Touch Sensitive single is out.
New album The Marshall Suite will be released on April 19
All venues take advance credit card booking unless noted otherwise:
|May 3||Leicester, Princess Charlotte||£8.00||0115 912 9000|
|Leeds, Irish Centre||£9.00||0113 248 0887
(CC booking: Jumbo Records - 0113 245 5507)
|May 5||Birmingham, The Foundry||£7.00||0121 643 6101|
|May 6||Brigton Centre (east wing), Brighton (change from Hove)||£8.00||0870 9009100|
|May 7||Salisbury, Arts Centre||£9 adv / £10 door||01722 321744|
|May 8||Hastings, The Crypt||£8.00||01273 709709|
|May 9||Sheffield, University||£8.50 adv/£9.50 door||0114 222 8777|
|May 10||Cheltenham, The Attic||£8.00||01242 516645 (Credit card booking: 01242 250002)|
|May 11||Cambridge, The Junction||£9 adv/ £10 door||01223 511511|
|May 12||Southend, Chinnery's||£8 adv / £9 door||01702 460440 (pay on door)|
|May 13||Luton, Venue 21||£10adv / £11 door||01582 749740|
|May 14||London, The Forum||£11.00 adv||0171 344 0044|
COOL FOR CHATS
Live on your computer next week
nme.com's upcoming web chat features Mark E Smith on Thursday April 15 at 7 pm (we have every faith in his punctuality).
The Fall have just made one of the best albums in years. You can talk to Mark about 'The Marshall Suite', the new Fall line-up, his recent, ahem, 'troubles' - whatever you want (though we can't really guarantee he'll answer them).
Thanks to Gez, the chart entry for Touch Sensitive::
1 FLAT BEAT......................................Mr. Oizo (F Comm./PIAS)
2 WITCH DOCTOR............................................Cartoons (EMI)
3 HONEY TO THE BEE..............................Billie (Innocent/Virgin)
102 TOUCH SENSITIVE / FOLD IN MONEY......................The Fall (Artful)
Friday, 16 April, Channel 4 11:10 pm
THE ADAM AND JOE SHOW
The bedroom-based comedy show hosted by Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish returns for a third, six-part series. This week, the toys enact Saving Private Ryan and the vinyl justice squad raid the record collection of Mark E Smith.
From Select, May 1999, p.85
THE FALL The Marshall Suite
·Fresh from guesting on a track on the forthcoming Elastica album and being the subject of Suede's 'Implement Yeah!' B-side, Mark E Smith releases his 24th - at least - album proper. It's the first to feature the new line-up that formed after the old FaIl violently split onstage in New York in 1997.
Mark E Smith acknowledges the two main charges against him in the first two lines of the opening 'Touch Sensitive': "If you don't say it's very cold/You are a drunk or too old." There was the feeling that the 'difficult' 42 year old who hates musicians mightn't have survived losing collaborators of 20 years, but the upheaval has clearly spooked him into making a renewed effort. A varied and strange album, expected Fall requirements of tangential freakishness and nagging pop lucidity are at their highest levels for some time. The rockabilly of 'F-Olding Money' and the 10p-synth punk of This Perfect Day' (covers of Tommy Blake's ancient C&W bad-luck hootenanny and '60s US garage punk from The Saints, respectively) go back to the roots of early '80s Fall, while the three-song 'Antidote Suite' parodies the Marx Brothers and thrashes like Led Zep. 'The Crying Marshall Suite', apparently inspired by Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, is full-on, taped-at-a-seance Smith dementia and includes the bizarre love ballad 'Birthday Song'. Either the sound of someone trying and failing to be commercial or a man attempting to disorientate those who think they know his every trick, it contains everything that makes The Fall indispensable. And while the basslines aren't up to the ones ex-member Steven Hanley used to make, you can't dismiss it as 'just another Fall album-ah'.
From Q, May 1999, p.106, 126-127
The Fall The Marshall Suite
New line-up, new album from Salford symbolist poet and crotchety musicologist.
