Fall News - 26 October 1999

The Fall play Ashton Wychwood on 21/22 December


Camden Dingwalls, 20 October 1999


Subject: <fallnet> gig last night

- was very fine indeed, played past gone mad, levitate, caterer (??? from pnm) and couple 'new' songs i couldn't recognise.
- quite long set as well:
- mark seemed to be in very good mood
- nev came unplugging support bands (panchinos) amps after in the middle of the 3rd song, panchinos quitarist wasn't very happy and through his instrument to the wall, fun
- it was a good value for money/lost sleep

Support band played two songs and man from backstage came to tell guitarist to stop (obviously Mark was fed up with waiting), they thought they could play another one, but Nev stopped it. I clapped my hands with joy.

Nev, Tom, Adam, Julia - all there and Mark had a nice shirt (£2.99). Yeah, and Mark played guitar in Kill your sons (or at least tried).   Mark stayed on stage joking with Nev and security (??) after the second encore.


James Whidborne:

MES very well behaved, he usually seems to be on his best behaviour for London gigs. The support band, who were terrible, were kicked off the stage by the roadies before the end of their set, which they were not happy about, but everyone else was. They were not just terrible, they were running late.

One or two songs there I did not recognize (but I have not listened to Marshall Suite much yet). Some song about Billy?. Songs I remember are Foldin Money, The Joke, Touch Sensitive, Antidote, Shake-off, Perfect Day, Big Prinz, Past gone Mad.

For the encore MES came on by himself with just a backing tape for a few minutes before the band joined him.

The intro tape sounded like the Monks.


Ken Ellwood:

A truly excellent gig I'm pleased to report: in the last 2 years of watching the Fall play in London this was the most relaxed I'd seen them. I'm sure Mark was even enjoying himself ! Dingwalls was an excellent choice of venue - it suited their sound much more than the cavernous horrors of Kentish Town Forum - the atmosphere was initmate and relaxed. Useless London slags yakking at the back grate immensely still. The 4 or 5 bouncers covering the stage looked really stressed - unduly so as there was only some low-level moshing, all of which was good-humoured. Mark took the piss out of their attitude by using one of these bald bruisers as a hatstand, to the audiences delight. Previously I've seen Mark (rightly) berating laid-back audiences, but this didnt seem to trouble him - it seemed the band were just focussed on playing a great set. The band were the best I've seen them since the new line up. Even Marks grabbing of Nev's guitar was light-hearted. Song highlights had to be Levitate and a fantastic version of The Caterer, which saw MES singing an encore over a white-label 12" (??), and MES hamfisted guitar playing which turned into a really interesting repetitve-hypnotic segue into Shakedown. Two encores and Mark leaves the stage smiling and the crowd wanting more. When the Fall hit their stride like this all other bands might as well just pack it in. We are the Fall in the neighbourhood of infinity.


Simon Christian:

I 2nd that. A great gig. Smith at the end sarcastically said/sang the word Frightened to the bounces at the front who were fucked off big time by the throbbing mass of dick heads dancing at the front. There were about 3 new songs. Past Gone Mad was good. We also heard The Caterer (dance version) between the main set and 1st encore. Smith then sang over the dance beats. This gig was a universe apart from the balls up at Leeds Festival. Bought a TBLY and was recognised by a Fallnetter / ex Fallneter despite going in disguise. Came away sweaty, with dried blood in my nose and disbelieving the fact that The Fall had 'sold out' ! ;-) Long live The Fall. There were a lot of young kids at the front too - must be 1st years starting their 1st weeks with a high standard gig. I'm sure they played Masq. yes they did - fooking excellent. He Pep too. Levitate, the Lou Reed cover, folding money, touch sensitive - too many songs with keys were mixed too high. There were many talking points but sadly I have killed the brain cells that are concering with short term and mid term memory. Julia was looking particularly sinister but I think she was trying to look sultry - most songs were reworked in one way or another - either really slowed down or speeded up or keyed up big time. DATs assisted too. Smith is on a rising edge.


