• 'Morrissey's miserable no more' - interview by Tom Cardy in The Dominion Post

    Morrissey plays Wellington tonight. In this interview in the Dominion Post he talks about why depression is the best thing that ever happened to him, and blames his early solo band for losing him his audience in the US:

    Morrissey's miserable no more - by Tom Cardy, The Dominion Post / Stuff.co.nz
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 'Morrissey's miserable no more' started by Bryce Edwards View original post
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. Jamie's Avatar
      Jamie -
      ''My first US tour was huge venues and incredible sellouts, but the band were quite poor and I lost a lot of my audience, who quite rightly said, 'The Smiths were better'. But I've worked hard at America, and these amount to the very best of days for me."

      First, I wonder how Boz privately feels about that statement. Second, it is just not true that he "lost a lot of [his American] audience" - certainly not during 1991 - 1995. And when have select factions of his fanbase EVER stopped saying "The Smiths were better." It goes on to this day.

      Did the original iteration of the Lads get off to a rough start? Fair to say there were jagged edges aplenty in their early performances. But I find it quite sad that he makes such an offhand dismissal of a band that he once professed was a lifeline. It also ignores the dramatic effect Alain and Boz immediately had on his material, most of which holds up nicely against his own solo catalog and the Smiths'.

      I don't know if the intention was to defend the current "arrangement" (I refuse to call them a band anymore) and I know he is prone to the categoric revision of history - but this one takes the cake. Very disappointing to read.

      And, having worked through about half of it, I think Fletcher's book does an estimable job so far with the facts/prevailing opinions at hand and paints a more than fair portrait of Morrissey. Of course, it's a given that he would slate it. I'm a bit surprised that a discussion thread hasn't popped up already.
    1. Uncleskinny's Avatar
      Uncleskinny -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jamie View Post
      ''My first US tour was huge venues and incredible sellouts, but the band were quite poor and I lost a lot of my audience, who quite rightly said, 'The Smiths were better'. But I've worked hard at America, and these amount to the very best of days for me."

      First, I wonder how Boz privately feels about that statement. Second, it is just not true that he "lost a lot of [his American] audience" - certainly not during 1991 - 1995. And when have select factions of his fanbase EVER stopped saying "The Smiths were better." It goes on to this day.

      Did the original iteration of the Lads get off to a rough start? Fair to say there were jagged edges aplenty in their early performances. But I find it quite sad that he makes such an offhand dismissal of a band that he once professed was a lifeline. It also ignores the dramatic effect Alain and Boz immediately had on his material, most of which holds up nicely against his own solo catalog and the Smiths'.

      I don't know if the intention was to defend the current "arrangement" (I refuse to call them a band anymore) and I know he is prone to the categoric revision of history - but this one takes the cake. Very disappointing to read.

      And, having worked through about half of it, I think Fletcher's book does an estimable job so far with the facts/prevailing opinions at hand and paints a more than fair portrait of Morrissey. Of course, it's a given that he would slate it. I'm a bit surprised that a discussion thread hasn't popped up already.
      Good spot. Are we talking about the LIve In Dallas period? They had a lot to learn, and they did their best to emulate the Smiths stuff and the Street stuff. That's pretty much the same band that did Your Arsenal. And the same two guitarists on Vauxhall. I wonder how he quantifies his "loss of audience" and proves to what he attributes the loss?

      P.
    1. Anaesthesine's Avatar
      Anaesthesine -
      Morrissey's interviews these days are by turns insightful, amusing, perplexing, obtuse and downright unpleasant. It's a strange combination, and I suppose it describes Morrissey's music (and Morrissey) as well. He is, nonetheless, still the greatest singer I've ever heard.

      "Take the bitter with the better" was never more apropos.
    1. 123xyz's Avatar
      123xyz -
      Thank you for posting this , Bryce. As for Morrissey's comments about the early solo-period band , was it Rogan who made the good point that they infused the rather stagnant Kill Uncle with genuine excitement ? Shambolic ? Yes and fun and lively and full of character . I haven't watched the Dallas concert for years but I liked all the gyrating ...
    1. Anonymous's Avatar
      Anonymous -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jamie View Post
      ''My first US tour was huge venues and incredible sellouts, but the band were quite poor and I lost a lot of my audience, who quite rightly said, 'The Smiths were better'. But I've worked hard at America, and these amount to the very best of days for me."

      First, I wonder how Boz privately feels about that statement.
      Pfffttt. It seems as if Morrissey could take a dump on top of Boz's head at this point and Boz would stand still. He's numb to Morrissey's commentary. Job security, apathy, who knows.
    1. Anonymous's Avatar
      Anonymous -
      Maybe the reason he lost fans then, is he played zero Smiths songs and played half the limp and silly Kill Uncle album for that tour.

