... Issue 1
The Biggest Library Yet 9
Published: August 1997 SOLD OUT
Good Evening We Are Not The Fall
In late 1996, after years of effort and international liaisons, a Fall covers tape was released. Thanks to the work of Jonathan Kandell and Andy Halper, this gem-ridden item can take its rightful place on top of the file marked 'Fall-related ephemera'. The following pages (see issue for full version) looks at some of the musicians and Fall fans behind the songs. But first, TBLY asked self-styled Arizona Buddhist Militiaman J Kandell about the project:
GC: Are there any plans for a volume two or have you learned your lesson?
JK: There are plans for volume two, We Are Still Not the Fall and Can't Get Up. We figure when Mark Smith sues us, this will make two targets... therefore harder to hit. Next time Andy Halper and I will be passing the buck to Adam Marshall (see Where's the Beach entry.)
The whole thing has been sort of a pain in the ass, to be honest. Just getting people to send in what they promised. The ironic thing is that the best bands were the most easy-going. And the worst bands insisted on all these legal conditions and production requirements. One band on the tape who shall remain nameless (Infidel) made us agree to master with a DAT - which is pretty ridiculous when you hear their song.
The other big pain was getting the levels to match up, since we were sent originals of varying quality. Andy spent many hours in this great production studio in Tucson - Waterworks - working with really shitty cassettes. Kind of funny really. The great thing about this tape is that some of the songs do suck; but they're genuine documents of the underground music scene.
Overall the experience has been great. The fact it's all non-profit has kept it all real fun. There's a huge diversity of musical styles on the tape. No one takes themselves too seriously. And they're from all over, Scotland, Wales, Belgium, Israel...
GC: Did you send one to MES? Hear anything from him? Did you at any time worry about copyright infringement?
JK: We sent two copies to Cog Sinister (later heard being played over the PA before Fall gigs in Manchester). Yes, we were worried about being sued. Our strategy was to ensure we made no money on this. How can you get sued if you made no money off the person? So, weird as this seems, we're deliberately losing money on every tape we sell, and keeping records of our loss. Pretty ingenious, eh? We sent Peel one too, but haven't heard anything.
GC: What happened to the plan to issue a Fall 'Lyrics Parade' book? Did MES ever offer to help?
JK: I'm not sure how many of your readers know about the Lyrics Parade. It started on the internet, when I wanted to know the lyrics to some songs, asked for some help. It eventually blossomed into a huge web file. Jeff Curtis came on board, and it's now a great looking website.
Black Spring publishers contacted me because it turns out Mark has lost/forgotten lots of the old lyrics, and we have the most complete collection in the world. Of course they're full of errors - but that's half the fun. Black Spring was calling me every week to get the Lyrics Parade, but once they got it I haven't heard a peep. They promised, in writing, to not use it without permission, but I have a feeling I'll never hear from them again. They did send me some books they'd done of Nick Cave lyrics, which made me realize how shallow great rock lyrics look when they're reduced to paper.
GC: It says, somewhere: This cassette dedicated to the memory of MES. Do you think - like some do these days - that he's all washed up, a mere shell of his former glorious self?
JK: That was the intent, but I'm not sure people get the joke, which I'll admit is in dubious taste. I wrote that right after Cerebral Caustic came out. Let's put it this way: have you seen photos of Mark E. Smith lately? The remark is more said out of loving concern.
I was once on a train with, among others, Mark E Smith. Tired of playing Pictionary, I announced that I could sense simply by looking, whether oranges contained pips. 'I can tell people's religion just by looking at their faces,' countered Smith. A VIP had just entered the carriage and eager to muck in, said to Smith, 'What am I then?' The whole carriage hushed. Smith looked him up and down. 'You're a cunt, pal,' he said.
Andy Darling, FHM May 1993
Only Mark E Smith could do this. He slopes on stage,hangs his appalling black leather jacket on the ed of a cymbal stand, then moves into the anti-spotlight.
