Fall News - 30 August 1999

The Fall might be supporting someone in Dublin on Friday 3 Sept..

NL/B tour dates:

14 sept Doornroosje Nijmegen
15 sept Paradiso Amsterdam
16 sept Vera Groningen
17 sept O13 Tilburg
18 sept V.K. Brussel
19 sept L.V.C. Leiden

Many thanks to Arjan:

"As the Dutch september tour looms ahead, I collected as much information as I could find from various websites. More updates to follow when there is more to report.



tuesday 14 sept Nijmegen Doornroosje

address: Groenewoudseweg 322, Nijmegen website: http://www.doornroosje.nl/

Ticketsales start on 24th of August (three weeks in advance)

you can reserve tickets via e-mail to roosje@molyvos.net reservations by phone on working days from 10.00 tot 18.00 hrs, tel:(024) 355 9887 Collect those 20.00 on 20.30 hour at the box-office.


wednesday 15 sept Amsterdam, Paradiso

address: Weteringschans 6-8. tel.: 020-6264521 website: www.paradiso.nl

No reservations at the venue itself, use Ticketservice instead.

THE FALL / OZARK HENRY Venue open: 19:30. Support: 20:30. Main: 21:30

tickets are 25 guilders


thursday 16 sept Groningen Vera

address: Oosterstraat 44 Groningen, tel:050-3134681

website: http://www.vera-groningen.nl/vera1.html

If you do NOT live in Groningen-city, you can make a reservation by calling Vera: + ( 0 ) 50 - 3134681. Pick up your concert-ticket at the official opening time for the concert. In case you can't make it: please call.


friday 17 sept Tilburg 013

address: Veemarktstraat 44, Tel: 013-4609502, website http://www.013web.nl/


Venu open: 20.00 hrs, tickets are 15 guilders No reservations at the venue, ticket sales from 21st Aug from Ticket Service


saturday 18 sept Brussel V.K.

address: Schoolstraat 76, Brussel, tel: 02/414.29.07 website: http://vk.vgc.be

Ticket reservation through e-mail. Name, address, phone etc. & required number of tickets to devaartkapoen@vgc.be . Reserved tickets have to be collected before 20.00 hrs at the latest.


sunday 19 sept Leiden LVC

address: Breestraat 66, Leiden website: http://www.xs4all.nl/~lvc/

Reservations taken from 30th August onwards. Call 071-5146449 on workdays between 10.00-16.00 hrs Collect an half hour after opening at the latest.



There is an on-line ticketservice available at www.theater.nl which for sure has tickets for the Amsterdam and Tilburg gigs when they come available. Listings appear three weeks in advance and you can pay by creditcard. Go to the website and

1. select 'Ticket Service' 2. select 'Foreign Visitors' 3. a help menu pops up to tell you what to do

Mind you, they stop selling tickets to foreigners about 1,5-2 weeks before the actual date.

(www.theater.nl has the tickets for the Amsterdam (15 sept) and Tilburg (17 sept) finally on sale.)


Planet K, 20 August


just returned from Planet K gig.

After being totally pissed off by the Xmas Ritz Pantomime I thought this was fantastic. Antidote in both forms - two TS - one as encore with And Therin. Long version of F'oldin Money - cant believe they played birthday tho hmmm..... Julia was onboard as well tonight. Her keyboard on BS1 was attrocious but she was more than OK on This Perfect Day so having her was a plus. Adam had a violin bass - much flasher than Xmas - and sounded good. Nev thrashed away but had a bad mic :( looked funny bawling the backing vocals in silence. MES looked and performed better than he did at Xmas - didnt fuck around with band too much - showed his guitar skills :( Tom drummed.

i thought that Adams bass was pretty dominant at Planet K - it is possibly a bad comparison because Nevs guitar is more prominant (note I didnt say better - dont start shouting!!!) than craigs was.....

Edinburgh Queens Hall, 22 August

John Edwards:

Musically very sharp and punchy, but the sound was murky and none too loud. I like the new group better than Crooks/Hanley/Burns - younger and seemed more into it. Smith as cantankerous as ever - moved the mikestand to stop the guitarist singing.

It's sixteen years since I first saw The Fall (at North London Poly), and my attitude to gigs has changed. Something that pisses me off now that I would have accepted as a teenager is the rock star attitude of keeping the crowd waiting, playing a very short set and then keeping us stood there until they deigned to return for encores. The Fall were on 45 minutes before they strolled off. A couple more songs and that's yer lot, pal. Back to the pub.

It's not good enough. I paid for a full-length gig and I don't want to have to shout and stamp my feet to get my money's worth. Smith's always been a primadonna, and he's getting worse. "Call yourselves bloody professionals!"


Maurice Leahy:

The Edinburgh gig was ace. Not surprising really that Elastica supported given the upcoming festival dates and recent collaboration etc. In hindsight they probably wished they hadn't though, given the somewhat cool reception they received. Plenty of bouncing up and down by Dave Bush and new young energetic keyboard player (and two of Elastica's road crew) but little by anyone else. They duly stuck around for The Fall show. I could see Justinne looking down from the balcony upstairs and Annie at the side of the stage door. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Elastica were very loud and there were too many of 'em.

