Fall News - 26 April 1998

Stefan's redesigned the home page


Camden Dingwalls on the 27th and 28th April, and Reading Alleycat on the 30th, will definitely go ahead.


Still no sign of the Peel Sessions release; waiting for Peel to do the sleeve notes apparently.

Live to Air in Melbourne 82 and Smith on Smith spoken word CD due 27th April


Gez has added links to all the recent gig photos and pics of scary-looking FallNetters:



From: Oliver Czoske
Subject: german levitate review

I bought a copy of top German quality weekly Die Zeit at Toulouse's Matabiau station on Friday, the first one since I got here two months ago and what do I find? They've finally come round to reviewing Levitate (well, it's only nine months old, isn't it...). The review is a bit of a wank, but I felt like sharing it with you. Make of it what you will... Here's my (bad) translation:

<< "There are too many bands, too many musicians. And they make music for the wrong reasons." Mark E. Smith, head [and foot] of the English group the Fall for twenty years, indefatigably spits venom against colleagues and government, against music business and imperialistic Brazil tourism. He is anti-pop, resembles a pale taxi driver who prefers earning his money honestly to selling himself to his thesis supervisor. Inconspicuous and thin, he's been singing his lyrics from Manchester since the days of punk, barking out his lectures to the news of the times. The CD-album-EP-single output has become incalculable by now, the Fall release albums as other publish newspapers, the latest edition beats the preceding one.

Therefore, before the next one comes out: On "Levitate", he recites once again little unpolished musical jewels, documentary recordings from the interior of his plastic bags. "Pretty rough music with a fairly strange voice on top", he once characterised his style. Can may be counted amongst his godfathers, Van der Graaf or Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart or Lee Perry. Some of it sounds like radio plays, broadcast over a pulsating stream of droning electronic impulses, some of it like rap-lectures to relaxed rock'n'roll trash, and often only catchphrases like "If only" stick, like "Jungle Rock", like "Pilsner Trail", like "I'm a mummy". An elogy of the old punk principle. "I don't like musicians." He hates studios, he is the great dilettant, who hears what musicians do not hear, who has instruments intentionally tuned wrong, who watches that nothing runs too smoothly. And above all, no guitarists who put themselves in power of the melody, who play solos. Instead, two drummers for the heartbeat, bass guitars for the leitmotivs and - a piano (Julia Nagle), that adds the acoustic breath, in addition a few guitar licks murmuring to the chaos of these trainspotting symphonies.

This time there are seventeen songs, spread over two CDs, and again, the Fall ignore all the laws of the market: no lyrics, an unattractive cover, dark metaphors, Fall word creations, no tour with the record. "We are the Fall", Mark E. Smith sang in concerts years ago and that's programme. One cannot find these songs better or worse: either disdain or excitement, hate or love. A rhythm, a voice, a feeling, drowning in the monotonous hammering of a truth. Not contemporary. Manchester capitalism get's to Mark E. Smith's stomach as does the wrong music. Intelligent, bitter and malign, a realist: "When I hear that Jarvis Cocker pulls so many women since he's been singing with Pulp. Nice for him. Well done, lad. I had considerably more women before joining the Fall." >>

And the German version for those of you who read Bremen Nacht in the original language....

<< "Es gibt zu viele Bands, zu viele Musiker. Und sie machen aus den falschen Gruenden Musik." Mark E. Smith, seit zwanzig Jahren Kopf und Fuss der englischen Gruppe the Fall, giftet unverdrossen gegen Kollegen und Regierung, gegen Musikbusiness und imperialistischen Brasilientourismus. Er ist Anti-Pop, aehnelt einem bleichen Taxifahrer, der lieber anstaendig sein Geld verdient, als sich an seinen Doktorvater zu verkaufen. Unscheinbar und schmaechtig, singt er seit Punk-Zeiten seine Texte aus Manchester, bellt seine Referate zu Nachrichten der Zeit. Unueberschaubar ist mittlerweile der CD-Alben-Maxi-Single-Ausstoss, the Fall veroeffentlichen Musik wie andere Zeitungen, die neueste Ausgabe erschlaegt die letzte.

