other but Tony was OK.”
The Fall are set to release their new album 'RE-MIT' through Cherry Red on May 13th.
As John Peel once so succinctly put it, The Fall are always different, always the same. Returning with their new album - the band's 30th to date - Mark E Smith & Co. seem intent on putting that maxim to the test.
Seemingly at home on Cherry Red, this will be the group's second full length on Cherry Red. Lining up with Mark E Smith on vocals, The Fall are completed by Peter Greenway (lead guitar), Keiron Melling (drums), Elena Poulou (keyboards,vocals) and David Spurr (bass).
Out on May 13th, 'RE-MIT' will be preceded by a new single. Stripped from the album, the one off vinyl pressing will be available in time for Record Store Day (April 20th). As always, the song titles from 'RE-IMT' don't betray any suggestions of the music therein. One track is named 'Sir William Wray' - a quick Wiki check reveals two 17th century politicians of this name, with the young said to have "little minded anything except drinking and folly".
1. No Respects (instrumental)
2. Sir William Wray
3. Kinder Of Spine
5. Hittite Man
6. Pre-MDMA Years
7. No Respects rev. (featuring vocals)
8. Victrola Time
11. Jam Song
Route Publishing is delighted to announce that it has signed the world rights for Stephen Hanley's memoir, the first insider's account of life in seminal British rock band, The Fall.
Stephen Hanley is an Irish-born English musician, based in Manchester. He is best known for playing bass guitar in The Fall from 1979 to 1998. He is described by critic Dave Simpson as 'one of British music's greatest bassists'. Second only to founding vocalist Mark E. Smith in longevity in the group, Hanley co-wrote over 100 songs on more than a dozen albums. Smith spoke publicly of his admiration for Hanley, telling Melody Maker in 1983, 'The most original aspect of The Fall is Steve... I don't have to tell him what to play, he just knows. He is The Fall sound.'
Hanley's story unfolds like a novel; from 1979 when he joined The Fall with his schoolmates Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon, up to and including an infamous on-stage fight in New York in 1998, he puts us right in the heart of the action: on stage, on the tour bus, in the recording studio, and up close and personal with an eccentric cast of band mates. These vividly drawn scenes give unprecedented insight into the intense, highly-charged creative atmosphere within The Fall, and their relentless work ethic which has won them a dedicated cult following, high-art respectability and a unique place in popular music history.
Route publisher Ian Daley said of the acquisition, 'From our vantage point, there isn't a band in the world with a story and output to match The Fall, and there isn't a man in the world who could tell that story as well as Stephen Hanley. He has created something quite remarkable and we're looking forward to sharing it with the legions of fans who are no doubt eager to get their hands on it.'
The Big Midweek, written by Stephen Hanley with Olivia Piekarski, will be published in hardback in Spring 2014.
Mark E. Smith of the Fall is an irascible genius. It has been said that journalists might rather punch their way out of a brick wall than to interview the frontman of "The Fall", one of the most notable bands to come from the post-punk era. Always one to speak boldly, and never shy about demeaning whomever he feels deserving, (sometimes with violence) we actually seem to have gotten him on a good day. Below, he touches upon the importance of music, and his love of record producers.
GTV- The band's name was taken from Albert Camus' "The Fall" which is said by many to be Camus' most advanced and least understood book. (Sartre amongst them) Why did you take the title? Does the work and it's interpretation still influence the band after your more than 35 years in existence?
Mark E. Smith - WANTED TO CALL THE GROUP IN ITS NEMESIS "THE OUTSIDER", BUT IN THOSE DAYS FINALLY DISCOVERED THAT A LOT OF GROUPS WERE CALLED THAT SO I DECIDED ON "THE FALL" INSTEAD.
GTV- Your "existence" as a band has come in constantly shifting forms,with no member ever remaining throughout except yourself, to which you have stated to the effect that you are The Fall; that you, and any other fashion even if it were something like a monkey beating on cans and yourself would be "The Fall." We're not criticizing that, but would you say this is what has led to the band's high turnover rate, or is there another reason you could name as the primary issue?
Mark E. Smith - LIKE CAMUS, I WAS A VERY DISGRUNTLED GOALKEEPER.
GTV- Considering the heavy rotation of the band, aren't you worried about having your wife play keys?
Mark E. Smith - THE FACT IS THAT ELENI IS A SUPERB KEYBOARD PLAYER, THE FACT THAT SHE'S MY WIFE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.
