The Backing Band

In the late naughties, Tujiko Noriko, John Chantler and myself were touring in AU. We played Brisbane the same night as The Fall (was a shame to miss them). The next morning we were on route to the airport and as we pulled up at the lights, The Fall were in a small bus next to us. Mark E. Smith was sitting in the window holding his head. As we finished checking in, we turned around and low and behold Mark E. Smith was right there in front of us. He looked UTTERLY hungover; Pacing around in circles. Rather than let the poor fellow spiral onward John and I decided to pop over and say hello. He asked us what we were doing, and we told him we were touring with Tujiko Noriko. Without missing a beat, he glanced at us and in the most diminishingly elegant way, he said to us ‘so what you then? the backing band?’. I couldn’t help but smirk (caught in the photo too), such a perfect exchange with a frontman par excellence. One who clearly did not have much time for the ‘backing band’. Another great character of our age gone…RIP.