Fall News - 18 Jan 1999

The Fall's Peel Sessions album will be released on the 25 January on the Strange Fruit label.logo-a-go-go

Inch, recorded with Manchester producers DOSE and Spectre, will be released on February 15 on the Regal label. The track will be backed with three remixes. Hear the intro here.

The new Fall album's will be released on 25 Feb or 1 Mar, on Artful. The single might be delayed til after the album's out, at the record company's behest.


Derek Westerholm:

the new Fall album is mentioned in the newest edition of MOJO.

Something about how what must be the 28th line-up of The Fall are set to release a new album which climaxes with... [hazy part approaches here] "The (something or other) Cryer"; a song trilogy based on the Mayor of Canterbury by Thomas Hardy.
Smith is also slated to be subject of a channel 4 documentary.


From: Graham Coleman
Subject: <fallnet> Mayor of Casterbridge

The eminent critic H.C.Duffin (you know the chap) is quoted as saying that The Mayor of Casterbridge is 'the most hopeless book ever written. The tone of the telling, in the latter half of the story is stony despair.'

Anyone who wants to wade through it for sightings of a 'Crying Marshall' and why he might turn up on the next Fall album (rather than on an old Fairport Convention album) can find the whole thing at http://www.bibliomania.com/Fiction/hardy/mayor/index.html

Thomas Hardy's cat ate his heart, you know.


From NME:
ELASTICA have covered 1980s bubblegum Euro-hit 'Da Da Da' by one-hit-wonders Trio for their forthcoming album, according to their latest producer Marc Waterman. He also said another track he has produced, 'Mad Dog', was a "three-minute pop ditty" and was being tipped as the new single, which he said would be released this spring. Waterman is the fourth producer to have worked on Elastica's second album. The follow-up to their 1995 eponymous debut, it was initially slated for release in early 1997. He said he had worked on four or five songs that would appear on the as-yet untitled record. Other producers who worked on the project included Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails), Bruce Lampcov (The Pretenders) and Richard Norris (The Grid). Waterman believes the finished album will include 17 songs. Speaking to American newspaper USA Today, he said that the album also features former Elastica bassist Annie Holland, Linoleum guitarist Paul Jones and The Fall's Mark E Smith, as previously reported by NME.


Subject: <fallnet> "Uncut" Feb 1999 20 Best Manchester albums - Dave Simpson


1. Closer
2. Stone Roses
3. Unknown Pleasures
4. Technique
5. The Queen is Dead
6. Secondhand Daylight
7. Definitely Maybe
8. The Smiths
9. Power, Corruption & Lies
10. What Does Anything Mean Basically?
11. Electronic
12. Love Bites
13. Grotesque
14. Low-life
15. LC (Duritti Column)
16. Bummed
17. To Each... (ACR)
18. Tellin' Stories (Charlatans)
19. Music for Pleasure (Monaco)
20. It's Great When You're Straight Yeah

Delivered by arguably the finest Fall line-up of Smith, Riley, Hanley (P), Hanley (S), and Scanlan, Grotesque utilised souped-up Mancabilly and Can/Velvet Underground soundscapes to perfectly showcase Mark E Smith's terminal worldview. With songs such as English Scheme and Container Drivers, Smith's compulsive, surrealist raging insights delved through the detrius of poverty-mutated regionalised life to deliver a withering, demonised deconstruction of the English class structure. Fiery pop indictment: English groups act like peasants with free milk. On a route..to the loot" (No UK chart placing)

then on p. 70-71 Mancunian Candidates, 20 etc etc

Mark E Smith
Job: withering wordsmith
A pivotal figure, Smith has fronted The Fall for 22 years, in which he has created his own, mutated, new form of horror and unleashed a succession and powerful observations into the minutae of (mainly) British life. Originally tagging himself "white crap that talks back" Smith has extended rock into philosophy and science fiction, earning favourable comparisons to everyone from Wyndham Lewis to Camus. Nowadays, Mark appears to be enjoying a new role as a bile-filled cantankerous maximus - yes, pop's own Victor Meldrew.
Current whereabouts: various Salford pubs

(pic from NME Xmas thing with Paul Heaton)


Steve Dean:

Welli or locale based fuckfaces will find two works of interest at the current show from the BNZ Collection which takes place at the Wellington City Art Gallery (admission free).

