What’s Your Problem Mark E Smith?
Vox, March 1994, p. 18
I HATE HIPPY CHILDREN and their fucking crusty rubbish. Why? Because they’re the only generation to have turned out exactly like their parents! Hippy culture is a hoax. Like it was in 1973 and like it is now, ‘Don’t wear fur coats, don’t wear leather jackets.’ That’s why you get little kids murdering other little kids–because they’re taught at school that a fuckin’ flower is as valuable as a human life. They’re the same people that go on about smoking. Well, the fact is you get lung cancer from car fumes because all the hippy children have to drive everywhere.
Record companies are full of hippies. You talk to radio pluggers and they say things like: ‘You’ve got an interview in Stoke at one o’clock and another one in Southampton at two o’clock.’ They’re all fuckin’ hippy graduates, man. They don’t even know what the map of England looks like. I’m going: ‘Don’t you know how far Stoke is from Southampton? There’s no way you can get between them in half-an- hour unless you’ve got a fuckin’ jet plane.’ They’re like: ‘Don’t you talk to me like that.’ Got the clipboard, you see.
Bands these days are just as bad. Full of crusties with long hair who do exactly as they’re told because they’re so stoned or they’ve got hippy parents. The Fall aren’t like that. That’s why we left Phonogram. They wanted to keep us but they kept telling us crap like how many bands they’d dropped and how we had to start sending them demos. It wasn’t a good attitude. So I told them to stuff it up their arse.
Anyway. Phonogram weren’t doing their job. All you get is a load of whingeing about how tough it is in London and how there’s a recession on, mate. In five years they couldn’t do what Permanent did in a month–put our album in the Top Ten. They couldn’t manage it because they were too fuckin’ busy promoting Dire Straits, Tears For Fears remixes and all that. You can’t work with people who aren’t interested. You just gotta walk.
The Fall are a working band. We have to produce, otherwlse it’s a waste of time. We’re not some fucking dickhead crusties from bloody Cleveland over the moon to have a record contract… They’re all perfectly happy to just bang out one LP every two years, get the money from the record company each week. Take limousines and all that. That’s not what I’m fuckin’ into. I want to bang records out continually–at least two singles and an LP every year. I don’t see the problem with that.
Grunge bands are rubbish. They’re all hippy children. We just did a tour of America and we were supported by a whole crowd of them. Really sad. We were asked to do the Nirvana tour as well. We turned it down. It would have been a waste of time. The Fall have done all that before, you know. Supported U2 and all that. Had bibles and spring water bottles thrown at us. Pretty fuckin’ sad, really.
Hippy fuckin’ fathers–they’re a problem when you have to work with them. I mean, even their wives have got a problem with them ‘cos they want to spend more time with the kids than with their mother. It’s quite ridiculous. It’s like returning to an animal state. There’s a lot of blokes–especially middle-class blokes–who are unemployed. They use it as an excuse. Instead of getting a job, they hang around with the kids all day playing computer games. They make out they’re caring, sharing dads, when in fact it’s just an excuse to stay at home.
I find that fathers are far more sentimental about their children than the women are. Have you ever noticed that? Kids today are gonna end up dependent on two parents instead of one. Me, I never saw my dad. He worked. Saw him at breakfast and saw him again at tea. That’s the way it should be, too. I think mothers know better how to handle kids than most blokes do.
Anyway, I don’t like whingers and groaners. There’s too much of it about. Daytime television is full of the twats– retired fuckin’ idiots moaning on about all the problems they’ve got. I don’t want any part of it. It’s not English and it’s not fuckin’ right. Having a problem is like a professional career these days. It’s become really hip. People actually don’t like it if you haven’t got a problem. The country’s turning into a bunch of whingeing, mithering bastards–going on about nothing at all. Spoilt brats.
In every rock article you read, there’s some fuckin’ cunt going on about what a hard life he’s had. It’s all very Third World, very crusty, very hippy. Look at Boy George–he does two lines of heroin and he fucks it up. Goes and ruins it for everyone else. And it’s the same with people who can’t hold their drink. Everything in moderation, as the bible says.
– Mark E Smith