From: Chris Kovin
Subject: Philly as we saw it
Hi - Chris and Fiona here, anticipating the DC show tonight (hopefully),
Okay we went to Dirty Frank's about 7, and met Mike Wright and John Huston and Mike ff (fantasy football) buddy inside, but Fiona, Fiona's friend Andrzej, and I had the 20-year-old Luke Beetham in tow and were told we could not stay. So we hoofed it up to the venue and bought t-shirts, then staked out our places for Fallnetter sightings. First sighting was Mark Healy and wife Karin (sp?) and first-timer Rick. Mark told his tale of woe about the morning after oysters in DC with me the previous week - not a pretty story. Then we repaired to the bar upstairs, where we met Russ Smith (father of Fallchat), Bob Gilroy, John Howard and Martha Hamilton (who we will be dininig with pre-gig tonight), Hank Tomczak (who had taken a sack of White Castles to Dirty Frank's!!!), and then the DF contingent starteed arriving. Mike and Anderson and tortured passenger Kurt Vaigl, Huston, and then Jeff and Mrs Jeff, then Eston Martz and Angela were next to make an appearance. Then the New York Three Unwise men arrived bearing DP prizes: Peter Messiaen, Brent Colyer and soon-to-be-rookie Fallnetter Adrian. Thanks, guys. Then the subtle strains of an awful racket began (thought Fiona and I shared: "Don't worry - the Bush Tetras will surely be better than this!" -only to find out when they announced the set-close as 'The Bush Tetras Theme' that this might *not* be Botswana after all). Right in there, the tall vicar, Gert, and the less tall, Mrs Gert [very happy to have just been carded at the door], showed. Gert is one scary-looking, but extremely personable gentleman.
We're still drinking upstairs at 10:15, when Fiona hears and reports a rumor - that there is a noise ordinance in the Chinatown neighborhood we're in, which mandates that live acts are to cease and desist playing at 11:30! So now we're looking at a 75 minute set, tops. So right then and there, we decided to make our way down to secure prime viewing positions, Fiona pressed against stage (with backpack filled with t-shirts as a cushion), Peter M. and me about 6 rows back, Gert and others further back. Right at this same time, the band lauches into Spencer, sans MES. This continued as an instrumental. Then He Pep! He didn't look too peppy when he came in. He was rather unpleased (rightly so) immediately. The PA was not turned up to adequate volume, and he gesticulated wildly to the auto-techs what the problem was and to get it sorted out. Clothing note for Mel: brown slacks, very clean black shoes, and even cleaner white shirt with blue striped sweater and a belt (for obvious reasons given his rail-thin demeanor). He is obviously very drunk, going in slow motion. And then begins the obligatory messing with equipment. After meddling to his heart's content (and to the band's chagrin), he buggers off the stage, to return (sans sweater) and go into Free Range. It was what we came for. It was also one song. It's now about 10.35pm, and they launch into Hip Priest. (approx. 7 min long this time; half of it Mark spends fiddling with untanging the mic cables with all the absorption of a bemused four year old). At this point, the audience is not appreciative at all, and various projectiles (mainly cigarettes.... but Russ rolls a Philadelphia Flyers hockey puck on to the stage too..... which later MES kicks at Mike Wright) hit the stage, followed by shouts of abuse. He unplugs the two mic cable and goes off again, leaving a tech to fix it (from the look on his face, I think he was used to it). This Spoilt Victorian Child behaviour continues, with the band becoming more pissed-off as it continues. However, cracking version of Levitate (Tip: reissue the US release with a live version and we'll all gladly buy it all over again.... to keep MES in the style to which he has become accustomed), Calendar, Lie Dream (with Doc Shanley shaking his head wryly as Mark snarls "well I didn't eat the weekend, but I put the weight back on again" for obvious reasons).
Now, it's time for audience participation, as Mark hands the mic and a piece of paper to Adam (State College resident who "almost" didn't come to the gig in favour of seeing another band. I think he's glad he was persuaded now....). He hasn't heard Levitate yet, hence his puzzling look at reciting "What's happening here?" under the instruction of Mark who seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself for the first time. He then hands the mic and piece of paper to someone else in the audience, and leans over, grinning inanely as he writes something on the paper for them to say.
To cut to the chase...the Hanley incident from close range was very ugly indeed. A bass guitar is pretty heavy, so I think Mark will be feeling pretty bad today. Hanley visibly flinched as he stormed past Mark, half-shielding himself from an anticipated attack, and was gone.... all that was left was the smoke from Mark's abandoned burning cigarette. Karl and Tommy follow suit. With Julia and Mark left on-stage to complete Everybody But Myself, it's glaringly obvious that..... good evening.... MES is *not* The Fall. (AmC here: Also a very very weird Cheetham Hill, and also MES *is* The Fall -still- always will be -sorted!).
AmC and Fiona
From: Peter Messiaen
Subject: Waiting for Godot in Philadelphia....
I'll post a more complete review sometime soon maybe, but for right now I'm kinda burnt out on the Fall and creeped out by the absurdist spectacle of last night's show at the Trocodero in Philadelphia.
The only thing that saved it was hanging out with the Fallnet folks (You know who you are.........)
There's one image I'll never forget: That's when the band is standing there playing at full throttle (I forgot which song), Hanley doing his best to marshal the troops and get a groove going and center stage is empty....
