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Image for The Fall – HEY THERE FUCKFACE!!


Written by Michael Carr on October 8, 2010

Mark E. Smith is a giant amongst dwarves in today’s music industry. One of the only white men to ever use the word nigger in a song, (quoted here from The Classical Hex Enduction Hour,

“There is no culture is my brag,
Your taste for bullshit reveals a lust for a home of office
Where are the obligatory niggers?

a line which allegedly cost the band a deal with Motown Recrods) Mark and his band The Fall have never been ones to err toward political correctness over honest expression. Having been through numerous labels and twice as many line-ups, releasing 28 studio albums over more than three decades and more than triple that if you include live material and other releases, Smith has tirelessly devoted his life and career to his art.

In a music world where your trendy haircut and bullshit image are often more important than the music or what you have to say, Mark E. Smith and The Fall have stood the test of time to come out more than thirty years later never breaking through to the mainstream but never breaking their own convictions. While it is unfortunate people today have taken The Fall up as a symbol of hipdom, seeming more concerned with the raw sound than the raw themes and ideas, we should remain thankful that they’re still around, doing their job, as best they can. Let’s just leave them to it and enjoy it.

Music Feeds: How are you; going strong?

Mark E. Smith: It’s not even 12 o’clock here, but I’m still pissed from last night.

MF: Nice going. Anyway how does it feel being so busy, playing all these dates?

MES: I don’t know, it’s a bit weird for me really, the last four months we’ve been doing a lot of festivals, which is strange for The Fall; we’re usually banned from them. But there’s one up side that our audience is a lot bleeding younger than it was five years ago, but there are just more arse-lickers now. All these new bands are arse-lickers and you see that playing festivals.

MF: Haha, it’s pretty funny you say that because so many of them are ripping you off, like Pete Doherty etc

MES: I’m glad you said that but you must have an antipodeans’ view point there because a lot of people don’t see that. I don’t really know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

MF: You were good, he’s shit; you can’t help it though.

MES: Yeah, I went to see Doherty, whatever his name is, once cos I know the support group, they’re from Glasgow, and all the audience was about sixteen or seventeen, I felt very strange, I felt about a hundred years old.

MF: You seem to be doing pretty well for 100 year olds; you’re pretty popular these days

MES: I think that means something’s gone wrong, I mean we actually got a good review in the NME you know, like fuck me, it’s time to fucking pack it in.

MF: So it’s weird?

MES: It’s worse than that, I spent fifteen years trying not to be hip. But things are going very well.

MF: Yeah, everything seems to be going well. How is it playing with the new band?

MES: I was pleased with the last record, but the group is a good ten years younger than me, which makes a big fucking difference, and they’ve been really good lately, touch wood. They were on the last LP, and I think they were on the one before, and we’ve been playing a lot recently, so when we come out there it won’t fall apart like it usually does.

MF: Awesome, glad to hear it. What do you have coming up after the tour?

MES: I wanted to start recording in October really, cos I think it’s about time. I shouldn’t be telling you but I left Domino last week, so I’m just going to record really and then we’re touring in November and December and then see what the New Year brings. That’s the way I do it though; I don’t plan ahead.

MF: Cool, well before I let you go I just wanted to ask you about the song you did with the Gorillaz, which only has you at the start asking ‘where’s north from here?’ was there more of it?

MES: I did have a lot of lyrics for it and I actually did it with them in Glastonbury, I actually sang the whole song, but they said they didn’t think it was suitable for the album. I forgot that their audience is really young, even for pop music standards. When they told me I said “what you mean a bunch of third formers?’ but when we did a rehearsal for the fan club and they were like fucking nine and ten, I could understand, you should have heard the fucking lyrics, my god I could understand why they took them out. I was supposed to be a pirate or something like that and I’m like ‘the fucking wooden tits on the ship and the fucking slaves in the hull,’ you know pirate lyrics ‘give us a kiss you bastards.’ It’s not going to go down too well in primary schools.

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