What You Need

Lyrics

(1)

How can I? How can I? How can I? 

Get up, make a buck 
Get up, make a buck 
My race was bred on hash
My race was bred on hash
Get up, make a buck, 
Get up, make a buck. 
The stolen dark 
Please don't [muffled].

What you need [band]
How can I? 
What you need [band
How can I? 
What you need [band
What you need [band]

Turn down a corner I 
Been bleeding some itch 
What you need [band
How can I? 
What you need [band
What you need [MES
What you need [MES and band
An oven mitt 
What you need for your verbose kitchen 
What you need [MES and band
Present notebook for you 
What you need [MES and band
A vid of Iggy Stooge.                 (2)
What you need [MES and band
Whay you need [MES and band
Reduced smoking habit 
What you need [MES and band
Sex but not having it 
What you need [MES
One face 
Two face new 
What you need [band
Slippery shoes for your horrible feet (3)
We're obsessed with [MES and band
What you need [MES
What you need is to love her so much 
What you need is us as pressure group 
Out of reach 
What you need [band
On this we're all agreed 
What you need [MES and band
One: Face with girl past 
What you need 
Two: a profile that is low-key
And to meet your horrible new dad 
With a grudge against me 
What you need [MES and band
What you need [band
Is a censor for pals like these. 
What you need [MES and band
What you need [band
What you need [MES and band
What you need is 
One. What face? 
Two: face new 
Three. Face mag for arse  (4)
Four. Three rules of audience  (5)
Five. Mug of Geoff Travis, framed (6)
Six. The book Theft is Vision by the brothers Copeland. (7)
What you need [MES
Finance luck 
What you need [band
What you need [MES
Out of reach 
What you need [band
What you need [MES
What you need [MES
What you need [band
Get up, make a buck 
What you need [band
How can I? 
What you need [band
How can I? 
What you need [band
How can I? 
What you need

Notes

1. Reformation has reproduced the following helpful remarks:

Mark E Smith, from an interview in BravEar magaizine, 1985: "What You Need is a Twilight Zone episode where this old peddler sells this guy what he needs. I got it mixed up with this other Twilight Zone episode which is "The Four of Us Are Dying", where this guy could change his face by looking at a face in the newspaper and have it become his face. It's just a crazy song, really, just images. But it's also...the main theme of the song is that there are a lot of people in Britain, and a lot of people in America, too, telling people what they need. And in America, especially. I find this really scary."

The name of the Twilight Zone episode is actually "What You Need," and is based on a short story of the same name by Lewis Padgett (a pseudonym for Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore). 

^

2. Or "Iggy's stooge." MES "confirms" this in an interview with BravEar Vol. 3 Issue 5 (1986) by Michael Lang. Unfortunately, there's no way to know if he heard the interviewer saying "Iggy's stooge," or if he just thought he was saying "Iggy Stooge" (the vocal could easily be either):

BE: On "What You Need" you say a "bit" of Iggy's Stooge, is that right?

MS: A vid, a video.

BE: Of Iggy's Stooge

Iggy Pop was credited as Iggy Stooge on the first Stooges album.

^

3. In the Twilight Zone episode "What You Need," a peddlar has the ability to sell people the exact thing they need, before they need it. This leads to his being harassed by a small-time crook; eventually, he gives the latter a pair of shoes with slippery soles, and the thug slips in front of an oncoming car and is killed instantly (in this case, the peddlar came up with what he needed).  

^

4. The Face was a British music, fashion and culture magazine in the 1980s.

^

5. This phrase initially appears in "C'n'C-S Mithering" from Grotesque. We are not told what the rules actually are in that song, either; however, at least once, MES reportedly stated the rules as follows: "'No requests - you do not pay us enough to dictate our actions,'  'we do not play for the ghost dance' and 'if you don't like it, it's already too late.'" The Ghost Dance was a Native American religious movement which spread throughout various tribes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was based on a prophecy that performing the dance would unite Indians with their dead ancestors, unify the tribes, and bring an end to white colonialism. The Ghost Dance is also mentioned in "2nd Dark Age."

^

6. Geoff Travis is the founder of Rough Trade records, for whom the Fall recorded several albums, and an associated chain of record stores with the same name; the relationship between Smith and Travis was reportedly not always harmonious. According to Smith:

Rough Trade were soft, boring hippies. They'd go, Er, the tea boy doesn't like the fact that you've slagged off Wah! Heat on this number. And fuckin'...the girl who cooks the fuckin' rice in the canteen doesn't like the fact that you've used the word 'slags'. They had a whole meeting over the fact that we mentioned guns in one song. Y'know...it is not the policy of Rough Trade to be supporting fuckin'... And I'd go, What the fuck has it got to do with you? Just fuckin' sell the record you fuckin' hippy.

^

7. Miles Copeland is the founder of Step Forward records, for whom the Fall recorded DragnetMark E. Smith, whose relations with record labels, it should be said, has rarely been blissful, once called him a "glorified conman." Ian Copeland was a promoter and booking agent, and Stewart Copeland is best known for being the drummer of the Police.  

From the interview cited in note 2 above:

BE:...Then 3 rules of audience, same as from Cash-n-Carry, and then it is the book, "Death Is Vision" by the brothers Copeland.