It's empty because Mark is at stage right, behind the guitar amp, facing the black wall at the back of the stage. In his starched white button down dress shirt he looked like he was in orbit; about as faraway from that stage as anyone could possibly be with out leaving it. Not only that, he looked like a condemned man.....don't get me wrong it was a very cool image...very theatrical and very.....um existential, but this is the point in the show where I thought to myself "Shit.......this isn't a band anymore it's a goddamned Samuel Becket play!!!" And hey..... I'm cool with that, but at the very least he should let the audience in on the fact, so no one will mistaken him for a pop-singer or some such, and he and his bandmates can choreograph the shoving matches, knob twiddling, wire untangling, cord unplugging etc....so that they don't look, so awkward and predictable and nobody gets hurt.
I was introduced to Hanley and Tommy after the show. Very nice, the both of them. I think I might owe Tommy an apology. He played really well last night and does the best he can in the presence of an erratic drunken bully.
From: "Kurt Vaigl"
Subject: Re: DC Black Cat
Ah, shit, shoulda went to DC instead of Philly. On the long ride back to Cleveland with Mike Wright (thanks again for the ride and being an all-around good guy) we jokingly said, "DC will probably be a great show, just wait."
The show in Philly was certainly entertaining at first (MES is truly a unique individual, also very well dressed), but turned dissapointing when it was apparent that walk-outs would be the order of the night. The band was excellent, though. The instrumental version of He Pep was smoking. The numbers that MES sang on (Hip Priest, Pearl City, Calendar(?), part of Free Range, a couple others) were only hindered by his obvious lack of interest in the music being played around him. Never thought I'd hear the Fall play Hip Priest and say "That could have been a lot better."
Great to meet so many good people from Fallnet and put a face with the name. Everyone certainly looks different than I pictured they would. I'm glad I went, I just hope that it was not my only opportunity to see the band.
One more vote for Tommy as a damn good guitarist, kurt
From: Jeff Curtis
Subject: Philadelphia Trocadero review -Reply
>>> Kard2000 <Kard2000@aol.com> 04/05/98 05:22am >>>
this is pretty much the way i remember it:
::Yes, that was pretty much it. Mrs Jeff sez she heard MES say when he came out, "Make *me* look stupid...* , we wondered if maybe he was having a bad reaction to the drain commissioner sign. Or to whatever bad drugs & drink he was obviously on.
>>Mark and Julia finish with Cheetham Hill over verbal taunts from the audience,
::This was almost the best-performed song of the whole night. The band at that point had thoroughly humiliated Smith, giving him a taste of his own medicine -- it's a wonder Julia stayed, surely she was hoping to still salvadge something of the night -- and there was a funny line Smith threw in the beginning of the song, after the line about two figures making out in a car, he said "two shits afraid to come on out" referring to the band. I could easily see a minimalist Fall with MES singing along to electronic music from the kbd.
::I really felt sorry for the folks who've never seen them before and won't be seeing them again. I can laugh because I have seen great shows by them, but this was really a sad show music-wise.
From: Eston Martz
Subject: Philadelphia: Complete Restructure of Your Pretentious Life
Well, well, well. Well.
Others have covered most of the blow-by-blow quite well, so I won't belabor things too much, but Saturday night's "performance" was a complete and utter fiasco. My heart mourns for those who had to travel further than I did to see this atrocity, especially those who hadn't seen the Fall before and probably won't again.
One point of interest: The second fellow whom Smith gave the mic to had been loitering around outside the Troc before the show, and asked Hank, Mrs. Eston and myself whether the show was worth going to see. As usual, I couldn't rightly _recommend_ the show to him, but between the three of us we managed to give him some sense of who the Fall were and whether it might be in his best interest to plunk down the cash and go inside. He hadn't heard of the Fall before. Wonder what he thought afterward...
As others have pointed out, the best part of the night was meeting Hank, Chris, Mike, Matt, John, Jeff and Mrs. Jeff, and the other FallNetters in attendance. At least something was salvaged. The "Mark E. Smith for Drain Commissioner" backdrop was great, too. (SHanley really oughta do something to make this up to Mike W., whose foresight in bringing said banner proved to be responsible for the most entertaining thing on stage.)
I'll second those who have stood up for Tommy -- I reckon he was dead good, esp. with all the shite he has to put up with. Also should be mentioned that he, not Mark, finished the vocals on that night's "Hip Priest." In fact, the whole band was dead good -- there's nothing like the feeling of a live Shanley bass line at loud volumes rumbling yer internal organs.
I'm heartened to hear that DC went better, although it doesn't really lessen the sting of the burn we got on Saturday.
Spent some time yestiddy consoling myself with _In A Hole_ (picked up at the show) and _In the City_. But I think I'm just about ready, after this, to get those Emerson, Lake and Palmer albums out of mothballs. Or maybe _Relayer_.
O'er and out
Black Cat, DC
From: Chris Kovin
Subject: DC Black
Tommy [can you hear me?] - Fiona and I will not hear a bad word against him from now on.
Steve Hanley - still a God ? Yes. But now also a saddoe -by his own admission
Mark E. Smith - godlike genius. You betcha. Plays keyboards backwards as well as or better than Julia does forwards.
If anyone comes in with a negative review of tonight's DC show, we will walk backwards to Luke Beetham's backyard. But we won't have to. Because there will be none. It was fantastic.
Hip hip hip hip ..................
Fiona and AmC ('that's good enough for now')
Also: Fiona retracts earlier statement, while stilll under the influence of a @#$%^&* good The Fall concert, that Mark E. Smith is *not* The Fall
From: Tom Tomlinson <
Subject: the DC/Black Cat show
Much different situation than last night. A solid set of twelve stormers. No encores, but no half-ass mumblings or walkouts either.