GTV- You keep your artistic talents mostly to music, and rather prolifically. If not for music, what other form of art would you pursue?
Mark E. Smith - I AM NOT A MUSICIAN, I AM A WRITER.
GTV- Forming in 1976, and identified and shaped by the "Post-Punk" genre, you hammered out a style that is unique and immediately recognizable, your sound has, of course, taken different sounds and forms throughout the years, but always maintains a strong core, plus you maintain a consistent devoted following. What would you say that you provide to the music world that no one else can? Why does it still work when so many other Post-Punk bands can sound so dated?
Mark E. Smith - APPRECIATED THE QUESTION. THIS IS A QUESTION THAT I AM OFTEN ASKED, AS I DON'T LISTEN TO ANY OLD FALL MATERIAL I DON'T KNOW.
GTV- Being a more literate band than most, I assume you are familiar with Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club" (also made into a movie) which, partly, deals with a group eschewing society's constraints of a pacified and manipulated population, and acting on man's more primal (truer) nature. I see The Fall's music an artistic realization in this fashion, and thus it's lasting appeal. Not to flatter your ego, for which you are known, but would you agree?
Mark E. Smith - NO FILM IS AS GOOD AS THE BOOK.
GTV- Also you complain a lot about other bands, or, rather, you get press attention when you state a negative remark about another band or on music in general, and more than likely we'd be in agreement, but there has got to be something good to speak of on music.
Mark E. Smith - MUSIC IS, I THINK, A MUCH ABUSED FORM. IT IS TOO EASY FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. WHEN YOU THINK OF STOCKHAUSEN,THE MONKS, ETC. YOU REALIZE IT IS NECESSARY TO CONTINUE.
GTV- Theoretically speaking, we have the potential to achieve immortality with the aid of nano-robots, would you go for injecting yourself with nano-robots for immortality? Assuming you would, what if the condition was that drinking alcohol would destroy the robots (and thus, your immortality?) What if the necessary condition was you had to be friends with Oasis (for eternity?)
Mark E. Smith - SINCE WHEN?
GTV- What is the title of The Fall's new album. What's the significance of the title?
Mark E. Smith - RE-MIT. WHICH MEANS I NEED A GLOVE WHEN I GO OUT.
GTV- Where did you look to for inspiration for this album?
Mark E. Smith - TRIED TO KEEP IT AS SHARP AND HARD AS POSSIBLE. YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT I HAVE TO DEAL WITH INDOLENT PRODUCERS.
GTV- What piece of work are you most proud of?
Mark E. Smith - RE-MIT, MAYBE HEX.
- FIN -
added 17 March; updated 21 March
Recently spotted on the Beggars Banquet Archives page. So that would be TWAFWOTF, TNSG, Bend Sinister, The Frenz Experiment, and IAKO, probably with bonus tracks tagged on each disc. Therefore deluxe box sets à la TWAFWOTF and TNSG appear unlikely; a shame as those were really well done.
Apparently the box won't contain those five albums at all, but rather it'll be a collection of stuff from the Beggars years, particularly the latter end, i.e. not more TWAFWOTF nor TNSG. More details when BB posts the info.
Another year, another ltd. ed. Record Store Day 7", according to Storming the Base. (It's not mentioned on Cherry Red's site.)
Extremely limited single from The Fall including alt versions for Record Store Day. "Sir William Wray" and "Hittite Man" are alternate versions of tracks from the forthcoming new album "Re-Mit." "Jetplane" is exclusive to this release. Limited edition of 1500 copies worldwide.
Some very welcome news from Ellen Van Schuylenburch, dancer for the Michael Clark Company, and many thanks to Bill for emailing her.
We have recently located 4 U-matic recordings of an October 1988 performance of 'I Am Curious, Orange" at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London. The quality of the tapes are not great and I have taken them to a professional company dealing with archival films, to see if the film can be cleaned up and remastered. The results are very good. I am working on the Michael Clark Moving Image Archive and hopefully we will be able to show the filmed production sometime in the near future and maybe some parts on our website. The copyright issues will also add time to process. I was a dancer in I Am Curious, Orange and am happy to know that at least one performance has been saved.
Thank you for inquiring after "I Am Curious, Orange", which is of enduring interest to the audiences, Fall and Michael Clark fans.
added 23 February
That Q Cash for Questions feature; thank to Little Frank for posting it.
Not much new in it apart from the title of the new LP—"Re-Mit"—is planned for April. "Re-Mit is going to terrify people. It's quite horrible. The Fall have had enough and we're coming for you."