As a body o[ work, Mark E. Smith's legacy with The Fall represents a never-ending rites of passage trek through literature, music and social science. Smith has remained a pontificating bedsit icon for over 20 years. The Marshall Suite offers another grab-bag of influences and ideas. There's even a homage to rockabilly on F-'Olding' Money and plenty or background noise to add to the scruffy ambience. But whatever the backdrop, it's Smith's well-honed wordplay and the alcohol/adrenaline rush accompanying each salvo that adds character. His words seem jumbled, almost as if he's stumbling through his prose like an old beatnik raconteur set to a puckish drone. He grumbles convincingly, unleashing the odd classic one-liner for good measure. No change there, then.
The Light User Syndrome
They had joy they had fun they had seasons in the sun
There are now more Fall albums than there are people in America. Dragnet is The Fall' second album from a distant time (1979) when no-one suspected that Mark E Smith's productivity might in fact be not finite. It's noticeable for some of Smith's best songs (and titles: Spectre vs Rector, Psykick Dancehall, Muzorewi's Daughter) and for a production that sounds like the whole thing was recorded on a home cassette recorder in a multi-storey car park (indeed the engineer is thanked "for his trust").
In contrast, The Light User Syndrome is from the recent shiny semi-pop era,
all Brix Smith, good production and photographs by people who get paid to
take photographs. Naturally, it sounds nothing like a commercial record,
and its best songs - including additional track The Chiselers - roll mightily
and scarily at the listener like a rockabilly version of The Whicker
The latest version of Jeff Higgott's comprehensive Fall discography is up at http://fall.cjb.net
While we're waiting for TBLY 15 from Rob, I put together the last radio + transcripts I did when I was a drooling eejit about four years ago. As a follow-up to issue 6, which was full of 'em. At last translated from my dusty old Amstrad, at last destined for the knackers yard.
The Biggest Library Yet 15.1
Thanks to Cog Sinister for the tracklist and sleevenotes for the forthcoming Live 77 CD:
Bingo Master's Breakout
Futures and Pasts
Listen hard and you might learn something!
Earlier than ever, vintage, Mancunian crap-rapping, live and dangerous. Good stuff this! New old songs you've never heard, versions unknown and, possibly for the first time in the history of The Fall, the bass player's final gig.
Starting out on a long, hard trip through the outer reaches of the music scene, this is The Fall - snotty, exciting and storming with gall and confidence.
Hidden at the back of MES's bedroom cupboard for the last twenty-odd years, this was never a high-fidelity recording. Be warned that, even after we've done everything possible to clean up the tape, it still sounds like a bootleg made on a first-generation cassette recorder. Having said that, it's priceless, awe-inspiring, raw, grinding punk-rock stuff, full of bile and humour in roughly equal amounts.
Nothing from this early gig has ever been released elsewhere; "Dresden Dolls", "Hey Fascist", "Cop It" (approximate title) and The Fall's masterful take on "Louie Louie" have never been available anywhere until now.
Stefan: Thanks to Rick Leach for sending me this article from Underground mag.
Mick Middles, "The North Will Rise" Underground, November 1987, pp. 22-23
April 1977. Seventy badly dressed Mancunians wearily drag their Newcastle Brown bottles towards the crumbling wooden appendage which, through a heavily intoxicated vision, might pass for a stage. We are in a smelly shack known for obvious reasons as the The Squat Club. As it is situated arrogantly adjacent to Manchester's plush and pretentious Contract Theatre, the Squat Club seems to be the perfect place for punks to gather. Four males and one female lift themselves from the crowd and assembly on the stage. They look, with the exception of the female, like a Tarmac gang. Even in this slovenly environment, the band's dress sense seems stunningly drab. The music they begin to produce completes the scene. A clumsy rock base is topped by a tinkly and wildly out of tune keyboard. But there's something about that singer... something exquisitely menacing.