Spencer Masquerade Levitate Hip Priest 10 Houses of Eve Oleano Lie Dream (! ) Pearl City Chiselers I'm a Mummy Calendar Jungle Rock
MES in good shape and fine voice. Left the stage during Pearl City to remove his sweater and immediately returned (not even time for a ciggy break). Chatted with Steve & Karl before the gig. Turns out his bass amp and Julia's keys have gone missing! I offered to drive back to Rockville to loan replacements for both (what an opportunity!) but Steve comes back and says he's using Bush Tetras amp and they've found something for Julia to use. She didn't know and wouldn't find out until shortly before the gig. She seemed to be handling it OK for the first two songs. Then she left. Never returned. The songs still sounded great w/out keyboards, though MES did some cool noise diddling on them...
From: Leigh Panlilio
Subject: Short & sweet DC review
After the previous night's antics in Philly, we were treated to an antic-free night in DC. Having experienced both kinds of gig, I must say antic-free is more enjoyable. It makes up for the fiasco last time they came through DC. Smith was obviously repentant and on his best behavior. He didn't even acknowledge the horrendous shrieking/hissing sound that permeated the whole mix. I've never seen him concentrate so much on actually singing. Hanley didn't stop glaring for a second.
Julia tried to make the best of her borrowed New-Ordery keyboards for about two songs, then walked off for the duration. So, we got to witness a totally stripped-down 3-piece Fall, and I won't be sending for a refund to the Outer Heb-b-r-b-r-brides. Whether there's two drummers, three guitarists, two keyboard players, or just one nervous guitarist, Hanley is what matters, and he's always on. By far the best of the 3 Fall shows I've seen in the 90's, and almost as good as mid-80's.
From: Jeff Curtis
Copyright 1998 The Washington Post The Washington Post
April 07, 1998, Tuesday, Final Edition
SECTION: STYLE; Pg. D08; PERFORMING ARTS
BODY: The Fall At the Black Cat
When the Fall last played at the Black Cat, almost four years ago, irascible singer Mark E. Smith spent most of the set offstage. Sunday night at the same club, it was keyboardist Julia Nagle who disappeared after a few songs. That wasn't as dramatic as losing the singer, but the effect was a little odd.
Nagle's techno textures are reportedly crucial to the Fall's new album, "Levitate," which will be released in the United States soon, but the keyboardist's absence wasn't the only reason the sound was uncharacteristically spare. During the Manchester, England, band's 21-year existence, its many lineups have often featured the rich interplay of two guitars, keyboards, bass and sometimes two drummers. But for most of Sunday's show Smith was supported only by the veteran (and excellent) rhythm section of drummer Karl Burns and bassist Steve Hanley and new guitarist Tommy Crookes, whose playing lacked the depth and distinctiveness of his predecessors.
Still, as Smith recently boasted, "If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig." By that standard, this was a Fall gig --and a pretty good one. The singer made no effort to be ingratiating, but he did seem focused on what he was singing, whether it was a long, dirgelike version of the ancient "Hip Priest" or the bouncy "Jungle Rock." Yet when the short set ended, Smith declined to play any encores.
From: "Kovin, Chris"
Subject: memory shards relocated back in place
Big contrast between Philly and DC venues themselves: in Philly we were greeted at the door by these WWF Extreme wrestlers in big biker leather jackets who relieved us of our tape recorder and and Andrzej's little pocket knife. Then we had to leave Luke Beetham downstairs because of their weird 'the balcony is for drinking' policy. Speaking of which, there was the balcony and high stage itself; this in contrast to the long, narrow barroom that is the Black Cat, ending in about a two-foot tall stage that you can rest your beers on. Just these physical and policy details alone would have made identical performanes seem very different; 'course they were far from identical performances.
Did anyone mention yet that they did an enormously powerful version of Chisellers in DC, with Burns' skiffle drumming ringing out like a machine gun? He Pep! has also morphed into an exercise in furious drumming with Shanley just digging this great big "BOW BOW BOW BOW-BOW" sound out. No guitar or keyboards even necessary on that one, although Tommy does sound good on it. Spencer! Now there's a goodie, especially for these big sweeping bass runs that then get chopped up into quick little notes as the riff rounds itself out. Steve's good on that one.
From: Hannah Meehan
Subject: From today's salon
The final cultural blow for me this month was seeing the legendary punk band the Fall at the lousiest night club in New York, Coney Island High, which is where you need to go if you want to relive those grubby early '80s all over again, when vinyl was clothing and tattoos were skin and beer was dinner. The sad way in which the evening was not reflective of the '80s anymore was the onstage behavior of icon Mark E. Smith, the former most smartly bilious lead singer ever, who has come out with dozens of fantastic albums since the band's inception 18 years ago, full of great peeling firebrats of scathing poetry and Tourette's syndrome-style eruptions of squealing rant. Smith's delivery manner, always something of a cross between the nastily erudite David Thewlis in "Naked" and some Dickensian speed-freak carnival barker, was deeply impaired the other night due to the fact that Mark E. has, in essence, digressed into a hapless, mumbling wino. He had a black eye and three of his teeth had been knocked out. He kept sucking on the bloody holes and stumbling offstage. He would crash his whole forearm against the keyboard trying to regain balance and cause the microphones to feed back. The band would just stare at him, poker-faced. It was heartbreaking.
Subject: DC once more, but with more feeling.
Not to rub it in... but the DC was everything people have said.
