Morrissey — KROQ interview (part 3/4)

air date: July 6, 1997
Interview by Richard Blade
for KROQ 106.7, Los Angeles, CA

Text transcribed by Melinda Hsu
Audio digitized by
David Tseng

listen here
"Mick Ronson"
BLADE: ...and we’re talking by tape with Morrissey, an interview I did with him on Thursday after he spoke live with Jed the Fish, dragged him into the other room and talked to him. Right now we’re up to the subject of music. [Cut to pre-recorded interview] And it’s not just the music. I mean obviously when you say the word music you mean the finished product (M: Yes). One of the major things about the Smiths and Morrissey is the lyrics (M: Yes). And the lyrics really do touch the heart of so many people who don’t have the perfect, you know, Brady Bunch life.
MORRISSEY: Yeah, but I think they did that really in a jubilant way, not in a Leonard Cohen, morose way really. I mean, people have always said I’m morose and so forth, which I’ve never accepted. But uh yeah, I don’t think it’s ever been heard since. Very unique, I think.

B: Now with you, you obviously write from the heart (M: Mmm). You’ve had some tough times with Mick Ronson passing away (M: Yes). In other words, I mean a legend as an artist and, of course, working with you.
M: He was an extraordinary person, really extraordinary. Very loveable person, very likeable person, and totally unpretentious. And a very, very sad time, very sad.

B: Has that influenced your writing?
M: It has. It’s influenced my life completely. Just knowing him, it was such an important part of my life. And I knew him at the end, obviously, and it was incredibly sad, incredibly sad.

[Ouija Board, Ouija Board]

listen here
"the band" /
"the English press"
B: Now how about your band when you tour? Is it going to be the same guys or ?
M: It’s the same musicians as the last time, yeah.

B: So, Boz will be back?
M: Boz will be back. Boz will bounce back! [laughter] Yes, he will, he will. They’re much sharper these days than they were five years ago when we played. A lot of people criticized them, and said they weren’t good enough and so forth. But I think that they’re really great, and I’m very pleased to be with them.

B: Was there a period when you weren’t in touch with them and then had to make the phonecall and say, "Hey guys, it’s gonna happen"?
M: Uhm, I don’t think so. I think that once again, it was something that just appeared somewhere in the press, and I don’t know why. Obviously, there’s lengths of time when we don’t speak and see each other. But nothing serious has ever happened. It’s always been very composed and a very good friendship, and I do appreciate it.

B: You’ve talked and mentioned a number of times about not being played on the radio (M: Yes), particularly in Britain with the BBC (M: Yes) turns the (M: Yes) corporate blind eye to you (M: Yes). How is the popularity and the following of Morrissey in Great Britain?
M: In, as far as the press are concerned, it’s disappeared completely. If I get reviewed, it’s extraordinary. But the press is really horrendous and has been, I think, since about 1990. I thought it would pass, but it hasn’t. I’ve never been played on the radio, so that’s never really been an issue. And obviously, I don’t receive awards. I’m never on the multitude of award shows, which astonishes me really. So, I’m completely be quite frank!

B: Do you still sell in the United Kingdom?
M: Uhm, it’s diminished dramatically, but I don’t mind. I really don’t mind because I think that the people who buy uh — they’re still very important to me. And it’s still sizeable enough for me continue and to want to continue. But I’ve had so much bad press that I’m not surprised that the sales have diminished.

B: Now why would you get the bad press? Because <M begins to draw in breath loudly and slowly> every time I’ve talked to you (M: Mmm), whether it’s off the air or in an interview (M: Mmm), you come across as one of the most intelligent people and the most cooperative interview (M gasps, "Well, thank you!") that there is!
M: Well, that’s very kind of you. There is some kind of minor legend that travels before me. And people do think I’m headache for some reason, but I don’t think I am. I think I’m just quite normal.

