Fall News

News for week ending 25 Jan 1998


No Fall news at the moment.

Nothing more about this 'Fall Convention' at the 333 Club on Feb 26th.


Below, a David I Williams interview with Steve Hanley which appears in the latest issue of the fanzine The Biggest Library Yet (#10), available from Graham Coleman.


The Masquerade single looks like it's been put back to 9 February. It comprises a 10" and 2-part CD.

A Peel Sessions compilation comprising 20 tracks is to be released, tracks selected by S. Hanley, sleeve notes by J. Peel. PR Quote: "This is a great release because it covers the band's career in Peel Sessions spanning 1978-1996. 17 tracks including Rebellious Jukebox, New Face In Hell, Cruiser's Creek, Free Range, Strychnine. Release Date: 26-Jan-98". Hmmm tomorrow - doesn't seem very likely.

From a record shop release:
"Also due to be released on the 20th Febuary for the first time on CD are the two Fall titles Palace of Swords and Room to Live. Initial stocks of both CDs will come packaged with a bonus CD EP which will be available to early orders only (first 1000)." Both allegedly "digitally remastered"  w/new artwork and they come with the Cog Sinister stamp of quality.

Bonus CD t/list
POS - Recorded at "Band on the Wall" - Manchester 1982. Look Know, Tempo House, I'm into CB, Mere Pseud Mag Editor.
RTL - "Band on the Wall Pt 2". Drago's Guilt, Joke Hysterical Face, Lie Dream of a Casino Soul, Hexen Strife Knot

Recent news....

980118 Time Out interview w/pics, Melody Maker review, Oh Brother press release, Oxford review
980111 Dutch Opscene interview
980104 Melody Maker interview
971221 Not much
971211 Portsmouth, London, Cambridge, Norwich, Bristol reviews
971203 Oxford, Stoke, Leeds, Liverpool reviews; Esquire interview
971125 Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stoke reviews
971116 Manchester reviews, Loaded interview
971112 Band back together, teletext interview
971110 NME report, various Dublin/Belfast disaster reports
971109 First Dublin/Belfast reviews, MES on Elastica album


From The Biggest Library Yet issue 10
David I. Williams quizzes The Fall's longest serving outfield player about his 18th consecutive year in the band...

..about longevity...
So you're heading for about 18 years in the same job basically?

Mmmm, maybe I'll get my gold clock soon, won't I.

What motivates you after all that time?

Ah, I don't know really, I don't think about it like that. I don't know what keeps us all going. You'd think we'd have had enough of it, wouldn't you?

I think most people would think 'The Fall have been going all that time, how do they keep churning out stuff that's interesting and different?'

Well, obviously that would be the time to call it a day... when we stop coming up with new material. That's it, new material, that's what motivates us. As long as there's new ideas floating about... there's always someone got a new tune, or Mark's got a new song, whatever.

Have you ever thought of chucking it in?

Every day! Well, it does sound weird to say you've been in a job, or a band, for 18 years. The Fall could end tomorrow. Well, you probably know that... it could end tomorrow, it could carry on for years.

What would you do if The Fall did end?

No idea. I don't think I'd join another band, anyway. I'd do something else.

..the shanley sound...
A lot of people I know, who don't really listen to The Fall, might go to one gig and say 'Oh yeah I liked the bass sound, that really stood out.' It's like the bass is the driving force. Are you conscious of that?

Not really, no. It depends on the line-up at the time... whether they notice me at all.

You've mentioned Tracey Pew (of the Birthday Party) as an influence...

Oh he was brilliant, yeah.

But you haven't really mimicked his style.

I've had a go a couple of times. I don't know if I've really got close. If I listen to music I don't particularly listen to the bass player. But there's a few that are really good. Ronnie Lane, everybody's saying that now, I suppose... Trevor Bolder out of Bowie's band.

What avenues are there left for The Fall to explore, in terms of the sound? You've dabbled with reggae, country & western...

.. the lot, we've tried it. Everything. They all end up sounding... not a million miles away from The Fall, whatever we try.

You've even tried playing banjo, I believe?

Yeah, I did. That was a one-off.

..before levitate...
You started off 1997 doing a mini-tour of the south with Adrian Flanagan on guitar.