"THE PSYCHIATRISTS MUST BE KILLED" he spits, with charismatic menace. Instantly I forgive him for wearing the most horrendous pink silk shirt known to man. At the front of the crowd, three fanzine editors duck as the singer's mic stand swings dangerously close to their heads. It is probably at this point that they decide to interview the band called The Fall.
Four months later, Fall manager Kay Carroll yelps with delight as the song, called Psycho Mafia, spits forth from the tiny Dansette on the mantelpiece. The surrounding flat is a vision of downmarket Bohemia. Sixties underground posters hug the walls, cigarette ends spill form the ashtrays and beer cans congregate by the feet of Mark E. Smith. He smiles with a faint whiff of cynicism as John Peel's voice replaces his own embittered drawl. John Peel has just played his first Fall record. Nobody realises the significance of the occasion.
As we are in 1977, we must realise that the music press of the day, whilst being full of spirit and fire, is also full of rather embarrassing naivete. Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill, in search of a figurehead for their battle against the National Front, stumble across a bunch of antagonistic proles called The Fall at the Marquee. Impressed by the band's spirit, by their working class appearance and by their undiluted 'northerness,' the deadly duo invite Smith and Carroll down to the NME offices. The idea is to attach the tag, "The band who stand against the NF" to the Fall's shoulders, placing the band on the cover of the said organ. The idea is despicable. Furious at being seen as pawns in the NME's patronising little game, Smith and Carroll erupt and huge argument is followed by Burchill running tearfully out of the office. Parsons, meanwhile, assures the offended pair that his intentions are honourable, that the scam is more than a mere ego trip. With timing that is, at best, unfortunate, Nick Kent pops his head round the door. "Tony," he states in excitable tones, "Are you coming" We are all having our pictures taken." This isn't the first time The Fall refuse the chance of an NME cover story as a matter of principle. Needless to say, the band Parsons and Burchill regarded as the great working class hope, fails to receive a single mention in their diatribe of the times, The Boy Looked at Johnny.'
Ten years later, Mark E. Smith sits smugly in the Prestwich house he shares with this wife, Brix. He scans The Fall's discography with pride before handing me this impressive list. Substance indeed. My mind flashes back across the memories provided by the astonishing 20 singles and 12 albums. Remember the Buzzcocks pastiche, It's the New Thing? The totally dry Totally Wired which dented the top ten in New Zealand, or the hilarious football hymn, Kicker Conspiracy? No band has ever captured the absurdity of ordinary working class life as effectively as The Fall. Mark E. Smith has consistently used the surrealism of his own back yard to colour his bizarre aural poetry.
Significantly, Mark and Brix's house is situated less than 100 yards from Smith's former primary school. He clearly still loves the area and literally dreads the day when his fame may elevate him, no doubt kicking and screaming, from his beloved ordinariness. Still, with the chart activity of their cover of R. Dean Taylor's There's a Ghost in My House earlier this year, Smith was flirting with this possibility.
"The hit record did make things easier for us," he states philosophically. "Since then it's been better for us when we play. It is weird round here. The people are dead proud of the Fall. They are genuinely pleased for us which surprised me because, just prior to Ghost, I was dreading it. We do get kids standing outside the house, which I've always had to some extent but now it's nine or ten year-olds which I don't really like."
There have been other breakthroughs this year. I for one, never thought I'd see The Fall play Reading or, even worse, supporting the godawful U2.
"Reading was ... well, I wouldn't like to be in that scene. It was really depressing to see 20,000 Quo fans all aged about 35 and all pissed out of their heads. There were about 3,000 people at the front to see us and 20,000 behind them throwing stuff. As far as U2 is concerned, I didn't want to play it. We actually played to do them a favour as the previous band dropped out, but the press attacked us for playing for the money. To feel the hatred from the U2 fans was great. I know U2 are all religious and we must have seemed like a bunch of Satanists to that crowd. They bombarded us but we didn't care, we could handle it. Incidentally, the Mission flopped after us, as they did at Reading ... ha! Well, the idea was to play those big gigs and then stop playing until January."