Now The Fall. Mark followed the band on stage in dark jacket and clutching plastic bag stuffed full of lyrics. He looked as if he just walked in off the street after a days shopping. He hadn't, as I saw him earlier that day walking down Princess Street and he had subsequently changed. Anyway, the band had discarded the usual rey/black attire and looked the better for it. Being brightly dressed they complemented the venue's bright decor so to speak, making them look altogether fresher. Julia looked fabulous, even managing a wry smile when fans up the front chanted VICTIM..VICTIM..each time she crossed to leave the stage. Nev was in bounding form and giving the now familiar taunt 'go on have a go' motion to the audience. He received a clip from Smith earlier, as he motioned him closer to the front of the stage.

Unlike the Forum gig the sound was excellent, and thankfully the throwing of plastic beer glasses was absent. The songs were all pretty much off the 'Marshall Suite' and shorter. During Birthday Song and On My Own Smith crouched down by the drum kit, back to audience and read from lyric sheets. We also got Hey Pep! (with no backing vocals bar the crowd), Ten Houses of Eve, And Therein, and Kill Your Sons (???) and a lengthy version of Big New Prinz. During Touch Sensitive a skinhead type in an old Fall t-shirt dived on stage before being dragged off by three security men. Smith watched the whole affair with little or no expression. The crowd were great at the front and the highlight was Smith watching the crowd sing along to And Therein. There was a full house and the band looked very comfortable. Would've been nice to get a second encore though. There were cries for Edinburgh Man but that wasn't gonna happen.



The Fall

Queen's Hall

**** (Four stars)

Review by Alstair Mabbott (The Scotsman)

The concept of a "greatest hits" or "oldies" set is unknown to The Fall. Leader and vocalist Mark E Smith loathes nostalgia and complacency, so every tour concentrates single-mindedly on their most recent material. The incredible thing is that, even after 30 plus albums and 22 years, The Fall show no signs of running out of steam. The driving, propulsive riffs that poer this show are as compelling as those of the last tour, and the tour before that.

The current line up of a bald, hulking drummer, two relatively fresh- faced young guys and Smith's girlfriend, Julia Nagle, on keyboards is a strange, un-Fall-like sight after so many years of the Scanlon/Hanley/Wolstencroft axis. the guitarist in aprticular is enjoying himself, something the guv'nor claimed always to have discouraged in his bands. But Smith himself is decidedly raddled, almost on the verge of turning into one of the hobgoblins that adorned their early sleeves. Sloping across the stage, hand in pocket, he barks his words out, reading the one's he can't remember from bits of paper on the drum riser and ostentatiously checking his watch.

The self-imposed ban on old material slips for the finale, Big New Prinz, an exhilarating number that has been a showstopper since 1988, and one that even Smith is loath to drop from the set. The road crew and Elastica bounce up and down excitedly beside them, ending their evening on a definite high. Elastica had been the shows surprise guests, making one of their first appearances for four years to answer the question "what have they being doing all this time?" the answer seems to be writing more bristly, brittle songs that stop and start in odd places and sounded good at high volumes. Time well spent really.


Graeme Park:

What a Fall band!

Never have I seen a band behind MES that sounds like this one, totally different from the recorded version of themselves. They were fucking brilliant, on fire. I think the power comes this time from the guitar, a totally different guitar sound than any I've heard in the Fall. It gave a buzz, an anger, a power to the performance and MES picked up on it big style.

And Therein......we saw an acousticguitar being plugged in and wondered what it was for....And Therein was the answer. Big New Prinz was turned into something new, the guitar taking over Steve's bass part.



Went to Edinburgh last night. Really disappointed with the new band. Just not the same without Steves big base dominating the proceedings. Smith was up for it though.


from chemikal list (dedicated to chemikal underground, thus the stuart from mogwai reference):

>Had one of those quite non-CU-related nights out when we went to see the
>Fall (though Stuart Braithwaite was there, cementing his position as
>ligger-in chief).
>Elastica were the 'surprise' opener, though the only surprise was that they
>never did 'Elastica Man' and MES never showed during their set. Though they
>did a cover of Trio's Europop hit "Da Da Da", which I felt didn't have the
>same soul and feeling as the original. They also did "Connection"(?)
>followed immediately by their version of "12XU" which was quite literally
>dripping in irony.
>The Fall kept everyone waiting for ages, an announcement saying that "Mark
>E Smith" would be there in 10 minutes (subtext: just as soon as we've
>managed to sober him up). They eventually showed but only played for
>half-an-hour or so, plus 2 hard-fought encores. Despite that they were very
>tight; which is what you pay session musicials for I guess. They didn't do
>anything older than "New Big Prinz", apart from 2 covers of New York Dolls
>and Saints songs, as spotted by Maureen - I didn't even recognise "This
>Perfect Day", presumably due to the mangling it had been given.
>Well, Stig seemed to enjoy it anyway. Mind you, he enjoyed Elastica too...
>Me, I suppose I should be grateful that they stayed onstage for more than 3
>songs, and no-one got hurt...

..and Graeme replies:

> >The Fall kept everyone waiting for ages, an announcement saying that "Mark
> >E Smith" would be there in 10 minutes (subtext: just as soon as we've
> >managed to sober him up).