Dave & Carina

Best gig we've seen with this line up (included Julia and the regular drummer). It was only marred by the appearance of the row of bouncers at the front of the stage who spoilt the view of the people at the front.

MES appeared relaxed and although the usual activities were performed (changing amp settings, and interfering with guitars, keyboard and drums) he remained in good humour and did not keep leaving the stage and did not leave the songs as instrumentals too long. During one song he started playing Julia's guitar although it was inaudible. He was still strumming it halfway through the next song when Julia wanted to play it.

Neville is getting away with using more guitar effects on stage and even had a tuner.
The intro tape included a couple of songs by the Monks and Antidotes.

The set included:
Antidotes (the band came on and started playing along with the tape)
F'Olding Money
Past Gone Mad
He Pep
? a Rockabilly stomper
Mad Men-Eng Dog
And Therein (the acoustic guitar they took on tour was not used )
Levitate (a powerful performance)
? a Punk-type rocker
Ten Houses Of Eve (During the "if only" section MES hung his jacket on the head of the bouncer that was stood in front of the middle of the stage)
On My Own (another powerful performance)
Ketamin (Kill Your Sons introduced by MES saying "your mother is coming Neville")
The Joke (chaos)

The encores included:
Big New Prinz (a storming version with Neville abandoning the guitar to do backing vocals)
Perfect Day (the levels were was swamped by the organ)


Thanks to Peter Reavy for keying this in, Rob from TBLY for the pics:

Flux Magazine #13, June/July 1999.
"Still here" An interview with Mark E. Smith.

While the man is renowned for being an obtuse interview subject; truculent, aggressive and abusive to journalists who offend his sensibilities, he is simultaneously lauded by critics for his recorded output. His latest album, The Marshall Suite, is just the latest in an alarmingly long line to receive acclaim. This is Mark E. Smith, the scruffy, sarcastic misanthrope who has become Manchester's hardiest music export. His credentials as such are immaculate; The Fall are the favourite band bar none of Britain's own arbiter of the alternative, John Peel (of the band he once said, "Always the same; always different"). The Fall, or more accurately Smith himself, have managed to accrue twenty years worth of graft and grime at the cutting edge of music, and despite immeasurable line-up changes acquire a back catalogue of biblical proportions. His publicists reckon it to be about 32. The man himself seems a bit vague about the exact total. "It's about 19-21. 20 I think." Even so, that's a large oeuvre compared to most bands. "Bollocks. That's about one album a year. And people get excited about that. Well what are you supposed to do? Three albums in ten years?"

Clearly he does not approve of bands who produce 'difficult' second albums after years of self indulgent moping and wasted studio time waiting for someone to have an idea. In fact he disapproves of quite a few of the accepted modes of behaviour of rock bands. He feels that musicians need to 'serve their time'. He approves of graft.

All good old fashioned stuff really. Pretty much like a trade, I guess, like hard work. It strikes me that it can't actually be much fun being in The Fall. Whether wholly deserved or not, Smith has a reputation for being ruthless with the people he works with. I ask him if this is unjustified. "I think sometimes I've been too fucking slack, I really do. Believe what you like, I'm always looking out for the musician's benefit, and if they've got to go for their own good and the group's good, well, then it's just no good is it? Plus, the benefit of being in a group is it's not like being in a job where you have to put up with the twat next to you. You don't hate what you're doing every day. But you get a lot of people and you can see they don't like what they're doing in the group, but they stick at it."

Some kind of bloody work minded ethic thing maybe? "Yeah, something like office arselicking. And it shows in the playing no matter what. I think a lot of bands are like that, seriously. They go on and on..."

When they might as well sack it? He laughs. "No, no, I mean, you've got to earn a living somewhere. I've gone on stage when I've not wanted to. The thing is, I can always see when the drummer hates the guitarist. It's such a waste. It's good and interesting for about a minute. They don't give a shit about the audience. It's just, 'I'll make you look stupid'. My last band was like that. They'd all play louder when I started singing".