Two works are displayed by Bill Hammond, (accompanying cards as below)


Bill Hammond (born 1947) The Fall - Making A Move For The Good Of The Soul (1982) acrylic on wood <no size given but its about 14 inch by 14 inch>

It depicts a man with a quiff climbing over a surreal fence, there are red curtains, the angles are flat



Bill Hammond The Lay Of The Land - The Fall (1985) acrylic on wooden panels 1480 x 1900mm

It would take me a year and a half to describe this thing, it has "It's the Lay Of The Land, My Son" written across the top corner of it and different surreal impressions of NZ landscapes, it is a comment on NZ landscape painting as much as anything as the type of mountains expressed are common in NZ Art and life - hopefully Alan and Rex will give a completer description of this once they've seen it.


Pete Conkerton contributed the following PNM review to a Lovecraft fanzine:

Review - Mark E. Smith - The Post Nearly Man

Beloved only of John Peel and a select few others, Mark E Smith's band The Fall have produced an impressive body of work over the last twenty years. Often dismissed as post-punk noise terrorists, The Fall are in fact an unfailingly innovative, often deeply affecting, and consistently challenging commentary on the darker corners of modern life.

Smith is fascinated by the strangeness of everyday life ("Suburbia hides more than you care for", he once remarked), secret histories, the occult, and the power of language. His writing techniques, refined through a remarkably prolific output, seem at first glance to rely heavily on Burroughsian cut-up techniques, but on closer examination reveal a unity of purpose and a determination to convey meaning without employing conventional narrative.

Smith's interest in Lovecraft, M R James et al has surfaced regularly over the years in oblique rants and skewed melodies, and is perhaps shown to best effect on teh 1979 album Dragnet. Escewing the cartoon shock-horror beloved of heavy-metal bands and the gothic gloom of the Bauhaus/Siouxsie axis, Dragnet remains the most genuinely frightning record that I know of. The music is a clenched claustrophobic (many would say unlistenable) mire throuhg which Smith threads some startling imagery - "A Figure Walks" and "Spectre vs. Rector" (Yog-Sothoth references passim) are the very definition on uneasy listening.

So. after thirty-odd Fall albums, we arrive at Smith's first 'solo' album, recorded during a particularly frenetic period of line-up changes. The Fall have always been Smith and whichever musicians he felt he needed at the time - one can only imagine that in this instance he felt the need to let his words take centre-stage. His, ahem, unique vocal style - chanted, ranted, whispered, muttered - is supported only by the occasional bout of electronic percussion.

The first track, "The Horror in Clay", begins thus:

[the intro - I can't be bothered to key it]

What follows is the strange tale of "a dream of dark, dripping stone". The narrative is punctuated by snatches of conversation, other voices repeat lines, and the whole is fractured, overlaid, turned in on itself and yet oddly cohesive, as indeed is the rest of the album. Divorced from the awesome roar of The Fall in full flight, Smith's words take on a rhythm and structure of their own, forming an absorbing insight into his worldview. Smith is often portrayed as a drunken Mancunian lout, wilfully perverse and awkward, but an examination of this work reveals a highly intelligent, highly individual vision. He is almost a textbook definition of 'uncompromising', but his work deserves a much higher profile and to those put off bby the pulse and clatter of The Fall this is as good a place to start as any [God help them - Rich]

The Fall's back catalogue is bewilderingly convoluted, even to the initiated, but the 458489 singles compilations are a good introduction, followed by 1985's magisterial This Nation's Saving Grace. Dragnet and the invigorating Hex Enduction Hour are almost impossible to find.


From: Graham Coleman
Interview with Marcia Schofield, 1990

(probably about 5 minutes before she was fired)

'I Married a Marcia from Outer Space' by Mick Mercer from issue one of a publication with the unpromising title of ‘Bitch Mental’ 1990

"I actually owe Mark Evelyn Smith a big favour. But for The Fall I would never have started smoking, and smoking, as we all know is good for you. Stranded at the Marquee late 78 as The Fall pounded my sensibilities, senseless and, dependent on a lift home, I procured matches and Rothman's because there simply wasn't anything better to do. To make matters worse, The Fall appeared at other gigs where my favourite bands were playing. I was a 300 a day man on several occasions - finally being forced back to the Marquee where, as luck would have it, I saw The Photos supporting, who I came to admire greatly, which places me in the horrifying position of owing Mark Endercott Smith Q.C. two favours, neither of which he can have. I purchased their first few singles out of irrational confusion, recognising that they were one of the first genuinely different independent bands who weren't clinging to subverted rock'n'roll guidelines like most Poonk bands.