However, in the midst of this gigless period -- their first for nine years -- The Fall have released a single. Called, rather aptly, Hit the North, it sees the band in a fiery hip hop mood. With a nod towards the scene that has replaced the northern soul phenomenon, Hit the North aims to take Smith's subversive genius back onto the northern dancefloors. It's a noticeably attractive record; is it, I wonder, a play for a second hit? Smith shrugs before admitting, " Yeah, maybe. I don't see why not, there's nothing better up there."
Which is hardly the point, but never mind. There is another project at hand, a new record label which should see Smith delving into his extensive back catalogue.
"The label will be called Cog Sinister Records Limited. The first release, on November 28, will be a compilation of Fall stuff from the Rough Trade period. I don't wish to exploit this, it's simply a way of letting people get hold of old Fall stuff. I have all the old Fall tapes stored upstairs and all the publishing rights. This stems back to the days when I used to rip contracts up. I just didn't believe in them which, I'm telling you, was insanity at the time. But now it's proved worth it. It was worth starving the band for."
Believe me, The Fall have endured their fair share of lean periods. Happily, although hardly encumbered by wealth, Mark and Brix are languishing in hard earned mild comforts. Brix slides home from an Adult Net practice session in her BMW as, get this, two leather filofaxes sit conspicuously on the table.
Brix exudes ambition. A single minded, competitive and highly talented lady, she literally shakes with frustration at a minor setback. Apparently the present members of her spin-off band The Adult Net (amazingly, Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke and Craig Gannon) have displayed a reluctance to go on tour with the unit. The conversation begins to drift towards the sordid demise of Joyce and Rourke's former house of employment, the Smiths. Not wishing to hear the gruesome details I drag Mark E. Smith out and away in the general direction of the local off licence. Outside in the street a gang of repulsive 13 year olds search for ways of causing pointless trouble. Mark E. Smith looks on with an uncharacteristic wistful air.
"I used to be just like them, causing trouble in the streets. I used to think it was really good."
He is openly proud of these kids and their unpretentious local suss. Unlike certain other Mancunian stars, Smith has not evolved into a paranoiac tragedy. He has more sense than that. He is quite uniquely, unchanged.
Thanks to Rick Leach for sending me this clipping from The Hit mag.
Richard Lowe, "Fall Out" The Hit, ca. September 1985, pp. 15-16
It's hard to imagine a more unlikely combination than the Fall on Motown. The group's cacophony of jarring noise and the haywire ranting of Mark E. Smith nestling alongside Lionel Ritchie in the catalogues; the Mancunian misfits enrolling at Berry Gordy's charm school and taking lessons in deportment and choreography.
But Mark E. Smith insists that it very nearly happened.
"It's true. The Motown office in Britain were going to sign all these English groups, all the 'hot' ones they'd read about in the papers. I had a letter and everything but it was vetoed by the big fat cats in L.A. I think they heard that track on 'Hex Enduction Hour' with the line about obligatory niggers.
"It was hilarious. They gave me this LP from Rare Earth, this ecology group, first white group on Motown and were going on about how we were going to be the second. I just thought it was so funny. They did us a favour really because loads of companies started chasing us when they heard Motown were interested."
All this happened as recently as 1984. The result for the Fall was a contract with Beggars Banquet.
"The Beggars thing came out of the blue. We were at a very low ebb and massively in debt, because I was determined never to record for Rough Trade again. I'd rather starve.
"Nowadays you have to be part of this smug independent music scene or part of a big corporate group. I think we're somewhere in the middle. The great thing about being on Beggars is that you can get stuff out when you want it out, which is what independent labels never do.
"A lot of these indie labels are just hypocrites. They make out they're doing you a big favour but really the groups are starving and they're just making money out of them. They're like a very communal hippy organization."