So he fired them I guess. It goes on a lot. Bands don't get on. People forced to be in close quarters with one another will fall out. "And a lot of bands like that don't get anywhere. There's a lot of people in this world that would rather see everything go down than be wrong. I mean, I would, y'know." The thing about The Fall is that although it may involve collaborative effort, it's Mark E. Smith's vision that keeps it afloat, and only he is indispensable. His skewed, fish eye perspectives on the minutiae of people's lives are what keeps it vital. The music itself is difficult to bracket; Smith angrily reacts against any attempts to do so. He despairs at the closeting of musical genres and the need of music journalists to keep themselves in work by endlessly classifying and reclassifying their subject matter. Always edgy, lyrically challenging, quick to incorporate new sounds and styles, it has remained doggedly inventive for over two decades. I ask him how he sees his music in the context of the contemporary scene.

"I think we're ahead still. Not enough though." So he still feels a pressure to actively innovate? "Yeah, and it gets harder and harder, because of the way music is now. But the thing is, you read a review and it says, 'an interesting mish-mash of salsa, reggae, hiphop', and then you listen to the record and it is precisely that, one bit of salsa followed by a reggae bit..."

He offers his opinions on music in general and specific bands. "When we started you couldn't get on stage and be bloody Mogwai. You wouldn't have got away with it." Perhaps he is in a position to do so. In an industry where names and faces disappear as quickly as they arrive he has managed to stay put pretty much where he put himself twenty years ago, and as such is one of the few genuinely credible elder statesmen of, to use a quaint archaic term, the alternative. Has he never felt any pressure or desire to be part of the mainstream?

"I don't know, the more you go on, the more you're accepted I think, and we were never alternative when we started. We never set out to be underground. I mean, we hated that too; we didn't like punks." I mention that I remember reading somewhere that when Smith started The Fall he had in mind 'something like The Beatles'.

"Something like that, yeah. Something useful, which was very unusual in them days. The punk bands were just sped up heavy metal. A lot of the new wave bands were just old bands." Pub rock becoming punk rock? "Yeah, well pub rock was alright."

Does he remember what the club scene was like in Manchester in the late seventies? He grins. "It was fucking great. On George Street there were some fucking great soul clubs. Northern soul and Philly soul. You didn't know the bands they were playing. What was good about then was you got all sorts in there, all sorts of people would go out to George Street. You'd get gays, blacks, skinheads, posh people, poor people. But after punk, you'd get turned away from a club for having short hair, because then you were a punk."

So much has changed. Those clubs are all gone or unrecognisable; the clubs that replaced them, even the Hacienda, all gone too. The drugs have changed. The music is played on different instruments. But Mark E. Smith and his sarky grin seem to have survived it all, maybe because he never believed any of the self indulgent bollocks and he kept the records coming out, somehow keeping them fresh, or maybe it's because he's too stubborn to go away, it doesn't matter. He's still here. That's all that really matters a damn.

-- Gavin McDonald


Matt Wishnow:

just wanted to let you know that i just put up about 8 fall videos from the beggars vaults on my website. including "la" "cruisers creek" "mr pharmacist" and others. im not on the email list so i was hoping that if you thought this would be of interest that you might pass it along.

its at: www.insound.com



1. Prompted by spectacularly uninspired GLR interviewer, MES vouchsafed these invaluable aids to would be band leaders.

(Out of an original 20 points) 1. Always treat security people with contempt.

2. Keep band members occupied with useless tasks.

3. Check the manager's briefcase while he's out of the room.



NME have set up a Fall bulletin board


"It was a very, very noncommercial move. That's always been a twisted, cruel irony of the whole thing, that it has been portrayed as though we were somehow commercially manipulative. My intention starting the band seven years ago was just steeped in the tradition of the Pixies and My Bloody Valentine, the Fall. Untouchable bands..."

Gavin Rossdale, interviewed by Richard Cromelin in L.A. Times, Oct. 17, 1999.


>If you are looking foe FALL-CD Covers,have a look at http://www.ode.de
>Its not only a FALL- Site,but you find 47 FALL CD - Cover.

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