1) Arrived some what sober and somber after earlier in the evening reading e-mails of the FF's report of the Philly Fiasco. Had the flight from Denver been for naught?(Well I had good Thai food and several Singha on Friday evening). Popped into the show at approx 9:30 with 100 or so people in the "side" bar. My biggest disappointment was not meeting any Fallnetters especially Fiona (who got me Levitate) AmC for the humorous/insightful emails since being on the list and the rest. I guess I could have asked everyone in the 'steak place' if they knew Older Brother Gert...... SHIT!! -- (I was the the guy with the Cool as Fuck/Moo Inspiral Carpet Tshirt)
2)Band comes on with a short intro and MES is right out! He looks sober! He sings! There is some enthusiasms as he wrestles with the microphone. Not sure if people noted, but being on the right side of the stage (couldn't see Julie Nagle and didn't matter right?!) and Smith's back is to the audience -- this is his posture for much of the show. Almost never looked at the crowd and did the usual circular walk around the mic. stand....
3) Not to beat a dead horse but SHanley was great. He finessed the bass all night -- beautiful sound. Glared at MES all night if MES moved toward him. Amazingly, they never were closer than 3 feet. MES never even got close to Tommy either. Insanely funny when MES would move to Nagle's keyboards and Hanley turned his back to him and moved toward the drum riser -- EVERYTIME. Obviously the word was out "NO shit from you tonight Smith, or we will deck you and send you back to the UK C.O.D." No knob turning of either Hanley or Tommy. Hanley and Tommy and Burns were total professional especially Hanley who seemed to supervise and keep all together(as peace maker?!)
3) Burns and Hanley were (pardon the expression) tighter than MES's sphincter -- and that is saying much. Burns was pounding the skins and Hanley was strangleing the bass spewing out his signature 'thumping'. JC would have been proud Not a wit of a question of Doc SHanley's professionalism.
4) Tommy was excellent -- I will also never say negative things about him, especially after all the crap he has to put up with from MES -- sound was rather full taking over for the MIA Nagle. Only mistake was when Hanley had to tell him to move up to the mike to sing during the slow part of 'Pearl City' and doing a duet with MES.
5) Quick ending to the show (song?) MES whispered to Tommy, MES walked off, 20 seconds later off shuffled the survivors (Tshirt for Hanley 'I Survived the Hurricane MES '98 -- or is that Hurricane '80 - '98. Same for the rest of the band)
Great show,expensive beer $4.50 a pint but good... just sorry for 1) JC, Mrs Jeff, Mike Wright and the rest at Philly and 2) for not meeting other FF's
Trey Fleisher Happy Jack with his Levitate '98 Red fiasco of a T-shirt.
From: Peter Messiaen
Subject: Brownies disaster
*******The Fall @ BROWNIES / April 7, 1998********
The evening began with Brent Colyer, Ryan O'Connor and I getting together for a drink at the International (as usual....). That was pleasant enough. We discussed (what else........) the Fall. Albums past and present. Shows past and present etc...
We headed over to Brownies just in time to see the opening band (The Chrome Cranks) play two last songs and then we waited for the Fall to make an entrance.
Which wasn't long in coming actually.......
Brownies was packed with people and if you can believe it this show was 10 times worse then Philadelphia.
The "set" ( I use that term very loosely) didn't contain anything new. I guess it was something like: Spencer, Masq., Pearl City, Hip priest, He Pep, Lie Dream (Which was actually decent) and Powder keg.
MES handed me the Mic during Pearl City and Brent and Ryan and I took turns singing that song and Hip Priest. Which was a great and a lot of fun, but I would trade it all in if things did not turn out as they did.....
----After much antagonizing from Mark, Karl jumped out from behind his kit and nearly strangled Mark. In the process completely knocking over HAnley's Bass rig. He kept saying "I'll kill you.... you bloody cunt!!" to Mark.
----A short while later after similiar harrassment from Mark, Tommy kicked MArk in the ass really hard about half a dozen times. Mark repeating over and over how Tommy was "a dead man".
-----Mark proclaimed in a whinging and ephemeral manner (to the audience) that he had been "assaulted by a dumb as a goat" scotsman and that we were all witnesses.
-----The band quit the stage after six songs leaving Mark to do Powder Keg with only Julia accompanying him.
Subject: Re: Brownies disaster
not much to add since the events have already been described:
also in yet antother disaster, MES flicked cigarrette ashes over at Tommy, and then threw the lit ciggarette at him, also knocked over a mic stand that him Tommy in the head.
Hanley's amp got knocked over in the melee with Burns, had to plug in through the same amp with Tommy,
Band also ran through levitate sans smith.
From: Peter Messiaen
Subject: RE: Brownies disaster
Within two minutes of getting on stage, with Spencer playing, MArk decides to smack Karl's cymbal to the floor and fuck up his drum mics. KArl stopped playing and patiently readjusted his equipment a look of perplexion and anger on his face. Resumes playing. Two songs later or so MArk attempts the same thing and that's when Karl snapped... jumped out from behind the drums and grabbed Mark's head which he looked like he was completely capable of crushing if he felt like and screamed at him ....... Hanley, protective as always, pushes KArl away and gets between the two..........thereby saving MArk's life
I think most of the crowd was shocked....there were a few assholes who thought it was all a big joke..........
I guess at a certain point after the KArll incident....after the Tommy incident....I forget what exactly was being played, MES tried to make everyone smile or ingratiate himself back into the bands good graces and the band seemed to respond a little bit .....but then he went right back into asshole mode and flicked a cigarette, which I gave to MArk in the hopes of placating him and it did for a while, at Tommy and everything went crazy again.
Hanley looked embarrassed, but determined to get through the show.
