Marc Riley

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Marc Riley
Marc Riley with Ty Segall.JPG
Riley (centre) with Ty Segall and band in November 2014
Born (1961-07-10) 10 July 1961 (age 54)
Manchester, Lancashire, England
Station(s) BBC Radio 6 Music
Time slot Monday to Thursday 7 pm – 9pm
Country United Kingdom

Marc Riley (born 10 July 1961 in Manchester)[1] is an English radio DJ, alternative rock critic and musician. He currently presents on BBC Radio 6 Music.

Formerly a member of the Fall, he had his own record label, In-Tape, and also worked as a record plugger for bands such as Massive Attack, the Pixies, the Cocteau Twins and the Happy Mondays.[2] Marc has worked in radio since about 1990 and for 14 years of that he worked with Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 5 and BBC Radio 1, during which time he was known as Lard. He joined 6 Music in April 2004.

Musical career[edit]

Born and raised in Manchester, Riley was in a band at school called the Sirens (alongside Craig Scanlon and Steve Hanley, also later members of the Fall) before joining the Fall between May 1978 and January 1983.[2] He originally was a fan of the group and then worked as a roadie before being added to the line-up playing bass.[3] He can be heard on this instrument on their second single "It's the New Thing" and debut album Live at the Witch Trials. He switched to guitar and keyboards in 1979 and held this position until falling out with Mark E. Smith during the group's 1982 tour of Australia and New Zealand. In 2005, he told the BBC that Smith had sacked him by telephone in early 1983, telling him that they were undertaking a tour without him. According to Smith this happened on Riley's wedding day,[4] but Riley has said that this wasn't true (Riley married on Xmas Eve 1982 and was sacked from the band in January '83). Riley formed his own band, the Creepers.[5] Steve Hanley, Paul Hanley and Craig Scanlon played on Riley's first solo single "Favourite Sister". He released several albums during the following years eventually under the name of the Creepers, who disbanded in 1987. He then formed a band including ex-members of Pere Ubu and Captain Beefheart's Magic Band called the Lost Soul Crusaders (named after a fictional group in an episode of the detective series Columbo whose lead singer was played by one of Riley's heroes, Johnny Cash), but the record company funding the band went bust before any material could be recorded.

Animosity between Smith and Riley continued to influence both bands' material[6] such as "Hey Marc Riley", a rewritten version of Bo Diddley's "Hey Bo Diddley", to date only available on live bootlegs. Riley responded in kind with his 1984 single "Jumper Clown" – a reference to Smith's then affection for bad 1970s jumpers, as well as "Snipe" on the 1985 Shadow Figure EP and his own live only co-opting of Bo Diddley, "Marc Riley is a Gunslinger". Riley co-owned the In-Tape label with Jim Khambatta until it went bust in 1991, managing the label between 1983 and 1986.[7][8]

In 1988, he co-produced (with Jon Langford) a Johnny Cash tribute album, Til Things are Brighter, to raise funds for the Terrence Higgins Trust.[9] The album was endorsed and admired by Cash himself who is featured alongside Riley and Langford on its cover.

Between 1986 and 1989, he drew and wrote the comic strips Harry the Head and Doctor Mooney for the comic Oink!, as well as recording a flexidisc single for the comic as a giveaway.[8] These have become collector items.

Radio career[edit]

Riley is perhaps best known as one half of the duo Mark and Lard with fellow DJ Mark Radcliffe, who together presented "Hit the North" on BBC Radio 5, then a children's, comedy, and drama network, with Radcliffe also fronting a weekly show called Out on Blue Six on BBC Radio 1 around the same time. During this period Riley also presented a programme on Radio 5 called "Cult Radio", and wrote and produced a Radio1 series presented by Noddy Holder called "Glitter and Twisted". The duo moved to Radio One's 10 pm slot in 1993, followed by an unsuccessful move to the breakfast show in February 1997, and finally to the 1 pm to 3 pm slot in October that year.[10] Their final show on the station was in March 2004. After leaving Radio 1, the duo cordially went their separate ways; Riley moving to BBC Radio 6 Music and Radcliffe to BBC Radio 2.[10] In 2009 Mark and Lard reformed to front radio adverts for Manchester City in North West England (Riley is a long-time fan of the club).

He currently presents the Sony Radio Academy Award-nominated 7-9pm show, Monday to Thursday on Radio 6 Music.[11] The show features almost daily sessions from artists chosen by Riley himself. Among the bands championed by Riley are Metronomy, Field Music, Everything Everything, Wild Beasts, Sweet Baboo and King Creosote. He previously presented Mint with Rob Hughes on Sunday evenings. Hughes joins Riley's current show on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually talking about Americana music.

February 2015 saw the first episode of All Shook Up, a made for Iplayer 'TV' programme featuring live music presented and curated by Riley. Episode 1 featured performances from The Wave Pictures, Slug and Lonelady. Series 1 is made up of 4 episodes all filmed in the University Of Salford studio. Episode 2 features Wire, Monotony and Jane Weaver, Episode 3 Teleman, Sara Lowes and Sauna Youth and Episode 4 Jesca Hoop, The Wytches and Richard Dawson.

Riley and Radcliffe formed the parody group Shirehorses, once appearing at the Glastonbury Festival in 1997 in what they called the headline slot, going on as they did at 10.00am. They also did shows in various parts of the country including three dates supporting Blur.[citation needed] They released two comedy/parody albums under the guise of the Shirehorses: The worst...album in the world...ever...EVER! (which reached number 22 in the UK Albums Chart)[12] and Our Kid Eh, the latter an affectionate parody of Radiohead's album Kid A (which reached number 20).[13]


  • Best National DJ of 1997


  1. ^ "Mark Radcliffe & Lard Chronology",, retrieved 12 December 2010
  2. ^ a b Smith, Mark E. & Middles, Mick (2003) The Fall, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0-7119-9762-2, p. 261
  3. ^ Cumming, Tim (2004) "Wild Thing", The Guardian, 19 January 2004, retrieved 12 December 2010
  4. ^ The Guardian, Monday 14 April 2008, p6
  5. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 483-4
  6. ^
  7. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003) The Rough Guide to Rock, Rough Guides, ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0
  8. ^ a b "Marc Riley, Esq",, retrieved 12 December 2010
  9. ^ Popson, Tom (1988) "Johnny Cash Meets The Hip Britons: English Acts Record a Tribute to a 'Cool Dude'", Chicago Tribune, 29 July 1988, p. H
  10. ^ a b "Mark and Lard leave BBC Radio 1", BBC, 19 February 2004, retrieved 12 December 2010
  11. ^ The Sony Radio Academy Awards Winners 2008
  12. ^ Walters, Jamie "Marc Riley aka Lard", Metro, retrieved 12 December 2010
  13. ^ "Shirehorses", Chart Stats, retrieved 12 December 2010

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Chris Evans
BBC Radio 1
Breakfast Show Presenter
(with Mark Radcliffe)

Succeeded by
Kevin Greening and Zoë Ball