Grant Brissey has done many great things for the world, and creating the Line Out tag Fall Video of the Day is one of the greatest. A place where we can all stare at screens to find collected Fall videos! A place for us!
Mark E Smith called Mumford & Sons a 'mongoloid Irish folk band'
And today! Today is old mushmouth's birthday! Born on March 5th, 1957 to a working-class family in Broughton, Salford, in Lancashire, England. Mark E. Smith recently stated to the press that he didn't like any of the songs on the Fall's last record, Ersatz GB. Apparently next month's 243,532th Fall record, entitled Re-Mit, is going to be much better. But how would that guy even know? His brains are oatmeal!
Below you'll find a live version of "I am Damo Suzuki" from 1985. The song is probably about Smith's love for Can, and the riff is totally swiped from "Oh Yeah" off of Tago Mago. Of course, the Fall will always rule. Though I'll always rue the day that I shelled out $30 to see them in 2003. What a debacle!
Here's a blistering version (never mind the audio static) of "A Lot of Wind" from the Fall's 1991 "pretty good" record Shift-Work. From what I can tell, the line-up is: Mark E. Smith - vocals; Craig Scanlon - guitar, backing vocals; Steve Hanley - bass; Simon Wolstencroft - drums; Kenny Brady - fiddle. A lot of fans aren't terribly fond of the squeaky fiddle version of the mighty Fall, but those people are goofs.
Thanks to Andy Zax for bringing the video below to my attention. It's amazingly, staggeringly, astoundingly bad. YouTube is filled with crap videos, and I ignore most of them, but this one crosses the line between irritatingly inept and accidentally brilliant. Are these two middle-aged gits taking the piss? They can't sing and they don't know how to operate a puppet, but they seem fully committed to whatever the fuck it is they're trying to do. As Zax tweeted, "Do you like The Fall? Do you like watching people try to sing along to Fall records? Do you like puppets?" Yes, yes, and yes!
Bedroom cover and music hall original below (Brix with a poodle on her head).
Oh, brother. There certainly was a place for Pavement's droopy lazy ways way back in the 90s, but finding this track after looking for any bands doing Fall covers kind of left me offended. Apparently it was recorded for a John Peel Session (08/21/1997, for you fact masters) and I'll assume that Peel was probably just as offended.
There really isn't much happening here other than the basic riff and Malkmus mumbles. Geez, I feel so bad about posting this, you should probably listen to this version of "Psycho Mafia" by the Moist Vaginas recorded live at Palmefestivalen in Oslo instead.
Holy whoa, here's an entire blistering Fall set from the Bend Sinister era. Great sound and video for an audience recording, though the person holding the camera seems somewhat fixated on Brix. Then again, what Fall fan at that time wasn't? This show was recorded on the same day as the Fall's second Janice Long Session.
You can't really argue with the Mark E. Smith, Brix Smith, Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, Simon Rogers, and Simon Wolstencroft line-up. Highlights include "Mark'll Sink Us," "Lucifer over Lancashire," and a late version of "Fiery Jack." Oh, what am I talking about, they're all brilliant.
Here's a bonus photo of me + Mark E. Smith from 1993. Look at that giant cable knit sweater I'm wearing!
H/T: Howard Hamilton, a fellow Fall fan to the max.
Hot on the heels of his birthday last week, here's a brilliant unreleased documentary about the Fall made by Mick Middles in 1994.
Hear Ol' Smithy mumble on half coherently about a manner of things, ranging from waiting for the bus to the best way to nurse a baby.
Skip to the 8:49 mark (or just click here) to hear Smith boast about how happy he was that the people of Cleveland, Ohio hated the Fall because that's where grunge started with "long hair like this" and "loud guitars and all." A few seconds later he states that Chicago is a lot like Manchester and he would never, ever live in Los Angeles, "for all of the money in the fucking world."
Also, while you're reading this, be safe in the knowing that I'll be playing six hours of Fall records at the Pony next Thursday the 15th from 8pm until 2am.
Here's a treat. The Fall recorded live at the Hacienda in Manchester at the tail end of their best lineup on October 18th, 1984. There's a goofy hat atop Brix's head, M.E.S. is mumbling about the price of scotch and the music business, and Steve Hanley is in his prime. As stated in the Youtube comments section, this one "knocks the piss out of the studio version."
Milly Rhener remembered the gig a year later in Debris No. 7 and stated:
The Hacienda was full ... God knows what they must have thought of the dickheads who shouted for the six-year-old 'Rowche Rumble'. ... Not content with having regressive vision, the crowd plunged further into the depths of mindlessness. When the Fall were offstage in between encores, the imbeciles decided to show off their obscene vocabulary, seemingly in an effort to impress each other. I mean, can you see the point in paying £3.50 to see a band and then spend ten minutes calling them "sods/ lazy bastards/ miserable fuckers/ a bunch of wankers"? I can't. ... a band as vibrant and stimulating as the Fall deserve a better class of audience.
