YMGTA #15: The Frenz Experiment

“An odour resembling hot-dogs permeated the whole bedroom.”

Image result for frenz experiment

Recorded: Abbey Road, London; Brixton and Manchester mid-late 1987
Released: 29 February 1988

  • Mark E Smith – vocals, keyboards
  • Brix Smith – guitar, vocals
  • Craig Scanlon – guitar, vocals
  • Steve Hanley – bass, vocals
  • Marcia Schofield – keyboards, vocals
  • Simon Wolstencroft – drums, vocals
  • Simon Rogers – guitar, saxophone, keyboards

Shortly after Bend Sinister‘s release, Simon Rogers left the group – although he did still contribute to Frenz in terms of both production and performance. His replacement was Marcia Schofield, a New Yorker whose band Khymer Rouge had supported The Fall on several occasions. She was thrown into the deep end, performing with the group for the first time at Ipswich in October 1986. She was lent a copy of Bend Sinister for preparation and arrived at the gig with some hastily-scribbled notes on scraps of paper (Steve Hanley recalls one of them as reading, ‘US 80s 90s intro verse, bass solo, chorus, verse, bass solo, chorus, rant with megaphone solo to fade’1. The group also played two encore songs that she’d never heard before. Still, she seems to have passed the test as she played keyboards for the group for the next four years.

Brix welcomed having a female ally in the group. She also commented on Schofield’s striking appearance: ‘All the men would drool over her. She was a goddess, the physical opposite to me. I was petite and blonde; she was a dark Amazonian voluptuous woman’2.

The group’s next single – recorded before Schofield joined – was Hey! Luciani. Originally written for Bend Sinister, it was held back when MES (inspired by David Yallop’s book In God’s Name) decided to write a play about the suspicious death of Albino Luciani, who was pope John Paul I for just 33 days. Smith discussed the play in an interview with Jools Holland (whose interviewing technique, as you can see, was just as appallingly inane back then as it is now) on its opening night in December 1986. In it, Smith admits that he ‘didn’t do a lot of research for it’ and that ‘I haven’t really been very factual’.

Smith wrote most of the play on the group’s October tour of America and ‘continued writing… until just days before the first performance’3. In Tommy Mackay’s 40 Odd Years Of The Fall, he says that, ‘according to Fall mythology, it was written on beer mats and delivered to its director in a shoe box’4. It ran for two weeks in December 1986 at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.


The play featured, amongst many other things, Brix and Marcia Schofield ‘in full army camouflage [with] massive sub-machine guns strapped across our chests – two fierce Jewesses hunting Martin Bormann’5. Steve Hanley played John Paul II, and his entertaining account6 of the play is well worth a read. According to Brix, it was ‘non-linear and nobody understood anything about the play. It made no sense whatsoever’7.

Reviews were, to put it kindly, mixed. Although Roy Wilkinson in Sounds described it as a ‘very watchable, incident-packed treatment of this fascinating piece of recent history’, Adam Sweeting in The Guardian declared that, ‘the completeness, the thoroughness of Smith’s failure must be accounted his only achievement’. The Melody Maker review criticised the ‘dismally poor acting’ and called for ‘an immediate and bloody end to Arts Council funding’. In the NME, Len Brown was more succinct: ‘heap of shite’. There were no official audio or visual recordings of the event, but if you’re feeling brave you can read a full transcript here.

Front cover

As for the actual single itself, it’s a solid enough bit of commercial Fall. It’s a very coherent song in terms of melody and structure, and has a memorable poppy hook. It’s all a bit polished, though, and Brix’s backing vocals are rather akin to pouring treacle onto honey – the song needed a bit more grit, not more sweetness. An ‘alternative’ version (the original, recorded by John Leckie) was released on a Sounds freebie – you can hear John Peel play it hereLuciani reached number 59 on the singles chart; including the play performances, it made 96 live appearances 1986-88 before getting one of those one-off revivals in 2002.

