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The Biggest Library Yet 2
Naked City TV interview,
Caitlin Moran: He came from the North with a song in
his heart and a smile on his face. Mark E. Smith and The Fall have
pushed one note and three chords to their very limit and his
reputation as modern music's most articulate man knows no
CM: So, do you think The Fall are the best band in
MES: Yeah, I do.
CM: Do you think The Fall have had a very big
influence on the music industry?
CM: What's worse, a punk or a hippy?
MES: A punk or a hippy. What's a punk?
You know, I don't know why you're asking me these
CM (voiceover to audience): Oh dear, it's not going
too well. Let's try the confrontational route...
Mark, why are you so miserable?
MES: I'm not at all.
CM: Is it an act?
MES: No, I'm a big softy. I'm a very ultra-sensitive
CM: What makes you laugh?
MES: Bernard Manning makes me laugh.
CM: Are you being serious about Bernard Manning or
are you being amazingly sarcastic?
MES: No, I think he's funny. He can tell jokes,
CM: Yeah, but I mean his views are absolutely
CM: Yes, the stance that he takes on women...
MES: Well, I haven't noticed.
CM: He's an amazing misogynist.
MES: Is he?
[Clip of Bernard Manning in performance.]
MES: It's good to have a laugh at things like
CM: Yes, but don't you think there's something more
dangerous and insidious than that?
MES: What he'd say is laugh it off. If you live in
that part of Manchester you never even see a woman. You know, why
doesn't Ben Elton tell any racist or sexist jokes?
CM: Because he knows it's a dangerous
MES: No, because he doesn't fucking know
CM: I'm sure if he wanted to he could buy a
MES: Yeah you tell me something funny Ben Elton said,
I'll give you a thousand pounds.
CM (voiceover): Having decided against Big Ben and
with ginormous Bernard, Mark E. Smith leaves a huge question mark
hanging over his sexual scruples. Time for the big
What do you think of pornography then?
MES: I don't like looking, I don't look at women in
magazines, it's never done anything for me you know. It's a waste of
time, it's very bad for the spirit. It's where you get your serial
kilers from, it's these fucking idiots who are pushed sex on the
fucking TV all the fucking time, that's fucking pathetic, it's sad.
They're all morons from the fucking midlands, like fucking lower
middle class idiots. In this country, it's the middle class and the
upper class, totally sexually fucked up.
CM: On the one hand you're saying...
MES: One thing to be said for the working class,
they're not like, you know, they're not a load of randy
CM: Do you like sex?
MES: I've fucked more women than you've ever seen.
But I don't look at women in magazines. It's a bit... [can't decipher
I'm sorry, hit me, hit me!
[She does, as Mark cackles away.]
Interview with John
Procter of I, Ludicrous
Odran Smith's questions:
1 First Fall record you ever heard?
2 Favourite Fall songs ? (5)
3 Favourite Fall albums ? (2)
4 Do you think that the fact that you sent your music
to Mark at an early date had a bearing on him liking you? I suspect
it's also why he says he likes Suede but hates Pavement.
5 Do you have any 'Ludicrous on the road with The
Fall' anecdotes to impart?
6 I thought Mark didn't like southerners.
7 Is Dave Bush much better at the synthesizer than
8 Mark often expounds upon some alien topics in
interviews. When reading these articles, do you skip past it or
mutter 'You tell 'em Mark' and on which topics? I know John Peel
disagrees with him on most points.
9 Will you be supporting them in the future? They may
come to Ireland in September!
10 Can you explain the humour of The Fall?
11 Trevor Long - the ex-manager of The Fall - isn't
he the person Gentleman's Agreement was about? What was all that
The postman nicked the £2.50. Can you send it
again? Ha! A joke.
Now to your questions. Of course, if this was NME
you'd ask where I am now, and what are the vibes like. I'm glad you
didn't as I don't understand those funny hippy words.
As it is, I'm on a train and the vibrations are
imparing my writing.
Here are the answers:
1 Bingo Master's Breakout, funnily enough. It came as
a surprise, as it had keyboards on it, and was therefore not punk.
I'd thought they were a punk group. I liked the voice, but didn't buy
the record. It wasn't until Second Dark Age, Muzorewi's Daughter and
other stuff off Dragnet that I realised I had to buy these
2 Impossible. But I'll have a go. Stop Mithering
[sic] , Leave the Capitol, Big New Prinz, Paintwork, Second Dark Age,
Words of Expectation. Will six do?
3 Bloody hard, these Alan Partridge questions. How
about Grotesque and Perverted by Language.