Also says of the songs on Ersatz GB, "I don't like any of them."
A Fall Poetry night at Mascara Bar, 72 Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, London N16 on 1st March 2013. Poets will read new work inspired by The Fall. Fall music all night. Facebook page here.
Curated by Stinky Bear Press. Readers include: Becky Cremin, Marcus Slease, Juha Virtanen, Rhys Trimble, Mike Weller, Jeff Hilson, Chris McCabe, Pat Phaggs, Sarah Crewe, Pascal O'Loughlin, Amy Key, Andrew Taylor, Ann Matthews
A one-off zine packed with work inspired by The Fall will also be available on the night.
We plan to get 2013 off to a flying start at Cherry Red with notable new releases on the way with some true music legends. The notable new releases include...
The Fall – a milestone 30th studio effort from Mark E Smith & his band of enduring indie heroes.
The House Of Love 'She Paints Words In Red' will be the ex-Creation band’s first studio release since 2005 & follows last year's critically acclaimed deluxe 3 CD reissue of their self titled debut album.
The Alarm release the soundtrack to the forthcoming feature film Vinyl, starring Phil Daniels and Jamie Blackley.
Marc Almond, Todd Rundgren and John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest will also have brand new albums out in the first quarter of 2013.
Key catalogue titles for Q1 2013 at Cherry Red include releases from Lynsey De Paul, Dave Edmunds, Hawkwind, Francoise Hardy, Blue Aeroplanes, Greg Lake, The Partridge Family, Dana Gillespie, Freda Payne, Girlschool, Spandau Ballet, The Soup Dragons, Tangerine Dream, Thunder and Uriah Heep, More news soon!
Latest word from CR suggests April or May for the new LP.
Hi, Mark. There have been 65 Fall members to date (1). What's the entrance policy? Revolving door? Dead man's shoes? Lottery ticket?
[Cryptically] Times change, you know?
You famously said: "If it's me and your granny on bongos, it's the Fall." I reckon my granny would have made an excellent bongo player. Should she have applied?
Definitely not! I've learned that.
Aw. Would it help if the Fall split up and got back together like bands do these days, or wouldn't anyone notice? That would be very sad.
One of the most annoying things I get asked is: "I didn't know you've reformed." That fucking pisses me off.
You turned down the opportunity to appear on I'm A Celebrity in 2004 when John Lydon walked off. Would you have handled all those kangaroo testicles and witchetty grubs?
I could have handled it then. I couldn't handle it now. I was tempted because I was absolutely broke. Thing is, you cross that line, you never go back. People look at you different.
You offered one of your sisters to Frank Skinner as a gift when heinterviewed you for The Culture Show on your 50th birthday. Does the offer still stand?
No, cos they're all married. That was just a joke. That's the thing with Frank, he's not funny, is he? He edited that interview to make me look like I was being nice. I wasn't. I was insulting him all the way through. They spliced it. I'd go: "You're a fucking idiot, aren't you?" He'd go: "I really love you, Mark."
Have you got any other unlikely fans (2)?
Half the cast of Emmerdale turned up at a gig in Leeds recently. They're big fucking fans, apparently. And that boxer, the Asian guy. [Amir] Khan.
You play Jesus in an episode of BBC's Ideal. Are you the Messiah?
It's amazing how many people got into it, potheads and all. They'd stop me in the street and go, "You're the one who played God, aren't you?"
Are you a god?
I don't think so, no.
Sam Riley plays the younger you in 2002's 24 Hour Party People and went on to play Ian Curtis in 2007's Transmission. How can the same person portray you and Curtis?
It's those film people, like that bloke who played Johnny Cash. It was fucking ridiculous, wasn't it? They may as well have got the bloke who plays Batman.
Who should play you in the Hollywood version of your life? Brad Pitt? George Clooney?
That's the tragedy of it, that would be good, wouldn't it? Get in the guy out of Fight Club. He'd make a great me.
People seemed annoyed when you read the football scores on BBC's Score On Saturday and made up the teams ...
Those were the proper names. When I was a kid, I used to know all the proper team names. I was sick of Match of the Day going: "Man City v Arsenal," "Crew v Bolton." It just fucking dumbs our nation of football. When I said "Crewe Alexander" and "Southampton Town", that's their proper name. Everyone was going, "It's weird that." Even the fucking sports blokes.
What changes would you make if you were England manager?