The b-side was Entitled, a pleasant enough but inconsequential bit of melancholy indie-jangle that’s rather reminiscent of The Woodentops.  Those who bought the 12″ were treated to a supremely unnecessary five minute version of Shoulder Pads.

The Fall finally reached the hallowed heights of the top 30 in the spring of 1987. There’s a Ghost in My House, a Holland/Dozier/Holland song originally recorded by R. Dean Taylor, was suggested to the group as a cover by Beggars Banquet press officer Karen Ehlers8. It was the highest chart position the group would ever achieve. As part of the promotion, Beggars paid for a sleeve that featured a ghostly hologram; Steve Hanley commented that it cost so much that the profits were ‘purely ethereal’9. The single’s chart placing of 30 suggested a likely appearance on Top of the Pops, but despite Brix’s excitement at the prospect (‘Me and Marcia were going, “What will we wear, what will we wear?”‘10), the call never came.

Front cover 7 inch

It’s a very straight cover and is possibly most notable for Smith’s greatest effort to sing ‘properly’; something to deploy as a gentle introduction to Fall newcomers, perhaps. The b-side was Haf Found Bormann, one of the songs that formed part of the Luciani performances.  It has a slow, loose-limbed rhythm that brings The Orb to mind. Steve Hanley gets quite free-form jazz in places (listen to him go at 0:45) and a lot of hard-to-identify noises float around in the background. After the play’s December 1986 run, it stayed in the setlist for much of 1987, racking up 39 appearances. There’s a great live version of the song here.

The 12″ included Sleep Debt Snatches and Mark’ll Sink Us, both also songs from the play. They are two of the most effective and intriguing effective songs that were ever hidden away as bonus tracks or b-sides.

Sleep starts with an uptempo, circular little guitar riff that sounds, again, rather like The Woodentops, this time playing a pacier version of Jilted John. A coherent, almost sprightly sounding MES joins in for thirty seconds or so with a couple of verses about sleep deprivation (sleep debt being a recognised term for the condition). And then, around a minute in, it all goes a bit strange (or, as Bzfgt puts it on The Annotated Fall, ‘we get some weirdie stuff’.) The brash drum pattern that enters abruptly at 1:03 sounds alarmingly like it’s veering off into Addicted To Love, but then everything goes all Test Dept. / Nine Inch Nails; a sort of sludgy, industrial march, backed with an assortment of random clicking, tapping, scraping and other downright odd noises. Throughout all of this, SH maintains a solid, unflappable foundation, Scanlon adds a funky, fluid, reverberating riff and MES pops in now and again to add a sinister whisper. Aside from parts of it appearing in the play, it was never performed live.

Mark’ll Sink Us, on the other hand did stay in the setlist for a little while after Luciani, being performed a further 21 times, the last being in May 1988. There are overtones of jazz, prog and blues: the Aladdin Sane-esque piano provides jazzy overtones, and the staccato part that backs the ‘Mark’ll Sink Us’ refrain could easily come from early 70s Yes or Genesis (especially when the moog-ish synth joins in during the coda). Smith’s vocal has an air of resigned melancholy that’s touching and emotional: ‘I am desolate.
I live the black and blue of the night’.

The day after Ghost‘s release, the group recorded their eleventh Peel session, which was broadcast on 11 May: Athlete Cured / Australians In Europe / Twister / Guest Informant. The follow-up single to Ghost arrived in October. Hit The North was the group’s first single to be released on picture disc (see below); it was also the first to get the remix treatment. The genesis of the song’s lyric, according to Steve Hanley, was Smith’s dislike of Norwich – exclaiming on the way back from a gig there that he couldn’t wait until they ‘hit the north’11. Musically, it originated from Simon Rogers playing around with a new sampler. In an interview for Sound On Sound, he describes how the song came about:

‘I’d just got this 440 and literally the first thing I put into it was a bass and a snare just on two pads, a little tiny Indian bell which I’ve still got, and a sax note and a bass note from a Gentle Giant record.

