posted by davidt on Sunday October 06 2002, @09:30AM
I know, I know, it's sad, but I actually transcribed the Janice Long interview as best I could, simply for the love of the man. Enjoy.
Janice Long: Well, a man obviously who needs no introduction, and thank you to everybody who's been e-mailing the show, getting in touch with us. It is, of course, Morrissey, fantastic to see you.
Morrissey: Which is an introduction.
JL: It is an introduction, but there you go.
Morrissey: I mean, if I didn't need an introduction, you wouldn't say anything.
JL: I wouldn't say anything. Well should I just go "(pause)", and then you start talking?
Morrissey: Yes, I'll just start talking.
JL: Go on then.
Morrissey: No, I'll give the traffic news or something. (JL laughs)
JL: Welcome home. (Pause) This is home...
Morrissey: Home is a question mark.
JL: Yes, I was going to say that. Where do you consider to be home?
Morrissey: Er, home, I think, is England actually.
JL: Yeah. Is that where your heart is?
Morrissey: Em, bits of it, bits of it, yeah. But other places also.
JL: We'll get on to L.A. in a moment, but when are you going to come back? Because the visit has been so brief and it's not fair!
Morrissey: Well, many people think it's too long, so it's just a matter of opinion really, isn't it really?
JL: Oh come on.
Morrissey: Yes, I'm coming on. Er, I just don't know. I really don't know. It depends which way the wind blows and the sands of time take me...
JL: But you've been on the road for quite some time, haven't you?
Morrissey: Yes, I have indeed. Yes, I'm one of those old troupers.
JL: And have you enjoyed being back on the road?
Morrissey: Yes, yes, enormously, and if there's one place I should be, it's ON the road.
JL: What's L.A. like? What do you do? Shop? Peruse? Rollerblade?
Morrissey: Em, well, there's really nothing to do in L.A., but...
JL: I mean, it's an interesting place...
Morrissey: Very interesting
JL: In the fact that it isn't, you know?
Morrissey: Well, it's a very beautiful place, but it's a very sanitised place, it's a very sexless place, and I don't need to tell you about the people, because they're very clichéd, and you know what they're like, and everything that anybody has ever said about Los Angeles in the past is true and remains true, but...
JL: So if it's "sanitised" and "sexless", why does it suit you?
Morrissey: Because I am. Because it's a beautiful place, I find it really beautiful, the architecture, the BORING old weather, and I didn't really intend to go there. It just happened, and I stayed there, and I FOUND this house, as you do.
JL: This is the one that Carole Lombard used to live in, that wonderful actress.
Morrissey: Absolutely, absolutely. And it's just very very nice, and very pleasant. I mean yes, it's very easy to avoid the people, and I say "Well, people are mad everywhere". People are mad HERE.
JL: But do you have a group of mates that you hang out with?
Morrissey: Yeah, I do, surprisingly, I do. I mean, you have to be very selective about what you do with your time, and you really have to avoid everything and avoid every invitation that you receive.
JL: Do you get lots of invitations, to the latest this, that?
Morrissey: Yes, I do, I do, and I never ever ever go. I mean, I lead very much the same lifestyle as I did when I lived here. I haven't gone remotely "showbizzy" or "glamorous", as you can see. (JL laughs) So, I'm just in a different place, but I don't feel any differently, really.
JL: How do you keep in touch with home, if you want to?
Morrissey: Well I do, every day, every day, by many means...
JL: So do you watch the news channels, newspapers...?
Morrissey: Well, I never in my life watch the news, and I never in my life read newspapers, and I still don't. I mean that is VERY depressing to do that. So no, I just keep in contact by the good old-fashioned telephone and all those other "accoutrements"...
JL: So you've actually got into the telephone? I mean, there was a period, wasn't there, when you were like a "telephone-ophobe"!
Morrissey: You can't remember that, surely you don't remember that Janice, you really don't... (JL laughs) Yes, that was very very true, that was very true, because there was always people sort of, you know, asking me to do something, or to stop doing something, so I would never answer the phone.
