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Hey you horror-face! Unreleased 1994 documentary on the Fall
April 8, 2011 9:14 AM   Subscribe

Here's a previously unreleased 1994 documentary on resilient English band the Fall.

(previously, by me)

Bonus: Perverted By Language, their 1983 promotional video released by IKON (Factory Records Video).
posted by item (52 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
Back in the 90s I spent a semester as an intern at Chicago's Finest Rock station, WXRT-FM. By the way, it's not just Chicago's finest rock station, it was and is one of the greatest in the country. Anyway, one of the perks was taking home handfuls of vinyl every week. One of these LPs was "Hit the North" by the Fall.

A couple weeks later, a fellow intern and buddy of mine asked me what I thought of the record. I said that I thought it wasn't that great, just some weird sounding rock with awful vocals. He looked at me aghast for a moment, then launched into what can only be considered a rock intervention. "You must go back and listen to it again," he said. "You didn't get it."

Thus began my counterintuitive Fall record buying spree. I haven't dug into every single release -- Mark E. Smith is far too prolific for my budget -- but some of my greatest listening moments have been spent with the Fall.
posted by vverse23 at 9:25 AM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank you for sharing this-uh
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 9:28 AM on April 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


You're welcome, and thank you for getting the uh/ah joke out of the way so early in the thread!
posted by item at 9:34 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Saw them live last year on a whim. Really enjoyed it, though I don't know much of their music. There's an AV Club article about how to get into them somewhere.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2011


You got a favorite-uh.
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


They must've been working on Middle Class Revolt around that time. That's a really solid album. It might not be as endearing as their more classic stuff from the early-mid 80s, but songs like the title track, the mocking "Hey! Student", and the highly amusing cover of The Monks' "Shut Up!" make it one of my favorites of theirs.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on April 8, 2011


Thanks, item.
surprisingly not posted on the fall forum.
I'm really into the early 90s Fall right now.
The group sounds different in every bootleg. the songs were constantly transforming. Some of the bleakest lyrics.

I can't wait to watch this after work!
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:55 AM on April 8, 2011


I dig both MCR and the same era's Infotainment Scam quite a bit, probably because these were the new Fall records out when I was first getting into them. I saw them play live for the first time at Tree's in Dallas on what was probably the Infotainment Scam tour, thanks to my hipper-than-me girlfriend at the time. I hadn't heard much of their music before the show other than maybe the 458489 singles collection once or twice, but seeing them live in fine form got me started on a lifelong Fall kick.

Note: I have also seen them in opposite of fine form a few times, most notably on the Head's Roll tour in Austin, where the band was sacked/quit a day or two later. I remember using the bathroom at the club and hearing Mark yell at the band before the show backstage. It was incredibly awkward.
posted by item at 9:58 AM on April 8, 2011


Okay, I've been getting them mixed up with The Call (they did that mediocre "The Wall Fell Down" song back in the 80's that classic rock radio killed to death) for years. Thanks for helping me finally straighten that out.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:04 AM on April 8, 2011


Nice, thanks! The Fall are the best.
posted by carter at 10:16 AM on April 8, 2011


> the same era's Infotainment Scam

That one is indeed a fine album, and shows that they weren't afraid to go into some hybrid techno-rock places. Multiple listens of "Glam Racket" probably turned me into a bastard, but that's ok.

It suppurates. Look it up!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Fall are my favourite band. They have been since about 1983. I love The Fall. I have so many Fall albums - on vinyl and CD - that it hurts my shelves. And I still don't have them all. Who does? Who could?

Sing! Harpy.
posted by Decani at 10:32 AM on April 8, 2011


Nothing compares to The Fall.

Hey there, fuck-face!
posted by progosk at 10:36 AM on April 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not supposed to be Tuh-Tuh-Totally! Wired! while I still have to deal with some clients on an endless Friday afternoon, but thank you nonetheless.
posted by maudlin at 10:37 AM on April 8, 2011


And why the FUCK did I never see them play live?
posted by maudlin at 10:38 AM on April 8, 2011


they weren't afraid to go into some hybrid techno-rock places.

