Mark E Smith on lack of working class people in music: ‘It’s Tony Blair’s fault’

The Fall frontman says nowadays working class people 'don't have a chance in hell'

Mark E Smith has blamed Tony Blair for the lack of working-class people in music, stating that “there was always privilege in music, but nowadays you don’t have a chance in hell”.

In the new issue of NME, which is on newsstands now and available digitally, Smith discusses what has been a talking point for musicians for several weeks now, after a spat between James Blunt and Chris Bryant MP over privilege in the arts.

“To be honest I said about 12 years ago all this was happening,” he says. “Blair started it. The posh dads don’t say to their kids any more, ‘Don’t be in a group.’ They see U2 and they’re saying, ‘Be in a group, make money.'”

The Fall frontman also speaks about his band’s forthcoming 31st album, entitled ‘Sublingual Tablet’. “This one took quite long, about four or five months, but it’s all relative. Tour managers think I’m quick because they’ve worked with New Order and it took them about five years. I know when an album’s good now, and this one is great,” he says.

Last month, Chris Bryant namechecked James Blunt as one of the performers from a “privileged background” dominating the arts. In response, Blunt called Bryant a “classist gimp” and a “prejudiced wazzock” and argued that his private education and background worked against him when he was trying to make it in the British music industry.

Frank Turner recently came out in support of Blunt, stating: “The music industry is full of people who called me a cunt because of where I was educated.”