The spiteful king of industrial post-punk, Mark E Smith, has passed away aged 60. The Fall released over thirty studio albums that spanned over a duration of five decades as well as numerous other demos. The band’s manager and Smith’s partner made the saddening announcement yesterday evening via The Fall Online.
“It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E. Smith. He passed this morning at home. A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, Pam & Mark’s family request privacy at this sad time.
The Fall – manager
R.I.P. Mark Edward Smith, 5 March 1957 – 24 January 2018.”
The Fall were formed in 1976 in Prestwich, Greater Manchester by Smith and he would become synonymous with his problematic relationship with other band members, firing them at the drop of a hat. From wives and partners to scrawny kids he recruited from the streets outside shows, The Fall went through many revolutions, with their being 66 different members of the band over the years. He once said “(They were) dickheads who couldn’t hold their beer and had to get home in Cheshire.”, and in another interview said “If it’s me and yer granny on bongo’s, it’s The Fall.” which perfectly summed up the band’s seemingly disposable members, for the fall was much larger than it’s members, and larger than Smith himself.
The band released their 32nd studio album , New Facts Emerge, and spent the year touring. Kicking off 2017 with two headline shows at all day events hosted by Club The Mammoth and ending it with what turned out to be their final show at Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Union in November. The band cancelled a number of show’s last year due to Mark’s poor health, including a string of dates in Brooklyn, New York, after smith was hospitalised a number of times with issues relating to his mouth, throat and respiratory system. The band’s manager Pam Vander issued a statement then saying: “Unfortunately, it would be a gamble on his health to fly anywhere over the next couple of months.”.
When the news broke numerous tributes flowed in, confirming the rumours. Unlike that time the BBC falsely reported his death on his 60th birthday. The Charlatans lead singer Tim Burgess said:
So so sad to hear that we’ve lost Mark E Smith. A true uncompromising musical maverick. A genius, a curmudgeon and someone whose company it was an honour to share. So long M.E.S x x x pic.twitter.com/aZFGNXZuRW
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) January 24, 2018
Formed Joy Division bassist Peter Hook went on to say:
Mark, me old mucker… you will be sorely missed! The North will rise again! RIP. Love Hooky x
— Peter Hook (@peterhook) January 24, 2018
Mark E Smith was unapologetically punk, unafraid to stay angry and spiteful despite the changing face of music that has morphed before his eyes. Staying wired from start to finish MES has always spoken a witty, intellectual truth and there may never be a man like him to ever exist again. Rest in peace M.E.S, 1957-2018.