After the band left the stage........and MArk was performing POwderkeg....(Approriate......) w/Julia... he made some remarks about how he was waiting for the other three to show up.........and then he sang something about his "Dear ...dear New Yorkers" . HE seemed halfway sorry ............then he started singing something like "YOu better listen!!!! You better listen ....the owner of Brownies is not going to like this and I hope he still comes across with at least 4 figures". Which was funny......tragic but funny.
From: David Auerbach
Subject: Brownies last night redux
I figured out what Mark was on about right after the altercation.
Some heckler yells at Karl to "fuckin play" over and over again. Crowd tries to shout him down, but he keeps going for a while. Then Mark speaks, something like this:
"That guy is a scottish man, a fucking ____ on drugs and a fucking idiot. I been assaulted in public here by 2 people or 3 people, you be witness to it. Bear witness, laddies. <inexplicable cheering from crowd> They're very big. I tell you what, these three, I got a taxi (?), some fucker pulled a gun out on me, some fucking Pakistani or someone. These three were fuckin cowering in the fuckin dressing room.../as usual/...they're nowhere to be seen. They're very hard...all together."
(during the last half, Hanley's doing the sad fiddle routine with his bass, put it up on his shoulder and moving his arm across it while mocking MES with a "pity-poor-me" look. the only real comic relief of the evening.)
Then there's me on the tape, saying "Oh god..." a couple times.
The thing was definitely testament to Hanley's endless good will...couldn't believe he went back to playing the Free Range bassline after stopping the fight, all by himself, and during Levitate really tried to get things going (he was even smiling!). He also gestured pretty vehemently to Tommy to LET IT GO when Mark was taunting Tommy (who showed remarkable restraint in not just leaving). Julia was also amazingly unshakeable, even when the fight was about two feet away from her.
after it all, after the band had left in relative harmony, Tommy came back and snapped pix of the audience-
Oh, and they played the original (pretty irritating) version of I'm a Mummy over the PA after the show.
Subject: Brownie's set list
They managed to get through eleven songs roughly: Spencer Masquerade Pearl City Everybody But Myself Hip Priest (maybe they shouldnt do this one, this seems to be where the disasters start) Free Range Levitate (intrumental) Lie Dream Behind the Counter He Pep Powderkeg
also towards the end Mark started to strap on Hanley's bass but then tossed it over the drum kit.
From: Michael J. Pinto
I saw the Fall play twice in New York City recently. The first time was the second night at Coney Island High, and the next time was about a week later on their first night at Brownies. For the Coney Island High performance they didn't go on until about 1am. The place was packed with about 200 people in a small basement. The audience was a mix of young kids and much older fans here and there. The guy next to me proudly announced he was in his forties.
By the time the Fall played at Coney Island the audience was pretty impatient, and even started yelling "we have to get up for work tomorrow!" Of course before Bush Tetris the audience had to sit through two really bad bands. But the Fall came on and played a really good set. I didn't see the black eye on MES that I later read about. The band played really tight and was a good contrast to the rough voice of MES. Mark looked tired, but not too out of it and was quite sharp on stage. He would keep singing by going from one microphone to another. He would toss the un-used mic to the ground when he was done. They played for about an hour and it was worth the wait, even if they didn't play anything we had heard before. The only note of tension in the band was when MES put his hand on a guitar to indicate that a specific set was to wind down, but aside from that things seemed fine.
Next Tuesday I went to Brownies, which is a much smaller club. At the most Brownies can hold 100 people. The tour most have done well because they were sold out of copies of their new CD. I was surprised that the Fall went on rather early, about midnight and with little waiting. At first everything seemed great, their performance was even better than Coney Island for their first song. But then everything started to go downhill quickly.
MES started doing things which were ticking off the band members like walking all over stage and turning his back to the audience and then sitting down to sing. MES looked quite tired and somewhat out of it. Soon MES did something that triggered an argument with the drummer of the band who stormed off stage.The rest of the band keept playing while the audience shouted "this is New York, get back on stage you @#$%#!" A few minutes later I was shocked that the drummer came back. The show was on again, but quickly falling apart. At one point MES flicked his cigarette at the guitar player (who was quite professional and keept playing). A song or so later the band walked off the stage, leaving Mark and the keyboardist.
MES was trying to sing with the keys in freeform, but it wasn't working too well. Earlier he mentioned something about being upset with the three guys in the band because he was held up at gunpoint and they were "just cowering in the corner." He went on about the owner of Brownies "expecting a three figure sum." Seeing the band wasn't coming on MES and the keyboardist walked off stage.
The entire performance lasted about 30 to 45 minutes and was quite sad. During the fight on stage an amp was damaged, and those who stayed got to see MES and the keyboardist arguing with the previous band on stage. I felt kind of sorry for MES being stuck at these small venues. While the rest of the band looks like they take care of themselves, MES seemed very worn out. The main difference between this tour and when I first saw the Fall around 1990 is that MES seems to have gone from being pissed off to bitter at the world.
Michael Pinto New York City April 13th, 1998
From: steve dean
Subject: (artilce) JAN98 SELECT "The Think Tank: Mark E Smith"
JAN98 SELECT "The Think Tank: Mark E Smith" p126
Post-rock, the Krautrock festival, Brett & Justine's Reading tribute... The Fall's uber-grouch has had more than a passing influence on the pre-millennial agenda.
So - 2O years of The Fall... "I'd rather everybody left it out, actually. I just look at it like work- ing all the time. Keep producing stuff - that's what art's supposed to be there for. I got this great postcard off this guy of somebody building a house, it said,'Don't worry Mark, one thing the common people respect is continual work.'"
