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Family of Mark E Smith react angrily to new band House of All

The group, featuring ex-Fall members, is described as a "Fall Family Continuum"

By Joe Goggins

Mark E Smith of The Fall
Smith died in January 2018. (Photo: Sam Saunders/Wikimedia Commons)

The family of Mark E Smith have reacted angrily to news of a new project involving former members of The Fall.

Last month (January 27), five musicians who had previously played with the Manchester post-punk iconoclasts announced their intention to release a new album under the name House of All; the new band is being described by those involved as a “Fall Family Continuum”. The group is comprised of guitarist Martin Bramah, a founding member of The Fall, bassist Stephen Hanley, who spent two decades with The Fall between 1978 and 1998 and was their longest-serving member after Smith, two drummers in Paul Hanley and  Simon Wolstencroft, and another guitarist, Pete Greenway.

Between the five of them, they have played on such classic Fall albums as Hex Enduction Hour, This Nation’s Saving Grace, Extricate and The Infotainment Scan. Despite impressive Fall pedigree, though, Smith’s family have strongly objected to the project, releasing a statement via a Fall fansite on Monday (January 30).

“The family and estate of Mark E Smith in no way endorse or wish to be associated with House of All,” they wrote. “Furthermore, we do not like or permit the use of Mark E Smith’s name, images and/or band name to be used in any kind of exploiting way. Not only do we find this extremely offensive and very misleading to the wider audience of Mark E Smith and the Fall, but it also causes us much distress and discomfort.”

Bramah has since responded via an interview with The Guardian, saying that “we didn’t set out to cause any offence. We only have the best memories of Mark and this has been done very much as a homage to what he taught us. His presence was in the studio – we were working the way we would have if Mark was there telling us, ‘This is crap. This is good.’” 

He went on to explain that the use of the term ‘Fall Family Contiuum’ was in reference to his belief, and that of the other members of House of All, that all past members of The Fall were part of an “extended dysfunctional family” and that “potentially, any ex-members could be involved” in future House of All work. Their self-titled debut album will be released on April 23.

Smith died in January 2018 at the age of 60. He was the only permanent member of a band he formed with Bramah and Una Baines in Prestwich in 1976; the group’s revolving-door lineup saw a total of 66 musicians play in the band. “If it’s me and your granny on bongos, then it’s The Fall,” he once said of their ephemeral makeup.