Mark E Smith

Musician — Manchester

Name
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, is 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.

Mark E Smith and The Fall recently performed at London's iconic 100 Club venue for the very first time as part of the SubcultureLive gig series. You can read a review of the gig here.

What was the first song you played on repeat?
Paranoid - Black Sabbath. My sister bought it for me.

One record you would keep forever?
Pebbles Vol. 7 - it's been under the floorboards, been covered in food, I’ve thrown it at people, I’ve been robbed, but it keeps turning up. And it still sounds great, and I’ve still got it. Plays great.

A song you wish you had written?
Folsom Prison Blues, by Johnny Cash. It’s the only song I know lyric by lyric, off by heart. Know it better than some of my own songs. Love it.

A song that defines the teenage you?
I Heard Her Call My Name - The Velvet Underground.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
Summer Breeze - The Isley Brothers.
Telstar - The Tornados.

Any new music you are listening to now?
Bo Ningen - Soko.
Goat Girl - Country Sleaze.
Rihanna - Rude Boy.

Name
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, is 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.

Mark E Smith and The Fall recently performed at London's iconic 100 Club venue for the very first time as part of the SubcultureLive gig series. You can read a review of the gig here.

What was the first song you played on repeat?
Paranoid - Black Sabbath. My sister bought it for me.

One record you would keep forever?
Pebbles Vol. 7 - it's been under the floorboards, been covered in food, I’ve thrown it at people, I’ve been robbed, but it keeps turning up. And it still sounds great, and I’ve still got it. Plays great.

A song you wish you had written?
Folsom Prison Blues, by Johnny Cash. It’s the only song I know lyric by lyric, off by heart. Know it better than some of my own songs. Love it.

A song that defines the teenage you?
I Heard Her Call My Name - The Velvet Underground.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
Summer Breeze - The Isley Brothers.
Telstar - The Tornados.

Any new music you are listening to now?
Bo Ningen - Soko.
Goat Girl - Country Sleaze.
Rihanna - Rude Boy.

Objective - so that it isn’t me talking - writing freeform and automatic.

Mark E Smith - Full Interview

The Fall performing at SubcultureLive, November 2014.

The Fall | Dedication (Live)

The Fall | Jungle (Live)

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