The late great leader of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith was known for his hostile nature just as much as he was known for his music. Smith was a true maverick to the very core which makes this appearance on ITV’s Night Network reviewing the singles of the day absolute comedy gold thanks to his scathing honesty.
The appearance on the show was destined to go down this path, Smith instantly disliking the host from the offset and it was glaringly obvious that their personalities were chalk and cheese, two people who had absolutely nothing in common but, as the interview progressed, this began to change as The Fall’s uncompromising leader was eventually won over. Smith was brutally blunt to the interviewer’s polite questions at the opening of the segment and, unlike most musicians, Smith seemed reluctant to discuss himself.
Whenever the interviewer tries to gauge more into the psyche of The Fall leader, he just repeats that he doesn’t plan more than three months ahead, refusing to be drawn into a conversation about what the future may hold. It is clear that the host expected the feature to fail but, against all the odds, somehow it ended up being a car crash conversation.
Smith then shocked the host by revealing he was, somewhat surprisingly, a fan of pop group Dollar after reviewing their single. Smith even stated that he had seen them perform a PA in Manchester and that he’d “never seen so many shop staff in the same place” before adding that he thought they were representative of the British people—which could be interpreted in two ways, of course.
He then added that he was enjoying British pop rather than “pseudo-political intellectual groups” to which the host cuttingly intervened by saying “Like The Fall?” and Smith, quite predictably, didn’t take that well, insisting that The Fall is art before the interviewer yet again tries an attempt at humour which doesn’t land.
The Fall man then got on to the topic of who is better between Prince and Michael Jackson to which he opted with the latter: “Jackson’s better I think, I’m just into his vocals I think he works on them and they’re quite impressive.”
The host goes on to question whether Michael Jackson had any emotional depth to his songs, a topic which Smith vehemently disagrees with but, almost as if just for the sake of disagreement, he plays the devil’s advocate to almost every statement that the interviewer makes to keep himself entertained more than anything.
Smith was in a very playful, relaxed mood and by the end of the interview, it seemed that the host had endeared himself to Mark who seemed to really enjoy just speaking about music and didn’t quite live up to his reputation as being devastatingly brutal instead being candid as well as largely positive which showcased another side to him.
Watch the entertaining clip, below.