You've never felt like packing it in, then? "For about ten minutes, y'know [lights up cig]. Then you see some- thing that makes you think,'l can't let them get away with that..."'
...Lihe Oasis meeting Tony Blair/ doing Princess Di dedications ? "I find that really sinister. I thought the whole idea of music was to rail against the system. They're so pleased with themselves-'We're on top, we're in control.' I had this argument with a couple of ex- group members about the Government. I was going,'These are the bastards you voted for,' and they said, "It's got to be better, you're just trying to be trendy." I'm not, it's just the Government's the fucking Government, no matter who it is. You don't like them.
Come, come sir - they say England's swinging. "They keep telling you it fucking is 'Virgin trains are better than British Rail... it takes an hour longer, but it's better.' Gives me the creeps. And newscasters and magazines talk to people like they're bloody idiots. Saying everything's alright, great all the time - it's just like, very communist. Czechoslovakian.
Have you deterted further evidence of increasing totalitarianism ? "I dozed off for about five minutes in a pub the other week, because I was fucking knackered, and when I woke up there's the barman and all these old fellers ganging up around me saying,'Get out! No one falls asleep in this pub - he's in that group, I bet he's on drugs.' So I go, 'Alright, won't be a minute,' and he says, 'You'd better get out cos the police are on their fucking way!' To arrest a sleeping man, in a bloody pub! Then these three cops offered me a lift home. Fuck me. I hate that. It just gives me the willies.
What else do you go to pubs for then? "For a bit of peace. Get my drift? If you can't do that in a fucking vault... that's why you go, to get comatose and blank out where your wife can't see you. That's how I was brought up. [Goes and returns from lav] "It's jam-packed in that brassiere [sie] during the week when those media people should be fuckin' working, but cos it's Friday they've all gone home early. That's Britain for you, innit!"
Do you rate the hold new British artists like Damien Hirst? "David what! Is he the bloke who does the cows! This review of us said, 'Imagine a thousand David Hirsts' and I'm thinking,'Who's he, is he a guitarist or something?' A fucking cow's head - you can go and see that in a butcher's, can't you? [Deep draw] That's what's happened to art, that's the frightening thing, that people who look at it find it shocking because they've never seen anything. I don't wanna blow my own trumpet, but one thing I will always have is I go and have a look around. A fuckin' sheep in a cage! I've seen worse things in a pub on a Friday night.
Did you appreciate the Suede/ Justine Frischmann Fall tribute song 'Implement Yeah!' at Reading Festival ?
"Oh yeah [takes brisk draw on B&H] So what?"
You rnust have an opinion.
"It's a good job you told me. [Adopts tone of effortless scorn] 'Thanks for 'Implement Yeah!', man. At Reading.' I could crack jokes about that.' Can you get the fucking implement, love, get the fucking mic-stand set up?' Hahahaha!"
Asian Dub Foundation dig you too.
"Yeah, they're good them. I was supposed to go on with them and do a guest spot the other week, but they weren't allowed to do it.
Why weren't you on Sacrilege', Can's remix LP?
"I just thought, no way am I partaking in this fucking LP. Cos I knew Damo [Suzuki, Can's former vocalist and Smith pal] wouldn't like it. I don't like the label. It is fucking sacrilege."
What do you think about the Krautwork revival ?
"Was there one? Well, I've always been into that stuff. In Berlin they wanted us to play a Christmas show with Faust. I don't really fancy it - all the German fans were saying it would he like playing with Gong or summat.
Gong are back too.
"Aaaaaaagghh! Everything you thought you'd seen the back of.
Isn't the Fall's high turnover of members - 30-odd in 20 years - sornowhot problematic ?
"I've always got a reserve force with The Fall. Anyone gets stroppy with me, I've always got subs. Every time, I take no musician for granted. I don't like musicians. They elevate themselves, which is detrimental to the name of The Fall. I don't hold auditions, and it's a nasty thing to say, but it's like a platoon sort of thing. If the first three get shot you have another three behind them."
Er, do you get on with the press?
"Believe it or not I am actually quite pro-journo. It makes me laugh when people say they're hurt by what's written about them. People pretend I act a certain way, y'know saying I dimped a cigarette out in this writer's face. But if I took everything written about me to heart I'd never get any fuckin' work done. I could get them for libel, but I can't be bothered."
Got any good reading in?
"Me? [Drums on table and beer bottle] just finished something about Raymond Chandler's wife - fucking brilliant. I didn't know all the shit about him hanging around in Liverpool and his alcoholic phase. What else... Shoot The Women First, that's good. It's about women terrorists, Baader-Meinhof, the PLO. I'm a bit starved actually [shakes matchbox vigorously]."
How did you come to play a jackbooted social worker in the BBC production of Gogol's Diary OfA Madman?
"It was Steve Everts. He used to be Adolf Chip-pan years ago, the worst act in history, sort of a bad comedy poetry thing. But he's a really good actor and he lives near me, so... I was only in it for about a minute anyway. Everything I've been in I've been a psychiatrist or a killer or a social worker." -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
From: Steve Beeho
Subject: Black and White Hillbilly Music
>From this month's (April) Wire:
VARIOUS ARTISTS - Black and White Hillbilly Music (Trikont CD)
In 1931, at the height of the depression, the Woodie Brothers only sold 864 copies of their record, but they knew their reward lay in the future:
"Now I ran ole Satan through the door And I hit him on the head with a two by four And I'm gonna wear that starry crown over there"
[Sounds like a Fall lyric. In fact it *is* a Fall lyric! - Stunned Ed]
Who would also like to point out that 2 x 4 mentions "old Nick" - cosmic!