Mark E. certainly wasn't.
posted by Decani at 10:40 AM on April 8, 2011


I saw them live in Houston in 2004, well after Smith had picked himself up after the big dustup in 1998. I have no idea who his bandmates were then, but they were hanging out in the courtyard behind the bar and mingling with the locals. The gig was supposed to be at the locally famous Numbers, but their promoter moved the venue because of a lack of prepaid tickets. As it turns out, fans packed in like sardines in some crappy place on Washington Avenue--more than enough to fill Numbers.

The set was kind of tame. Smith was sober and dutifully knocking out the numbers while doing his trademark thing of twiddling with the band members' instruments (which unlike in 98 they sort of passively just let him do his thing like proper employees instead of fighting him). The shining moment of the set was when they did "Bourgeois Town", because of course they were right smack dab in a totally bourgeois town. Smith seemed genuinely touched underneath his scowl that so many people from a big bland US city came out to see him, and said people were so nice there and treated him like U2.

I chanced to almost run straight into him when we were both going through the same doorway out into the courtyard. It was a bit of an odd mirror encounter, because we are about the same height and build and both had on white button down dress shirts and brown slacks (I didn't change after work). But I'm about 20 years his junior and generally have a healthy glow compared to his pallor. I said "hi Mark" kind of meekly and he just stared at me curiously for a moment then hurried back to the band's private room.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:56 AM on April 8, 2011


"And why the FUCK did I never see them play live?"

Because he fired his band and cancelled his gigs? (Or the band quit. Depending on the story.)

At least, that's why I haven't seen them.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 AM on April 8, 2011


Other than "The Classical" (and honestly I prefer the "nigger"-less Pavement cover), I don't think I'll ever get The Fall.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 11:02 AM on April 8, 2011


It's MES in shoulder pads - thanks for the post!
posted by porn in the woods at 11:04 AM on April 8, 2011


Yeah , The Fall are a tricky one. I saw them back in 1993 and have no real memories from the show except for Smith standing there reading the lyrics from a music stand in front of him.

I have the singles compilation and apart from the more poppy stuff like Victoria, Free Range & Touch Sensitive I really struggle with it. A lot of it is straight-up unlistenable...
posted by jontyjago at 11:07 AM on April 8, 2011


At least, that's why I haven't seen them.

No shit. I keep hoping, hoping, hoping for a Los Angeles show to materialize. The last time was 2006 and it was only ten songs. (Which I suppose is a lot from them lately...)
posted by mykescipark at 11:15 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other than "The Classical" (and honestly I prefer the "nigger"-less Pavement cover), I don't think I'll ever get The Fall.

"Cruiser's Creek" is another good entry point, although, of course, there's nothing wrong with just not liking The Fall.
posted by dfan at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2011


I'm hoping he'll tour the states with this current incarnation of the group. Your Future Our Clutter (the latest one) is an excellent, cohesive album, possibly the best in a decade and a half smattered with a great album every few years. It's as good as The Real New Fall LP and The Unutterable, both of which I highly recommend as well.
posted by item at 11:29 AM on April 8, 2011


I love the Fall, have done for decades, but he is one arrogant prick. Shame.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2011


Seeing The Fall live is, and always has been, a toss-up. On an off day they're boring. On a good day they're among the best live acts you will ever see.

I have a memory of seeing them at The Fridge in Brixton, some time in the early - mid nineties. One of the five best gigs of my life. I think it was around the time they did High Tension Line/Hit The North/Big New Prinz that it all went off. I vaguely recall my mid-thirties self pogoing like a maniac, along with everyone else in the place. I remember beer and bodies flying. I remember Smith prowling the stage like a malevolent yet amused hunchback; occasional hurled plastic glasses bouncing off his head.

