Even if it’s a fool’s errand trying to decide which is the greatest LP out of The Fall’s huge back catalogue of albums, many fanatics of the group will tell you that the worst thing you can say about Hex is that it’s their equal best at the very least. ’ – John Doran, The Quietus
Of all The Fall’s myriad long-players, Hex Enduction Hour remains one of their most highly regarded. Even the circumstances of its recording, purportedly in an abandoned cinema and a cave formed from Icelandic lava, have achieved legendary status among their ever-loyal fanbase. HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS tells the full story of the album, including how each song was written, performed and recorded. It also includes new interviews with key players.
Author Paul Hanley, who was one of The Fall’s two drummers when Hex was created, is uniquely placed to discuss the album’s impact, both when it was released and in the ensuing years.
Hanley writes in his introduction to the book: ‘Because of the way The Fall worked in those days, Hex and its contents can’t be discussed in a vacuum […] While what went on during the Iceland and Hitchin sessions will inform much of what follows, documenting the making of Hex Enduction Hour isn’t like discussing Rumours, or even Blood on the Tracks: its recording was part of a process. What’s more, the Fall process often subverted the rehearse-record-tour cycle by skipping the rehearsal bit – it wasn’t unheard of for a song roughed out in a soundcheck to be part of that night’s set. The oldest song on Hex Enduction Hour was first played live as early as August 1980. The group released an LP, a six-track ‘mini-album’ and two singles before it made its way onto vinyl, but it fits Hex Enduction Hour’s atmosphere perfectly. Someone in The Fall knew what they were doing. Hopefully by the end of this you’ll have some idea too.’
It is this continuous working process – from the formation of the band that made the record, through the trip to Iceland, the key switching of record labels from Rough Trade to Kamera and the subsequent recording at The Regal in Hitchin – that is at the heart of HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS. Along the way, Hanley’s insider’s perspective busts a few myths that have surrounded the album over the years, as well as bringing fresh insights, not least of which is who is the King Shag Corpse.
The book features new contributions from key players on the album, including Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, Marc Riley and Kay Carroll, plus producers Grant Showbiz and Richard Mazda, and Kamera’s Saul Galpern and Chris Youle.
Foreword by Stewart Lee
Paul Hanley was the drummer in The Fall from 1980-85 and now plays with Brix & The Extricated. His debut book Leave The Capital: A History of Manchester Music in 13 Recordings was nominated for the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.
HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS: The Story of Hex Enduction Hour Advance copies of a paperback edition can be ordered direct from Route and will be disptached from 20th November. The book is not be available through other trade outlets until March 2020. CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Wednesday 23rd October
Rock N Roll Book Club, Walthamstow Trades Hall.
Paul was joined by brother Steve. Interviewed by John Doran of The Quietus
Click here to listen an audio recording of the event, plus a video of the audience Q&A
Sunday 10th November
Louder Than Words Festival, Principal Hotel, Manchester
Paul will be interview by Daryl Easlea
Click here for tickets and further details.