Reformation!

Lyrics

(1)

Black River
Fall Motel 
Cheese State (2)
TLC (3)
Back '81 (4)
Repeat
Underneath

Black River
Black River
Fall Motel
Cheese State
Reformation

06-7 hours 
06-7 hours 
Black River
Fall Motel
Tiles
Goldfish bowl
Blimp (5)
TF (6)
Traitor
Post
Arse

Reformation post TLC

Love

Deafen mit uns
Arbeit mit uns (7)
Arbeit mit uns

Reformation
Ex '81
Reformation
Ex 2007

Reformation post TLC

Reformation

Black River
Fall Motel
Drum roll
Look right
Go

Reformation

Arbeit mit uns
Arbeit mit uns

This is what it'll sound like
This is what it sound like

For a reformation

Salutation   (8)

Goldfish bowl
Goldfish bowl

Back '89
Back '89

Floorboards

Typhoon Follies (9)

Reformation
2 or 3 weeks
3 or 2 weeks
Who did.. what the...
What the 
Reformation
Fall Motel
Post
TLC

Notes

1. "Reformation" refers to the Fall, which had just lost all of its members save MES and Eleni (see note 3 below). Note the echo of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century...although I don't have much to add, there.

^

2. Black River is in WIsconsin, which produces about a quarter of the cheese consumed in the US. The Lyrics Parade says the line was "Inspired by the Black River Falls motel in Wisonsin, USA" which makes sense given the lyrics; Smith changes it to "Fall motel" for obvious reasons.

Zack confirms:

Looked it up - there is a "Falls Motel" in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, right off of Interstate 94. MES & Co likely saw a sign from the freeway while driving from their gig in Minneapolis (29 May 2006) to Chicago (where I last saw them on 30 May 2006). Maybe they even stayed there! I would be surprised if "Black river / Fall motel / cheese state" appears on any live recordings before the Chicago gig.

The song seems to be, among other things, a swipe at bands that reform and try to cash in; The Fall, MES would have us remember, never disbanded, since Smith always was ready to continue the band under all circumstances.

^

3. TLC refers to the members of the previous band who had quit en masse: Stev Trafford, Ben Pritchard, and Spencer Birtwistle. The initialism TLC is alternately identified as "Traitors, Liars, Cunts" and "Treacherous Lying Cunts" (Smith has said it was the former, but he may have also suggested the latter some other time). 

Harleyr has dropped some science on us:

"Before all the jokes about 'Treacherous Lying Cunts,' etc., I took this phrase to be a swipe at bands who can't cope with the rock and roll life, split up, spend several years out of the limelight getting actual TLC (Tender Loving Care, in whatever form), then once they've recovered, reform. And more specifically at Ben et al. for wanting 'TLC' rather than the Mark E. Smith approach to employees."

^

4. According to Reformation, an early live version had the line "Manchester, 1981. Stone Roses hotel." Apparently Ian Brown of the Stone Roses used to hang out at the Salutation Hotel (see note 7 below). As far as the date, MES could be looking back at an earlier incarnation of the band and comparing it to his current situation in some way, or this could refer to when Brown drank there...

^

5. Blimp was Spencer Birtwistle's next band after the Fall (thanks to the Lyrics Parade).

^

6. The Lyrics Parade, which is unusually helpful on this one, points out that this is probably "Tycoons Follies," Steve Trafford's band.

^

7. This means "work with us" in German.

^

8.Manchester has a Salutation hotel/pub, and Zack reports that this iteration of the band stayed there (referenced in Dave Simpson's The Fallen) and it is featured in the video for this song.

^

9. This is a corruption, perhaps intentional, of "Tycoons Follies," Trafford's band (see note 5 above).

^

Comments (18)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 10/05/2014
Wisconsin is also known as "The Cheese State".
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 10/05/2014
Sorry, I've just seen you already have a note that implies the connection.
Zack
  • 3. Zack | 19/11/2014
Looked it up - there is a "Fall's Motel" in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, right off of Interstate 94. MES & Co likely saw a sign from the freeway while driving from their gig in Minneapolis (29 May 2006) to Chicago (where I last saw them on 30 May 2006). Maybe they even stayed there!

I would be surprised if "Black river / Fall motel / cheese state" appears on any live recordings before the Chicago gig.
Martin
  • 4. Martin | 23/11/2014
The lines quoted by Zack were sung at the gigs on 30 May (Chicago) and 1 June (New York).