So what if it's just a picture of the album cover with the song playing. It's Fall Video of the Day because "Nate Will Not Return" is one of the stronger points off Ersatz G.B., and G.B. does NOT stand for Grant Brissey. How does Mark E. Smith continue to make good music at this point? I'm pretty sure he's just a songwriting robot that runs on alcohol, an extremely non-lucrative creation of some crazy/genius scientist. Sure the robot has slipped up a couple times, but this album, which dropped December 6, and the last one I heard, 2005's Fall Heads Roll are both tits.
This performance is taken from Anthony H Wilson's show 'The Other Side of Midnight', Granada TV, UK 1988.
Thank you YouTube user campfreddie!
Anyway, this is the lead track from the dark horse candidate for my favorite Fall album, I Am Kurious Oranj. Mark E. Smith keeps the hijinks to a minimum and merely bangs on drummer Simon Wolstencroft's rack tom to his apparent chagrin. That's cool and all, but check out what happens when the camera pans right. Holy fuck you guys, has anyone ever looked like as much of a rock star as Brix does here? It's pretty incredible. Obviously the makers of Guitar Hero didn't pattern the "star power" moves after Brix, but I will pretend they did. I want to be her guitar, like really bad. I'm not going to lie: I watched this thing four times in a row. Hold on, I'm a watch it again.
I love this shit. This non-album track (latter appended to reissues of 1983's Perverted By Language) is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite eras of the band. Just the synergy between the bass line and the guitar line and the drums. Oh my god, you guys. It's better than drugs.
What's even better? This video. Mark E. Smith is clearly in DGAF mode here. Do you think he let them do more than one take of the lip-sync portions? MAAAAAAAAYBE two takes? It's really hard for me to just not lose my shit every time Smith either forgets or just gets tired of lip-syncing and takes a break to pull off of his pint or stare blankly at the ceiling.
You can almost see a thought balloon hanging over his head saying "God damn bloody Rough Trade. Fuckin' 'ell."
Here's an interview with Brix in the happy old days of 1989 (It's hard to tell if this is pre- or post-divorce). Hear her dodge a a question about falling victim to the excesses of Los Angeles and discuss her other band, the strangely presciently named The Adult Net (the name taken from a line from the Fall tune "Stephen Song"). Notable quotes: "With the Fall, it's like I'm working for someone else," and "There might come a time where I'm really gonna have to pour everything into [the Adult Net], because it'll be demanded of me. And I would have to say that I would do it, but I know there's always a place for me in the Fall, even if I leave for a year-and-a-half to concentrate on this stuff, I can always come back, and I can work with them whenever I want."
Not as much a video as much as a just a picture of the record cover while the track plays, "Iceland" was a huge step forward in the Fall's sound. The Fall biography Paintwork had this to say about this second to last song on the landmark Hex Enduction Hour LP from 1982:
"All these events and impressions culminated in Iceland, recorded appropriately in a lava-walled Reykjavik studio. It was a subtle example of The Fall's genuine gift for spontaneity. "Right, no dicking about," announced Smith, "let's get set up - we've wasted enough money already." Having been told they were going to do a new song, the musicians gladly obliged. Drums pattered, Riley plucked notes out of a banjo and Scanlon tripped out the groggy tune on a piano. Over this Smith played a tape of the wind howling at his hotel window and spoke his fragile lyrics: Cast the runes against your own soul, roll up for the underpants show... to be humbled in Iceland... "No, we didn't know what he was going to do either," marveled Riley. "He just said he needed a tune, something Dylanish, and we knocked around on the piano and came up with that. But we hadn't heard the words until he suddenly did them. We did Fit And Working Again on Slates in exactly the same way. Yeah, I suppose it's amazing really.""
If you're new to the Fall, Hex Enduction Hour is a great place to start. They really didn't do anything wrong between 1981 and 1984.
Here's a bonus interview from Australian TV with Mark E. Smith & Marc Riley, about four months before Riley got sacked from the group for employing "too much melody" in his playing.
As far as Fall songs go, this is the one that's always been at the top of my list. The only released studio version is from the 7th Peel Session on December 12th of 1983, firmly planted deep within the Wonderful & Frightening World of the Fall LP era. The line-up is supreme: Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, Brix Smith and the double percussion assault of Paul Hanley and Karl Burns. It's a remarkable representation on the group at the absolute top of their game, nearly ten transcendent minutes of solid bass and drum groove interspersed with meandering guitar, "singing," and pre-recorded vocal excerpts. And WHOA, does this track ever include some of M.E.S.'s best lyrics: "I would like deep down at the bottom of my odor, lingering, my heart and soul, to see the government wrecked/And my LPs grow" and "I'm proud of the way I've avoided prison, If we carry on like this we're gonna end up like King Crimson," the latter reference being changed to jab at many of the wretched groups of that era, including Wah!, Heat and others. If I'm not mistaken, the first live appearance of this song is from January 16, 1983, the first gig after key member Marc Riley famously got sacked for dancing in Australia (among other reasons). Noting his absence, a heckler shouted "Where's Marc Riley? Where's Marc Riley gone to? Where is he? Is he ill? Is he on holiday?" Long story short, a song with which all others must be compared by the band with which all others must be compared.
