The Wisdom of MES #1:
He told me I didn’t understand, that we were from the bleak industrial wastes of North England, or something, and that we didn’t understand the Internet. I told him Fall fans invented the Internet. They were on there in 1982.
The Fall. Two short words. One long career. They’re a bit like whisky. You’ve been told it’s good and you want to like it, but on the first coupla tries it doesn’t go down well, sticks in the throat, comes back on you with a vengeance. Then, a wee bit older, more wordly-wise and mature and you realise, hey! This stuff’s great! It’s for every occasion, much better after dark, much better alone than shared. Ease your way into it gently then go for it. If you’re new to it, there’s a lot of catching up to be done. It’s been 35 years and 28 LPs or something like that. 28 LPs! And that’s not counting the multitude of ex label cash ins, compilations and crappy semi official bootlegs. Those 28 studio LPs, they can’t all be good though, eh? Yeah, some of them are better than that. Excellent you might even say. This Nation’s Saving Grace. Live At The Witch Trials. Hex Induction Hour. I could go on, but you know them all and you’ll all have your own personal favourites. (Extricate, since you’re askin’). Band members play on a seemingly shoogly, constantly moving conveyor belt. In The Fall, yer number can be up at any moment. Mark E Smith changes rhythm sections the way most of us change our socks. Play Dead Beat Descendent the wrong way and it’s curtains-ah! Play Dead Beat Descendent the right way and it’s curtains-ah! But you knew that already.
The Wisdom of MES #2:
If it’s me and your granny on bongos, it’s The Fall.
Check the record, check the record, check the guy’s track record!
I’ve always liked The Fall for having the gumption to tackle other folks material, regardless of how hip or otherwise it may appear to those watching from the outside. A quick poke about the internet will reward you with an excellent compilation of assorted cover versions that they’ve tackled in their own rattlin’, shoutin’ way. Lee Perry. The Kinks. Sister Sledge. The Searchers. Any number of garage band and rockabilly ramalamas. It doesn’t matter who’s being covered, they all end up sounding like The Fall. Which got me thinking. Can anyone ‘do’ The Fall? The Fall do loads of other bands, but have any bands done The Fall. Well…………Apparently not. There are precious few attempts at covering Fall songs. However….
Sonic Youth, pre-conceived too-cool-for-school detuned pretentious art-rockers that they are did a whole Peel Session of Fall tracks in 1988, and their version of Rowche Rumble is bloody marvellous. A right wiry tub-thumper, it keeps those ‘Ksch Ksch‘ vocals in and dresses the whole thing up in a wall of skronking Jazzmaster guitar. (Adopts noo yoik accent) It’s like art, but it’s like, rock at the same time.
The Wisdom of MES #3:
When they start saying they like the Fall, it’s usually that they’ve run out of ideas. You remember Wet Wet Wet saying that, you know, ‘we wanna concentrate on doing our own stuff, a bit like The Fall’. It’s like, ‘shut the fuck up!’, you know.
Enter Pavement. They based most of their career sounding like The Fall, at least they did for those first coupla albums. Total rip off? Cute fanboy homage? It’s hard to tell. Anyway you look at it, they even had the nerve to do The Fall in a Peel Session, tackling The Classical with reserved jangle and polite (polite!) Hey There Fuckface vocals ‘n all. Sadly, nothing much like the pummeling, frantic original at all.
The Wisdom of MES #4:
Listening to Pavement, it’s just The Fall in 1985, isn’t it? They haven’t got an original idea in their heads.
Contrast and compare with the original and best:
The Fall – Rowche Rumble
The Fall – The Classical