I'd only have three Premiership players and the rest from down the lower leagues. They'd want to play for England, rather than this lot who don't particularly seem to want to. Why don't they have the bleeding defender from Tranmere or summat from the top of the bleeding third division? They should have the backline of Blackpool, they wouldn't let anybody through because they're used to it, aren't they? They're not bloody superstar defenders like Rio Ferdinand but they're used to stopping superior opposition. Have you noticed the way other countries pick their teams? That's what they do. They always have Leverkusen's (3) full back who hates everyone who's richer than him. It's a good idea, that.
What changes would you make if you were prime minister?
I wouldn't take it up.
Erm, what if it was all you can eat/drink/smoke?
I'd probably put the Queen in charge for a bit.
The 30th Fall album is due. How long before you hang up your microphone in favour of a bus pass, slippers and those pink wafer biscuits only old people seem to like (4)?
I'm not thinking of it at the moment because the group's really shit hot. We're just coming into fruition. Then again, I don't want to be like Brian Wilson (5). I'm already starting to sit on a chair.
(1) BBC Radio 6's Marc Riley was fired from the Fall on his wedding day.
(2) Matt Groening, Henry Rollins, Rod Stewart, Jeremy Vine and Vic Reeves are all fans.
(3) German Bundesliga team Bayer Leverkusen – Philipp Wollscheid plays centre back.
(4) Smith famously left some false teeth in Badly Drawn Boy Damon Gough's taxi after mistaking him for an actual taxi and Gough driving him home anyway.
(5) During encores, Wilson turns the lights out but doesn't leave the stage.
added 19 December; updated 20 December
There's a really good, long interview with Simon Ding Archer on Tony Thornborough's Salford Radio show. Lots of Fall content, including what Ding says is an alternate master of Monocard. Full interview on mixcloud; Monocard at the 1h58min mark.
On closer inspection, I think the Monocard Ding played is the same as the LP version. My inspection not close enough; Ding says the version he played really is a different master.
added 12 December
From issue 3 (Dec12/Jan13) of Viva Brighton. Needless to say the single didn't come out on the 10th.
added 12 December; updated 18 December
Pascal Le Gras will take part in a group exhibition at the Lebenson Gallery in Paris; opening reception is this Thursday.
He also has a new painting for sale -
Middle Class Revolt (2012 remix). (19.68 inch x 19.68 inch) ( 50cm x 50cm) = 800 € (painting on canvas unframed).
added 7 December
Thursday, 6 December 2012 Islington Assembly Hall, London
No Respect / Irish / Hot Cake / Strychnine / Grey / Hitman / Chino / Cowboy George / I'm Not from Bury / Spider / Weather Report 2 / Container Drivers / Reformation / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness // Psykick Dancehall / What About Us?
Wednesday, 5 December 2012 Islington Assembly Hall, London
Reviews on the forum. Thanks to Mark for the setlist.
added 5 December
Tuesday, 4 December 2012 The Old Market, Hove
Irish / Hot Cake / Strychnine / Grey / Cowboy George / I'm Not from Bury / Hitman / Cosmos 7 / I've Been Duped / Spider / Chino / Container Drivers / Weather Report 2 / Blindness // Theme from Sparta F.C. / White Lightning
Reviews on the forum. Thanks to Hanleyvision for the setlist and vid.
added 1 December
Friday, 30 November 2012 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
By all accounts a top-notch gig. Reviews on the forum. Thanks to turpinz & quantise for the vids.
added 27 Nov.; updated 29 Nov.
Monday, 26 November 2012 Factory251, Manchester
Reviews on the forum. Thanks to Breth for the setlist.
added 24 November
Wednesday, 23 November 2012 Tokyo, Hull
Irish / Hot Cake / Grey / Cowboy George / I'm Not from Bury / Strychnine / Hitman / I've Been Duped / Spider / Container Drivers / Weather Report / Blindness // Psykick Dancehall / Mr. Pharmacist / What About Us
What about Scottish groups? Come on. Make me laugh." Mark E Smith gives a gleeful cackle down the line. Leader of The Fall, wordsmith, serial dissenter, one-time husband of former Gok Wan's Fashion Fix regular Brix Smith, dog hater, serial band-firer, Salfordian, City fan, beloved of the late John Peel, Stewart Lee and sundry others ("Pretty damn relentless that fella, in' he?" a certain John Lydon once said. "It's almost perpetual motion with the same song, but I don't mind that at all"), a man capable of starting a fight in an empty warehouse, and possibly the most distinctive voice in the British post-punk canon. Soon he will be in Glasgow with The Fall, but now, right now, he's laughing and cursing and not understanding my accent and talking about Scottish groups and Scottish places and Scottish football. All things Scottish in fact.