Not true at all. About three minutes after the announcement, the Fall were onstage and playing. I know, I was in the toilet cursing loudly that for new Fall, ten minutes doesn't mean an hour and a half.

>> They eventually showed but only played for
> >half-an-hour or so, plus 2 hard-fought encores. Despite that they were very
> >tight; which is what you pay session musicials for I guess.

A bit more than that and all, I'd guess from start to finish they were on for just over an hour.

>>They didn't do
> >anything older than "New Big Prinz", apart from 2 covers of New York Dolls
> >and Saints songs, as spotted by Maureen - I didn't even recognise "This

I though they did Lou's Kill Your Sons? Maybe not.

My mate Kevin thought it was the most tedious gig he'd ever been at and he's been to see Ark!


Colin Kent:

I'd agree but in a weird way it was the most like how I'd always imagined them to be live. I'd only caught them three times before - GMEX86, EdiNetwork 90 and Glasgow QM 92 - and at all three they were, well the best way would be to say that I felt the Queens Hall was like a performance and the others were shows. Make sense to anyone? Enjoyed it though

Subject: <fallnet> Fall Edinburgh Evening News Review

"Fans of The Fall were given an extra bonus in the shape of Elastica's first gig for several years as a warm-up ahead of their forthcoming appearance at Reading. It proved to be a good call as the audience gave a warm reception to the band's mix of old and new songs in an energetic set which proved to be a taster for the main event. After a seemingly eternal wait, Mark E Smith and the 28th incarnation of The Fall exploded on to the stage. Let's face it, it's been a while since the Queen's Hall has had a racket since this, and each song pushed the crowd further into a frenzy. While the set contained some Fall classics, the new material went down a storm, proving that Mark E Smith can still cut it and psychobilly punk is alive and well" Paul Donald.


Stuart Booth:

Could it be that Mark E was not at all interested (as he is apt to project on stage) or that the band were just doing their job (as all decent session musicians would do). That made the gig less than what most people expected. I for one was a tad disappointed with the evenings entertainment, and were it not for the inclusion of the decade old 'big new prinz' my companions would have left being more underwhelmed, (I had built the fall up to be the best band the 20th century has had to offer) had it not been included


Mark E Smith turns short story writer!!


I am delighted to announce that Mark E Smith, lead singer and sole surviving member of seminal Manchester punk band The Fall has for the first time ever composed an extensive piece of prose fiction for a specially commisioned anthology which I am editing. The anthology is called The City Life Book of Manchester Short Stories and is coming out from Penguin Books this November. The book is the first serious gathering of Manchester writers and has a strong literary basis with original, specially comissioned stories by writers like Andrea Ashworth, Nicholas Blincoe, Michael Bracewell, Shelagh Delaney, Jackie Kay, Val McDermid, Jane Rogers, Tim Willocks, Michael Schmidt, Livi Michael, David Bowker, Richard Francis, Henry Normal etc, and a previously unpablished story by Alfie-author Bill Naughton (25 contributors in all).

Such is the close interplay, though, between the lyricism and word-craft of Manchester's music scene that it seemed imperative for me to invite some music industry figures (four in total) to contribute. These include DJ Dave Haslam (also author of 'Manchester, England' out from Fourth Estate in September) and perhaps the biggest player in the business and media side of the music industry (who's name has become synonimous with it in fact) but whose story is so graphic and violent he has asked for the time being to remain anonymous. Mark E. Smith was by far the hardest person to get to deliver, but when eventually it did come in it was more than worth the wait. Smith's piece is, by his own confession, nothing like anything he's ever tried before and though it carries a hallmark M.E.S edge to it, it is certainly a departure for him, and one he may consider following more extensively in the future.

Copies of The City Life Book of Manchester Short Stories (edited by Ra Page) can be ordered from penguin.com and an exclusive diary story on how and why Mark E Smith eventually braved this change in direction will appear in the November issue of Prop Magazine (copies of which can be ordered by emailing chris.hart@dial.pipex.com).


Pete Collins:

Subject: <fallnet> Out To Lunch With...Mark E. Smith

The Following appeared in this weeks City Life, Manchester's Listings Magazine, in the Food & Drink Section...

As the frontman and sole surviving member of The Fall, Mark E Smith has been one of the most powerful influences in Manchester music over the last two decades. In 1997 during a televised award ceremony the NME awarded Smith a special 'God-like Genius Award' which, after initially questioning, he left on the podium. He has also contributed to the forthcoming "City Life Book Of Manchester Short Stories" (published by penguin books in November).

HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO OUT DRINKING? Three to four times a week if flushed, which is rarely. I drink Holts' bitter, not because it's cheap but because it's the best beer in the world, bar none. I know because I've drunk all the world's beers. In the past on long tours I've suffered Holts' withdrawal.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU EAT OUT? All the time if I'm away. But in Manchester not so much as I used to; it's too suffocating and pretentious now. The Italian Giulio's Terrazza (Nicholas Street, Chinatown) was the best until it was on Coronation Street, and has the best waiters ever. The Prachee (Whittaker Lane, Heaton Park) is spot on too.

MOST ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE? Seeing Americans and southerners faces when you take them for a proper meal in Manchester's Chinatown.