And I remember riding home on the rop deck of a nightbus, literally dripping with sweat, staring at my mates as they stared back at me, occasionally uttering the words "fuck" or "fuck me".

That was a night.
posted by Decani at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


In terms of accessibility, I think the Peel Sessions versions tend to be easier to digest. The production is usually a lot cleaner, and they don't always sound so goddamned hectic, which can make listening to them a bit of a challenge.
posted by klangklangston at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2011


Marvellous - thanks for posting!
posted by kenchie at 12:03 PM on April 8, 2011


I heard Frightened on left-of-the-dial FM when I was 12. I could feel my whole life transforming as I turned up the car radio. Then my mother said "I was hoping you were going to turn that off." Never, I thought.

Long live the Fall.
posted by grounded at 12:07 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have the singles compilation and apart from the more poppy stuff like Victoria, Free Range & Touch Sensitive I really struggle with it. A lot of it is straight-up unlistenable.

There is a lot of dross - they've always been a bile-fueled-volume-over-quality-control kind of band - but the gems in there are brilliant, sui generis, and worth hunting down. A few to check out that aren't on 50,000 Fall Fans -

Leave the Capitol
Neighbourhood of Infinity
My New House
Fortess / Deer Park
Winter
Blindness
Bombast
Dr. Bucks' Letter
Lucifer Over Lancashire
Container Drivers
posted by ryanshepard at 12:27 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


In terms of accessibility, I think the Peel Sessions versions tend to be easier to digest.

Very true. And I think the BBC versions are often the definitive takes. Blindness especially springs to mind.
posted by mykescipark at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2011


One time some friends and I were playing "Live to Air in Melbourne '82" and one guy had never heard The Fall before. I think that horrid version of "I'm into CB" with the cheap keyboard turned the poor bastard off of them for life.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:44 PM on April 8, 2011


thanks so much for sharing. a long time favorite of mine. i will definitely be watching this tonight. any other comenters have any good post-punk concert or docu films to suggest other than the obvious joy division stuff?
posted by nancydrew at 12:49 PM on April 8, 2011


i will definitely be watching this tonight. any other comenters have any good post-punk concert or docu films to suggest other than the obvious joy division stuff?

Two recent-ish ones that I really enjoyed:

We're Living on Dog Food [Melbourne, AU punk / post punk]

Wire: On the Box [w/a DVD of their 1979 Rockpalast appearance.]
posted by ryanshepard at 1:06 PM on April 8, 2011


Here's a previously unreleased 1994 documentary on resilient English band the Fall.

Here's a previously-a unreleased-a 1994-a documentary-a on-a resilient-a English band-a the-a Fall-a.

FTFY-a
posted by seanyboy at 1:20 PM on April 8, 2011


thanks seanyboy for the suggestions! i look forward to screening these!
posted by nancydrew at 1:30 PM on April 8, 2011


oh sorry and thanks to ryan sheppard as well.
posted by nancydrew at 1:31 PM on April 8, 2011


nancydrew, take a look through my posting history. I seem to remember posting several videos that fit your bill. I think. In any case, if nothing else watch the other Fall doc I linked to in my "previously" link - it's a really nice way to spend an hour.
posted by item at 2:54 PM on April 8, 2011


Where are the obligatory bowdlerised nibblers?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:31 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Mighty Fall - Guest Informant is still an awesome track.

Australlians in Europe is great too, but I can only find the peel session.


I remember first seeing them round the corner in Edinburgh at the Kings Theatre when they did Kurious Oranj with Michael Clark - think I saw them do it about 4 or 5 times as I knew they always left the back door open there , got a wee yelp included somewhere on the album too. - Jerusalem.

We met some guy there, american, said his name was dan or dana escalante - think he ended up being on the simpsons or something.

The thing with the show was that half the audience would walk out disgusted at the interval, ballet types from Morningside, there was the odd celtic fan there with a scarf as well - it was some crowd.