MS: No, it's just a private joke, Miles Copeland, who used to own IRS and manages the Police, "Theft as Vision." And his brother who runs FBI, and his other brother is the drummer for the Police. He's never paid us any royalties in 5 years, from Dragnet and that, he just paid us 2 weeks ago. Meanwhile, you see Miles Copeland get up and talk at the Conservative Party conference about his ideas for a new Britain. "Why can't we stop all this defeatism in Britain?" I mean the guy is American. He had this program on TV, and it's very strange 'cause we got our money about a week before this program went on where he's talking to all these Liverpool lads and saying, "You can get out of this, say I offered you a record deal." It was a real sick program. And these guys were going, "well I don't want to dress like a fool." These guys were really great. And he'd scream "let's say I offered you 500 thousand pounds to sign with me on my label!" And the guy would go, "it depends on what you were going to offer me...look, I just want to be a bass player." So, Copeland: "you are so defeatist here, you've been brainwashed by the Marxists." Unbelievable. The guy hasn't paid his own fucking debts, he's a glorified con man. Going around telling Britain how to live, and probably America as well, he's got the Bangles...he was brought up in a completely privileged...his father was a CIA hitman. And lives in St. John's Woods. And he's shouting at these Liverpool kids who have been brought up in abject poverty that they haven't got enough drive! Incredible. There was such a reaction to him in Britain, even the rightwingers were going 'the man is an idiot.'

^

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Comments (10)

John
  • 1. John | 01/08/2013
The Dad reference is about Brix's father
Tam
  • 2. Tam | 24/08/2014
SHEER pedantry here, but the refrain of "What you need" between the lyrics "Present notebook for you" and "A vid of Iggy Stooge" is sung only by MES, not MES and the band.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 04/05/2016
According to Brix Smith-Start's autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise:


'What You Need' melds two Twilight Zone episodes together.
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 24/06/2016
Already got that from MES, note 1.
Jeff Wheeler
  • 5. Jeff Wheeler | 07/01/2017
Just watched this TZ episode. Is it clear that the the 2nd rule of audience refers to the North American Ghost Dance religion? It seems rather far from MES' usual subject interests and a very, if not THE most, confusing way to refuse Rough-Trade style left wing didacticism in pop music. Also his erstwhile interest in pulp parapsychology might seem to suggest something else
bzzzfffgttt
  • 6. bzzzfffgttt | 04/02/2017
Hey, Jeff! Answer my texts and emails a bit more, a rate of 35% response would be acceptable. Do I wish to shout into a void? Maybe, but anyway, I do not at all think that MES's comment is necessarily reflective of whatever the hell he was talking about when he wrote the lyric, I merely report that he said it. But what are you thinking of with the pulp parapsychology?
bbbzzzfffgttt
  • 7. bbbzzzfffgttt | 04/02/2017
Oh, sorry, I see--it was I who assumed it meant the Ghost Dance and not some other ghost dance. Sorry, I can be a bit slow. If you can come up with an alternate theory I could maybe make a really good correction, but for now I'll do what I can.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 16/03/2017
MES, another quote from the BravEar Interview (1986) mentioned in note #1
http://thefall.org/news/000326.html


BE: On "What You Need" you say a "bit" of Iggy's Stooge, is that right?

MS: A vid, a video.

BE: Of Iggy's Stooge, OK. Then 3 rules of audience, same as from Cash-n-Carry, and then it is the book, "Death Is Vision" by the brothers Copeland.

MS: No, it's just a private joke, Miles Copeland, who used to own IRS and manages the Police, "Theft as Vision." And his brother who runs FBI, and his other brother is the drummer for the Police. He's never paid us any royalties in 5 years, from Dragnet and that, he just paid us 2 weeks ago. Meanwhile, you see Miles Copeland get up and talk at the Conservative Party conference about his ideas for a new Britain. "Why can't we stop all this defeatism in Britain?" I mean the guy is American. He had this program on TV, and it's very strange 'cause we got our money about a week before this program went on where he's talking to all these Liverpool lads and saying, "You can get out of this, say I offered you a record deal." It was a real sick program. And these guys were going, "well I don't want to dress like a fool." These guys were really great. And he'd scream "let's say I offered you 500 thousand pounds to sign with me on my label!" And the guy would go, "it depends on what you were going to offer me...look, I just want to be a bass player." So, Copeland: "you are so defeatist here, you've been brainwashed by the Marxists." Unbelievable. The guy hasn't paid his own fucking debts, he's a glorified con man. Going around telling Britain how to live, and probably America as well, he's got the Bangles...he was brought up in a completely privileged...his father was a CIA hitman. And lives in St. John's Woods. And he's shouting at these Liverpool kids who have been brought up in abject poverty that they haven't got enough drive! Incredible. There was such a reaction to him in Britain, even the rightwingers were going 'the man is an idiot.'
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 23/03/2017
That sucks. For all we know the interviewer spelled it and then cut it down for aesthetic reasons but as it stands we don't know if MES heard him as saying "Iggy's stooge."
Robert
  • 10. Robert | 23/10/2017
Iggy Pop was credited as "Iggy Stooge" on the first Stooges album.

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