WORST EXPERIENCE? Vomiting all over a local TV executive in a crowded, exclusive bar about a year ago, about noon. But I think that had as much to do with him as the place. I can't stand eating with music/media types. They talk rot and are always suprised that I know more about food, etc. than they do.

DO YOU COOK AT HOME MUCH? Yes. My Roast Beef sandwiches have made both grown-up intellectuals and juvenile hoodlums weep with pleasure.

WHAT WOULD IMPROVE MANCHESTER'S FOOD AND DRINK SCENE? It's ridiculously expensive for what it is, compared to virtually anywhere else - be it Rossendale or America. but maybe that's rent, etc. Also, no bars in Manchester seem to have heard of a clean, cold glass. Most places in Manchester would get trashed if they were in Glasgow or some place. And I'd still argue that it's even harder now to get a decent drink after 11pm than it was in the '80s. So there's plenty of room for improvement.



The Radio Times has Peel on the cover and includes some tributes. MES writes:

"In the flow and jetsam of modern society, only John Peel stands out as the
modicum of 'respectability-alternative'. Without John, all children would be
weeping - their kindred looking towards heavens for signals, none apparent."


Fiona scanned in the article from The Guardian, 14 August:



From The Guardian, 27 August

An article on Damon Gough (Badly Drawn Boy):

"I'm an acquired taste, you just have to get used to me," whispers the man who's been called the British Beck and Manchester's answer to Money Mark. The applause that answers him is the kind that's followed this former print-shop worker throughout his brief, unique musical career. A month later, Gough is introduced to his favourite artist of all time, Bruce Springsteen, backstage at the great man's Manchester Arena gig. Springsteen has heard of him, which gives Gough more of a thrill than the time Mark E Smith used one of his songs on a Fall B-side. This was after Smith, mistaking Gough's car for a taxi, demanded to be driven home, which Gough did after Smith agreed to record a Badly Drawn track called Tumbleweed.

Snap, crackle'n'slop

It's the most eagerly awaited follow-up for years - and Elastica have blown it. Tom Cox on how a few weird noises, bangs and clatters isn't enough


Six Track EP (Deceptive) *

For all the tremors, speculation and mystique you might generate by disappearing off the face of the earth after a classic debut album, there's always the slight drawback that, one day, you have to release a follow-up.

The Stone Roses managed to be the most interesting band in the universe in November 1994, and one of the least interesting a month later, when the universe was finally exposed to the plodding blues and dormant psychedelia of their Second Coming. After a towering, swaggering debut, the album's build-up was an expertly woven patchwork of Chinese whispers through which the group grew, branched-out, refined and progressed in our minds without lifting a finger.

Elastica's debut album, released in March 1995, was a neatly wired ragbag of new-wave ripped chords, but couldn't really be described as classic, and the rumours that have filtered back from their hiatus, unlike those of the Roses, were of frustration and fidgeting rather than outlandish perfectionism. The album is finished. No, it's not - they've decided to re-record it. They've turned Goth. Donna Matthews has left the band. She's rejoined. She's left again.

No one besides the group's two constants, singer Justine Frischmann and drummer Justin Welch, seems to be able to decide whether to stay or go. The band are spending more time in the pub than the studio. Before we know it, it's summer 1999, and does anyone still care? And, if so, why?

Evidently Elastica are still remembered as accomplished riders on the high end of the Britpop bandwagon, but, to be brutally honest, their longevity has been generated as much from their lead singer's love interests as from their paltry back catalogue. Six Track EP would no doubt be considered "news" regardless, but it's bigger news since Frischmann - and, more specifically, the disintegration of her relationship with Damon Albarn - became the subject of Blur's latest album, 13.

Fans, gossip-hounds and critics will dive into Six Track EP for responses to Albarn's laments and surface with only cryptic aural sludge and undecipherable, irascible mutterings. We don't even hear evidence that Frischmann's still at the helm of the band until track five, Operate, and nothing remotely resembling a lyric until the central squawk of the final track, Generator - "I'm a third-rate imitator/ I'm a second-hand fornicator/ I'm a spiced-up generator". Worryingly, despite conjuring up the image of an X-Ray Spex tribute band setting up camp in an outside toilet, the latter is Six Track EP's most accomplished effort. I've got a vague hunch that Operate has a melody, too, somewhere beneath the arse-fi scuzzstorm, but if it has, it's one that's a little too much like Wire's I Am The Fly for comfort.

How He Wrote Elastica Man (a play on the title of The Fall's 1980 single, How I Wrote Elastic Man) and the tepid techno KB are gravelly, industrial snippets which only keep the attention thanks to guest barks from The Fall's amazing reverberating genius, Mark E Smith. Ultimately, they're third-division Fall scrapings; Elastica might as well not have been there (and bystanders suggest Smith insisted that they only half were).

Nothing Stays The Same is a woeful, insufferably effete home recording by the departed Donna Matthews. Miami Nice is the sort of pointless squiggle that Eno might have kicked onto the cutting room floor and trampled to death during the recording of Another Green World: if you find it in the least bit innovative, you've clearly never sat with your ear up against an overloaded dishwasher for five minutes.

Foraging for fragments of inspiration which justify this record's existence, it's hard to discount recent rumours regarding the extent of Damon Albarn's creative input on Elastica's self-titled debut LP.