Mark came round to my bedroom studio and I said, “Oh, here’s the new sampler, have a look at it”, and just pressed play and out comes the basis of Hit The North. He said, “What’s that music?” And I said, “Well, it’s the first thing I put in.” He said, “I’ll have that, just do me a tape.”‘

Hit The North has a charming exuberance and energy, and the occasional cowboy-style whoops and yee-haws give it a joyful party atmosphere. You won’t find a more 80s keyboard sound than its parping riff, and the sequencer, drum pattern and vocal treatments all place the song very firmly in that decade. Yet it feels – unlike, perhaps, some of the songs of the early 90s – like a knowing, light-hearted sideways glance at contemporary styles rather than an attempt to ape them. The five (five!) remixes are all fun, although listening to all of them in a row (as I have done several times recently) does start to render the song a little tiresome, unsurprisingly.

It has a great video, too (once again Steve Hanley provides a wonderfully entertaining account12), featuring some funky dancing (and even funkier shirt) from MES and bemused but enthusiastic participation from the patrons of a Blackpool working men’s club.

It was made Single of the Week in the NME. Simon Gallup of The Cure, acting as a guest reviewer in Melody Maker, thought that the song sounded like both The Glitter Band and Van Der Graaf Generator. Despite the video and picture disc and all the remixes, Hit The North didn’t replicate its predecessor’s chart success, peaking at number 57. It was a popular setlist choice though, clocking up 126 appearances 1987-2005.

One of the 12″ versions featured two further b-sides. Australians In Europe (the opening of which features dialogue between MES and Trevor Stuart, who played the lead in Hey! Luciani) is an energetic, almost thrashy track that features some Lydon-esque sustained notes from Smith. It’s solid enough, but always destined to be a b-side. It was played 26 times 1987-1988. Northerns In Europ consists of what sounds like the group having a chat whilst listening to the same song on a badly-tuned AM radio.

To Steve Hanley’s surprise13, the group had by now been going long enough to get the rights back for some of their earlier work. This inspired Smith to set up his own record label, Cog Sinister. The idea was to support releases by obscure and interesting artists, financed by profits from re-releasing The Fall’s old material. The name came from Smith’s belief that his ‘pre-cog’ abilities would enable him to spot ‘neglected geniuses [and] fresh new talent’14. The first output from the label was In: Palace Of Swords Reversed, a compilation of album, single and live tracks from the early 80s.

In: Palace of Swords Reversed press release

For their next single in January 1988, the group went for another cover. This yielded similar success to Ghost, as Victoria reached number 35 in the charts. A cover of The Kinks’ 1969 song, it attracted ‘inevitable cries of “sell-out”‘15; in Melody Maker, David Stubbs ‘looked on in sadness as The Fall appeared to have gone hard and soft in all the wrong places’.

Front cover

There were three b-sides on the various formats of the single. Tuff Life Booogie enjoyed a relatively long shelf-life in terms of live appearances, being played 62 times, including 15 in 2015-16. Whilst the opening choppy little two-chord guitar part and slide guitar are pleasant enough, MES’s yelping of the title refrain (and for that matter the song’s title) is a little embarrassing. Twister is much more effective: it starts with a slow, snaky, twangy dual guitar line which is joined by galloping drums, double-tracked MES vocals and even some prog-like organ, before ascending into a crazy whirl featuring some eerie Brix contributions, thumping toms and manic keyboards. It was only ever played live once.

Even better, however, is Guest Informant. A regular feature on the setlist since late 1986 (going on to be performed 76 times in total), it’s a piece of stomping, aggressive and angular classic Fall. Possibly Brix’s best vocal contribution to a Fall song.

Around the same time that Frenz was being recorded, The Fall contributed a cover of The Beatles’ A Day In The Life for the NME-sponsored Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father. It’s not one of the group’s finest moments; a very straight and somewhat hurriedly knocked-out rendition that rather cruelly exposes MES’s limitations as a singer.