Yeah, he did okay. Good enough rhythm guitarist, but... you've got to be a certain type to be in The Fall. I don't think he was really up for it.

I had the impression he was a temp, a stand-in.

That wasn't the idea, that was his decision. He decided to join or not to join, he was terrified all the time.

Then you did a one-off benefit for the journalist Leo Finlay at the LA2 in London... you played And This Day at the start. What was the thinking with that?

Apparently it was his favourite Fall song, that's why we played it. Somebody brought over a tape of it and we learnt it... well, the others learnt it about five minutes before we went on. Adrian and Simon had never played it. Simon, I don't think had ever heard it.

All year you've been playing Hip Priest and Lie Dream, and then later on you started doing Container Drivers.

I think that's good, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a balance between the old stuff and the new stuff.

Is it an indication you're trying to get back to that early sound?

No, it's just good to bring the old ones back in every now and then. If you play them all the time you get fed up. If you leave it for a few years we try 'em again and if they work, we keep them in, and if they don't...

They can take on a new life can't they? Like Hip Priest with those atmospheric keyboards.

Yeah, that sounded really good. But we're not going to turn into a Fall tribute band, doing all the old songs.

You also started playing Plug Myself In. How do you feel about doing stuff like that?

When we were doing it, we were working with Kier, the guy from DOSE, who was playing keyboards with us. He played on that, so it doesn't matter really, does it...

No, it sounded good, but it's not really a Fall song.

No, but it is Mark's song, he wrote the words.

.. recording levitate...
By the time you played Manchester in May, you started to do some of the material that appeared on Levitate, and also the song Crack House. What's the story with that?

That's another DOSE song. The original idea was they were going to produce the album, the two lads from DOSE. Then we had a big falling out with them, during the course of recording, after about two or three days. The first two songs we did were Inch, which was one of theirs, and Spencer. But we never got around to doing Crack House. So we thought if they're not going to be doing the album, we don't want to be doing three of their songs.

Is that going to be one of those long-lost songs that'll never see the light of day?

Yes, probably.

What did you fall out over?

The usual... it's not about one particular thing.

You mentioned to me before that The Fall didn't really play on Inch or Spencer.

Well, it is us playing. It's samples of Simon's drums and my bass... But they [DOSE] did it. Me and Simon went into the studio with them for a couple of days, did some recording with them, which they sampled. Spencer, I think, is better with us playing it, when we're doing it live. It works better with us playing on it.

Definitely. I'd say that about a lot of the tracks on Levitate; that on the tour they seem to have matured, almost if they were incomplete at the time of recording.

Oh, it's the usual thing with a Fall album, we had a lot of the stuff written and had been playing it for about a month, and some of it is written in the studio. There's a different approach to every song really.

.. touring levitate
On the tour, I thought Tommy really came to the fore.

I think it's a good line-up at the moment. I've been listening to quite a few of the live tapes from the tour, and you know, the standard is really good, particularly the second half of the tour.

I thought it was a really good tour.

Yeah, it took us a while to settle down with this line-up, with Tommy being inexperienced, and getting Karl back, a complete change from Simon. During the course of the tour we've ironed out all of the problems.

Karl's style is so different, isn't it. More sort of 'rough and ready'.

Well, he's a bit more dynamic than Simon, more highs and lows in the songs. Simon's more like a drum machine, all one level, he's a good drummer but... with Karl you get a bit more feel for the song, I think. That's his cabaret background coming out you see (laughs).

He's come and gone, come and gone...

You just can't get rid of him. He's never really been happy doing other stuff and not having the main drum seat.

What happened with Simon then, did he jump...?

He left, yeah. Right in the middle of recording the album.

He was there for the gigs in May...

Yeah, then July, when we went in the studio, he'd just had enough. 'Musical differences' (DIW scoffs). Believe it or not, it's true. He wasn't really happy with what other people were doing with his songs.

What sort of direction was he wanting to go in?

I don't know. He wrote that song on the album Everybody But Myself and he wanted it to be a bit dance, a poppy single... he thought it was going to be a big hit single. We had a lot of discussions about it, but I think he'd generally had enough. He'd been in for ten years, so...

Sounds like a short sentence.

Yeah (laughs).

