Since The Fall's humble beginnings as a learned, literary group of misanthropes in 1976, the one consistent factor of the band has been the insane rambling of legendary front man Mark E. Smith. Smith is known as an idiot, an asshole or a brilliant genius. Sometimes all three at once.
He is an acclaimed lyricist, writing hyper-literate and insular songs that only make sense if you somehow know exactly what he's referring to, but in everyday life Smith is just a hilarious and lovable curmudgeon.
His lyrics may be vague and obscure, but his style in interviews is blunt and direct. He does not mince words about things he doesn't like, and it's made him one of the most instantly quotable interview subjects in the world. As Smith turns 56 years old today, we decided to take a look back at ten of his most outrageous quotes over the years.
10. "I used to be psychic, but I drank my way out of it."
9. "A lot of musicians are really hard to deal with. They aren't as smart as me..."
8. "[They were] dickheads who couldn't hold their beer and needed to get home to Cheshire."
7. "Nuking Russia might not be a bad idea as far as the bleedin' world is concerned. They've plunged a lot of people into miserable lives. You've only got to be in East Germany to see it. It's a horrible way to live. It's like Doncaster."
6. "It's just like music when you reckon it up. It's like, listening to Pavement, it's just the Fall in 1985, isn't it? They haven't got an original idea in their heads."
5. "We were playing a festival in Dublin the other week. There was this other group, like, warming up in the next sort of chalet, and they were terrible."
I said, "Shut them cunts up!" And they were still warming up, so I threw a bottle at them. The bands said, "That's the Sons of Mumford' or something. "They're No. 5 in [the] charts!" I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers.
4. "I like to push people till I get the truth out of them. Get them drunk, or whatever. Then discover what they really think. Push them and push them and push them."
3. "It's those film people, like that bloke who played Johnny Cash. It was fucking ridiculous, wasn't it? They may as well have got the bloke who plays Batman. Get in the guy out of Fight Club. He'd make a great me."
2. "I agree with Col. Qaddafi. Too much laptops, too much Nescafé, that is what he said, you know. It's quite biblical actually, it was predicted in the Bible."
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1. "If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's the Fall."