In The Wider World…
A week after the album’s release, the SAS shot dead three unarmed members of the IRA in Gibraltar. This led to a horrific chain of events: at the three men’s funeral, a member of the UDA launched an attack that left three dead and 60 wounded; at the funeral of one of these victims, two undercover British soldiers were dragged from their car, beaten and shot.

The housing market continued to boom in the UK: the average house price having risen over 25% (to a shocking £60k!) during the previous year. The Liberal Party ended its 129 year existence by merging with the SDP. Pound notes ceased to be legal tender.

Stock Aitken Waterman had recently released the second single on their PWL label, Kylie Minogue’s I Should Be So Lucky. The ‘Hit Factory’, sadly, dominated the British charts for several years thereafter with their bland, assembly-line hi-NRG pop. Lucky was in the second week of its five-week stay at number one when Frenz was released. Terence Trent D’Arby (remember him?) was at the top of the album charts (in the middle of an eight-week run) with Introducing the Hardline…

The Fall Live In 1986-88
After Marcia Schofield’s debut in Ipswich, the group played four dates in Austria (the third of which saw Shoulder Pads get its debut) before embarking on a 12-date US tour. They played a further 15 UK gigs in November to promote Bend Sinister, Guest Informant being played for the first time on the 8 November performance at Woolwich. After the twelve performances of Hey! Luciani, the group rounded off 1986 with a one-off gig at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall on 22 December.

1987 opened with a 20-date tour of Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands in February-March; Ghost was debuted on the second date. The group played a further 25 UK dates (mainly in the UK) in 1987. Australians and Get A Hotel were debuted in April; Frenz appeared on May 11 at Liverpool; Bremen Nacht, Oswald Defence Lawyer and Tuff Life got their first outings at Finsbury Park in July; Victoria followed in November; a one-off gig in Athens saw Carry Bag Man and In These Times played for the first time. On the 15 August, The Fall shared a bill with Nick Cave, Swans and Butthole Surfers in Hamburg. Tickets for the gig were oversold and a riot ensued.


The group’s May 19 date at Nottingham Rock City was released in 1993 as BBC Radio 1 ‘Live In Concert’. Like Austurbaejarbio, it benefits from crystal-clear sound but is curiously flat, soulless and limp.

On 1 July, The Fall acted as an unlikely last-minute support act for U2 at Elland Road. The gig (where Hit The North was played for the first time) was most notable for Craig Scanlon ending up with a black eye and a badly-bruised arm after being dragged down a staircase by U2’s security after he and Steve Hanley tried to get backstage to procure autographs for Hanley’s relatives in Ireland16.

The Album
The album was originally entitled ‘Gene Crime Experience’ until Smith realised it spelt GCE (which is what GCSEs were officially called back in the day when they were still ‘O levels’). The first side was still entitled ‘Crime Gene’. Parts of the album were recorded at Abbey Road, where recording was briefly interrupted by Duran Duran taking a studio tour17.

One of the biggest departures with Frenz was its cover. Up to this point, the group’s albums had all had covers that were intriguing and aesthetically pleasing. Frenz, however, was a horror. Featuring a variety of ugly fonts, the lettering obscures most of the group, leaving Smith, as Brix put it, lording it over us’18.

The allocation of songwriting credits is interesting here. While MES was undoubtedly capable of musical invention, the fact that half of the songs give him a sole songwriting credit seems, at best, unlikely (and in the case of Athlete is just silly). Brix’s perspective was that ‘every single one of those songs was a collaboration. It seemed to me that the deterioration of our relationship was reflected in my dwindling songwriting credits’19. There is a sense, perhaps, that MES was trying to assert his dominance.

The album was, in commercial terms, by far their most successful so far, reaching number 19 in the album charts. In the NME, however, Danny Kelly was less than impressed, declaring that it wasn’t ‘fit to share the same planet as This Nation’s Saving Grace‘.