JL: What about computers?
Morrissey: No, not really, I've never been online, but I use a printer and so forth, like everybody else.
JL: So you don't check out your own web...Well, it's NOT your own website, is it, Morrissey-solo.com? But you don't go on there and go under, you know, false names, pseudonyms and things?
Morrissey: Absolutely never. I've never actually logged onto that site, and people always refer to it as MY site. It's not, it's a GREAT site, and there are some other great sites, but no, I don't get involved.
JL: Now, as we know, the world is full of crashing bores (Morrissey laughs). What a link, eh? Which is the first song that we're going to hear from you and the band. And actually, I did get, I'll find out who it was in a moment, but somebody said "Well, go on, name one?"
Morrissey: Name one...?
JL: Lynne, Girl Unafraid. "Name a crashing bore."
Morrissey: A crashing...? Elton John?
JL: Uh-huh. Why?
Morrissey: Because he is. Because he's pushing his face in all the time, and telling us about his private life. Nobody's interested, he's incredibly rich, he should just go away, and he's just hoisting his problems onto everybody and working them out publicly and...I've said enough.
JL: And in the song, you actually mention "pop idols". I mean, would you have somebody like him in mind, or is it the newer generation?
Morrissey: Well, it's the newer generation, but, you know, the newer generation can't really help it. Obviously, it's designed by record company executives who want a cheap success, and they don't want to give money to anybody and they don't want to give contracts, so they've created this world of very bubbly teenagers who want to be "idols" and they think all they have to do is mime quite well and they've made it. So, obviously, it goes without saying that that's just grotesque, and the way it's infiltrated itself and pushed everybody out of the music world I think is horrible. But it's not the problem of the kids, it's the problem of the record companies, because it's just an inexpensive way for them to have so-called, I won't say "artists", but, erm...You're nodding, you know what I mean.
JL: But yeah, you say it's not the kids' fault, but the thing is the public, most of the time, if they're going to criticise anybody, it's those people, and it's not the people who've put them in that position.
JL: And the ones who don't get there, the humiliation. I mean ok, they set themselves up for it, but it's sad, isn't it?
Morrissey: Well it's very very sad. I mean, it is just for crashing bores, that whole scene, and obviously, the public can't criticise the people who are behind it, because we hardly know who these people are. I mean, the executives don't step forward, do they, and claim responsibility? They're hiding somewhere.
JL: But those executives now in that position, whereby the music industry in this country is floundering. We were talking about this the other week on the programme. People are losing jobs, aren't they? Left, right and centre?
Morrissey: Well, but more to the point, the public are losing interest, and you know, you can have a number one album these days with 30,000 sales, which is really pathetic. When you think of even the 70s or the 80s, when you could sell over 100,000, and you would be coming in at number five or six!
JL: Let's hear the track! This is Morrissey with Boz Boorer on guitar, Gary Day on bass, Dean Butterworth on drums and Alain Whyte on guitars. You wrote this track actually, didn't you, with Boz?
JL: Oh good, I'm glad you said that! (Laughs) Let's listen to it, "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores".
SONG 1: THE WORLD IS FULL OF CRASHING BORES (Janice Long session).
JL: "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores". We were talking about music getting "out there". Have you ever considered releasing stuff on the net?
Morrissey: No, I haven't really, because I mean, that's a very private thing, I think, and you can end up just serving your private fan club, or the people who like you.
JL: Well it's not very visible.
Morrissey: It's not visible, and visibility is something that I'd like, and I'd strive for, and to be something of a disruptor, in the middle of all this current mess really appeals to me. So if you sort of do it on your own website, through the net, privately and so forth, nobody will ever really hear about it. And the whole point, I think, if you have a great album, or a great song, or a great single, the whole point is to be heard by as many people as possible, and change the landscape.
JL: So how frustrating is that for you at the moment? Because you haven't got a record deal...