From: PeterConkerton <
Subject: more quasi-mystical bollocks: Thule Group etc
Bumper book of weird shit part 5:- ohh, those Nazis...
Propositions are integrated within Gen up to electric dog status We pat you on the back; your ears prick up We call you Hitler and then kick you around like homogenised milk
Hokay, this is a big one. There's a good ninety pages of this in 'The Morning of the Magicians', so I've had to edit it fairly ruthlessly. I've also checked the facts where possible, mostly against MES's other favourite book, 'The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich' by W .Shirer (See 'Time Out' interview) My own comments are in [square brackets].
A FEW YEARS IN THE ABSOLUTE ELSEWHERE
The problem must be faced. We shall never be safe from Nazism, or rather from certain manifestations of the Satanic spirit which, through the Nazis, cast its dark shadow over the world, until we have roused ourselves to a full awareness of the most fantastic aspects of the Hitlerian adventure. Somewhwere between, on the one hand, the Satanic ambition of which Hitlerism was a tragic caricature, and the kind of angelic Christianity which is also caricatured in certain social conventions; between the temptation to become superhuman and take heaven by storm and the temptation to rely on God or on an idea for our human condition to be transcended; between the rejection and acceptance of transcendancy and between a vocation for good and a vocation for evil - between, in a word, the violently conflicting impulses of the human soul and those, no doubt, of the collective unconsciousness, tragedies are being enacted of which contemporary historians are not, and even, it would seem, do not wish to be fully aware, as if they were afraid to focus attention on certain documents and certain interpretations for fear of depriving large sections of the population of their sleep. And so the historian dealing with Nazi Germany seems unwilling to know what the defeated enemy was really like. And in this he is supported by public opinion. The fact is that if the Allies had known what kind of an enemy it was they had defeated, their conception of the world and of human destiny would have had to have been in proportion to the magnitude of their victory. Let us hope at least that one result has been to prevent criminals and madmen from doing any more harm, aand that in the long run goodness always prevails. [err...not much evidence of THAT just yet.] They were certainly criminals and madmen, but in a way and to a degree that ordinary serious-minded people do not understand. [This is broadly true, I think, and as good a place as any to bring in good old Fred Nietzsche, paraphrasing from memory: 'If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.']
The Earth is hollow. We are living inside it. The stars are blocks of ice. Several moons have already fallen on the Earth. The whole history of humanity is contained in the struggle between ice and fire... Such are the 'scientific' theories and 'religious' conceptions on which Nazism was originally based and in which Hitler and the members of his group believed - theories which, to a large extent, have dominated social and political trends in recent history. This may seem extravagant. Any explanation, even partial, of contemporary history based on ideas and beliefs of this kind may seem repugnant. In our view, nothing is repugnant that is in the interests of the truth. It is well known that the Nazi party was openly, and even flamboyantly anti-intellectual; that it burnt books and relegated the theoretical physicists among its 'Judaeo-Marxist' enemies. Less is known about the reasons which led it to reject official Western science, and still less with regard to the basic conception of the nature of man on which Nazism was founded - at any rate in the minds of some of its leaders. If we knew this it would be easier to place the last World War within the category of great spiritual conflicts: history animated once again by the spirit of 'La Legende des Seicles'. Hitler used to say: 'We are often abused for being the enemies of the mind and spirit. Well, that is what we are, but in a far deeper sense than bourgeois science, in its idiotic pride, could ever imagine.' [This is true, and fairly widely reported.]
[There follows a lengthy passage on the history of various secret societies, from the Golden Dawn (Hey! Martin Bramah!) through Arthur Machen, Bulwer Lytton and the ubiquitous Rosicrucians to the Vril Society (I'm sure MES mentions them, can't remember where just now) and German occultism in the 1920s. In particular, Hans Horbiger, an Austrian nutter - sorry, prophet - who was propounding the doctrine of Eternal Ice in Nazi Germany with support & funding from the Nazis. Hitler & Horbiger were best buddies - were, in fact, both molluscs from Tyrol - & Hitler left it to Horbiger to get on with the job of threatening scientists & industrialists who didn't subscribe to the correct Weltanschauung.]
Horbiger's doctrine was based on a comprehensive vision of history and of the evolution of the cosmos. It explained the formation of the Solar System, the origins of the Earth, of life and of the spirit. It described the whole past history of the universe, and announced its future transformations. It answered the three fundamental questions: What are we? Where do we come from? and Where are we going? and it answered them triumphantly. The whole theory was based on the idea of a perpetual struggle, in infinite space, between ice and fire, and between the forces of repulsion and attraction. This struggle, this changing tension between opposing principles, this eternal war in the skies, which is the law of the planets, also governs the Earth and all living matter, and determines human destiny. This doctrine...contradicts all the data of 'official' science. [no shit!] But, according to Hitler, 'there is a Nordic and National-Socialist science which is opposed to Jewish-Liberal science'. Official Western science, together with the Judaeo-Christian religion with which it had something in common, was a conspiracy that had to be destroyed.
[more stuff about Horbiger's theory of the formation of the solar system follows, along with details of his friendship with Gurdjieff, culminating in this:]
And so, according to Horbiger, the moon, the one that we can see, is only the last, and fourth, of the satellites captured by the Earth. Our globe, in the course of its existence, it seems, had already acquired three others. Three masses of cosmic ice wandering in space had also, we are told, entered our orbit. After spiralling round the Earth, getting nearer and nearer, they finally crashed on us. In the same way, our present moon will also fall upon the Earth.