4 I don't suppose he or the rest of The Fall would
ever have heard of us. As we nicked the riff to Ludicrous off Slates,
it was only courteous to forward a tape at the earliest opportunity.
I think this got us off on the right foot, yes.
6 We don't like northerners.
7 Yes, Dave Bush-babe used to be the lighting man, I
think, and so was on our payroll for the duration of the 4-date 1990
8 Funnily enough, I find myself agreeing with just
about everything Mark says, e.g. death by nuclear bomb probably being
preferable to death by bayonet; Andy Kershaw being a professional
northerner; the fat old Elvis being much better than the thin young
Elvis. Mark talks a lot of sense.
9 Don't know. We were supposed to have supported them
in May, but for some reason it didn't come off.
10 Probably funny because it's folk music (ask Mark).
See Pay Your Rates, Container Drivers, Second Dark Age (I like that
one), Spectre vs. Rector, My New House, A Lot of Wind - the everyday
is funny. You get humour and horror in folk traditions. And irony -
my favourite moment is on the Live at the Acklam Hall tape. After a
lengthy and great rendering of Spectre vs. Rector, which the audience
clearly hated, the next song is introduced as Spectre vs. Rector Part
11 Trevor Long rubbed us up the wrong way from the
start. But, in true Nietzchean style, we embraced our enemy (I
learned that from Mark). By the end of the tour, Trevor was spending
most of his time in our dressing room, which was very disturbing.
Very disturbing indeed. Mark described Trevor as The Fall's guru, but
we were wary of him.
I suspect Gentleman's Agreement to be about Trevor,
but can shed no further light. The Birmingham School of Business
School is more specifically about Trevor and his creative accounting
We'd like Trevor to be our manager. I'd like to see
him make money out of I, Ludicrous - it'd be the first
I expect you were looking forward to more on no. 5.
but nothing remarkable happened - it's all documented in [the song]
Bloody Proud. We went home every night. Sorry.
More on # 5... Unlike Trevor, Mark made sure we were
properly fed. And so did Craig and Steven, who offered us their last
samosas at the Ritz gig in Manchester. Unfortunately, I was too
nervous to eat! Hats off to The Fall.
Letter to John Peel by Odran Smith
Please could you send some answers to the following
1 Favourite Fall songs (limit of five). John Procter
thought my insistance on five was Alan Partridge-like, but any more
and it becomes ludicrous. (NME could only narrow it down to
2 Presumably, you liked The Fall from their
inception, but at what point did you decide they were your favourite
band of all time (they are, aren't they?)
3 I know you don't concur with all of Mark E. Smith's
opinions, but do his attitudes annoy you? Do you think he has changed
ie. he was against the pit closures.
4 I thought your 'U2 ad' was great. Did the challenge
draw any response? (This was a reference to Peel's voiceover for the
'One FM Concert Line' advertising U2. He was startlingly
unenthusiastic and at the end he said something along the lines of:
"Never thought much of them myself. But now your favourite One FM DJ
will play a record by The Fall... " Of course, they did nothing of
I sense the battle lines hardening at the station
with you and Mark Radcliffe (did he produce the 1985 Peel session?)
in particular taking occasional pot shots. I noted that in an
interview in The Guardian, Mark was particularly gratified when he
heard you were playing 'Why are People Grudgeful?' while standing in
for Jakki Brambles.
5 Mark says: "There's a campaign in the BBC against
us 'cause they look on us a Peel's favourites so they feel free to
slag us off." Do you think you may have (inadvertently) ghettoised
the band? Was the Mark Goodier session the first outside of your
6 Why was 'Kimble' released as a proper single? The
release of the complete sessions is an old chestnut, but has there
been any further talk?
(P.S. Glad to hear you thought Sharon Shannon was the
best thing at Glastonbury as she played at a seasúin at my
dad's farm six months ago.)
So you've read to the end of the letter and are
wondering whether or not to comply, as at this moment you should be
helping Without Walls compile another 'Rock is Dead' show. Stop! Mark
once said that he started The Fall so he would have something to
enjoy listening to. Please fill out this interview and you'll have
something you'll enjoy reading!
1 Really can't narrow this down. Am at the moment
listening to the early LPs again and the songs all sound like new
songs - so any list I made would be out of date by tomorrow. 'Tempo
House' is playing right now.
2 Well, they're my favourite band now and have been
for ten years or more. Difficult to say whether they're my favourites
ever. They've certainly lasted longer than anyone else.
3 No, I'm glad he says what he thinks rather than
takes - as others do - what he thinks is the currently hip
4 Bates faded the end of the trail - but then he
would. Mark R. did produce the session.