Take Smith's rent-a-grump surrealism away and what do we have here? A few shrieks and clangs, a guitar being (de)tuned and attacked, and those special, opaque chord progressions only acknowledged as music by John Peel and tone-deaf Cornish blokes called Mirf who record in their bedrooms under the pseudonym Dog Gravy.

Six Track EP is intended to demonstrate "all stages" of Elastica's recording process, but it highlights a band still rooted to the drawing board after keeping their fans waiting for almost half a decade, out of inspiration and ambition, hiding behind directionless sonic residue. It's been played down by Elastica, released as an EP so its success can't be measured in chart terms, and described by Frischmann as "not a big comeback record". But while it's a relief that Elastica aren't self-important and deluded enough to regard it as a comeback or in the least bit large, it's not an excuse which they'll be able to recycle when their second long-player finally hits the shelves, nor one which explains why they deemed this quarter-formed nonsense worthy of a release in the first place.


From music365.com:

...All these issues are to the fore here, with The Fall's Mark E Smith guesting on two tracks, reprising roles from his extensive back catalogue, and laughing like a lord as he makes off with whatever loot they've deigned to pay him. Instead of purloining riffs and tunes from Wire or The Stranglers, trying to get away with it and getting found out again, Elastica rope in Smith so that they can play knock-off Fall songs under the guise of them being "collaborations". 'How He Wrote Elastica Man', a title cribbed from a 19-year-old Fall single, would be glorious self-parody were it not for the fact that Elastica have nothing of their own to parody. The electro-tinged bleeps of 'KB' rehash more recent Fall efforts to similarly undedifying effect, while 'Generator' is a laughable pastiche of Smith and co's more rockabilly moments.....



Reykjavik May 6 1983

Cog Sinister/Voiceprint will be releasing a gig I obtained (after five years of friendly prodding) from a friend in Iceland. My friend attended the gig in question and knew the guy who recorded the gig onto a reel-to-reel patched into the mixing desk, but the latter refused to copy the tape for anyone and the reels gathered dust for 16 years. Finally, earlier this year, a DAT was recorded from the reels and sent to me. The sound quality is stellar and the performance is not bad either, so I thought it would make a worthwhile official release. The track listing is

Tempo House / The Classical / Eat Y'self Fitter / Hexen Definitive / I Feel Voxish / The Man Whose Head Expanded / Garden / Kicker Conspiracy / Look, Know / Backdrop

(which differs slightly from the gigography listing--the above is correct.

My friend seems to remember that they kicked off the gig with Words of Expectation, but that isn't on the tape. Mark does do the "good evening we are the Fall" at the beginning of Tempo House, but he does that sometimes on the second song.)

Not sure when they'll get around to releasing this; it'll no doubt be after Early Years and the live 1977 gig.


From: http://www.pigdog.org/auto/viva_la_musica/shortreview/768.html

Your Repetition Will Never Be Accepted

1999-08-11 08:49:58

By Tjames Madison

The Fall has a new album out. It is like all the 30-odd albums they've put out before. It is real good, and it sounds just like the Fall.

'There's nothing new in acid house for me, pal. I've been using that process for years, bloody years.' MES, 1989

Mr. Bad has been listening to a lot of British poppy stuff lately. This follows his sensitive chick DIY singer/songwriter phase, when he used to shove Beth Orton and the like down your throat. Now it's the latest in British fashion, the people in shiny track suits with zippers all the way up to their necks looking like a cross between Mark Mothersbaugh and the twerpy guy from high school who ran cross country and owned every album by Kate Bush. It's techno, and it talks about dripping suns and pointless optimism in the face of the Big Bowl of Fuck that's coming down any day now. A friend of mine calls it "Millenial Shamanism," but I just think it's cute. Happy music for people who are essentially unhappy. Take the Teletubbies and give them even more bad drugs and see what they can come up with given an infinite number of microphones and an infinite number of mixing decks and David Gilmour's entire library of creepy sci-fi effects on reel-to-reel. This is Musica Britannica, 1999. The Year of the Teletubbies. The Year of British people in ill-fitting track suits writing songs about baked goods and bad weather.

'Johnny Rotten's got an autobiography out - fucking pathetic! He's only 35! That's not a book, it's fucking middle-class propaganda, man!' MES, 1994

It's 1998. You're Mark E. Smith. But it doesn't matter what year it actually is, because every year since 1979 or so has been the Year of Mark Smith. 'Cept that nobody actually seems to notice that fact; actually, NME keeps giving you awards for being a genius, but you always seem to get swept off the cover to make room for somebody shite like Oasis. Teletubbies make you angry! No one listens to you. No one can feel your pain. So you fire your whole band! Why not? You've made 31 or 23 or 27 albums (somebody's keeping track somewhere) and they all sound about the same; they're all very good, everyone knows this. They are all roughly equal in quality, and this has always been a source of pride to you. They all sound completely different from the last one, too. Let's see Orbital try that!

So you hire a new bunch of musicians, game replacements with grim looks on their faces and significantly more hair than your old mates, who you felt were getting on the paunchy, comfortable side, to tell you the truth. You make a new album! It's called The Marshall Suite, and it's a three-part story about some guy you call "The Crying Marshall". It has something to do with Hardy's "The Mayor of Casterbridge" or somesuch, some story you read somewhere, like when you wrote that song called "Live at the Witch Trials" based on a comic book; you tell everyone you can grab that it has nothing to do with anything else that came before it. Was that a wink you gave us just there?