[And a teenager in Salford, what might he make of this? Maybe he'd think; I must create a new regime Or live by another man's Before the moon falls
and maybe later, when he was about 30, he might conclude; Day by day the moon gains on me
-which is the opening chanted line of 'Wings', in case you can't place it. I'm not advancing these as definitive interpretations, obviously: just pointing them out. Details of the cycles of Ice Age/Golden Age follow, along with some amusing stuff on the clashes between Hitler's rocket scientists on the V2 project and the Nazi scientists who believed they would never work because the universe was solid ice, or rock, or whatever. Then the abortive invasion of Russia is discussed, and the theory is propounded thaat Hitler launched the attack on advice from Horbiger & crew rather than the Generals. It's quite true that the odd timing and ill-preparation of Operation Barbarossa has exercised military historians ever since.] "As to the cold", said Hitler, "I will deal with that. Attack." [Hitler also sent troops hither & yon across occupied Europe & (allegedly) well beyond, to check out various half-arsed theories, ie that the Earth is hollow, and in search of Thule, at which point back to Pauwels & Bergier:]
The legend of Thule is as old as the Germanic race. It was supposed to be an island that had disappeared somewhere in the extreme North. Off Greenland? or Labrador? Like Atlantis, Thule was thought to have been the magic centre of a vanished civilisation. Eckardt [founder member of both Thule Society & Nazi Party, big pal of Hitler] and his friends believed that not all the secrets of Thule had perished. Beings intermediate between man and other intelligent beings from Beyond, would place at the disposal of the Initiates a reservoir of forces which could be drawn on to enable Germany to dominate the world again and be the cradle of the coming race of Supermen which would result from mutations of the human species...Such were the myths on which the Aryan doctrine of Eckardt and Rosenberg was founded and which these prophets of a 'magic' form of socialism had instilled into the mind of Hitler. But the Thule Society was at that time, no doubt, nothing more than a fairly powerful little machine for confounding fact and fiction. Under other influences and in the hands of other persons it was soon to become a much stranger instrument - an instrument capable of changing the very nature of reality. It would seem that it was under the influence of Karl Haushofer that the group took on its true character of a society of Initiatess in communion with the Invisible, and became the magic centre of the Nazi movement.
[Haushofer went on to adopt the swastika & spread the Thule doctrine throughout the party. Shirer's book backs a lot of this up. Pauwels & Bergier describe the Thule myth in somme detail - basically that the Aryan race was descended from the Norse gods and that Nazism would restore the Aryan golden age - and conclude with this:]
In Austria, the group 'Edelweiss' announced in 1928 the coming of a new Messiah. In England, Sir Oswald Mosley and Bellamy gave out that Germany had been touched by the 'Light'. In America, the 'Silver Roads' of Colonel Ballard made their appearance. [I know nothing about these 'Silver Roads' - any ideas, US folk?] A number of important people in England tried to warn the people against this movement in which they discerned a threat to spiritual life and the advent of a Satanic religion. Kipling gave orders that the swastika should be removed from the covers of his books... The members of the Thule group were going to be masters of the world, protected against all dangers, and their reign would last for a thousand years, until the next Deluge. They undertook to commit suicide if they ever did anything to break their pact, and to perform human sacrifices. There seem to have been only 'magic' reasons for the extermination of the Gypsies (750,000 dead). All the foregoing may seem to be only a bundle of coincidences, signs, cross-checkings and presumptions. Admittedly the facts we have assembled, according to our method, do not absolutely exclude a rational explanation of the Hitlerian phenomenon in terms of politics or economics. It is also true, of course, that not everything in the conscious, or even subconscious minds of the men of whom we have been speaking, was governed by beliefs of this nature. Nevertheless, their minds were haunted, at one time or another, by the crazy notions we have been describing, whether they recognised them as such, or mistook them for realities; that much, at least, seems certain.
Yea verily, by gad. So that's the 'cool group, the Thule Group'. That's my half-arsed MES link. And that's me off down the pub: that much is ABSOLUTELY certain. Mind how you go, Pete
From: Bruce T
Subject: (ARTICLE) Masq. Singles - THE WIRE Mar 1998
>From The Wire, March 1998
The Fall - Masquerade (Artful) 2xCD
Fall singles are now footnotes to albums, rather than entities in their own right. "Masquerade" is lifted from last year's Levitate LP, in a "Single Mix" that wipes some of the noise from the depths of the original, only to replace it with lite keyboard fills and a "spoken word" section voiced by an adolescent girl (shades of Luis Bunuel). Also from Levitate, there is a new mix of "Ten Houses of Eve," and live versions of "Spencer must die" (actually two live versions spliced into each other) and "Ol' Gang". Plus three excellent new songs, all mastered at demo tape stage, it sounds like: "Ivanhoe's Two Pence," "Scareball," and "Calendar," which sounds as if new guitarist D Gough has basterdized the riff from "House of the Rising Sun' More essential waystations on the Fall's querulous passage.
980405 CIH, Loop Lounge, Middle East Boston, Plilly
Troc reviews. Various press reports.
980331 Details of Live in Melbourne 82 CD, Smith on Smith spoken word CD, Nine Unknown Men, initial Coney Island High reports
980329 bollocks Smile comp details
980322 Vox interview, other stuff
980315 TBLY/Info service details
980308 Peel session details; US tour dates
980227 a few bits & pieces, RTL, PoSR out
980222 NME interview
980215 Destroy punk covers exhibition, Masquerade single details
980207 Brats award transcript
980130 Bits on NME Award, POSR/RTL reissue details
980125 Shanley i/view
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
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