Like the previous few albums, Frenz was a different beast if you bought it on a format other than LP (see ‘Reissues & Bonus Tracks’ below), and it was an interesting decision for me as to what should be classified as ‘the album’ for the purposes of this review. The late 80s did see CD sales start to overtake those of vinyl. However, my experience of the buying habits of my contemporaries suggests to me that most Fall fans at the time would have bought the ten-track LP (the high-volume CD sales at the time were of Brothers In Arms et al), so that’s what I’m sticking with.

The Songs
The opener finds MES in melancholy mood. His vocals suggest sadness and also have a derisive, cynical quality that implies resignation: I’m lonely but I wouldn’t have it any other way. His repeated refrain of ‘my friends don’t add up to one hand’ is rather touching, if grammatically dubious. This is also one of those tracks where the Smiths’ vocals complement each other well; also one that’s well suited by the clean and crisp production. It was played live frequently at the time (69 appearances) but disappeared after 1988.

It’s a simple and sparse affair, fragile and almost ephemeral; the percussion, bass and guitar are all surprisingly delicate. When I reviewed it on the Fi5 blog, I commented that it felt rather incomplete in isolation, like it was building up to something that never arrives. In the context of the album, however, it was ideally placed to introduce something a little more robust…

Carry Bag Man
…and it is, unsurprisingly, followed by something much more muscular and aggressive. However, Carry Bag Man is a let-down. Based around a basic ‘yeah, this’ll do’ Stooges-ish blues-rock riff, it’s all a bit lazy and predictable and has run out of ideas at least two minutes before it finally calls it a day.

The fact that Smith carried his lyrics around in carrier bags was an interesting little idiosyncrasy, but not apparently interesting enough to sustain a whole lyric. It made 60 appearances 1988-1990 before being revived for four performances in 2008-2009.

Get A Hotel
Like FrenzHotel is sparse and measured. Steve Hanley makes the best of a simple bass line, and Si’s drums are crisp and precise. But there’s little emotion here; nobody sounds like they have much invested in the track; it feels like a rough sketch rather than a complete song. The slowing of the tempo over the final 30 seconds or so just makes it feel like the group have run out of interest. It was played 43 times 1987-1988.

Despite MES’s assertion that the group’s approach to the track was to ‘cut it to bits… to do something extreme to it’ (from the NME 1988, quoted on the Reformation site), it’s actually a pretty straight cover. Without Smith’s voice, you’d be hard-pressed to identify it as The Fall. It’s a competent and lively update of a strong, interesting tune, and it injects a bit of well-needed vigour into the album.

Athlete Cured
Lyrically, this is an odd tale even by Smith’s standards, relating the story of an East German athlete suffering from the effects of his brother’s careless parking arrangements.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the song (except maybe the fact that the opening scream makes it sound as though the group are about to burst into Wipe Out) is its main riff, an unashamed lift from Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight by Spinal Tap (Spinal Tap was one of only two films that MES permitted on the tour bus in the late 80s – the other being Zulu). Steve Hanley’s repeated exposure to the song led him to be ‘doodling it’ in a soundcheck, whereupon Smith walked in and declared ‘We’ll use that’. Despite Simon Rogers’ protestations (‘It’s a total rip-off!’) the group ended up using the riff, ‘note-for-note, exactly the same, not altered in the slightest by key changes, time changes, chord changes or any other sort of disguise’20.

It’s one of the album’s highlights, a frantic cacophony anchored by that bass line and featuring a plethora of random electronic squiggles in the background as Smith relates his bizarre tale (‘An odour resembling hot-dogs permeated the whole bedroom’; ‘Obtaining a new parking space for Gert’s motor-car, athletic star soon
recovered’). It got only six outings (always as the opener), all in 1988. The Reformation A-Z site suggests that this small number was due to MES being conscious of the song’s distinctly unsubtle ‘borrow’, but this seems unlikely, especially considering the number of times the group quite happily played other equally derivative songs like Elves. A brief snatch of the song’s intro was also played at the disastrous Motherwell gig in October 1996.