5 Maybe an element of truth in this. The Fall would
not be the only band to have suffered this way, that's for sure. The
band also did sessions for Kid Jensen, Janice Long, Saturday Live in
addition to Mark G. (Details are in Ken Garner's book 'In Session
Tonight' in your shops come September, I think.)
6 Because I thought it should be - so did Mark. The
complete sessions project looks pretty hopeless, I'm afraid.
Excuse brevity and typing - my writing is terrible.
Trying to get backstage at a Fall gig is almost as tricky as being
initiated into the Freemasons. Out of an audience of 700, only three
people managed it that night: me, my partner Sara, and my sister
Elaine. The scene was a bizarre one.
'My lads', as Smith would call them, sat in one corner drinking beer
and eating peanuts, whilst in the other MES stared out of the window,
smoking like a laboratory full of beagles and drinking champers. On
being introduced to him by the road manager, he shook us firmly by
the hand, stood us a beer and let me shout things through his
personal megaphone. He was disarmingly charming, offering us
cigarettes, signing autographs and apologising for swearing in front
of the ladies. He said they would seriously consider playing my
wedding reception 'for about a hundred quid', informed us that he and
Saffron were to be married on 27 April that year and politely excused
himself as they had to be going. We left stunned and in awe - this
was like visiting the Pope for me.
Sadly, European tour dates meant they couldn't do the wedding, but
they sent a telegram saying: 'Apologies for our non-appearance. Keep
your nerve.Your pals Mark E. Smith and The Fall.' It is framed and on
display in our dining room.
I/v with Simon
In August, Odran Smith caught up with Simon Wolstencroft, just back
from a holiday in Africa, and quizzed him on matters pertaining to
his songwriting and drumming duties in The Fall.
OS: How did you come to join The Fall?
SW: I was asked to join in '86 by Mark whilst
supporting them on a small English tour as drummer in the Weeds. My
first gig was at Lees Cliff Hall, Bournemouth, shortly followed by
ther first pop concert to be held at the G-Mex in
OS: Had you always liked their music?
SW: I was not a fan of the band, although I was given
a tape of This Nation's Saving Grace shortly before joining. I still
rate this album to be one of the best Fall LPs to date.
OS: What are your favourite Fall songs?
SW: My favourite songs are Terry Waite Sez, Hit the
North, Disneyland's Dream Debased (is that the correct title?), Petty
Thief Lout and the remix of Free Range, Free Ranger which was on the
B-side of the Ed's Babe single.
OS: Your previous band, the Weeds, were on the In
Tape label. What happened to them and how did you get on with Marc
SW: The Weeds were disbanded after I joined The Fall.
Andrew Berry (vocals/guitar) collaborated with Johnny Marr on one
single for Phonogram called Kiss me, I'm Cold. It didn't chart, the
vocal being very weak, but the music is worth checking out. It has a
superb groove courtesy of Dave Palmer (ABC) on drums and James Eller,
a top session man, on bass. Andrew Berry has now given up music and
is a dogsbody for Johnny Marr.
The dreadlocked Mike Rocco (bass) moved down to London, where as far
as I know he's a motorbike courier.
In Tape records, who released the one Weeds single, were okay. I
still speak to Marc Riley from time to time - despite him becoming a
radio and TV celeb. Jim Khambatta I never really got on with and he
still owes me a John Peel session fee from all those years
OS: For a while, you played keyboards with the band.
Were you any good?
SW: I'm not, nor eve have been, very good at playing
them with two hands - although when I write a song - like Free Range,
Christmas with Simon, Ladybird etc - I base this around the bass
guitar sounds on a keyboard as I used to play a little bass before I
took up drums when at school.
OS: You had principal writing credits on Free Range,
one of The Fall's best ever songs. Did you write any of the tracks on
Middle Class Revolt? What songwriting methods do the band employ. Do
the lyrics always come first?
SW: I co-wrote Middle Class Revolt the track, though
there was a misprint on the credits due to a cock-up at the record
label. I also had a big part in City Dweller, although Mark failed to
credit me on this one, as he does on many occasions! Most of the time
the lyrics come after the music.
OS: Apparently you used to play in a band called the
Patrol (a former incarnation of the Stone Roses). Who else was in the
band? And, it's a cheap move, but what do you know about The Second
Coming [still unreleased at the time of this interview]?
SW: The Patrol was my first band formed with John
Squire and Ian Brown in the last year at Altrincham Grammar School.
Andy Couzens, the songer with the High, was asked to sing to start
with because his wealthy parents bought him an MG sports car when he
went to South Trafford College (which we all attended for a while).
