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Mark E. Smith

                   
Mark E. Smith

Mark E. Smith performing live at the Knitting Factory in NYC on 9 April 2004.
Background information
Birth name Mark Edward Smith
Born (1957-03-05) 5 March 1957 (age 55)
Broughton, Salford, England
Genres Post-punk
Alternative rock
Occupations Musician, lyricist, songwriter
Instruments Vocalist, Piano, Synthesiser, Guitar, Bass, Violin, Continuum, Percussion, Mandocello
Associated acts The Fall
Von Südenfed

Mark Edward Smith (born 5 March 1957) is the lead singer, lyricist, frontman, and only constant member of the English post-punk group The Fall.

Contents

  Biography

  Early life

  Smith with The Fall in Japan

Smith was born to a working-class family in Broughton, Salford, in Lancashire, England, and moved to nearby Prestwich, to the north of Salford, early in his life. In his autobiography, Smith claimed that Alfred Henry Hook – a soldier who fought at Rorke's Drift – was an ancestor of his father, which led to the Smith family being invited as guests of honour to the Whitefield showing of Zulu, where the soldier was played by James Booth.[1] Originally a Labour supporter, he then joined the Socialist Workers Party.[2]

  The Fall

He formed The Fall (named after the novel by Camus) with friends after dropping out of college at the age of 19. He gave up his job at Salford docks shortly after to devote his full energies to The Fall, and has continued to do so ever since. Smith married Chicagoan guitarist (and Fall band member, 1983–89, 1994–96) Brix Smith on 19 July 1983, though they divorced in 1989. He has since remarried twice; his second wife was Saffron Prior who used to work for The Fall's fan club. He married his present wife, Eleni (sometimes called Elenor or Elena) Poulou, in 2001, and she joined The Fall in September 2002.

When British DJ and Fall champion John Peel died in 2004, Smith made a notorious appearance on the BBC's Newsnight show.[3] Regarded by many as a bewildering performance, Smith has made his appreciation for Peel clear in several subsequent interviews. Nevertheless, the two only met a handful of times. Though he broke his hip while promoting the album The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) in 2004, Smith refused to cancel an upcoming American tour, instead choosing to perform in a wheelchair. Unfortunately the pain and medication caused a number of dates to be cancelled.

In January 2005, The Fall were the subject of The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith, a BBC Four television documentary. The following August, Smith received the "Contribution to Music" award at the Diesel-U-Music Awards. Smith's autobiography, Renegade: The Gospel According to Mark E. Smith, recorded with Manchester-based writer Austin Collings, was published by Viking Books in April 2008. The latest studio album by The Fall, Ersatz GB, was released on 14 November 2011.

  Lyrical style

Smith has won acclaim for his lyrical style, which mixes elements of social realism, surrealism, and absurdism addressing diverse topics such as drug use, unemployment, football violence, time travel and the supernatural.

In interviews, he has cited Colin Wilson,[4] Wyndham Lewis, Thomas Hardy,[5] Philip K. Dick as influences,[6] as well as Edgar Allan Poe, Raymond Chandler,[7] and H. P. Lovecraft, whose short story "The Colour Out of Space" he read in Christmas 2007 for the BBC Collective website.[8]

  Work outside The Fall

  Music, writing and acting

Alongside his work with The Fall, Smith has released two spoken-word solo albums: The Post-Nearly Man (1998) and Pander! Panda! Panzer! (2002). Both albums feature readings of Fall lyrics, samples of Fall songs and contributions from members of The Fall, and the line between Smith's solo career and his work with the group remains somewhat blurred.

Smith has also appeared as a guest vocalist for Edwyn Collins, Elastica, Gorillaz, Long Fin Killie, Mouse on Mars, Coldcut, and Ghostigital. His contribution to the Inspiral Carpets' 1994 song I Want You won UK top 20 recognition, topped the Festive Fifty[9] and resulted in Smith's first appearance on the classic UK TV show Top of the Pops.[10] Most recently, Smith has worked with Mouse on Mars on the collaboration project Von Südenfed, whose first album, Tromatic Reflexxions, was released on 21 May 2007. Smith more recently provided guest vocals on the new Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, on the song "Glitter Freeze", and joined the group Shuttleworth to record the World Cup song England's Heartbeat.

In 1986, Smith wrote the play Hey, Luciani based around the short-lived reign of Pope John Paul I. Smith has also periodically acted as guest contributor to publications including the NME. He has appeared in an acting role in several television programmes and films. He made a cameo in the Michael Winterbottom film 24 Hour Party People (2002), while his younger self was portrayed by UK actor Sam Riley in a section that was deleted from the final cut of the film, but is featured as a deleted scene on the DVD. In May 2007 Smith made an appearance on the BBC Three sitcom Ideal, playing a foulmouthed, chain-smoking Jesus.