Also, bevor die naechste erscheint: Auf "Levitate" rezitiert er wieder kleine ungeschliffene Musikjuwelen, Dokumentaraufnahmen aus dem Innern seiner Plastiktueten. "Ziemlich rauhe Musik mit einer reichlich seltsamen Stimme darueber", charakterisierte er einmal seinen Stil. Can darf man zu den Paten zaehlen, Van der Graaf oder Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart oder Lee Perry. Manches toent nach Hoerspielen, die ueber einem pulsierenden Strom aus droehnenden Elektroimpulsen gesendet werden, manches nach Rap-Referaten zu entspanntem Rock'n'Roll-Trash, und oft setzen sich nur Schlagworte wie "If Only" fest, wie "Jungle Rock", wie "Pilsner Trail", wie "I'm a mummy". Ein Lob des alten Punk-Prinzips. "Ich mag keine Musiker." Er hasst Studios, er ist der grosse Dilettant, der hoert, was Musiker nicht hoeren, der Instrumente absichtlich falsch stimmen laesst, der aufpasst, dass nichts zu glatt laeuft. Und vor allem bloss keine Gitarristen, die sich der Melodie bemaechtigen, die Soli spielen. Statt dessen zwei Schlagzeuger fuer den Herzschlag, Baesse fuer die Leitmotive und - ein Klavier (Julia Nagle), das den akustischen Atem liefert, dazu ein paar Gitarrenlicks, die zum Chaos dieser Trainspotting-Symphonien murmeln.

Diesmal sind es siebzehn Songs, auf zwei CDs verteilt, und wieder ignorieren the Fall alle Gesetze des Marktes: keine lyrics, ein unattraktives Cover, Fall-Wortschoepfungen, keine Tournee zur Platte. "We are the Fall", sang Mark E. Smith vor Jahren im Konzert, und das ist ein Programm. Man kann diese Lieder nicht besser oder schlechter finden: entweder Ablehnung oder Begeisterung, Hass oder Liebe. Ein Rhythmus, eine Stimme, ein Gefuehl, ein Versinken im eintoenigen Haemmern einer Wahrheit. Unzeitgemaess. Mark E. Smith schlaegt der Manchester-Kapitalismus ebenso auf den Magen wie die falsche Musik. Intelligent, bitter und boesartig, ein Realist: "Wenn ich schon hoere, dass Jarvis Cocker so viele Frauen aufreisst, seit er bei Pulp singt. Schoen fuer ihn. Gut gemacht, Junge. Ich hatte bedeutend mehr Frauen, bevor ich bei the Fall einstieg." >> Konrad Heidkamp, Die Zeit Nr. 17/1998


From: Graham Coleman
Subject: Portrait of Venice

Photos of Venice -- Books about Venice
ISBN: *0847820351
Title: *Portrait of Venice
Author: *Giandomenico Romanelli, Mark E. Smith
Publisher: *Rizzoli In
Date Published: *August 1997

A cultural tour of over 100 residences, churches, and civic buildings that form the core of Venetian architectural history. More than 450 color
photographs depict the works of great architects and artists. Size D. 324 pp.


Subject: the rise and the fall
Date: Mon, Apr 6, 1998 3:21 PM

a little burnt at the moment but i promise a blow by blow account of what has to be THE weirdest tour ever undertaken by the bush tetras. it may be even be a book. perhaps a movie. strange but true tales. there are still two fall dates left at brownies tues/wed sans bt's, but we may do an unnannouced set on wednesday at mark e smith's request. keep ya posted. - dee >>

<<Subject: details Date: Sun, Apr 12, 1998 10:28 PM

short version -

march 30 monday @ coney island high - didn't think there was going to be any problems with the fall. even though mark e. smith has black eye. oh yeah some story about already getting thrown out of chelsea hotel. anyway, ok set by both bands. first problem of the week was actually the botswanas. they were going to open the whole tour but didn't like how the money was being divided. fall had some guy come up at the end of the night and claim he was their tour manager. was a real pain in the ass. didn't think much about it.

march 31 tuesday @ cih - still no problems. mark e. smith is charasimatic but definetly drunk. good bt set. stab city open instead of botswanas. they're cool. fall and bt's making friends. fall are pretty pathetic in terms of having their stage gear together. tommy crooks, guitarist, has problems even hooking up his effect boxs. mark kicks him as he leaves the stage. i didn't think it was violent. julia, bt bassist, thought otherwise. both nyc shows are sold out by the way

april 1 wednesday - day off.

april 2 thursday - loop lounge passaic. great bt set. get encore. fall guys mostly hanging around sleeping. mark no where to be seen. finally shows up and is in real foul mood. kicks cytnhia out f dressing room. then later myself. first face to face realiziation this guy is nasty sob. fall set is very weird. mark leaves stage a lot. band seems to be fighting with him. they do short set. playing many songs instrumental. promoter is upset. fans aren't too happy neither. bt's figure their just upset about small and not totally packed venue. i start to wonder what mark's gonna think about brownies.

april 3 friday - boston @ middle east - bt' get to boston real late. find fall there already but they don't do sound check. botswanas play again. their singer says negative stuff about the fall and are told by fall tour manager they are "sacked". bt's and fall play great sets. show is sold out. everyone goes home happy.

