Renegade : The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith was published in 2008. It is very revealing that MES chose to begin the book with the events of 7 May 2006 in Phoenix, Arizona.
In a nutshell, three-fifths of The Fall walked out on the band just four dates into a tour of the USA. Ben Pritchard, Steve Trafford and Spencer Birtwistle decided they could take no more. The opening pages of Renegade reprint an interview given by Pritchard on his return to England, but it is interspersed and interrupted by MES telling his side of the story.
It all meant, while committed to a tour of the USA, The Fall were down to a duo of MES and his wife, Elena Poulou. He turned to Narnack, the record company to which the band was signed in America, and arrangements were made to sort out a new line-up, consisting of Orpheo McCord (drums), Rob Barbato (bass) and Tim Presley (guitar). Two days after Phoenix, this latest version of The Fall took to the stage in San Diego and went on to complete the remaining thirteen shows on the tour with no mishaps. Not only that, but the line-up, augmented by a second bassist in the shape of Dave Spurr, would gig constantly in the UK and Europe throughout 2006 and likewise in the first half of 2007, as well as going into the studio where a new album would be recorded.
Reformation Post TLC was released on Slogan Records on 12 February 2007. MES said at the time that TLC was his shorthand way of referring to the musicians who had left him seemingly high and dry in Arizona. It was shorthand for ‘traitors, liars and cunts’.
The album got somewhat mixed reviews, but all told, it was something of a miracle that it got made at all. The firings, sackings and walk-outs over the years had increasingly become the calling card of The Fall, and there’s every chance that if the Arizona walk-out had been in the UK, then MES might have struggled to pull a band together so quickly. As it was, the incident only made him determined to immediately prove his critics wrong (again!!), but it also did knock some sense into him given that, after the trio of Americans took their leave in mid-2007 on the back of a well-received set at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona, The Fall would end up enjoying the most stable period, members-wise, in all of its history.
The Reformation-era line-up ended up being responsible for just one single, released on 12″ and CD in early April 2007:-
mp3: The Fall – Reformation! (Uncut)
mp3: The Fall – Over Over (Rough Mix)
mp3: The Fall – My Door Is Never (Rough Mix)
And for a change, instead of an mp3 of the edited version of Reformation which made up the fourth track on the single, here’s the video:-
All three songs can be found on the parent album, and as you can see from the titles, the versions of Over Over and My Door Is Never which were put out on the single, were not the finished mixes. All in all, it’s really no more than a bit of promo back-up to support the album a couple of months after it had originally hit the shops, as well as during the UK tour that was underway at the time.
3 thoughts on “THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING SERIES FOR SUNDAYS (Part 45)”
Is Renegade worth a read, folks? I read The Big Mid-Week by Steve Hanlon, who put in an almost 20 year shift as The Fall’s bassist. I recommend that. What do you say, JC? The rest of youse?
Renegade is hilarious, deffo woth a read Jonny. Smith was a cantankerous old git, but when he’s in full rant, he’s extremely entertaining.
Yup….as The Robster says, it’s worth a read. I don’t think it’s as good a read as ‘The Big Midweek’, but very few books by musicians are. Just remember, if you do pick it up, that certain passages should be taken with a huge pinch of salt.