Mark E(dward)Smith is the mastermind behlnd The Fall, the group which he formed In his home town of Manchester in the late 70s after quittlng ha job as a shipping clerk. Slnce then he has nurtured and steered the varlous muslclans and performers he has come Into contact wlth over the years through nearly 35 albums and 2 7 different line-ups. The latest Fall album (released on new label Eagle Rock) IS called The Unutterable, a title whlch may refer to Smith's fasclnatlon w~ththe work of Amerlcan Gothic horror writer HP Lovecraft But trying to plnpoint exactly what goes on In Smlth's head IS a dublous task that inevitably throws up more questions than answers. The music on The Unutterable - featuring keyboard player Julia Nagle, gultarlst Neville Wilding, bass player Adam Hala and drummer Tom Head, together with a guest appearance from Kazuko Hohki of The Frank Ch~ckens- is a giddy mix of futurist~cTechno crush, razored rockabilly and punk rock machine head meltdown, all superglued together wlth Smith's domineering nasal snarl.
Prior to The Unutterable, the group released The Manhall Sulte on Artful Records, together wlth a solo spoken word album from Smith tltled The Post Nearly Man.Thls last project prompted him to give a public readlng of ha poetry and lyrics In London, eliciting a response that, according to hlm, was favourable and fulfilling.
Although he prefers to llve In the familiar territory of Manchester,he avolds acknowledging that his Ideas as a writer and a muslclan belong to any particular place other than 'Planet Mark'. "I don't know, because I'm neither Britlsh or American," he replies when probed for h ~ sthoughts on what makes UK rock mus~cians different from thelr US counterparts. "I'm not anything." The Jukebox took place one stormy December evening In Preswlch, Manchester.
THE SPIDERS "Johnny B Gooden from Let's Gowrs(Big Beat) 1966 It's obvious what the song is, but can you tell the nationalityof the group? [After listening intently for several m~nutes]Japanese. You can tell by the pitch. You're right! How does the pitch reveal where they originate? It's not French, because the French play rock 'n' roll In a different style. They play it really over the top. The Japanese get ~tpretty much on the ball. That's a b ~ tof a good one actually. It's by a 60s group called The Spiders. Do you like the way the Japanese embrace rock 'n' roll and make R their own thing? I like some of those attacking groups, a lot of the ones who d ~ dthat Speed Metal whlch was like a mlnute and a half long. I can't remember thelr names but they're really good. I'm a big Damo [Suzuki, former Can vocalist] fan as well. Do you listento hinew stuff? When he sends it to me.
CURRENT NINETY THREE "Faust" from Faust (Durtro) 2000 [Minutes pass] No idea. It's music from Current Ninety Three that was inspired by a previously unpublishedsupernaturalstory by decadent writer Eric, Count Stenbock. It sounds sort of like cheap film musr. I don't think you can put those kind of stories on to film. It's all In the imagination. Your PostNeorCMm spoken word CD opens with "The Horror In Clay", which is based on the first section of HP Lovecraft's cosmic horror story The Col1Of Cthulhu. tan you tell me about that? I changed it a bit so it was set in Penzance,which is where I wrote it. It was when the Teletubbies came out actually, so the fellow who IS readlng ~tout was like a bloke who goes mountain cllmblng and this sun comes up with a big evil Teletubbles baby grin on its face. It was llke Glastonbury gone wrong really. I tried to zip it up a blt Few people understood ~tbecause there's no beginning and no end to ~ t .
[Dramatlcallyl"The Horror In Clay"! It IS good, Isn't it? I'm glad somebody else likes ~ t .You're the only one1 And a couple of Portuguese people [laughs]. Do you keep returningto Lovecraft? Yeah, very much. I still read him. I went round to Providence [Rhode Island] where he lived when I was in Amerlca and you can see it all. I thought, 'Bloody hell, there's enough mater~althere to last you a lifetime.' Do you like this? It's OK, yeah. I had a tape like that called Purgatory by this group called Evil and ~twas the most frightening thing you've ever heard in your Ilfe. I thtnk they were American or something. I taped over it because it was doing my head in. It was like that in a way, it was terrtfylng.
PRINCE JAZZBO "Every Nigga Is A Winnern from Hr Funny (PressureSounds) 1972 [Turns volume up] It's like slow Blg Youth Same lyrics. It's Prince Janbo. Aw, it wasn't, was it? We were only talking about him today [calls partner in to listen]. We were talklng about this LP called PnnceJazzbo Vs IRoy [Step Forward Youth]. [Sings] 7 Royyou a boy, you imitate the great U Roy" [much laughter].Great lyrlc. Is that new? It's a new compilation, yes. He has no shame, Prince Jazzbo, he just rips off everybody. On the other side of thls LP ~t'sgot I Roy going [sings], "Pnnce Jazzbo don't bother me, you don't have an idea ln your head, you taped everybody, soon you will be d e a d [laughs]. It's fuck~nggreat. That DJ battle sparked off a rashof versions. Yeah, I know. I've got them all [looks at cover]. Can I grab that one? Roots reggae was huge when The Fall first started. Were you always a fan? Well, I liked dub muslc, Augustus Pablo It was the only thing around worth listening to for a while, wasn't it?
MERZBOW "Decomposition 002.1.l"from Untitled Ten (Extreme) l997 There's a school of muslc lhke that In Manchester, where they play records wlth needles made out of wood.
It's Japanese noise. It's by MasamiA k i i , better known as Henbow. It doesn't go far enough for me. It's a bit like a Can outtake w~thoutthe drums, or Lou Reed'sMetal Machine MUSIC. K s very likeMetalMacl,ineMusic. Do you like that album? Metal Machlne Musicjust cleans your head out. I lhke that, it's my favourite It's the best thing Lou Reed ever dld. It was when he went bonkers,wasn't it? I had gone rlght off hlm by then. I was a big fan at one tlme, but after Transformer I lost interest In what he was doing. Then he brought Metal Machlne MUSICout and I thought ~twas just brilliant. Did you buy it when it first came out in 19751 Yeah. I was buylng ~twhen everybody else was taking ~t back [laughs] People were wantlng thelr money back. Did you hear Ecstasy, his last record? I'd llke to hear lt. The reviews he got for that last record were terrlble and so I quite fancy listening to ~t You must hear "Like A Possum", this long electric guitar rant which is the best track on it. Yeah, I read about that and it sounded good to me then I think I'm deflnltely gonna buy it.
CHRIS MORRIS "4FTCARn from Blue Jam (Warp) 2000 [Glares at CD player] Who's this? It's fromBlw J m , by comedianChris Morriswith musk by Propellerheads. I t was first broadcast on BBC radii. I don't agree with that at all. I think it's fucking crap. Comedians and actors all want to make records, as ~f they haven't got enough fucking musicians who want to make fucking records. You made a record didn't you? Yes. Well you shouldn't have done, should you? whyt Because I sard. No, I'm only kidding you. The whole thing about maklng music now is that it's very easy So you've got the prlme mlnister of this country who wants to be In a rock band. You've got a chancellor of the exchequer who wants to be a pop star. Bill Clinton wants to be a rock musician, they don't know what they're fucking talklng about. I mean, Jack of all trades and master of none. I'm a singerlsongwr~terand that's fucklng it, otherwise your quality goes down.
"It's A Rainy Day, SunshineGirl" from SOFar: The $ Wiimme Years 1970-73 (Recommended) 1972 Many more to go now, Edwin? Are they all like tha? Is it S Can? Z3m
Close: Y s Faust. Oh rlght, right. Really? Is ~tnew stuff?
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