It's 1999! It's the Year of Mark E. Smith!

'Mark E. Smith doesn't attract new fans - rather, he maintains an army of utterly indestructible, utterly unquestioning old ones... Drone-rock zombies who, like him, will never die, or change, or repent.' NME, 1997

MES is not a beautiful man. His ears stick out way too far and as he's grown older, so has his entire head begun to sink directly into his neck and upper body, leaving him with the general appereance of a wicked elf. There is a lot of history written into his face, though, and if you can squint past the usual outer mask of boozy detritus that's accumulated there, you can see the face of the earnestly cynical young man still writ large and mostly curious; almost every photo ever taken of Mark E. Smith seems to suggest a man who is 1) just baffled by everything pop culture has to offer, 2) dedicated to its ultimate removal.

A new Fall album is always a good chance to see what MES is puzzled by these days, and The Marshall Suite is hardly an exception, the main difference being, having sacked most of his band, including a rhythm section that's been with him for the better part of two decades, off and on, there is a general sense of trepidation as the needle drops on the leadoff track, "Touch Sensitive": but hey there, this sounds like good old-fashioned Fall-Pop! These guys actually sound like the Fall, or as a visitor to the Fall mailing list asks, "IS IT JUST ME OR DO THE NEW "fall" SEEM LIKE A fall TRIBUTE BAND TO YOU?" The answer, an inevitable (since as MES once said, "If it's just me and your granny on bongo drums, it's a Fall gig,) emphatic "YES," is provided with the first notes of the rollicking "F-'oldin' Money," a primo rockabilly ripoff in the same vein as "Rollin' Dany" and countless other glorious Falltunes.

It is at this point that The Marshall Suite does the unexpected, and turns into an actual Fall album. MES might be a bit of an ass, but maybe he has a point about musicians ("We use the platoon system," he sez, "If the first guys go down we've got 'em lined up behind ready to replace 'em.); this is Fallmusic for Fallpeople, and by the time you get to the brilliant LedZep-meets-Krautrock "Antidotes," you're ready to give in to MES' non-chalant and drunkenly cheerful totalitarianism. The rest of the album is the same inconsistent mix of puke and diamonds that every other Fall release is, and there's a bit of something here for everyone.

I can't follow the story here, but it involved a crying marshall. I only know that because there's a song called "The Crying Marshall". I think it's brilliant, like the rest of the album, but I've thought that about every Fall album for the last 20 years, so it's easy to get confused. The problem with loving the Fall is that, by the time you hear a new album, the last one starts sounding stale. I think this is why Mark makes so many of them. Like bread and fresh fish, Fallmusic is intended to be consumed on the spot; just wrap it up and eat it on the way home.

I miss Steven Hanley's authoratative basslines, but I also miss Craig Scanlon and Brix Smith. You always miss something or somebody when you first hear a new Fall album, but that's the beautiful part: MES works in cycles. If you miss something, he'll bring it back sooner or later. Right now I don't miss the Fall that made "Levitate" so much, because this album just totally aces it in so many directions. Of course, that's a matter of personal taste. With Mark E. Smith, you get all the flavors. And you're expected to eat everything on your plate.

Try it out. It isn't crap, thank god. I'm going to give a tape of this to Mr. Bad and make him listen to the whole thing at least once, whether he wants to or not. It's going to be like prune juice, and it's going to make him a better person with a remarkably clean set of bowels. He'll thank me later.


Thanks to Bruce Tiffee:

Subject: <fallnet> Infotainment-era reviews from _Your Flesh_ fanzine

THE FALL Kimble CD EP; Why Are People Grudgeful? ED EP

It's a little surprising to see Mark E. Smith and Co. breach the surface again and land an these shores with a new domestic record deal-get it could be that their incandescent bulb has burned in some folks' attics on this side of the Atlantic all the while. Kimble is a collection of Peel Sessions dating from 1983-1992. and aptly displays the various "styles" the band was working during those years. The disc starts off with the title track, recorded in '92. that espouses a familiar (and not too interesting) dub sound that hints at the bubbling crud The Homosexuals were fond of playing around 1980 Next is a pair of tunes recorded In 1985 that has the patented. up-tempo Fall thump-not exactly prime Fall material to these ears. but getting there. The EP ends with a choice song from '83, 'Words of Expectation.' that mashes out a slow. swampy beat beneath Smith's ranting poetics. Now exit the past and step Into the present. Why Are People Grudgeful? is a new four song teaser created to launch the Fall's partnership with the Matador/Atlantic alliance. For the most part. It sounds like the Fall have developed a fondness for a housey, techno sound that pushes them Into neo-dance territory that I don't even want to know about. "The Remixer," 'Lost In Music." and the title cut all mine this limp style. "Glam Racket" is the only track that harkens back to the band's mid-80's approach to pop deconstruction and exhibits a modicum of intestinal fortitude. I can't say that this new EP does much for me, yet not ten minutes ago, handsome Paul Ashby played a cut from their new LP an his radio show and It sounded quite good. Perhaps this is one of those evaluations best made an your own. (Strange Fruit/DutchEast/Matador)