Unfortunately, I don't think we have any recordings of the gig on 29 May in Minneapolis to check for certain.
Martin
  • 5. Martin | 23/11/2014
P.S.:

23 May 2006 - Knitting Factory, Los Angeles (largely instrumental apart from MES's introduction) (the debut for the song).
harleyr
  • 6. harleyr | 04/09/2015
'Reformation post TLC' - before all the jokes about 'Treacherous Lying Cunts' etc, I took this phrase to be a swipe at bands who can't cope with the rock and roll life, split up, spend several years out of the limelight getting actual TLC (as in case, Tender Loving Care, in whatever form), then once they've recovered, reform. And more specifically at Ben et al for wanting TLC rather than the Mark E Smith approach to employees.
Zack
  • 7. Zack | 15/01/2017
The Salutation is a hotel and pub in Manchester where The Dudes stayed (as per the paperback edition of Dave Simpson's The Fallen). The Salutation is featured in the "Reformation" music video.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 22/01/2017
Zack, comment #7: brilliant observation re: the Reformation video! And yes, The Salutation is mentioned in The Fallen as the location of the Dudes after they got bored of staying at the Rocket Club in Prestwich (p.307 of updated edition). Looking at pictures, you could understand it being described as a goldfish bowl.
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 17/11/2018
We can connect note 3 and note 7, because the Salutation pub in Hulme was where Ian Brown of the Stone Roses drank as a youth.

Source:

Set in Stone (2013) by Ian Tilton and Claire Caldwell:


Ian and his mates would hang out in pubs like The Salutation in Hulme
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 17/11/2018
The Blimp played a gig at the Salutation on 30 September 2006: http://thefall.org/news/06oct30.html
Paul Go
  • 11. Paul Go | 28/11/2018
...hate to spell things out, partly because I may be clumsily stating the bleedin' obvious, and partly because I wouldn't want to demystify MES in any way, but 'Black River' is a metaphor for tarmac, or better still. road building Goldfish bowl, a car. All the sounds in the track relate to engines and roads. It follows that the lyrics follow the same route. All sign posted, not really cryptic, at ease google detectives.

Need to have listen, but a few suggestions.

"Ford Motel" : car maker, 'any color as long as...'.. Why 'Fall' ... the band's name, clever.

"Two states" : like a road or binary system. Why the hell you people think it's 'cheese state'? .. It'd be such a poor lyric, completely unworthy. 'Cheese steaks" would at least be amusing. I'll admit, at the time, I remember thinking he'd recently got new false teeth and 'chew steaks' came to mind.

"Tires" : as found on fucking cars, why 'Tiles'? because they exist?

"Lamp" : 'Blimp'? Do you choose these by pulling them out of a hat?

As 1. The road metaphor is so blatant, 2. it is the title track of the album, 3. the title is so enigmatic, yet the lyrics filled with simple statements of fact: I'd go further and say the road metaphor is merely a metaphor for something else again. Remember kids, always: Stop; Think; MES is always better than you realise.
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 22/12/2018
Black River is in Wisconsin, which is colloquially the cheese state. Blimp is a band Spencer Birtwistle, one of the TLC, was in.
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 22/12/2018
I learned all that by looking at the notes...
Paul Go
  • 14. Paul Go | 23/12/2018
I admit the notes can be interesting, to wonder where or what might have inspired him. It doesn't mean Cyber Insekts is about serial killers or this is about that river.

If you take his inspiration as the end goal, fine. I'd sooner go with a coherent song, a very nice Idea about tarmac flowing fast, an entire life lived in the fast moving metaphor of a super fast modern autobahn, while calling out the primitive parts of a car that haven't changed in a 100 years. It's a good old boy road song meets new world order song.

Reformation, and it sound like... shit. not the music obviously.
Paul Go
  • 15. Paul Go | 23/12/2018
2 states is written all over the music
and I don't think you're accounting for the new false teeth settling in
Brendan
  • 16. Brendan | 08/03/2019
We can never be sure of much on this website, sometimes it seems nothing is certain. But, though I commend anyone brave enough to contribute to deciphering Fall lyrics, I'm 100% sure Paul Go is wrong here!
Doc
  • 17. Doc | 22/04/2019
Stewart Lee writing for the Sunday Times pointed out the similarity to Can’s Mother Sky, which features a similar 2 note bass riff.
Paul Go
  • 18. Paul Go | 24/05/2019
Brendon, it amazes me that even fans woefully underestimate MES.
The guy is a mystic, same ilk as Blake.
Up to you, seems hearing only meaningless rambling is all Fall fans want.

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