Soon deciding enough was enough I was rarely confronted by this seething morass, other than the amiable 'Kicker Conspiracy' EP, until dragged along by a stern, unyielding girlfriend to watch them backing a brace of women and men cavorting in tights; their dubious behaviour somehow legitimised by the whole business masquerading as a ballet, by Michael Clarke. Even the inclusion of the blonde eggshell, Brix didn't impress me greatly. 'There' s a girl who'll end up with an embarrassing violinist that employs dated jargon IF EVER I SAW ONE!', I thought. Now, at the start of yet another bloody decade, our Editor suggests I meet Marcia the keyboard player, a pouting bundle of love by all accounts (none of them her own), as their millionth album, "Extricate", is released. Having battled my way through the expected mingey brawling, I entered a flat barely a party's throw from Stoke Newington, wondering whether she was... JUST ANOTHER PRICK IN THE FALL?

Not a bit of it. An affable and frequently amusing type, she exhibits a rare ability to encapsulate analytical points on matters musical without making herself appear shamelessly knowledgeable. She's a weird one though. A classically trained school play and choir accompanist, her late teenage life of licentious behaviour revolved around the twin peaks of CBGB's and Max's Kansas City when ostensibly a University student. In these hallowed halls she flexed melodic muscles with the Outsets (Richard Hell's backing boys), former Dead Boys, even surviving a jam session with Mrs Beeton's favourite son, Iggy Pop. She has collaborated on various vinyl experiments through the years, sometimes with her permission, sometimes not. Album work with Lynn Todd, Kid Congo and Barry Adamson, and a single with US Ape (now in Washington Squares), and these days with The Fall allowing a lot of free time jumps at any opportunity just for the Hell of it, and they don 't come more Hellish than Barkmarket, whose second album features her graceful stirrings inside their scatological torture. What she played me sounded worryingly good.

Nine years ago, when a Fall fan, she joined a post-Gang of Four outfit, Khmer Rouge, whose drummer provided many a Fall cover painting. This lasted four years until The Fall lost a keyboard player, and having seen Marcia play when they shared a bill, the offer went to her first, specifically an immediate tour of Austria. She agreed and through the post came ten Fall albums and written instructions, before she was rushed overseas. All this took place five years ago, but she can remember the fear like it was only yesterday. "Oh, we had a gig in Ipswich, a kind of rehearsal. It was packed and I had to walk onstage with all these scraps of paper with notes written down. The soundcheck was the first time I'd played with these guys. Terrifying! For the encore they did two songs I'd never even heard before! Talk about baptism by Fire... Mark always says, 'That was your best gig with us'." We can all understand the monumental ego madness of singers and guitarists, and the emotional retardation of bassists and drummers, but keyboard players?

Surely it must be boring standing up there, plonking away? What is the appeal? "Part of the reason I kept with keyboards was I started at four, and by the time I got interested in playing with bands I could express myself on keyboards and it was laborious to express myself on guitar. I tried playing bass for a while, in my Tina Weymouth infatuation phase, but I fell in love with Hammond organs and just went wild, except in those days everyone wanted you to sound like Jimmy Destri... some crap Farfisa. It's amazing all the people I run into who were forming punk bands in punk days, Mark Smith included, are in love with that Farfisa sound. If you try and get a nice deep organ sound they don't like it. 'Oh no, no, it's too churchey, too Heavy Metal!' The thinnest sounds work best with this kind of music."

Ah, yes, this 'kind' of music. Anorexically austere, the added Fall aristocracy will always, whatever the record label, be seen as Indiedom Personified; invertebrates in all but hat size. A real slog. "Our detractors say that a lot," she shrugs, "it just goes on and on, it's endless', a lot of the fans love that repetition. The people in the band don't write in a very 'musical' way, like 'musicians' who write verse/chorus disciplined Rock structures. "lt doesn't help that the sounds are always the same, brash and clanging. When I first heard The Fall I thought it was hysterical - all that jaunty Play School kids' tune with this manic guy screaming over it. It's really funny. There's a lot of humour in The Fall people miss because The Fall has become such a tall grey institution. This Monolithic Band. This Impenetrable Riff.

"It's a good show," runs the human brochure. 'The Fall are one of the few bands that can actually play live, and Mark's a good thing for an audience to watch because he's such an amazing person. This gut walking round with this megaphone and Iectern stand. There's papers flying everywhere, he's crouching down in the monitors, yelping and screeching these long diatribes. It's quite hypnotic." Sounds adorable. And if he's so bloody amazing why doesn't he go and LIVE in Russia'.' "I've often compared The Fall to An Office From Hell; me, Simon and Craig are the typing pool, Steve's the office manager, Brix was the p.a. and Mark's the boss, who's in his office."