Mike Trouchon

THE FALL The Infotainment Scan CS

Thank God for Mark E. Smith-uh and the Fall-uh. Over the zillion. billion years between "Bingo Master's Breakout" and now. there have been ever so few bands that've A). Lasted so long; B). Remained consistently worth listening to. Even In the dark days of Brix. when It appeared that The Fall might yet succumb to the siren song of marketable mediocrity [really. we should have known better], the band consistently managed to surprise by always providing something worth listening to ... The Fall in "sellout" mode remained a couple of light years ahead of most others at their most earnest. And now that the big Epic Records deal and Brix have both gone away, we find The Fall proffering their trademark antipop antiproduct in remarkably pure form. It doesn't make very much sense to speak in terms of "vintage' Fall or anything: once they'd got past the two-and-a-half notes per song stage ["Repetition"]. their attitude and style have remained remarkably consistent ... at least from This Nation's Saving Grace onwards. The Infotainment Scan remains true to form: Icy blasts of Mark E. Smith-uh wit and wisdom held aloft by halfpop/half-ugly ridmic and melodic underpins. If you're over the age of ten, by now, you really ought to know what The Fall is all about. so there's no need to belabor matters: the simple fact Is that this Is very. very good - much better than all that coll. rack crap you've been listening to. So. do the obvious thing and do yourself a favor. [Matadar/Atlantic] David B. Livingstone

THE FALL The Infotainment Scan CD

Nice to have The Fall domestic so I don't have to shill as many pounds as the last three. Solid through and through; no one can say "Fuck' like Mark E. Smith. The Gary Glitter rip-off "Glam Racket" is a lo-fl antidote to the plague currently sweeping England, and Craig Scanlon chips in the finest guitar an a Fall LP since Hip Priests. Fall tour coming. [Matador) John Vincent


Another retread:

from August 1999 edition of Pulse! magazine (ie Tower Records):

"Calvin Klein is gearing up for a fundamental image makeover, if the latest candidate for their underwear ads is any indication. To follow such hunks as Mark Wahlberg on the billboards of the world, the company has approached none other than the Fall's Mark E. Smith, a man whose face might generously be described as 'having character' and less generously as 'slept in, then screwed up and tossed in a wastebasket for three weeks.' It's not yet known whether Smith has accepted, or how much of his body he will be required to expose, but the message behind Klein's new campaign-'Just a pretty face isn't enough'-threatens the worst."


Ta to John Howard:

Prindle reviews Lev and Marshall Suite

Levitate - Artful 1997. <<...>>

What's that I see? Why, it's ANOTHER new Fall album! And man alive, is Mr. Smith getting bizarre in his old age.... After careful consideration, I've determined that this is probably the least accessible and most experimental album in the Fall's lengthy catalog - and it's FOOKIN' ACE!!!! I think so, anyway. I understand that it's receiving mixed reviews in the UK, but I guess that's been the case since the beginning. Okay, about the record - how to describe? Well, it's... strange! Everything sounds incomplete; the songs seem to be more like collections of drumbeats and sketchy half-riffs than actual fully-developed melodies. At first, it sounded to me like the band was just half-assing it, but then I paid a bit closer attention and now I think I've figured out the situation. See, there's one simple phrase printed on the back cover that I believe makes it crystal clear why this record is so bizarre - "Produced by Mark E. Smith." Need I really write more, need I? I could be wrong, but I'm almost positive that this is the first time ever that Mark has produced a Fall record on his own, without a real producer standing by to say, "Umm, Mark? You can't DO that...." As such, the whole damn thing sounds like "Paintwork" - the "songs" will alternately be just a muffled keyboard noise with a funky beat, or a fuzzed-out bass with Mark talking over it, or a pretty little electric piano line with nothing behind it, or....

Oh, why go on? WHY??? My point here is that, even though these songs sound like incomplete constructions, I'd bet probably half a dollar that these ditties actually WERE at one time complete songs, but Mark purposely screwed everything up in post-production. I can just see the rest of the band (especially the two new guitarists, whose input seems to have been nearly entirely deleted from the final mix) sitting down and listening to the final product with these huge furrows in their brow as they nudge each other and ask, "It didn't sound like that when we PLAYED it, did it? I thought I remembered there being a melody in that song!" Okay, then, anyway, I still haven't described the music too well, so I'll try - it's very drum-and-keyboard dependent. Very dancey, but not at all in that slick Infotainment Scan way. This is sort of like organic electronica, with bass fuzz, Mark's shouting, and assorted guitar planking and tinkly keyboard noises layered all atop Simon and Karl's typically topnotch trappin', hank. Some of the bits sound like rockabilly (when the guitar shows up), but the overall mood is really one of noisy and almost industrial-sounding (though it's clearly man-made, which adds a good deal of warmth to the proceedings) dance music. It makes ME dance anyway! Forget U2's Pop. Hell, for all I care, forget the Chemical Brothers and all that other Spin magazine stuff. THIS is the sound of modern innovative dance music. Dissonant, minimalist, juvenile, interesting, rockin', and FUN! I personally find the songs really catchy too, but I'll leave that up to you. Go Fall Go! Mark's still keeping the dream alive. Levitate is a great album.