[My Love Life (KROQ version)]

B: ...You’re listening to a little interview with Morrissey! And coming up in just a few minutes time, we’re going to have Morrissey’s choice for his favorite flashbacks because this is the all-request flashback weekend after all, for July fourth. I’m Richard Blade, and in that last little interview clip you heard Morrissey say about the criticism that his band had taken, saying that they weren’t quite good enough, that many people had said that, and he thought that was unfair. Well, what you just heard, the song "My Love Life", was actually recorded live to two-track DAT with no overdubs etc. from that band who’ll touring with Morrissey. That’s Boz on guitars, Alain on guitars, Gary on bass, and Spencer on drums, and of course, Morrissey on vocals. They did that one back in 1991, June 3rd at Capitol Records on an overnight session especially for KROQ. When you listen to that and you go, You know that band isn’t bad if they can do that without any screw-ups and no overdubs etc. Very few bands can do that kind of stuff.

Alright, it’s Richard Blade here. Coming up, we are going to revisit when Morrissey hit "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson". If you missed that, you are in for a real treat. Morrissey’s going to tell us about how he feels doing tv shows, and then you’re going to hear what it was like when it aired on NBC.

[commercial break]

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"tour" /
"Tonight Show"
B: You’re listening to an interview I did with Morrissey just a few days ago, and of course, I figured as a reporter, it’s time to describe how he looks...

[cut to pre-recorded interview]

B: At the moment, obviously this is radio so people can’t see, you look great!
M: Thank you!

B: I mean, you are not the thin, emaciated [M: <laughter>] Englishman that most people (M: Mmm, no) who haven’t seen you in person think. You are in shape. You’re looking good, dress well, great haircut!
M: Thank you [laughs], but old!

B: Well, that’s an inevitability, you know. (M: Yes it is, yes it is.) Better than the alternative.
M: Absolutely, yes, I do agree.

B: Do you do any exercise or anything to keep in shape?
M: Absolutely not! No, no. I’m surprised because I don’t do anything. I should be absolutely enormous. And I suppose I eat the wrong foods. So uh, no. I’m healthy — I look healthier than I should. It’s a miracle, really. I think we should all fall on our knees on Earth and praise...whoever! [laughs]

B: So, we’ll look to forward to seeing you live in...sometime from September onwards?
M: Well, it’s October the 13th actually HERE. (B: Terrific!) But throughout America it’s September, October, and November.

B: Great, and then the new album is going to be released --?
M: August the 12th. And there’s a single on July the 23rd.

B: Is there a chance that you might do a Tonight Show when you’re here?
M: Umm, if they want me, I’ll go along there. [slight laughter]

B: That would be awesome because I was over there a few weeks ago when Depeche Mode played, (M: Oh yes) and the producer said, You know the last time we had this kind of reaction was a few years ago when that guy played. What was his name? (M: <laughter>) And I said, Morrissey. And he said, Absolutely! And Jay Leno made a comment about it because it was Johnny Carson (M: Yes, yes, yes) who was hosting that night, and he had watched. And he said, That guy Morrissey was amazing!
M: Yes, I don’t think Johnny Carson liked it very much.

B: I don’t think anyone warned him! (M: No, no) And he didn’t know what to expect. Whereas Jay Leno was warned ahead of time, and he was able to play off it. Whereas Johnny was like, What’s going on?

[cut from pre-recorded segment]

listen here
"Tonight Show"
1991, edit
B: Now if you missed that, let’s go back in time to June 14th, 1991, NBC and "The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson".

[cut to an edited audio version of the Tonight Show taping]

B: Do you enjoy doing those kind of tv shows?
M: Yes, I do. I don’t do very many, but I do enjoy them, yes, yes. But the tour I’m really looking forward to. I think it will be great.

B: Terrific. Is there any chance of you maybe sweeping back a second time?
M: If...if people want it, yes, definitely, definitely. They might not, you never know <chuckles>.

B: I think you’ll be surprised.
M: I hope so. I hope so...

[What Difference Does It Make?]

part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4