Here's a live version (unfortunately abbreviated) from 1983, I'm not sure from exactly from when or where. I can tell you that it was uploaded to Youtube by Chicago's greatest painter, Gregory Jacobsen. Upon meeting him for the first time, Gregory simply said to me, "Wow, I thought you'd be a lot taller."
"...And the band think, "He's gonna tell that joke again, he's gonna tell that joke again." And they're right!
At last count, I own seventeen albums by The Fall, which most certainly makes them one of my favorite bands ever. I got into the Fall in kind of a curious way, via 1997's What's Up Matador compilation, which for a 16-year-old bro who was obsessed with Unsane and Jon Spencer, was kind of a disappointment at the time. There was a lot of good stuff on there, but only a small handful of tracks really pushed the buttons that a young kid who liked his music arty AND spazzy/noisy.
Enter "Hey Student!"
While neither "Hey Student," or the album on which it was found count among the Fall's best work, it was still good enough of a jam to get me curious about this band, which I knew very little about.
So I head down to Bellingham's 3V (Vast Vault Of Vinyl) with my teenage lawn-mowing money and check their Fall section and only found the 12" single for "Wrong Place, Right Time." Let's listen to it again, this time in a live version, because this song is that good.
I know that the Fall aren't really regarded for their riffs, probably because they've had 4320984 different guitarists, but goddamn, that is a riff right there. Also, "I have to sing gothic/boo-hoo" is kind of a hilarious lyric.
I cued it up on the shop's turntable and absolutely flipped over the track, but didn't end up buying the 12" single, probably because my turntable was borked, but probably also because I regarded the 12" single as being kind of a waste of a format for a three minute song. So I ended up picking up Live At The Witch Trials on CD, because I wanted to leave with at least one Fall record, damn it.
I finally picked up an album with this song a couple weeks later, but I forget if it was the A-Sides compilation, or if it was I Am Kurious Oranj. I do remember being thrilled to finally own the track, and that I jammed "Wrong Place, Right Time" several times a week for several months.
Okay. One more live version, notable for Mark E. Smiths antics, which almost make up for the guitarist (Ben Pritchard? Pete Greenway?) butchering the riff:
A lot of people aren't exactly wild about 1994's Middle Class Revolt, and it's easy to understand why. Following directly after the fan favorite Infotainment Scan, Middle Class Revolt seems to find the mighty Fall not exactly sure where to go next. But like a stubborn stepfather at the wheel on a wonky road trip, if you're a fan of the Fall, you'll follow the map even if you know you're going to have to double-back eventually. Regardless, the first single released was an absolute stunner posing as some sort of Madchester drug-hazed re-write of Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover". The video is equally brilliant, with clips of secret weapon Steve Hanley dragging an amp through puddled city streets, a Wolstencroft/Burns double percussion assault and M.E.S. acting like a preening office manager with an assistant WAY out of his league. Because let's face it, if Mark E. Smith worked at Arby's instead of singing for the Fall, he'd be obsessively trolling the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist with absolutely no results whatsoever.
Perhaps the most important lesson here is that this is the weekend to finally leave your man. Grab a pen and paper and write that list. Stay free.
Not actually a moving video, instead just a still shot of the Seminal Live LP, here's a cover version of an old truck driving song that the Fall came across while on tour in America in 1985. Mark E. Smith claimed that the band stumbled upon a tape called Pure Truck Stop at a Stuckey's while driving through Iowa and became obsessed with the song "Pinball Machine," listening to it over and over again. It was eventually recorded by the Fall and released on 1989's Seminal Live, an odds & sods collection of cast offs and live tracks. The track was originally recorded by Lonnie Irving in the early months of 1960 and was a staple on truck driving song compilations. 10-4 good buddy-uh! We gonna roll this truckin' convoy-uh!
The Fall "Pinball Machine" (1989):
Lonnie Irving "Pinball Machine" (1960):
For the record, I've been to Gallipolis, Ohio. If you're thinking about heading that way for a visit, my advice is to re-route your Family Truckster elsewhere.
You know how The Fall have like eight million good records, and Mark E. Smith's pickled liver keeps writing and recording more? Well, there's also a few million great Fall internet videos out there. Thusly, Fall Video of the Day. We'll be posting Fall Videos until we run out of them. Not every day, though, 'cause that would be annoying. This follows the first installment.
Whenever someone tells me they've seen the Fall live, I always ask them, "Did Mark E. Smith get wasted and ruin the show?" Well, here is just one such instance in which Mark is clearly wasted, and by antagonizing the drummer into attacking him and then quitting, and then Mark probably forgetting the songs, he also ruins the show. Enjoy!