These are the nihilistic 90s - we're used to lead singers not talking to us much during their gigs - but only Mark E Smith wanders offstage during songs, strolls around behind the drum kit as it takes his fancy, squats on the floor, back to the audience, still singing, still curdling the air with that unmatchable voice like a washing machine with some vibrators and a squeaky toy going round inside it. He is, on many levels, the one and only.
Andrew Collins, NME April 1992
There's a lot going on here. This person has many facets to his character. He's a bit edgy... and not keen on letting people get to him... or the real him anyway. He's slightly two-faced and can be somewhat cold. There's a lot going on mentally, he needs a lot of intellectual stimulation.
He's inclines to keep you at arm's length.
He's very blunt, very matter of fact, he's very good at rubbing people up the wrong way and I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't run the risk of getting smacked. He has difficulty connecting with people from the heart, although he does have a certain sex appeal. Women like him. I think he might be a bit of a sweetie under all this 'the big I am'!
Graphology expert Kriss Wellington analyses Mark E Smith's handwriting, NME December 1980
We did three albums over a two-year period and then I suppose we got fed up with each other. They would do things like play a song once and then that would be it, they wouldn't want to record it again. Mark was crazy. He'd do things like, you'd do all the mixing and he'd listen to them and he'd take tapes away home and he'd be very enthusiastic. But then you'd get to the cutting room and he wouldn't like it. When we were mastering Bend Sinister and the guy had just cut the acetate, Mark was stomping around saying 'That's not the mixes we had in the studio,' but he'd been listening to a chrome Dolby cassette he'd taken away and played on this little Walkman through a speaker that was distorting, and that was his reference. In the end, a lot of that album was cut from a cassette because that's the quality that Mark wanted. He was actually right, though, because that's their sound. With The Fall, the weirder stuff is what I'm most proud of rather than the attempts at singles because that's not really them.
Producer John Leckie, Melody Maker June 1995
Neighbourhood of Infinity
'It was the time of the Giant Moths!'
How to describe this?
Tucked away on In: Palace of Swords Reversed as an incentive to buy this compilation (none is needed: it is excellent), this is The Fall's greatest live moment on record, and maybe off record as well. First broadcast on German radio, 4.4.84, you can hear more of the concert on the bootleg LP C.R.E.E.P.S.H.O.W.
A stunning, inexplicable tack - the Perverted by Language version simply cannot prepare you. This is deeply weird, and not in any obvious way.
It begins in chaos. A cheer from the crowd. Some hypnotic, primal drumming, then a menacing bass, and Craig's genius non-riff in all its one-note splendour, thundering and lumbering at you like some terrible beast.
The atmosphere and power here is amazing. With perfect timing Mark joins in, drawling out the words, sounding almost frightened at himself. And it really is frightening. Genuinely sinister. Where could such sounds come from?
The lyrics are stunning, too. A sort of sequel to The Man Whose Head Expanded, unravelled in a highly original list format, point by point, devastating. Everything is in there. Just listen to that voice! The way he says 'God bless Saturday!' The way he spits 'cafe... collection box'.
As it moves ominously towards the end, the performance reaches inspired levels. It's a terrifying, psychedelic assault on the senses - all mesmerizing drone and 'purple blossoms'. The band play like their lives depend on it, and there is passion and force packed into every vital moment.
Then Mark is screaming, blotting out the band.
'The desire will turn ROTTEN, WE ARE THE FALL... IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF INFINITY! IT WAS THE TIME OF THE GIANT MOTHS!'
And then suddenly, it's all over. A strange echo loop fading, and from the Munich audience, a polite cheer.
I sit and examine the words. In all the years I've listened to them, I always find something I haven't heard before.
He [Sick Boy] settled for a Fall t-shirt which at least had the virtue of being white and would show off his Corsican tan to its best effect.
Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting
Mark Smith is the man. There are no bad Fall records as far as I'm concerned, any one of them is a perfect desert island CD for me.