      Maybe he lost even more fans when he released Malajusted, with that horrid album cover and really awful songs (lyrically and musically), and toured on that in the US.

      Or it could be every album since then with their slightly better than mediocre lyrics and bland modern hard rock sound infused by the most slick, radio friendly production no fan ever asked for.
    1. eugenius's Avatar
      eugenius -
      That comment ("but the band were quite poor and I lost a lot of my audience") breaks my heart.

      That first tour--and specifically the first American gig in San Diego--was transcendent, I made the first 8 gigs with a friend. I never have and never have since experienced energy from a band and a crowd like I did from the first leg of that US tour. The Lads were a raw nerve, playing on top of the beat, unsure of themselves, but feeding off the chaos of it all. Morrissey was peaking as a live performer, whether he wants to admit it or not.

      To call the band "poor" is horrible, an insult to his band and an insult to us. Were The Ramones always in key? Were the Pistols always in tune? Was The Clash always in time?

      The magic that made Morrissey's band (from '91 to '95) so powerful was the attitude and the hunger. Live in Dallas is a pristine document of just how immeasurable the Lads' power was--it still holds up. When Spencer and Gary Day branch off, it's easy to see the decline in Morrissey's stage show. Once Alain left, it was over. Good old Boz fights the good fight, but at this point, even he knows its just a steady wage to fun his studio and other passions now.

      I wish Morrissey would work to protect his legacy a bit more. That includes not throwing his core band under the bus. I'd love to know which edition of his band he favors most?
    1. CrystalGeezer's Avatar
      CrystalGeezer -
      well good for fucking you have a nice fucking life
    1. Anonymous's Avatar
      Anonymous -
      Blame everyone but yourself Moz....How about all the Cancellations in your early career? Autograph signings, that you walked out on....Picking the Wrong singles to release....Screwing over KROQ on several occasions-when they were there to help your Solo career....Look in the mirror, don't blame the guys who tried their hardest for you-!
    1. Bluebirds's Avatar
      Bluebirds -
      I would say Boz looks back on that period with a certain embarrassment (Chuck Berrying round the stage?) but then I heard his Christmas single.

      Perhaps he means the band were poor financiallly? Ahem. But maybe he's comparing Th'Lads to his hired hands nowadays who have undoubtedly been better musicians, although not as spirited imho

      And The Smiths were better, even if Morrissey convinved himself at the time otherwise. What was he meant to do damn them with faint praise at the time? "Oh you're not as good as my last band." That would have done wonders for their confidence; a bunch of rockabilly lads in their young 20s

      It must be difficult being Morrissey, we're all allowed to move on and criticise or self-assess past associations but seemingly he is not
    1. King Leer's Avatar
      King Leer -
      Kidney punch to the classic Lads lineup is not something I like to read, but it is it possible he meant "The band were quite poor (when they started out)"? Morrissey has a way of telescoping statements (and indeed career periods).

      Having said that, I do think that next to banging on about how great The Smiths while ignoring his solo work, he also gets a little ticked off with the obsession with the exciting (and frankly shambolic) Kill Uncle shows. During the Quarry era (?) Morrissey mentioned the extant fandom for the those early days "People just liked they way [the band] looked," or something to that effect.
    1. POI's Avatar
      POI -
      "If you are a passionate and devotional singer - which, God help me, I am - then you're unlikely to attract hairy metal freaks.''

      Plenty of passionate and devotional singers in metal bands, that said, loyal to Morrissey to the grave.
    1. Guernie's Avatar
      Guernie -
      Please don't worry about Boz. He just laughs and keeps playing the music . King Lear , I think your correct in Moz meaning the band was poor (very raw) in the beginning . How I wish I could travel time to get some of the excitment of those concerts. An awakening of Moz mania .
    1. Martin's Avatar
      Martin -
      Well. The band WERE quite poor in the early days. Played huge stadiums on cheap equipment far better suited for small venues. It sounded quite crap. And cheap. But they had a fire and a passion that was worth more than muso skill. And they learned fast. Just listen to the difference in sound (and professionalism) from the Kill Unce tour to the Arsenal tour. They took a huge leap forward and between 92 and 95 they were amazing. And although I may not have been wild on the way the first band sounded in the very beginning - it's still the line up that I prefer to this day. They were a band. A gang, and they were on a mission. When Alain left a lot of that just vanished. And today? Would it be fair to call the ever changing line up of rocking americans a band? Methinks not.
    1. gonzax's Avatar
      gonzax -
      In all honesty, I find it hard to believe that Morrissey literally said "the band was quite poor", I can recall an interview with him from 1992 where he says that's the best band he's ever had (same line-up as Kill Uncle tour). Even if he said it, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean any disrespect to them.
    1. EPbabe's Avatar
      EPbabe -
      Quote Originally Posted by gonzax View Post
      In all honesty, I find it hard to believe that Morrissey literally said "the band was quite poor", I can recall an interview with him from 1992 where he says that's the best band he's ever had (same line-up as Kill Uncle tour). Even if he said it, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean any disrespect to them.
      Maybe he just meant that they were broke....
    1. celibate's Avatar
      celibate -
      poor? but we liked it, he had to stop the Kill Uncle tour due to safety reasons, remember?