That's because I've phoned him with a plan. He has a history with Scotland. He lived in Edinburgh for a while. He even wrote about the city. "One song," he points out, but even so, I say, it's enough. It's time, I tell him, that Herald readers were given the Mark E Smith guide to Scotland. He's up for the challenge. Cackle, cackle. Probably best to fasten your seatbelt.
Mark E Smith on Edinburgh: "It's got yuppiefied. Everywhere I seem to go gets yuppified. I moved back to Manchester and that's f****** yuppiefied now. Seriously. Lower Broughton in Salford where I was brought up is now called New Broughton. Is there much new about New Broughton? Not that I can see. It's bloody worse.
"Edinburgh. Yeah. I was on my own at the time. I loved it. The thing is I liked it too much. I couldn't get any work done. But it was a lot cheaper in those days. We're talking about 1990 here. Then it was 25 quid a week, now it's 200 quid a week. Same in Manchester."
Mark E Smith on Glasgow: "I like Glasgow a lot better. Of course I do. Too many English in Edinburgh. It's half the reason I moved out. I've never been ashamed to be English until I lived in Edinburgh."
On Scottish writers: "I can't think of any. What ones do you like? I liked Irvine Welsh at the start. I thought he was good. I liked that Acid House. But have you met him? He's a miserable bugger."
On Scottish football: "All my pals are all Rangers fans. I don't know what to say to them when they ring me. I know how serious they take it. What are you? A Spurs fan?" On hearing this, Smith emits what can only be described as a banshee howl of laughter. "We all have our crosses to bear. Could be worse. Could be a City fan like me. The old City used to buy all the crocks from Hearts. Arthur Mann. I remember them all from when City were good. Not like these bleeding idiots we've got now."
On Scottish gigs: "I remember our first one in Aberdeen in 1979. The old PA broke down after half a song. It was the worst show I ever did in my life. I remember that. It was an oil boom town. There were all these people who just spat and walked out. And it was a massive big hall."
There have been other incidents of course. In Edinburgh in 2010 he walked offstage after six songs, which didn't go down too well.
"They just try to put a disco on all the time. It says in our contract no disco after the show - I shouldn't be saying this - but they always step over the bleeding mark. That was about the third f****** time. So all right, we'll go off at five to 11 - which is a bit childish really. The gig in Glasgow? It'll be good actually. The new stuff is very, very strange, so half of that and half of the old stuff."
On Scottish musicians: "I've worked with a few in The Fall and they were very good."
And finally, back where we came in.
Mark E Smith on Scottish groups: "I liked Orange Juice. I thought they were great. There was an electric group. The Fire Engines. I loved them. What's happened to them? If they had been from America they would have been world-famous.
"The bloke out of Deacon Blue was on a local programme in Manchester pontificating about Bob Dylan or something. [Cackle.] There's nothing worse when they get going, is there? Then there was some bloke out of Wet Wet Wet and he's going on about how he himself, the lead singer, helped the Troggs and other groups to become famous on the world scene. 'Lesser groups like The Fall' was his actual phrase."
In Mark E Smith's world – maybe in yours too – The Fall are not, are never, a lesser group. Scotland, gird your loins.
Mark E Smith - the revered, unpredictable, controversial bandleader - discusses his latest tour, record and his run in with a certain chart-topping folk band.
As the mercurial frontman of one of Britain's most iconic and enduring outfits, The Fall, Smith has developed a reputation for being surly and aggressive . This myth has, perhaps, been perpetuated by tales of debauchery on tour, a willingness to fire bandmates on a whim and an onstage intensity. In reality, this is just what happens when you're possessed by a creative impulse that drives you to always move forward, destroying everything you built before to start a new tomorrow. As such, the singer brings the latest incarnation of his outfit back to the Glasgow stage later this week for a show at The Arches.
Smith admits he has a longing to get back on the road, but why do they always seem to play Glasgow in the winter? 'It's refreshing,' he laughs. Having ridden in vans around these islands for over 35 years, playing hundreds of songs, at thousands of shows, it is unlikely that Smith even feels the cold anymore.
'I actually really like being on tour, you get a decent meal and a roof over your head - it'd be better if we had an LP out though,' he says.
The gig at The Arches comes just over 12 months since the last Fall release, Ersatz GB. Having released around 100 records during his career, including assorted live efforts and collections, Smith is always looking to the next release.
