Mark E Smith
Where are you from?
Salford, Lower Broughton, Manchester.
Describe your style in three words
I create style.
What inspires your lyrics?
I was an addictive reader as a teenager and wanted to put intelligence into music. Create simple, brutal music and combine it all in The Fall. I wanted to show lyrics could be more than just songs about ‘love’.
How important is identity?
People got me wrong about this when I was a teenager, well not wrong; I never wanted an identity - that’s why it’s good being a Smith. You can disappear in the crowd.
If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Some General, some nutty f**king General. From a different place and time... Napoleon Bonaparte. What was that guy about? What was he trying to prove?
Name a band you think are criminally underrated?
The Troggs - they were great, some of those records were brilliant - in the seventies, there was f**k all around to buy except for Ramones records. So those old Troggs records were worth finding.
If you could play on the bill with any band or artist from history?
The Seeds, they were good - had one chord and played it all the way through. I liked the LA Garage scene.
Do you consider yourself an outsider?
I just try to be objective, but people try to change that in me. I hate people who deliberately try to be outsiders or try to be different.
One book every teenager should read?
Pop. 1280, by Jim Thompson. His books are really mad. Or, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by TE Lawrence.
Read the full unabridged interview in the Further Reading section below.
Mark E Smith, the hip priest, was the leader and driving force behind arguably the most aggressively innovative British band of all time - The Fall. Renowned for their astonishingly prolific output, The Fall's 32nd studio album 'New Facts Emerge' was released in July 2017.