Seen them loads of times, always a gamble - best one back in the day was getting to sit backstage with him and the band ( scanlon,hanley,woltenscroft) and cadging fags and bevvy : )

I miss Scanlon and Hanley being in the band.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:57 PM on April 8, 2011


I miss Scanlon and Hanley being in the band.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:57 PM on April 8


Word.

I thought their leaving would actually kill The Fall. Mark E. proved me wrong, again, bless his skinny Mancunian arse. But they were the backbone of The Fall at their best.
posted by Decani at 4:32 PM on April 8, 2011


True Decani, one of thems working as a school janitor now , you wouldnt get peter hook doing that.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:48 PM on April 8, 2011


the big dustup in 1998

I was always kinda sad that Skygazer's account of being at that show never got sidebarred.

Looking forward to watching this documentary. Thanks for posting, item.
posted by twirlip at 5:59 PM on April 8, 2011


Before we move on to the next greatest band ever, I want John Peel to know I will always you.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 2:12 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


A fond moment: Smith's swell cover of 'A Day in The Life' from 'Sgt. Pepper knew my Father' (one of the first and best tribute albums ever made).
posted by ovvl at 8:28 AM on April 9, 2011


"And why the FUCK did I never see them play live?"

Still plenty of time (well, until his booze, fags and everything else habit does for him). I saw them in Oxford, UK, last year - he's still touring, still making records, can't imagine he'll ever stop.

On a side note, when I saw them play last year, he was doing his new-thing-at-the-time of "remixing" the songs live whilst they were being performed, AKA completely and utterly fucking everything up on the stage, all the time. Knobs on the guitarists amp? Let's just change those all around, the worse it sounds the better; mikes pointing at amps? Yeah fuck that, that's for losers, let's kick them over... must have been the sound man's hardest ever gig. It also had a permanent impact on my hearing, which wasn't quite as fun... but hey! In spite of all this, still awesome. Still Mark E. CHA CHA
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 10:55 AM on April 9, 2011


I heard "Leave the Capitol" on a Rough Trade sampler cassette many moons ago and was hooked.

Last winter, it snowed. Totally caught unprepared, I managed to get from work to the Beacon Hill station on light rail, but there were no buses headed south. I had to walk home from the station.

I had no gloves, a barely adequate coat and snow and ice particles were blowing sideways. I was cold, hungry and pretty damn annoyed. But I also had my mp3 player and "The Unutterable" on full blast as I zombie-walked home.

"Bile-fueled-volume-over-quality-control"

In.friggin.deed. Perfect music for doing things you don't wanna...
posted by black8 at 7:56 PM on April 9, 2011


The last time that I saw the Fall (last year), I ended up bouncing up and down with Stewart Lee. I love The Fall, I love Stewart Lee. It was wonderful.

It was great to hear John Peel's voice on the introduction as well. Wonderful.

Great post item.
posted by mnfn at 2:55 AM on April 10, 2011


Anyone else notice that there are no casual fans of the Fall? Only freakishly obsessive fanatics. One would assume that a fanbase that rabid would develop into a much larger widespread following, but it hasn't. Why is that?
posted by secondhand pho at 1:25 PM on April 10, 2011


> Anyone else notice that there are no casual fans of the Fall?

I know a bunch of people that like The Fall but just have a compilation or two. I had maybe 40 of their discs at one point, but now have maybe 20 and hardly ever listen to them anymore. None of the "rabid" fans I knew ever wore it on their sleeve, unlike someone who had Soundgarden bumperstickers or something. Anyway, The Fall tend to not be terribly musical or sloppily emotive so many people just don't have a way of interfacing with it, rabid fanbase or not.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:30 PM on April 10, 2011


Heh, I mistakenly called them The Fail. Ah, well.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:31 PM on April 10, 2011


Smith is always fascinating, even though I find it impossible to believe a word he says.

Interesting to be reminded of 90's music journo archetype Mick Middles too. He was bloody awful.

Thanks for this
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 9:39 AM on April 11, 2011


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