In These Times
There are several likeable things about this song: Steve Hanley’s deep, heavily-flanged bass intro; the moody floor-tom-led interludes (e.g. at 0:44); the fuzzy guitar solo lurking in the background around the two minute mark; plus a selection of prime MES lyrical obscurities – ‘Diluted Jesuits pour out of mutual walkmans from Elland Road to Venice Pensions and down the Autobahns’; ‘My gossamer-thin gate will keep out the trash in which my psychic streets emerge’.

On the negative side, though, there are some rather cheesy 80s-style keyboard stabs towards the end, and the chorus does teeter slightly towards the monotonous end of things, although it’s rescued to some extent by Brix’s somewhat random contributions. She claims at 2:25 that ‘this song’s a belter’, which overstates the case a little.

The Steak Place
A gentle acoustic strum, a bit of finger-clicking and… well, not much else. A potentially interesting scenario (tacky American restaurant full of shady mafia types) fails to generate much interest owing to some startlingly banal (by Smith’s standards) lyrical observations: ‘Cheap carpet lines the way’; ‘Things are brought forward and eaten’.

I don’t always agree with Brix’s evaluations of Fall songs but she’s spot-on about this one, which she simply describes as ‘boring’21. A very thin idea that would have barely passed muster as a b-side. Never played live.

Bremen Nacht
The clean, clinical sound of the album’s production really suits this one, the crisp, sparse atmosphere adding to its aggressive punch. ‘Relentless assault’ is a music journalist cliché, but it’s apt here. This is a song that grabs you by the throat and pummels you into submission; a pugnacious, relentless slab of oompah-krautrock. Simon Wolstencroft described it as ‘always great to play live – you’d see some of the crowd almost going into a trance’22. I should imagine that it was actually bloody exhausting to play, but it definitely must have been hypnotic.

Guest Informant (excerpt)
Infuriatingly, one of the best songs of the era gets a muted, instrumental forty-second run-out. And whilst there was room for Get A Hotel and The Steak Place. Go figure.

Oswald Defence Lawyer
A sluggish, lumbering beast of a song, with only MES’s occasional falsetto ‘Lawyer!’ to lighten the mood. It just drags on and on and on and seems much, much longer than its six minutes. Once again, I have to sympathise with Brix’s view: ‘The most annoying song I ever had to play on… it was interminable, and when we played it I watched the audience switch off’23.

Reissues & Bonus Tracks
Initial pressings of the LP came with a bonus 7″ featuring Bremen Nacht Run Out and Mark’ll Sink Us.

The CD/cassette version included Bremen Nacht Run Out, the full version of Guest InformantTuff Life BooogieTwisterBremen Nacht Alternative (a mighty nine-minute version), Ghost and Hit The North part 1.

The album was remastered and released as part of the 2013 5 CD box set, 5 Albums.

Overall Verdict
Whilst it has its highlights, The Frenz Experiment is in many ways an unsatisfying album. Part of the problem is the production, which is just too clean and is very ‘flat’ in many places. This does work well enough in a few instances – it suits the fragile melancholy of Frenz, and adds punch to Bremen Nacht – but overall there’s an air of over-sanitised sheen that fails to bring out the group’s angular, dissonant side.

The greatest problem, however, is with the songwriting. Far too many tracks consist of thin, sketchy underdeveloped ideas. There are too many songs – Carry Bag, Hotel, Steak Place – that just feel lazy and seem to have a ‘will this do?’ attitude to both music and lyrics.