Have you had a direct influence, bringing to The Gall [sic] something you always believed they needed? "I've had no influence on the way the keyboard sounds. There's not one guy banging on a Snoopy piano any more, that's for sure. When Brix was in the band there was a lot of arguments about structure, because no-one was really aware about the structure of a song, so songs went on and on without any foreseeable end or beginning. Or middle! There is much more dynamics now. I think that has to do with working with Michael Clark. The sound has changed so much because of that. We had to be so disciplined and if anything I got really yelled at because I was the only one in the band who could keep everyone to a set arrangement at a set tempo, and people kept saying, ' You're becoming really dictatorial, stop telling us what to do!' "That was really exciting. There's so much instant gratification to see people acting out your music in front of you. It was a dangerous thing to do. Every night everything had to be exact or the choreography didn't work and the band didn't work and we did every single night without making a mistake. Incredible!' "In The Fall as a keyboard player I'm so lucky. I get to play door slams and explosions and anything I want. As a keyboard player that's really great. My technique suffers, because playing with your elbows is not as good as using all ten fingers, but how many keyboard players get to play with their elbows?"

What do you get out of it specifically? "Fame, fortune and a lovely home. Just look around you!" Across the room two cockroaches eye me suspiciously through stolen binoculars. "Look at all the benefits I'm reaping! No, I get to see the world for free. All the innovative things of the music of the 80's came out of keyboard technologies and I've gotten to use all of it. I get onstage and play whatever I want and I can re-write what it is to be a keyboard player. You'll never see me sitting there bored. Do you write your own songs? "If someone asks me to write a song I fell they've asked me to step in front of a firing squad. I have demos I've done at home but I've never played them to anyone. I'd be too scared. They'd just go, 'Oh! How naff!"' The dreadful thing about keyboard players is you always suspect they've been beavering away on a secret magnum opus for years. "Oh my goodness, you've found out!" she squeals, astride her dam. "My fifteen hour opera comes out next week. Every keyboard player says, 'being in a band is all night,for now, but in two years I'm going to write a soundtrack'. I'm not into that. Hopefully in fifteen years time I'll be doing something completely different that I love equally as much."

SYNTH OF THE FLESH Did the inclusion of Brix help detract any flak from you that snail-like Fall oiks might have hurled! "Yeah, but I'm The Invisible Girl in The Fall and always have been. I like that. It means I don't get nutter fans, and journalists taking pictures of my tits." Funnily enough it's time to take photographs, without even a hint of cleavage. Reposing in a chair, with something red in her hair and fingers interlaced, she asks, 'How's this?'. Rather Joan Baez, I suggest. "It's very Joan Baez" she sniggers, hastily snatching up a baseball and matching glove. How do people react when she tells them what she does? 'They don't believe I'm in The Fall. They think The Fall are dour, a John Smith's commercial. I think they're all really fun stimulating to talk to and all genuinely interested in music. We have a lot in common."

What are the fans like? "We're not a teenybop or student band. We're at the stage where we're speaking to people the same age as us. It isn't an anorak / wearing glasses type, it's thirty year olds who work for the civil service, a total conformist on the outside, but on the inside there's a real rebel." What happens after a gig? "Everybody sits in the dressing room dead silent and doesn't talk. At first it freaked me out. I thought, 'they all hate me, they won't talk to me!' but they're from the North, they don't feel the need to fill a room with speech. Now it's like, Wow, it's really peaceful not having to do an autopsy. "Then people came in, like German kids: 'Yes, the third song was really fine, and really tight, and the fourth song I thought...' and its like, 'okay'. Collector types come in and chat away and they're the people who when I was first in the band made me feel really welcome because they said, 'Oh, we really like the band with you in' and I thought, Great! because some people said, 'Yeah, you're really making a difference', as opposed to a couple of nasty types who said, 'Fucking Hell, another GIRL in the band! It's gone really downhill, this band!' like 'there goes the neighbourhood!"' This reminded me I had to battle my way back to civilisation. When my intrusive technology has been shoved back into its expensive protective Sainsbury's bag, Marcia shows me an interesting trick involving a deranged cat and a mattress. You'd like her. An American Beowulf in London."


From: Graham Coleman
Subject: <fallnet> Defiantly respectable (UtCon)

This is by Kevin Pearce, 1996, from www.tangents.co.uk - I vaguely remember Peel playing some yelping Ut-music.