'We've been in The Kinks' studio for a fortnight and then we've come back and done three shows in Salford. The improvement in the group is marvellous - they're just tighter and better. We're actually just finishing off the next record. I haven't got a title for it yet but we are thinking about a January release,' says Smith.
For fans of the band, this is good news. They are currently experiencing a purple patch which has led to some of the most consistent reviews of the band's career. For Smith, this is reflected in the ever more diverse crowds that have been attending Fall gigs.
'There are a lot of younger people in the audiences these days. You've got the old guard and the young guard, I think a lot of it has to do with computers and getting music that way. The crowds are great though. We went to Sweden - and they hate our fucking guts there - but even that was all right. I don't know though, it doesn't bother me at all who is there. I don't fucking care who comes.'
One person he is unlikely to see at a Fall gig anytime soon is Marcus Mumford. The singer infamously had a run-in with London folkster's band, Mumford & Sons, at a festival in Dublin in 2010. Trouble began to brew when the two groups were placed in neighbouring accommodation. A singalong from the Mumford camp set Smith's teeth on edge - the singer being known for having slightly more esoteric tastes - before he implored them to quieten down by calling them cunts and lobbing a lager bottle at them.
'It was more than that,' he laughs. 'I was talking to the promoter who's a mate of mine and said, 'look, don't take the piss. You've stuck us next to some mongoloid Irish folk band.'
'The promoter turns around and says, "they're number one in your English charts." I thought he was fucking joking. They started clopping about singing, sounded like they were dancing on the tables - so I told them to shut the fuck up.'
The Fall play The Arches, Glasgow, Wed 21 Nov.
29 April 2013
This is the latest news and gossip off the message board, Fallnet, and elsewhere. If you have something to contribute, please email Stefan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
23oct12European gigs (Greece, France, UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden); Ginger Wildheart's Mutation; Woog Riots LP; Fall-A-Thon in Ohio; Night & Day and Greek interviews; NME Heroes, Blaine Harrison & MES; The Frenz Equivalent cover LP; Night of the Humerons 7"; Another Nice Mess "Worst of the Fall" special; Sex, Drugs & HIV; MES T-shirts, Action Man, and Birthday Cake; Simon W's "You Can Drum But You Can't Hide" book; Pascal Le Gras paintings; Magic Band magic footage.
Ersatz GB + reviews + press + interviews, Laptop Dog 7", summer festivals in Europe and UK, Nov UK tour, Live at the Hac pt. 2; Kill Pretty (Mike Leigh); Perverted by Mark E. promo vid; Brian Blessed Alarm Clock + Skinnybrain (Dave Milner); Uncut w/MES on old Fall lineups; Julia Adamson int.; Steve Trafford album; Pascal's "Blue Christmas" video.
Live at the Hacienda DVD; MES Guardian Q&A; Timekode
& MES video clips; Fall sign to Cherry Red; Marshall
Suite, Wonderful & Frightening World and TNSG
reissues; Before the Fall compilation
TNSG Omnibus; Danny Baker; Euro/UK/OZ/NZ/Israel gigs;
Don Van Vliet, Rex Sergeant, Steve Ormod, r.i.p.; Before
The Fall comp; White Lightning promo vid; Pop Fiction;
Marshall Suite 3xCD; FoF's "Hex Enduction Ours";
Bracewell & Wilde "The Art of The Fall" (1992);
Middles' "Story of The Fall" doc; The Fall in Iceland
press; Sex, Drugs & HIV; M.E.S. I.P.A.; MES Quietus
interview; Factory Star's "Enter Castle Perilous"
East Village Radio session; Ideal; new Scanlon demos;
UK/Euro festivals; NZ/Aus tour preview; Eat Y'Self
Fitter redux; Susan Vale; Quietus, Vice & Brag ints;
Mike Joyce, Adrian Sherwood ints.
YFOC reviews; UK tour + Primavera; Times (London &
New York interviews); "worker bees" interview; Bury,
England's Heartbeat videos; caption comp.; Beleaguered
Fall Fan; Paintwork conference book; Bury/Cowboy Gregori
7"; Mojo, Tim Cumming Q&As.
Berlin gig; FIGFALP; Domino YFOC press release; Tate's
"Sound & Vision" series; Gorillaz' Glitter Freeze;
Gavin Friday int.; Beggars archive update; #1 Cult
Figure (Alex Chilton, rip); MES as Narrative Lyric
Writer; Quietus, Independent interviews; couple of