This was a big novelty at the time.
Our music was loosely based on the Clash. Squire and myself were
massive fans at the time. I left college to follow them round the
country on the 16 Tonnes tour in 1980.
I recently heard about six tracks from the Second Coming (is that
what they're calling it?) and it is a much heavier sound than their
first LP. Led Zep springs to mind, with lots of heavy metal guitar
solos all over it. It should do very well I think.
Did you know I was in the Colour Field with Terry Hall for a while,
along with Craig Gannon on guitar. (I also got Craig the job with the
Smiths.) I appeared on the Tube with him performing three songs,
including Kim Fowley's The Trip.
OS: What did you think of the situation last year
when your name was linked to stories of a Smiths' reunion. What were
the circumstances there?
SW: The Smiths' reforming story occurred with I held
my wedding reception at Old Trafford cricket ground last August.
Marr, Joyce and Rourke are all still good mates and this was the
first time they were spotted in the same room together, talking small
talk, since the Smiths split in '86.
OS: What have been the highlights since joining The
SW: Highlights of my time with The Fall have included
the G-Mex gig in '86, a festival in Brazil as part of a world tour
(with Martin Bramah) in 1990, and the release and charting - at
number 40! - of Free Range a couple of years ago.
Interview with Dave
Odran Smith: How did you join the
Dave Bush: I was working for The Fall in their road
crew. The first gig I did was in Barcelona and I heard noises in my
head while they were playing. I'd been doing dance music at my house
and I had piles of gear. I told Mark after the show that I wanted to
program their music op and after a year I got my chance.
OS: Had you been a big Fall fan?
DB: No. I used to hate them until I heard them in
Barcelona. [But] being at the side of the stage you could feel the
power and feeling that you can't always get in the
OS: You use to roadie for the Fall, didn't you? So
how could anyone with your past contribute to a song with Crew
DB: I didn't.
OS: You've been in The Fall quite a while now but
when I saw you take the stage in Belfast and Dublin last year with a
whistle in your mouth, some of the audience (obviously the
got-a-compilation-from-a-mate crowd) were astonished. When you first
joined the band, Cog Sinister got letters moaning about the use of
computers. Was it akin to a Catholic playing for Rangers or did you
find it easy enough to fit in?
DB: If they don't like me, they can fuck
OS: The band aren't very renowned for their
instrumental prowess. You could be viewed as taking on Simon Rogers'
mantle, so I was wondering if you were any good on the
DB: None of the band are bad at playing their
instruments. You should hear Craig play Classical Gas. *
OS: Are the Drum Club remixing Fall
DB: They might be but I haven't heard of
OS: I've seen Andy Wetherall at the Sugarsweet Club
in Belfast. I think he's brilliant - why didn't he produce the last
DB: I don't know if he's any good, I've not been to
see him. Mark doesn't need any education, he's been doing music for
* A top 10 hit in 1968 for Mason Williams.
When Pavement played Belfast I said to Stephen (while
he was on stage tuning his guitar): 'Do you realise The Fall didn't
get this big a crowd when they played here a month ago?'
'Yeah,' he grinned.
'Which is a shame', I said, 'Because they're a better band.'
'They were a better band.'
Top 20 Run-out Groove
(all original spelling mistakes included)
1 'There is no mail at the house of contempt.' City
2 'I skin my cat with rubber teeth....!' O!
3 'Doomsday Hoe-Down on Auto.' Bend
4 'Death to Republique Anglais. Next: the mummy.'
Perverted by Language
5 'George Best knows this.' How I Wrote Elastic
6 'This is what happens when you go to Bury.' Living
7 'Lloyd Call eat shit.' No Bulbs 3
8 'Mature Computer Dissection.' Bend
9 'Udo Lindenbergh is a twat.' Vixen/L.A.
10 'Spine Fuhrer of Hoboken..' Pat Trip
11 'Blast English Liberace-ism.' I'm Into
12 'You'll never work again!' Totale's
13 'All British cheery song success.' Auto Tech
14 'It's ye Fall bleedin eedjet....'
15 'Hide those hits.' 77-Early Years-79
16 'From the auspices of Cog.' In: Palace of Swords
17 'Sinister to you: Dear, dear listener.' In: Palace
of Swords Reversed
18 'The only reason you know this is that is was well
documented.' Putta Block
19 'Keep schtum - plaguarism infects the land.'
20 'Paen to Vitamin D.' Mr Pharmacist
'You've got to understand that, at the beginning,
The Fall were just a group of lads sitting around in an attic reading
each other's poetry.'