Thursday, January 24, 2019

Guest Spots: Mark E. Smith

You think it's the pipes, but who turns on the lights?
I wanted a new Fall album. It's a pointless thing to wish for: Mark E. Smith died a year ago today. Reissues and live Fall albums continue to appear. The Fall's discography is so extensive that only a sad and greedy bastard such as I could want more.

I just wanted to hear Mark's voice again, so I compiled a mix of his guest appearances. Some of these were collected on A World Bewitched (2001), but Smith continued to collaborate with a range of artists over the next decade and a half, including Mouse On Mars, Gorillaz, Einar Örn, and the Greek collective DNA.

One of the earliest singles that MES appeared on was "(I'm) In Deep" by Coldcut (1989), which was transformed into "Telephone Thing" on The Fall's album Extricate. Another song that took Smith's voice to the dance floor was "Plug Myself In" by D.O.S.E. (1996), an alias for Simon Spencer.  

Mark fired Spencer and his production partner Kier Stewart during the sessions for The Fall's album Levitate. The song "4 1/2 Inch" was a deconstruction of Spencer and Stewart's work, and they retaliated with the unauthorized release of the Inch EP in 1999.

Another interesting collaboration led to the song "Blow Up Muscles" from Sex Drugs And HIV, an album recorded over the course of 15 years with the involvement of more than 200 musicians. Mark E. Smith and Steve Hanley were joined on "Blow Up Muscles" by Roddy Radiation (The Specials) and Mike Spenser (The Cannibals) on guitar, with John Otway on theremin! Cor, baby!
Mark and Ginger (love the Albertos tee!)

In 2013, Ginger Wildheart invited MES to the studio where Mutation was recording the album Error 500which also featured Shane Embury (Napalm Death), Jon Poole (Cardiacs), and Merzbow (!)

Ed Blaney continued to have a good  relationship with Smith after leaving The Fall, unlike many of "The Fallen". Smith & Blaney made several records, including a World Cup single. An appearance on Blaney's album Urban Nature (2016) was the last of Mark E. Smith's guest spots.

Jeffrey Lewis released a live CD this month called 13 Fall Songs, and a group called the Hannah Barbaras has covered "Look, Know" as a pay what y'wanner cancer fundraiser thingy. 


  1. Mark E. Smith Meets The Bloody Blimey Space Invaders:

  2. I hear ya jonder, great info & thanks for the comp.
    - Timebender

    1. Sad day for family, frenz and fans of a true original.
      Hope you enjoy the music, Timebender. I found some brilliant remixes of the DOSE, Mouse on Mars and Von Sudenfed stuff.

    2. Great work jonder. Hadn't heard some of these. MES blows away the bullshit as per. Best regards to you and yours mate. J in Liverpool