He has also appeared in several films made by the artist Mark Aeriel Waller, including "Glow Boys" and "Midwatch".

  Discography

  With The Fall

  Solo

  D.O.S.E. featuring Mark E. Smith

  • "Plug Myself In" (1996), Coliseum – 2 CDs, 12" vinyl

  INCH featuring Mark E. Smith

  • INCH EP (1999), Regal

  Von Südenfed

Albums
Singles
  • "Fledermaus Can't Get It" (2007), Domino
  • "The Rhinohead/Slow Down Ronnie" (2007), Domino

  Mark E. Smith & Ed Blaney

Albums
Singles
  • "Real Good Time Together" (2008), Voiceprint
  • "Transfusion" (2009), Voiceprint

  Other collaborations and guest appearances

The Adult Net
  • "White Night" single (1986) – "Naughty But Nice"
The Clint Boon Experience
  • "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down" single (1999), Artful – "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog (live)"
Coldcut
  • What's That Noise album (1989) – "I'm in Deep"
Edwyn Collins
  • I'm Not Following You (1996), Setanta – "Seventies Night"
Elastica
  • Elastica EP (1999), Deceptive – "How He Wrote Elastica Man", "KB"
Ghostigital
  • Iceland Airwaves '05 V/A album (2005), Iceland Airwaves – "Not Clean" (also released as a single)
Gorillaz
  • Plastic Beach album (2010) – "Glitter Freeze"
Inspiral Carpets
  • "I Want You" single (1994) – "I Want You"
  • Keep the Circle (B sides and Udder Stuff) album (2007) – "Saturn 5"
Jon the Postman
  • Puerile album – Intro to "Louie Louie"
Long Fin Killie
  • "Heads of Dead Surfers" single (1995) – "Heads of Dead Surfers"
Mild Man Jan
  • "Fistful of Credits" single (2000) – "Fistful of Credits"
Mouse on Mars
  • Wipe That Sound EP (2004), Sonig – "Cut the Gain", "Sound City"
Shuttleworth
  • "England's Heartbeat" (2010) – Shuttleworth feat. Mark E. Smith
Tackhead
  • "Dangerous Sex" single (1989) – "Repetition"
Timekode
  • "Cheap Space Chant" 1996

  References

  1. ^ Smith, Mark E.; Collings, Austin (2008), Renegade – The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith, Viking (Penguin), p. 12, ISBN 978-0-670-91674-0 
  2. ^ Chalmers, Robert (November 13, 2011). "Life lessons: Mark E Smith on bullying, the occult and why Stalin had the right idea". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/life-lessons-mark-e-smith-on-bullying-the-occult-and-why-stalin-had-the-right-idea-6260036.html. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Mark E Smith on John Peel BBC.co.uk. (2004) Retrieved on 8 January 2007.
  4. ^ Marvin, Joe. "Mark E. Smith interview". Fanzine Interview. http://www.jneomarvin.com/words/thefall1.htm. Retrieved 10 December 2006. 
  5. ^ Smith, Mark E (2008). Renegade: The Lives And Tales Of Mark E. Smith. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 978-0-670-91674-0
  6. ^ Lee, Stewart (2004). "Mark E Smith, Man At His Best". Esquire Magazine. http://www.stewartlee.co.uk/press/writtenformoney/2004-april-mark_e_smith-esquire.htm. Retrieved 28 July 2007. 
  7. ^ David Stubbs (1988). "The Indelible Prinz". Melody Maker. http://archivedmusicpress.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/david-stubbs-interviews-mark-e-smith-12th-november-1988.jpg. Retrieved 12 November 1988. 
  8. ^ Storytime With Mark E Smith BBC.co.uk. (2007) Retrieved on 21 December 2007.
  9. ^ I Want You claims #1, played on John Peel's 1994 Festive Fifty countdown
  10. ^ Inspirals Biography

  Bibliography

  • Smith, Mark E. (1985). The Fall Lyrics. Berlin: Lough Press.
  • Edge, Brian (1989). Paintwork: A Portrait of The Fall. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-1740-X
  • Ford, Simon (2003). Hip Priest: The Story Of Mark E Smith And The Fall. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-8167-2
  • Middles, Mick; Smith, Mark E. (2003). The Fall. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9762-4
  • Thompson, Dave (2003). A User's Guide To The Fall. London: Helter Skelter Publishing. ISBN 1-900924-57-9.
  • Smith, Mark E.; Collings, Austin (2008). Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 978-0-670-91674-0
  • Smith, Mark E. (2008). vII. The Lough Press.

  External links

   
               

 

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