The Fall to open their tour at the Grand Theatre Clitheroe

Mark E Smith of The Fall
Mark E Smith of The Fall

Twenty-eight years after The Fall played a legendary gig at Clitheroe Castle, Mark E Smith and his band open their British tour at the town’s Grand Theatre.

“Yeah. I remember Clitheroe,” he grins.

“We played in an old, green bandstand with a creaking floor and a guy called Steve Barker put it out live on Radio Lancashire.

“I drove the van with all the gear in and we got lost near Sabden.

“I like Clitheroe. One of The Fall lives there and another has a nice cottage in Colne.”

The Fall’s leader is the only original member in a line-up that has seen over 60 members come and go, often messily, since Smith and a handful of mates formed The Fall in Prestwich 35 years ago.

Smith once famously said: ‘If it’s me and your granny on bongos, it’s the Fall’.”

Yet Smith continues to face the future head-on, and is scathing of anyone who takes refuge in cosy nostalgia. People wallow in looking through rose-tinted spectacles and saying, ‘Wasn’t it great in those days,’ when really it was rubbish.

“I constantly look forward because The Fall’s a work in progress, and we are just as relevant as ever. We’re just coming into fruition.

“They play their music, have a beer and go home.

“They’re nice, friendly folk.

“We played Liverpool last year and all the old crocks turned up – Echo and the Bunnymen and The Icicle Works – and they said that was the best they’d ever seen The Fall.”

Smith appears content with his new work and admits he was disappointed with the last album, Ersatz GB, released in 2011.

“I didn’t like it. I can say that can’t I? But this one (Re-Mit) is what we are all about and I think it will terrify people.

“It does get harder though. You’ve got to kick a lot of backsides to get a record out.

“But every time I do an album it still feels like my first LP because I still have a great energy.

“I want my music to be as punchy and aggressive as Black Sabbath. I don’t want it to be something simpering that sounds like Jarvis Cocker.”

Smith remains the complete antithesis of what the music industry stands for.

“Music seems like an alternative to banking these days,” he groans.

“I can just hear the conversation in Surrey or somewhere.

“What are you going to do when you leave university darling?

“I might go into banking Mama.

“No dear………you must form a rock group.

“All the danger and risk has gone hasn’t it?

“I’ve been back stage at these awards shows and I’m the oldest one there.

“I felt like E.T. when his space ship landed on earth.

“These kids are young businessmen, it is like chatting to the chief executive of BP.

“It is just so depressing.

“I like Evil Blizzard from Preston, though.

“They give me hope that music is still alive and kicking.”