The Marshall Suite - Artful 1999. <<...>>

If you haven't been following the saga of The Fall, a couple years back they played a few shows in NYC (of which I witnessed one and was absolutely bored silly) and then dumb old Mark got drunk and beat up his girlfriend/keyboardist Julie Nagle. He got arrested, the rest of the band quit (except the abused gal, for some reason) and he moved on.... AND FOUND A NEW DAMN BAND!!! And boy if you ever had any worries that Mark E. wasn't COMPLETELY responsible for the sound of The Fall, one listen will quell your fears. Aside from a couple of moments of ugly wah-wah and perhaps a wee bit less in the way of enormously memorable bass lines, this band sounds exactly like the last one! (and the one before that, and so on and so on). Don't be fooled by the beginning. They start with two simplistic catchy little rockabilly tunes, but then go straight to the weird house-trance-dance poetry-noise drum-bass stuff you loved so much on Levitate. Granted, it's not quite as exciting and novel the second time around (which is the main reason this one only gets an 8 instead of a 9, although the presence of a couple throwaway experimental thingies doesn't help), but there are still some killer, killer tunes on here that you'll have stuck in your head for a long time. "The Crying Marshal," in fact, may be the most accomplished, mesmerizing and pounding dance tune they've ever done -- it rivals Meat Beat Manifesto in the headbanging department of youth! I read somewhere that the album is a sort of rock opera, but I don't quite hear that (I also don't have a lyrics sheet). What I do hear is the ever-evolving Fall in the midst of their latest phase, still crankin' out repetitive catchy, weirdly-produced, fuzzed-out, awesomely-rhythmed music for the kids. Most consistent band of all time? If you ask me, fuck yeah.


Peter Reavy:

Fritz Lang's The Testament of Dr Mabuse was on TV last year but I only watched my tape recently. It's the 2nd one in the series. Mabuse was arrested at the end of the first film and is now in an asylum. In his cell he stares into space but covers endless pieces of paper with detailed plans of crimes. These turn out to resemble the covers of Fall LPs. Mabuse is able to do astral projection using hypnosis and he speaks out of a tannoy behind a curtain. But his most wicked crime involves promoting his last, quickly forgotten, full length release using dodgy CD singles. He floods these into the megastores to devalue artistic currency and destroy any perception of his economy.


Usually available to TBLY subscribers, but say I sent you if you don't already sub:

Button badges:

2 designs, GBP 1 each (one b&w swirl, one b&w The Fall)

Cog-Sinister CDs:

Grotesque GBP 9
Hex Enduction Hour GBP 9
Extricate GBP 9
Legendary Chaos Tape GBP 8
Fall in a Hole GBP 8
Room To Live GBP 9
Dragnet GBP 9
Live to Air GBP 9
Nottingham 92 GBP 9
Live Various Years GBP 9

Postage 1-4 CDs: GBP 1, over 4: GBP 2. Overseas please add extra.

Badges post-free aith any post-paid CD order, otherwise please enclose stampted SAE. Overseas - badges post-free with any post-paid CD order. Otherwise please enclose two IRCs

UK cheques payable to Rob Waite; US $ cash accepted - multiply GBP prices by 1.6
Also, TBLY: A 4-issue sub available for GBP 7, GBP 8.50 Europe & Eire, $15 cash

All orders to R Waite, 29 Leverton Road, Retford, Notts, DN22 6QF, UK.


I don't think anyone has pointed out the faux sticker on the front which says "includes exclusive album track versions" huh? how vague can you get? shoulda said "includes exclusive versions of album tracks". in fact let's have that again...."includes exclusive album track versions..... as well as versions from the album" what's the difference in the two f'oldin money's, other than typOgrapHY? Notice also that we get two "new mixes", that's not "remixes", that's "new mixes". The same thing you bought on the album only slightly different.

The same pie and chips only colder, nah, the same pie and chips only more vinegary, the same pie and chips only with more echo and reverb.

I'll be preempting the next single bsides by standing in the gents all night and drinking ten pints of cider beforehand. I predict the "MES actually farting into tape recorder & releasing it" tracks are nigh.

Graeme...actually I quite like the singles, but they are shoddy as fuck from track selection to mastering to packaging to distribution to pricing to chart eligible fucking three track nonsense. I predict it charts at 83.

Recent news.... logo-a-go-go

990820 nothing special
990807 few old reviews, F-'oldin' Money cover
990726 Glow Boys reviews
990720 Dutch, Belgium tour dates
990711 TBLY #16 details
990704 bits & pieces
990624 Meltdown reviews, Calvin Klein rubbish
990613 not much
990606 NME Forum review
990526 Wire interview, more reviews...
990517 Salisbury, Sheffield, Cheltenham, Cambridge, Southend, Luton, London reviews
990509 Leicester, Leeds, Birmingham, Brighton, Salisbury reviews; NME fave songs bit
990426 Guardian interview, Brix interview, more album reviews, MES' radio session
990419 more Marshall Suite reviews, NME chat, live at Sound Republic XFM session, tbly#15 out
990411 Couple of Marshall Suite reviews, Live 77 details, 1985/1987 interviews
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
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

Old stuff: Nov 1997 - Dec 1998

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