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The Biggest Library Yet 3
  • Interview with Steve Hanley and Craig Scanlon
  • Tribute to Leigh Bowery
  • Datblygu (don't call them the Welsh Fall)
  • Hey! Marc Riley interview
  • Lost interview with MES, 1983
  • You don't have to be weird...
  • Live reviews: Brixton, Glasgow, York

    Published: February 1995 SOLD OUT
Cover TBLY3

David Edwards of

John Peel once said that David Edwards' work with Datblygu is the greatest incentive anyone could have for learning the Welsh language. The innovative Welsh group have recorded three LPs and five Peel sessions. Odran Smith asked him about his work with Datblygu and his thoughts on The Fall, to whom they are often compared.

Odran Smith: Datblygu are widely recognised as being Fall-inspired. Would you accept that your sound has similar elements? (If this is a belief you are keen to dispel then please do so!)

David Edwards: Yes, we come from similar backgrounds - working class.

OS: You namecheck Gene Vincent and Hank Williams in your songs. Do you think you have absorbed some of the same influences as The Fall?

DE: Yes, I used to drink with Gene Vincent's old saxophonist. And I've outdrank Hank Williams - outlived him too. Both were brilliant. Innovators. They were apart from rather than a part of the entertainment industry. They were true artists and poets. They always reduce me to tears.

OS: Are you one of those people who blame Brix for making The Fall more poppy? You once said that you didn't like jolly songs. What do you make of her rejoining the band?

DE: No way. I'm glad she's rejoining - I hope Mark and her get back together too. I want Mark to be happy.

OS: Does Mark ever say anything that really pisses you off? He's said some nasty things about the Irish over the years - is he the same to the Welsh?

DE: No, no. Mark doesn't annoy me. He always makes me laugh. Or cry. Everyone says nasty things when they are drunk and haven't fucked for a while. I admire a man who says what he believes. Mark is the best English poet since Shakespeare. He is.

Nationalism only interests me where sport is concerned. When England made the 1990 World Cup I supported them much to the support of my fellow countrymen. In 1994 I had £50 on Argentina (Maradona was framed - best soccer player ever) and £50 on Brazil. I knew Ireland wouldn't win.

OS: You're a big fan of Peel aren't you. What has he meant to you?

DE: He saved my life many a lonely night when I wanted to kill myself. Face it, more people listen to John Peel than John Major. Peel and me once got evicted from a pub in Brecon because he was eating a pizza that he'd bought elsewhere. Like me he likes the good things in life - wine, women and song. He's given more work to the unemployed than any Tory government. When I was a teenager and had to do rubbish homework as my parents argued or were ill from overwork, he'd play say the Birthday Party or make some remark and you didn't want to jump out of a window. Peel knows.

I also like Ed Stewart. And Jimmy Savile.

OS: The Fall went dance about three years after every other band from their neck of the woods. Datblygu are probably more techno than The Fall are at the moment. Yet you have said you think people are dehumanised by computers.

DE: No, Datblygu aren't techno. I'm a Luddite. We abuse technology and only revert to it when humans let me down. The Fall have always been a dance band. You just needed the brains to work out the steps.


In November 1994, Neil Clarke got in touch with Marc Riley to put some questions to the 'boy' they call 'Lard':

"Neil Clarke: How did you come to join The Fall?

MR: I was actually a roadie for the band before I joined. I'd met them going through to their gigs. They were my favourite band and I eventually got to know 'em. Being a keen sixteen year old I was deliriously happy to be allowed to lug their gear around from time to time, and this eventually evolved into me being their full-time dogsbody.

At one gig, in Manchester if I remember rightly, the bass player of the time, an oily little beast called Ferret, stopped half way through a song to light a fag. Mark responded by throwing a chair (and presumably a P45) at said workshy fop and the bass player's role was up for grabs. Being a dazzling jazz funk maestro bass player I was obviously the man for the job and joined in May '79.

NC: Do you still listen to their records, old or new?

MR: Not really. I hear the new stuff at work and still rate them as one of the best bands around. As for sitting at home with my pipe and slippers listening to the old stuff, yes I am a sad man... but not that sad.

NC: Martin Bramah joined The Fall, then left, then joined again, then left again. Brix seems to have rejoined. Karl Burns has become involved again. If the opportunity was to arise for you to rejoin, would you?

MR: No.

NC: What were the best and worst gigs you ever played with them?

MR: The best gig I can remember off the top of my head would've been at a small dump in LA called The Anti-Club. We had played earlier that night and on the other side of town - nowt special - and then packed up and played this tiny place with Non supporting. The Hammersmith Palais with the Birthday Party was a good 'un as well.

As for the worst... hmmmm... could've been in LA, at Madam Wongs. I remember Craig and I not being able to hear anything, or each other, so out of desperation we swapped sides for a bit... still no good. Smithy took this stage manouvering as being a rock-star Bon Jovi type 'routine' and threw a wobbly afterwards. He never was the most practical of fellas!

NC: Now a Creepers question, The Wedding Present have recently covered Jumper Clown (one of the tracks on the It's a Gas single). What do you think of their version and did Gedge ask you if they could do it?

MR: Yeah, I've heard it and it's not a bad job! I seem to remember talking to Dave when I was working on Hit the North (someone's else's title I hasten to add) for Radio Five and we mentioned that the Wedding Present had been approached to do a Fall song to contribute to an LP of Fall cover versions. They decided to do a Riley song instead and it has now surfaced on a single release. Whether it will pop up on the new Fall LP I couldn't say.

NC: Is there any more TV work in the pipeline?

MR: Oooh, I would've thought so! If Fred Talbot should meet with an (un)fortunate accident then a regular spot on This Morning might be nice, pissing about on a large lump of polystyrene and talking through my arse... that'd be nice!
Hope this fits the bill. By the way [to Neil Clarke], have you still got that tattoo of me on your upper arm? Frightened the shit out of me that did."

Lost MES interview (Excerpts)

What other music/ bands do you like?

Steve Hanley: The The, Irish showbands.
Karl Burns: Anything that doesn't threaten him.
Craig Scanlon: Elvis Presley, Diana Ross, Al Green.
MES: Flipper, Dionne Warwick, Wizzard, German groups.
Paul Hanley: New Order, the Scars, early Dexy's.

What is the most obscene thing you can think of?

Too horrid to relate, but:
a) Culture Club lyrics and thoughts
b) Howard Jones lyrics
c) one more canned UK pseudo-beer
d) Having to play Leicester Poly for 3rd time

How do you get on with Leigh Bowery?

Very well... he's got a great sense of humour. I always liked him 'cos of what he did in that play I did Hey Luciani. He really pulled it out for that and I think he's quite an actor...
If you go out to a club with him after the ballet he wears things like I'd wear like big fucking double breasted coats and big knotted ties and side parted wigs and he'd look real kind of distorted and he'd look great. He looked like a clerk on acid, like he was from some alternative world.

Mark's explanations of songs

WINGS: A gentleman who, in the future, goes into a store which is experimentally selling wings. These have not been tested right. He hits clouds and time-warps. By the time he gets home he's changed things too much.

KICKER CONSPIRACY: Sports press, the way football's hierarchy put their faults onto hooligans etc., the greyness of it. Also in parallel to music obviously, and GB. And the idea of same in song - especially a single, struck me as TOPICAL, PROPHETIC + HILARIOUS.

Random quotes

I don't mind bootlegs, no. I just bought one myself. I don't play them, I just take them for the sake of taking them. The last thing I want is to hear us playing concerts.
Craig Scanlon

You've got to understand the slang. We're the Salford Regiment of The Fall.
Steve 'the Sarge' Hanley