"That reference to The Fall was deliberate, for back in the days of the NYC No Wave, Ut were Anglophiles, very much drawn to the revolutionary experimental pop of The Fall. just as the girls from Luscious Jackson were fascinated by The Slits and the Rough Trade stable. Legend has it how Ut corresponded with The Fall and how kind Mark E Smith was when Ut came over to the UK in the early '80s. Certainly the traces are there in the Ut sounds: that scratchy Bramah hallmark, and the hostility towards the conventions of rock.

..." I used to think that it was great how Saint Etienne used to cover The Fall's 'Choc-Stock', proving how melody was the underpinning on the rickety racket of 'Dragnet', and it's the same with 'In Ut's House'. I've always been fascinated that no matter how harsh and extreme Ut's music may be, and how chilling their howls and tortured yelps sound, in pictures they have always looked defiantly respectable, as befits Fall fans."

There's another Fall ref in his piece on the Go-Betweens. Anyone seen the graffiti?

..." listening to '16 Lovers Lane' on my walkman, on a busy (but not too!) commuter train wondering what my fellow travellers are listening to, reading, passing Blackheath where still the graffiti says "I feel like Alan Minter", though I never have nudged my neighbour and said "Go on then, what Fall song does that come from?" However, I sit at my desk and sing: "I tried to tell you, I can only say it when we’re apart. About this storm inside of me and how I miss your quiet, quiet heart."'


Subject: <fallnet> Manchester Evening News, 29 Dec 1998

Couple of bits in this worth passing on. No mention of the Ritz gig, but small Fallcon in interview with Jeff Noon about shopping centres:

"The best way of turning darkness into light is art - that's what it was invented for. Certain rock groups in the past most definitely plugged into it and made it into something else - people like The Fall, Joy Division and The Smiths. But even in my short six-year writing career Manchester has changed. I call it Post-Oasis Manchester, and what you get with Manchester is a hardening of the soul"

Plus these top letters:

Friends and I are sick of seeing Tony Blair's teeth and having his words thrown at us every day by the media. We hope he is paying for all this self-advertising out of his own pocket. We should have at least one Blair-free day a week. It would be braver of him to present his threats to Saddam Hussein in person. (Republican, Blackpool)


Entertainment has never had as many young comedians as it does today. And what a sad, sick, sorrowful lot they are. Take the ghastly Lily Savage. Angry, bitter, chip on the shoulder, and totally unfunny to me. How Liverpool, the city that gave us Doddy, Ted Ray, Arthur Askey and the great Tommy Handley, could produce such a dreadful character amazes me. Today's wannabe comics should read about and model themselves on the past masters - Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, the Marx brothers, Abbott & Costello, Bob Hope, George Burns, Jack Benny, Tony Hancock and Morecambe & Wise. They always strived for perfection. I was in Western Australia years ago when Bob Hope appeared there. About two weeks before he did, his team arrived to find out what made the country tick. When Bob took the stage, he knew more about Australia than most Aussies did! He knew everything because he made sure he did. He was a perfectionist. Compare him, and the other greats, to the crude, uncouth, scruffy, foul-mouthed trollops we have today. (Eric Firth, Bradford, W. Yorks)

Recent news....
990110 NME LA2 review, modern rock sociology
990103 Manchester Ritz reviews
981220 Bristol F&F and London LA2 reviews, cut-out-and-keep guide to recent reissues
981214 NME & MM short pieces
981206 Dazed and Confused interview
981130 Nottingham 92 sleevenotes
981123 NME and MM news items
nothing special
981109 Peel session reactions
981102 Melody Maker singles review, Action Records details
981026 St Bernadette's Hall reviews, Astoria ticket details, Nottingham 92 album
981019 various
981009 NME interview, TBLY #13
981005 F-olding Money lyrics, couple of PNM reviews, Simon Rodgers' career
980927 Live Various Years details/review, 1994 interview
980920 more snippets
980914 bits & pieces
980907 NME interview, Post Nearly Man reviews, Mojo's How to Buy The Fall, Something Beginning With O
980831 Inertia tour details
980825 various snippets
980817 Observer interview, Manchester and LA2 gig reports
980811 Melody Maker interview, Live Various Years details, previews. Rick.
980802 Spoken word LP press release, Northern Attitude key & sleevenotes, Edwyn Collins, TBLY #12 details

Old stuff: Nov 1997 - July 1998

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