I've got to ask you: what really happened at Belfast? What's the truth about it?

The truth? That was in the NME.

.. (disbelievingly): what, tomato ketchup and all?

I don't know, I didn't see that. It was just something and nothing.


If you want to call it that. We sat down and talked about it and decided to get on with it. It was no big problem really. It just got out of hand.

Any plans to reschedule that one?

It would be nice to do that all again, yeah. I don't know if people think that happens to The Fall a lot, but it doesn't. You could count on one hand the amount of gigs we've cancelled. I don't know if we're getting a reputation for it, but it's not true. Of all the gigs we've done, I think it's only 4 or 5 that have been cancelled.

Maybe that's part of having been around so long, people are looking out for it.

We never just go through the motions. Everyone gives it 100 per cent when we're on tour, no matter where we're playing. So there's bound to be friction isn't there. If we were just going up there and churning out the old songs, we could do every gig and there wouldn't be any trouble, but we're not like that.

There seemed to be times on this last tour when there were tensions on stage, and you wonder 'Is it all part of the act?'

Oh yeah. It's all choreographed. We spend ages arranging it all in the dressing room beforehand. 'I'll do this to you, then you do this to me.'

There's other times when the band seems relaxed, and having a bit of a laugh.

That's the good thing about playing live. Especially with The Fall, it's different every night.

You never know what's going to happen next.

You take a chance turning up.

And that's the same for the audience?

Yeah (laughs).

.. compilations & reissues...
What about all these compilations? There's been more Fall albums released this year than...

It's getting a bit out of hand, isn't it. There's a few that just turn up and we don't even have any say and they're in the shops. We don't have any input on the covers or anything, it's ridiculous.

Who's behind them then?

It's the record label that's putting them out, they've bought up some old Fall tapes and they seem to be juggling the tracks about.

They all seem to have a couple of interesting things on them.

To get the collector to buy them. It cheapens the value of the music, I think.

Then there's been the reissues, like In a Hole, coming out on CD.

We're not pushing them in people's faces. Y'know, there's no big advertising campaign. I think that's fair enough, releasing old albums on CD. With that album, people wanted it because they couldn't get it. There was only about a thousand pressed first time.

But the problem is it seems to have been mastered from vinyl, it jumps and skips in places. Where's the quality control?

Oh does it? I thought it sounded all right, better than the vinyl, they do something to clean the sound up. I don't know who's got the master tapes.

.. whatever next?... Masquerade is coming out as a single -has it been reworked?

The backing track we've been playing to live is the remix of it. There's a couple of others off the album, and we've just been in and done three new ones.

What are they then?

One's called Scareball. I don't know the names of the other two. They're pretty good, straightforward Fall songs, fairly poppy actually.

Any gigs to promote it?

Nothing planned. Hopefully we will do as soon as we can. Like I say, it took us that tour to sort everything out, so it'd be a shame not to keep it going.

I heard a rumour about some US dates?

There's been talk of a US tour on and off all year. We should have been going there in October. It's been put back but it's being talked about.

What else can we expect in 1998?

No idea. After the single, we'll start working on the new album I suppose. We've not heard what Tommy can do yet, songwriting-wise. The only stuff he's played is what other people have written.

I see there's another so-called official website. How official is it?

Well, it is 'official'. Just a couple of guys... y'know, they start off all keen, changing it every couple of days, then seem to run out of ideas. We're hoping to set something up next year, a fan club, maybe a new website.

What happened to the fan club?

It's being reorganised, someone's taking it over. We've been moving office and... restructuring our organisation (laughs).

I'm sure there'll be a few surprises, too. It wouldn't be The Fall without a few surprises...

No, you don't want it too easy, do you? Keep you guessing... There's another Fall compilation album coming out -Best of the Peel Sessions. I'll tell you what you can say: it's coming out in February, and I compiled it, right. I got the short straw. I don't want people coming up to me for the rest of my life saying 'you should have had this track on'.

So it's a definite runner this time? 'Cause we've heard this all before.

No, it's done, it's ready. The cover's done and everything. I'd give you a list of tracks if I could be bothered finding them. Pretty much one off each session. I know it's saturating the market, but at least it's more worthwhile than all these live compilations or whatever. John Peel's done the sleevenotes. There you are...


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