Mark E. Smith

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Mark E. Smith
The Fall (1).jpg
Mark E. Smith performing in Edinburgh, 2011
Background information
Birth nameMark Edward Smith
Born(1957-03-05) 5 March 1957 (age 57)
Broughton, Salford, England
GenresPost-punk, alternative rock, spoken word
Occupation(s)Musician, lyricist, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards, violin
Years active1976-present
Associated actsThe Fall
Von Südenfed
 
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Mark E. Smith
The Fall (1).jpg
Mark E. Smith performing in Edinburgh, 2011
Background information
Birth nameMark Edward Smith
Born(1957-03-05) 5 March 1957 (age 57)
Broughton, Salford, England
GenresPost-punk, alternative rock, spoken word
Occupation(s)Musician, lyricist, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards, violin
Years active1976-present
Associated actsThe 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.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Smith with the Fall in Japan

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

The Fall[edit]

Main article: The Fall (band)

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 as a shipping clerk 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, although 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[who?] 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. Ultimately, the pain and medication caused a number of dates to be cancelled.

In January 2005, Mark E. Smith was 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, Re-Mit, was released on 13 May 2013.

Lyrical style[edit]

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[edit]

Music, writing and acting[edit]

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 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".

A fuzzy, muted version of the song "Hip Priest" appeared in the movie The Silence of the Lambs.

Smith also wrote the music for a Michael Clarke Dance Company ballet in 1988 called I Am Curious, Orange, which debuted in Amsterdam and is about Prince William of Orange. Two audio versions of live performances are available.

Discography[edit]

With The Fall[edit]

Main article: The Fall discography

Solo[edit]

D.O.S.E. featuring Mark E. Smith[edit]

INCH featuring Mark E. Smith[edit]

Von Südenfed[edit]

Albums
Singles

Mark E. Smith & Ed Blaney[edit]

Albums
Singles

Other collaborations and guest appearances[edit]

The Adult Net
The Clint Boon Experience
Coldcut
Edwyn Collins
Elastica
DNA MUSIC

www.dnamusic.gr

Ghostigital
Gorillaz
Inspiral Carpets
Jon the Postman
Long Fin Killie
Mild Man Jan
Mouse on Mars
Shuttleworth
Tackhead
Timekode

References[edit]

  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 (13 November 2011). "Life lessons: Mark E Smith on bullying, the occult and why Stalin had the right idea". The Independent. 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. 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. Retrieved 28 July 2007. 
  7. ^ David Stubbs (1988). "The Indelible Prinz". Melody Maker. 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[edit]

External links[edit]