My “Version”
A pretty radical reworking, it has to be said. Some of these songs really belong with Bend Sinister to be honest, but without them I might be struggling…

Side 1Frenz / Sleep Debt Snatches / Guest Informant / Mark’ll Sink Us [20.34]

Side 2: Bremen Nacht (alternative) / Haf Found Bormann / Athlete Cured / Twister [23:02]

Both Dragnet and Witch Trials have their flaws, but they are by no means as frustrating and disappointing as Frenz. If you’d asked me a few years ago, I’d have have unhesitatingly put Frenz above both of them, but the sort of intensive listening that this blog has entailed leads me to this order:

  1. This Nation’s Saving Grace
  2. Perverted By Language
  3. The Wonderful And Frightening World Of
  4. Hex Enduction Hour
  5. Slates
  6. Grotesque
  7. Room To Live
  8. Bend Sinister
  9. Dragnet
  10. Live At The Witch Trials
  11. The Frenz Experiment

Hey! Luciani has a bit of flair and originality about it, so places the highest of this ‘batch’; the others are all comfortably mid-table.

  1. Living Too Late
  2. Kicker Conspiracy
  3. The Man Whose Head Expanded
  4. How I Wrote ‘Elastic Man’
  5. Totally Wired
  6. Marquis Cha-Cha
  7. Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul
  8. Cruiser’s Creek
  9. Hey! Luciani
  10. Mr. Pharmacist
  11. Couldn’t Get Ahead/Rollin’ Dany
  12. Look, Know
  13. There’s A Ghost In My House
  14. Victoria
  15. Hit The North
  16. Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!
  17. Rowche Rumble
  18. Fiery Jack
  19. It’s The New Thing
  20. Oh! Brother
  21. c.r.e.e.p.

With the live albums, ‘BBC’ sits next to Austurbaejarbio in the ‘nice sound, but still somehow uninspiring’ category.

  1. Live To Air In Melbourne ’82
  2. In A Hole
  3. A Part Of America Therein, 1981
  4. The Legendary Chaos Tape / Live In London 1980
  5. Totale’s Turns
  6. Live 1981 – Jimmy’s Music Club – New Orleans
  7. Live 1977
  8. Austurbaejarbio
  9. BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert
  10. Live 3rd May 1982 Band On The Wall Manchester
  11. Live 1980 – Cedar Ballroom Birmingham
  12. Live From The Vaults – Alter Banhof, Hof, Germany
  13. Live From The Vaults – Glasgow 1981
  14. Live From The Vaults – Oldham 1978
  15. Liverpool 78
  16. Live From The Vaults – Los Angeles 1979
  17. Live From The Vaults – Retford 1979
  18. Live At Deeply Vale



1The Big Midweek, p281

2The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise, p227

3Ford, p165

4Tommy Mackay, p83

5The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise, pp229-230

6The Big Midweek, pp259-264

7The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise, p229

8Ford, p169

9The Big Midweek, p285

10Ford, p169

11The Big Midweek, p286

12The Big Midweek, pp287-289

13The Big Midweek, pp286

14Ford, p175

15Ford, p177

16The Big Midweek, p297

17The Big Midweek, p292

18The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise, p239

19The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise, p236

20The Big Midweek, pp292-293

21The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise, p238

22You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide, p118

23The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise, pp238-239


2 thoughts on “YMGTA #15: The Frenz Experiment

  1. Great post as usual. But I have a real soft spot for this LP, for the bonus 7″ and because it was the first time I saw them live (at an instore gig, where the whole group signed everyone’s LPs as well).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this, great work as ever. Disagreeing about the fall is par for the course, but for me:

    Carry bag man – it may not be premier league fall, but it’s one of my favourites. I don’t find it dull at all. I love Hanley’s bassline, the song’s got this almost motorik drive to it, plus it’s almost a Fall pop song. I’ll never tire of it.

    And BBC live – the only thing I dislike about this one is that it’s over in half an hour. Nice range of tracks, it’s a lot of fun, and the version of Australians in Europe (itself an underrated gem) is sublime.

    But the rest of Frenz…you’re right, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s