What about this idea that The Fall have become "an institution," releasing the same old stuff for the same audience?
"I don't think that's true at all. I think every record we do is different. The Fall only look like an institution because most groups only have a span of about two or three years before they die or go solo or whatever. But I set out to be a writer, long term, and The Fall never were going to be a novelty group.
"Our audience changes all the time. We got rid of all the trendy Rough Trade types by a fine, deliberate process. I used to go out of my way to annoy these people. Like when the Bunnymen came along with all that raincoat stuff, I went out of my way to be very proletarian, very anti-student. The Fall always react to what's going on and take the opposite avenue."
Are you trying to appeal to a more poppy audience?
"No. We don't try to appeal to anyone deliberately, but we are getting a younger audience. I'm not sure if our stuff should be heard by people under 13--I don't think it's fair on them. It's a bit dangerous really, you're playing around with very young heads there.
"Like when I was 12 I didn't even have a record player in the house--I never use to listen to records at all. When you're nine or ten you don't need to be listening to Culture Club, which is what's happening now. I think that's a bit wrong.
"Like they've got rid of that Junior Showtime where they used to play Nellie the Elephant and all those novelty records. All that's gone now and kids are listening to pop music when they're bloody nine.
"It makes me laugh though to see all these groups taking themselves so seriously. Like that Boy George reckons he's dead culturally important when all his record buyers are like eleven.
"We're not going for that audience. I don't care if we don't get played on daytime radio--there're a lot of homos on their now, it's no great triumph, an easy victory. Fall records don't get played because we use feedback and swear words, which is fair enough really."
Swear words or not, Mark's due to appear on Saturday Live ("the earliest time The Fall have played on Radio 1") for a cosy tea-time chat with Richard Skinner about the new LP, "This Nation's Saving Grace." He looks a frightening figure in his long leather trenchcoat as he hovers in the Radio 1 foyer pulling hard on his ciggie and draining a can of lager.
In fact, he's friendly, charming and polite, but a sharp-tounged commentator on today's pop.
"We don't really fit into the current music scene and we never have. We're outsiders, but we're survivors,. We wouldn't want to fit in anyway because the music scene now reminds me very much of what it was like in 1972. It's very similar, all musos and machines.
"Like Frankie Goes To Hollywood for example. That song they've got's alright but it's just faggot disco. If you go into any faggot club in Liverpool or in Manchester you'll hear the same thing played by a black group. And it's all done on bloody machines anyway. I wouldn't mind if they made out like they were Jonathan King or some pop group, but they make out like they're so bloody clever.
"Now Wham, I think they're really good. Whatever you say about them that guy's a really good singer. His voice is great and he's dead handsome and all that. Like when he goes on TV everyone screams, I think that's great. I'm surprised at how good their stuff is.
"What I really hate more than anything is people pretending to be credible when they're not. Like that magazine The Face, it's a joke. I mistrust glossy magazines that go on about equality and oppression and all that shit--it's just such a paradox. The Face wouldn't cover us for years because we didn't have an image, because I wore a bloody anorak. They only cover fashion people and that to me is prejudice. Cocktail socialism I call it.
"The trouble with rock and roll is that the middle class took over in about 1960 and it's never been the same since. Once everybody started wearing check shirts we were all doomed. All this shit's coming back now: Genesis, folk groups, middle class people with pullovers, British vaudeville folk groups like Terry and Gerry, they're the enemy.
"Lloyd Cole's the worst though. He's an animal, a real A-level sixth form product. His new single's a total copy of Street Hassle by Lou Reed, exactly the same tune and everything. What's so offensive about it is he thinks he's really good. He was on Roundtable when they played one of our singles -- CREEP -- and he just piles into us, says we've never made a good record. I don't mind being slagged off by someone really good but not by some little ponce who can't write his way out of a paper bag.
