In the late 1980's and early 1990's my partner franco Palazzolo and I edited and published HYPE Magazine in New Yorks East Village
. A money losing labour of love, we are now putting all of the articles from issues one to twelve nto the public domain. This interview was originally published in HYPE NYC
, issue number one, April 1990.
THE FALL have been an inspiration to many new groups. Ariel and I talked to Marcia and Craig before their last show at the Ritz in New York supporting their new album Extricate available on Polygram Records. The band's current line up is Stephen Hanley on bass, Craig Scanlon on guitar, Marcia Schofield with keyboards and percussions, Simon Wolstencroft on drums, Martin Bramah on guitar and backing vocals, and Mark E. Smith on lead vocals. The band's inspiration comes from post a Neitzchean philosophy initiated by a punk rock apathy in the late 1970's Manchester, England.
Ariel Rey: Where do the you find the songs that you cover?
Craig Scanlon: Mark tries to pick songs that nobody knows like Mr. Pharmacist.
Ariel: Who did that?
Marcia Schofield: It's not the Seeds, maybe it's from the Nuggets tape...
Craig: No, it's not Nuggets... I can't remember.
Marcia Schofield: And like the Monk thing, the Monks where this weird band that Mark had this tape of and I had never heard of them, nobody had ever heard of them, we just listened to this tape on the bus and we would say, this is a pretty cool song, and then Mark would say, "OK we're going to do these two Monk songs". He's got really amazing taste in music. He really knows a lot about music. We all know a lot about music, don't we Craig?
Craig: We sit around and do the NME music crossword. It's a bonding ritual really. It takes us about fifteen minutes.
Marcia: Yeah like all of us screaming out the names of these obscure groups.
Yurgos: So what is the basic songwriting process?
Marcia: Well, we don't know how the songs come about lyrically. Mark kind of makes them up. We don't even know what he's singing lyrically. Sometimes, I'll say "You know the part that goes...", and someone will look at me and say, "It doesn't go like that!" So it's good because you could really put your own interpretation into the lyrics. I hate the tyranny of people who print album lyrics and then push them on you because you should have your own interpretation.
Craig: Mark never prints entire lyrics to his songs. There is a book out of lyrics of his old songs, he doesn't mind old songs. He never releases his current stuff though.
Ariel: So how do you listen to new stuff?
Marcia: I go to lots of concerts, and these ridiculous pubs. Whenever I'm in Manchester, there are a lot of really cool bands playing.
Ariel: Who wrote the Michael Clark thing? I know he came to Brooklyn Academy of Music a few years ago and performed some of the songs that you have written, and they said he was going to come back in November and -
Marcia: - do Kurious Orange. It didn't work out. It was a huge production, with a lot of people involved and it would have taken a lot of money to ship everything over. And the ballet world is really underfinanced unlike the music world. I mean if it were a Bowie concert... He's really creative. He was just a Fall fan.
Craig: We might be doing something with him in the future, but nothing is tentative. But that's how the whole thing came about, he was dancing to our music on tapes, but the Unions in Britain heard about it, and wanted live music, because you aren't allowed to use live tapes.
Ariel: Did you have a ballet dance in mind when you did the production?
Craig: Well Michael Clark got in touch with Mark, and asked to write music for ballet about William III and thats all he said. We were on tour in America at the time, so we wrote most of it in hotel rooms. We sent in a tape and Michael set the dance to it.
Craig: Where are the bloody beers? Come on, we had a heavy night last night. We saw the Cramps at the Marquee. They were playing at a private party for some rich kid. Yeah this kid paid like 25,000 dollars to have them play at his birthday party. There was nobody there, about 100 people.
Marcia: The Cramps were so good! They were the best I had ever seen them. Lux was climbing on the monitors, naked, with red high heels on! It was insane!
Ariel: What are your favorite Fall albums?
Craig and Marcia: Extricate!
Marcia: Hex Induction.
Craig: This Nation's Saving Grace. I like that one. And of course all the songs I wrote are excellent.
Marcia: I like the songs LA and Barmy, you didn't write those.
Yurgos: How do you like New York bands?
Marcia: Well, New York bands tend to classify themselves as either a Guns and Roses heavy metal band with a million tatoos and motorcycles, or this arty nerd plays jazz; they're both equally bogus. But there are good bands here. There are a lot of good new places to play. HYPE.
Yurgos, HYPE Magazine Music Editor