      It's just a kick to the first Lads, you start acting bitter Morrissey, if I look at the intervieuws, book from Linder,
      Jo Slee's Peepholism, can't say Morrissey not enjoyed it.

      and in 1991 the instuments,PA,...well everything was a lot poorer, compared to the high tech stuff nowadays

      just my 2 eurocents
    1. Jamie's Avatar
      Jamie -
      He is given to offhand broadsides and victim to misquoting and/or context shifts. But I think you have to be extremely generous to assume by "poor" he meant the economic circumstances/equipment quality of the Lads. Either way, he could have chosen his words better.

      I acknowledged in my first comment that the Lads had clear limitations during that first tour, but, assuming expansion on this point didn't fall to the interviewer's cutting room floor, I find it poor (if I may) that he didn't elaborate and note that "they improved rapidly" or "rose to the task" or "blossomed as a band" etc. After all, had the band imploded in 1991 or had Alain not begun to submit worthy songs/melodies, what he would have been left with was "Kill Auntie" with another batch of Mark Nevin songs and the adequate but unspectacular studio band of "Kill Uncle." I dare say THAT would have driven away his audience! Instead, we were left with "Vauxhall & I," "Boxers," "Southpaw Grammar," "Sunny," some would include "Maladjusted" - yes, a very, very poor run.

      My issue with this is that he seems on the verge of implying an excision of ownership of this material on the Lads' (particularly Boz's and Alain's) part, much like he has done retroactively with the Smiths. "It's ALL me." Well, yes, lyrically and vocally, no disputing. But he can't play an instrument to save his life, so what about the MUSIC? The music that the first three Marks of the Lads created is deeply important to me so it strikes a nerve.

      It comes down to your own semantics, but haven't there been far less relevant matters parsed to death on this site? Personally, I think it's fair to critique him on this point.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Amy -
      Quote Originally Posted by gonzax View Post
      In all honesty, I find it hard to believe that Morrissey literally said "the band was quite poor", I can recall an interview with him from 1992 where he says that's the best band he's ever had (same line-up as Kill Uncle tour). Even if he said it, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean any disrespect to them.
      What else could he have said in 1992, with the band beside him? "Yeah, this lot are shit, I wish Johnny had stuck around"?
      The band did sound poor, they were a musical shambles during the Kill Uncle tour, and then they raised their game quickly.
      I'm actually surprised - given his honesty about the Lads shortcomings - that he hasn't said anything about why his current line-up are so clunky and plodding. Maybe we'll have to wait a few years to hear anything about that.
    1. bored's Avatar
      bored -
      Quote Originally Posted by Uncleskinny View Post
      Good spot. Are we talking about the LIve In Dallas period? They had a lot to learn, and they did their best to emulate the Smiths stuff and the Street stuff. That's pretty much the same band that did Your Arsenal. And the same two guitarists on Vauxhall. I wonder how he quantifies his "loss of audience" and proves to what he attributes the loss?

      P.
      This pertains ONLY to US tour dates.

      Kill Uncle tour - very big in the US.. but no Smiths song really put people off
      Your Arsenal tour - not as many big venues, much better album to tour on

      Vauxhall and I - no tour on what many at the time thought was his best solo effort and as good as much Smiths stuff

      Southpaw Grammar - a weird prog rock style record with bland lyrics - no tour

      Maladjusted - A couple great tracks, a bunch of filler - smallest US tour so far

      This 3 album stretch with no tour dates in the US for about 5 years and 2 straight albums clearly not in the league of The Smiths or Viva Hate, Your Arsenal or V&I. This tour is even smaller venues.

      2000 - No new songs but tours

      2002 - New songs but tours the west coast only and no new product in stores or on radio


      The US fan base was eroded over time. It wasn't just one thing. It actually started in 1991.

      There are always exceptions like LA where he can fill big venues and Boston and NYC and he can do some decent sized venues but MSG? Not anymore.