april 4 sat philly @ trocadero - where are the fall? where are the botswanas? where is the audience? troc holds 1200. there are maybe 400 there at the peak. botswanas are allowed to play but show up too late and don't get to anyway. bt's play safe set. nothing amazing. fall finally set up. everyone is nervous if mark wil make the gig. he shows up really drunk. lots of in band fighting. after first song they leave the stage angry. audience is really confused. it's like passaic again only worse. the band leaves stage letting mark and julie, their keyboard player, to finish set alone. as i pack up their keyboard player asks me about musiems in dc, seemingly oblivious to the night events. after the set, the members of the fall drive off leaving mark behind. i spot mark walking in back alley of troc. he's drunk and i find him a very sad figure. mark gets put into a hotel in philly. i wonder if there will be a show in dc the next night.

april 5 sunday dc @ black cat. - bt's get to dc first. then members of the fall. the fall are using bt's equipment for the tour and are keeping it in their van. after unloading we realize stuff is missing and has been stolen in ny. our bass head, their keyboards, one of their guitars and a bag of their cymbals. everyone is now faily anxiety ridden. despite this bt's play good set and the fall are simply amazing. mark is at his best and you can actually understand him. truly an amazing transformation from the night before. the band mostly without julie. good crowd but not quite sold out.

april 6 day off

april 7 - i go to work on tuesday. and find that all the stolen gear has been hocked at a music store down the block from where i work. unbelievable. we get it back minus julie's guitar which the store diddn't buy cause it was so ugly. bt's are done playing. tonight the fall play with chrome cranks. botswanas are again supposed to play but at last minute they decide not to. i'm at loss now about them. and it bothers me cause they're friends. brownies is sold out in advance and a lot of people have heard about the fall's last few shows and are expecting a freak show. chrome cranks play a solid set but people are clearly here for the spectacle and they are not let down. the fall are fighting with each other now for real onstage. and in the process smash the crank's bass amp to bits. its real ugly, dark and disturbing. everything is a shambles. i leave very queasy.

april 8 wednesday - mark is arrested in the afternoon. the band dissapears. confusion reigns. no show tonight. i work the door at brownies all night refunding money. at almost midnight julie walks up and asks what time she's on. i look at her in disbelief. it all reminds me of the sex pistols in 77. mark is let out of jail on good friday. he and julie call me for a place to crash and to borrow some quid. i can't help them.


[A fine example of rubbish pop writing this: as Graham C remarked though, it's worth it for the description of MES as a "drunk Oxford Nazi methadrine peep-show barker" Poetry indeed.]

From: John Howard
Subject: From Salon Magazine

This is the same person who wrote a review of the CIH show recently:

SALON | April 21, 1998

Cintra Wilson.

With artists, however, it isn't so easy to sort out the good and bad. They can be so much of both it's hard to decide.

I was shocked yesterday to receive more news of Mark E. Smith, seminal pop icon and leader of the post-punk band the Fall. I saw Smith sucking wildly at Coney Island High the other night, fucked-up to the point of belligerent vacancy and leaning on the equipment, his face backing into itself like an old vegetable. He had a black eye and freshly missing teeth. Apparently he was arrested a couple of days later for beating up his girlfriend/keyboardist in a Manhattan hotel room. The black eye he had was evidently dealt him by the same girlfriend -- according to an online music news source, she hit him in the face with the phone the night before while they were arguing about their hotel lodgings. Mark E. posted bail after a night in the pokey and vanished. He was still gone at the time the article was written. His band was gone, too; only the abused girlfriend showed up for the plane to the U.K. to commence a European tour. Mark E. was AWOL, with no money and no passport. Even his lawyer thought he might end up dead. His tour manager said that he is now "inebriated pretty much all the time." Mark E. Smith, a legend, a real artist, who has put out 25 great albums since 1978.

What happened? Why could nobody save him from himself? How many would-be interventions were thwarted or ineffectual? Evidently Smith has been an unsalvageable asshole for a really long time. He was, when I saw him, clearly derelict-level-unreasonable. His cheeks had that vertical pucker belonging only to diehard junkies and other party-slaves who have no nutritional liquids in their bodies -- the dimple running from eye to chin. What was most interesting about Mark E. Smith onstage was that despite his disgraceful, halfway-cured-into-jerky state, he still sounded exactly like Mark E. Smith. That inspired stiletto-slur, that drunk Oxford Nazi methadrine peep-show barker voice, as if coming from elsewhere in the universe and only using Smith as a perverse telephone, spookily prevailed.

I tried to find out what happened to Mark E. -- the Fall News fan source online only offered one sentence about the whole travesty -- "Mark is safe." Really? I want to think Mark E. is safe. I want to think Mark E. is "good." I can't tell if he is or isn't. She hit him with a phone.

Recent news....

980419 NME online report, Lathe of Heaven
980414 Wire Levitate review
980410 More Philly reviews, Black Cat DC, NY Brownies reviews. Loads of stuff on the Thule group. Select interview from January
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
Peel session details; US tour dates
980227 a few bits & pieces, RTL, PoSR out
980222 NME interview
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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