on Monday July 31 2000, @09:30AM
This is Part 2 of an interview with Joe Strummer by editor Jack Rabid. (The interview is from the indie mag The Big Takeover, Issue No. 46).
The most interesting (and Moz relevant) part comes after a reference to Mick Jones having caught the chicken pox:
JR: Yeah, chicken pox is very serious as an adult. Same thing happened to The Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce. He almost died in ’84 here.
Joe: What, did he get it off his kid, too?
JR: No, he got it here in new York, after the Smiths played their U.S. Debut at Danceteria [12/31/83]. They canceled the damn show that I was going to see 4 days later at the same venue. I gave Mike hell about that when I met him in 1991 touring here as a drummer with The Buzzcocks. “It was because of you I didn’t see The Smiths in a small club, you bastard!”
Joe: And he almost died, too?
JR: Yeah, just because he spent a week in a New York hospital.
Joe: What sort of excuse do you call that? You’re hard; you’re wicked!
JR: I like to ride ‘em, I do. He was a nice guy; he could take it. That would have been nice to see: The Smiths in a small club. As a result, I never saw them until they played the Beacon Theater, far less intimate, a year and a half later, after they’d already been discovered. Would have been great, huh?
Joe: I saw Morrissey not too long ago. Well, probably years ago now. I got a call one day: “Morrissey wants you to produce his next album.” [Jack laughs] And I went, “Alright, who is this? Stop shaggin’ around.” And he went, “No, I’m Terry” from whatever label, I can’t remember, but he was serious. So we went up to see him. It was this horrible show where he was supporting David Bowie at Wembley Arena.
JR: I remember when they did that tour, yeah. Bowie was covering his song “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday,” which was a rip-off of Bowie’s “Rock n’ Roll Suicide,” which itself was no coincidence, since Mick Ronson produced that LP for Morrissey. So I am sure he was very serious about having you produce him. He likes working with his old heroes. You know he wrote a book on The New York Dolls before he was in The Smiths—I bet he would ask Thunders to produce him if he was still alive!
Joe: Ahh, but I wasn’t having it. The whole situation was beginning to piss me off. And his manager—it was a lady at the time—she came to me before the show and said, “So, what do you think?” And I said [snaps fingers], because I knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to cover “Can’t Explain,” that was part of the initial phone message. And I tried to imagine Morrissey singing “Got a feelin’ inside…” And I thought this was a stupid idea! So I said, “No, no. I’ve got a plan for Morrissey.” And they went “what is it?” I said, “Let’s have him cover ‘Pop Music’ by M.
JR: Whew. That would have put them off. I never liked that song.
Joe: I wanted to poke them with a stick. You see what I mean? Because the idea of trying to redo “Can’t Explain”—I couldn’t see the point of it. And I threw that in to see what they’d say, and Morrissey threw it right out! He just freaked out and left the venue.
JR: You know he was in The Nosebleeds briefly.
Joe: That’s right. Ed Banger.
JR: Yeah, he replaced Ed for like a week
Joe: What, did Ed go AWOL or something?
JR: I think it was after he went solo.
Joe: Is there any kind of documentation of that?
Joe: Wouldn’t that be something!
JR: It was around the time he wrote that books about The Dolls, and was hanging around with Buzzcocks down at their label, the New Hormones offices. Later he became really close friends with Howard Devoto, who you also remember from the old days. Yeah, people don’t know Morrissey’s punk past.
Joe: That’s true. He kept it well hid, I suppose. Or maybe no one asked. He’s proud of it, I guess.