"They said the song was about The Smiths, which it wasn't. I think that was just Morrissey's paranoia -- it comes from not eating meat. It's very bad for you being a veggo, it makes your brain go funny because it's not getting any protein.
"It's like all those angels in the desert in the olden days who use used to reckon they saw angels and things [sic]. It's only because they weren't eating proper food. That's why veggos are a bit funny; all they eat is potatoes and coleslaw.
"The Smiths are nice lads though. I wouldn't slag them off in a million years. But Lloyd Cole is a complete charlatan -- he ought to be kicked to death.
"We started the Fall to combat people like him and that's why we're going to continue.
According to this month's Wire magazine, David Byrne has put together a compilation of Brazilian music called Beleza Tropical:
"Superficially [it] conforms to expectations of South America. But Brazilian music regularly renews itself by absorbing and acting on developments from elsewhere.... Even the most jaded cosmopolitans, sighing that nothing in the world surprises them any more, will be wrongfooted by the sampled Mancunian drawl of Mark E Smith opening Chico Science and Nacao Zumbi's rap track "Rios, Pontes & Overdrives". Nothing like a drop of northern drizzle to make the tropics really sizzle."
A curious story in an interview with this 'Badly Drawn Boy' fellow who's 'the new Beck' or something, from today's Camden New Journal.
"CNJ: Mark E Smith of The Fall jumped in your car once and thought you were a cab, er... why?
BDB: It's a saloon, my car. It looks a bit battered and bruised but it was a bit of lucky really [sic]. Mark ended up covering one of our songs, he just liked the melody and changed the lyrics and they play it live now."
(NB - Badly Drawn Boy is Damon Gough, credited on the Masquerade singles)
Q reckons that the cassette of Suede's single (out Apr 12) has Brett & Justine's crap Fall tribute Implement Yeah! on it.
The cover from the classic NME w/ Cave, McGowan & MES is on the NME page postcard section:
Subject: <fallnet> Lyrics to Southern Mark Smith (Jazz Butcher)
Thousands of people are queueing in the rain to meet the Pope
(Meet the Pope, meet the Pope, meet the Pope)
I wonder what they're feeling
Well I hope its O.K.
You know some people gonna call anyone a big mouth
(Big mouth, big mouth)
Yeah, well I'll see them in the bar on a Saturday
Right now I get along, get along, get along, get alonga get along
Just like a southern Mark Smith
Whooo, ooo, ooo, ooo - Yeah, like a southern Mark Smith
Whooo, ooo, ooo, ooo - Southern Mark Smith
Thousands of people are queueing for a shuttle into space
(Into space, into space, into space)
Yeah, I'm into space I think its just fantastic
Right now I'm looking around for the right words
For all you special gorgeous things
Oh, don't you know they only make those pop records out of plastic?
Hey, but you know what they tell you on the BBC
You know what they tell you and it's plain to see
You gotta put on you best friend's anorak
And come out here and try it out for yourself
Whooo, ooo, ooo, ooo
You gotta come on out at 1 o'clock and try it out for yourself
Whooo, ooo, ooo, ooo
You gotta walk & talk & think & look & act just like a
Southern Mark Smith
Thousands of people out there just gotta be O.K.
I wish I could take them all down with me to the bar for some laughs
But right now I gotta find out where they could be living
They could be living in sin
They could be carrying shame
Gotta find somebody's gonna carry the blame
Gotta find out what makes your heart sing
Because I found out already what makes my heart sing
Its necessary that I find out what makes your heart sing
'Coz I heard it was like a southern Mark Smith
990330 Touch Sensitive reviews, Marshall Suite details
990320 Shake-off lyrics, tour details
990314 MES Escape interview
990308 Ashton Tuesday reviews, Falling Through Time part 1, Dragnet reissue
990302 Ashton Sunday and Monday reviews
990221 LP announcement, Inch reviews
990214 not much
990207 various stuff
990128 Peel Sessions CD review
990118 Uncut pieces, Marcia interview, NZ art collection
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
981116 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
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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