Morrissey: Well, I haven't. I haven't had a record deal for over five years, which is extraordinary to me. But, you know, I sit down and I think it's meant to be, for some twisted reason. It will lead to somewhere fruitful, and maybe I could have had a deal years ago that would have been no good. So the position I'm in is very very interesting, but people aren't stepping forward! (Laughs)
JL: Well, I mean what is it? Because we hear rumours, you know, it could be Sanctuary, we've heard about Rough Trade...I did actually hear that, you know, you go as a package, is it? With the band, or is it JUST you? What?
Morrissey: Well, the problem I've had with all the interviews I've had in America - I had meetings with about nine labels - and they all say to me "Will your new songs fit in with what is popular and what is in the chart?" (JL giggles) And I say "Good God, I hope not!"
JL: Do they escort you out then?
Morrissey: I'm on the pavement. (JL laughs) Really, quite literally.
Morrissey: Really, once I say that, they're not listening any more.
JL: But we're talking about, I mean, in America, now don't they ring people up at home, play them a burst of music down the phone, saying "Do you like that?" If you don't like it within ten seconds, it's not on the radio. And that's happening here as well.
JL: Which is frightening!
Morrissey: It's very very frightening. And it's corroding everything, I think.
JL: I mean, why isn't there room for individuality? Why does everything have to fit in with everything else and be the same?
Morrissey: Because I think record companies don't want to pay for it any more. They don't want to make investments and...
Morrissey: They don't. It's all, all, all about money. It's about nothing else. And they find they can get away with it.
JL: But isn't that going to backfire in the end?
Morrissey: Yeah, but they don't mind, because they'll just switch and latch on to whatever's happening. But for the moment they can just...I mean, the thing in America with record companies is they will not give any advances any more. They will not give you any money and...but, I don't accept this.
JL: You can do it as like cottage industry, set up your own label, your mum and dad...
JL: You know...
Morrissey: Yes, yes...
JL: Do all the stuff and get it out there! No, but it IS frustrating for the people, you know. We know there's a huge, huge, HUGE amount of people wanting to hear the stuff, they can only pick it up at, you know, a couple of gigs that you did at the Albert Hall...
JL: Point. (Laugh) So, you know, it's not on, is it?
Morrissey: I think that's all I can do. You know, I don't have a record company, I don't have a publisher, I don't have a manager, I don't have...Blah blah blah blah blah...So it's all I can do...
JL: As I said, get your mum and dad!
Morrissey: Well, you know...
JL: Up in Cheshire, little industry going...
Morrissey: They're not as fast on their feet as they used to be.
JL: They actually turned up at the Albert Hall, didn't they?
Morrissey: They did, yes, and they were beaming and very happy and, you know, moist cheeks and so forth...
JL: You always gave me the impression, you were REALLY close to your mum.
JL: And she must miss you, being in L.A.?
Morrissey: I think she does, yes, I think she does. But, you know, she has a few cats and things like that, and so forth. I mean, she's not an old mum. She's only just twenty years older than I am. I mean, my parents were very young when they had kids, so they're not old, dotty, doting parents. But no, she's doing ok without me. I think...
JL: Now what about all of the stuff that we haven't heard, apart from the brand new stuff. Other material that hasn't seen the light of day. Should you sign, would that all come out as well, or would it depend on a deal?
Morrissey: Yes, we've been trying lots of things live in America, and we're obviously completely ready to make an album. We have been ready for a long time. So yes, we're just perched and poised and...Watching and waiting.
JL: What about the writing process? We've had several e-mails asking about that, Simon Boardley being one person, and Damien Morgan as well. When you work with any other member of the band, I mean, is it you first, them first, all together?
Morrissey: Nothing's changed. It's really as it ever was. It's really as it ever was.
JL: Same as it ever was?
Morrissey: Oh, same as it ever was. I receive the music and I lock myself away and...start humming...
JL: And lyrically, is L.A. an inspiration?
Morrissey: Mmmm...Slightly...I mean, everything can be an inspiration. If you're in prison, it can be an inspiration. If you're in hospital, it can be an inspiration. So yes, Los Angeles is definitely an inspiration. Because so much happens, for better or worse, and it's fascinating. And Americans are fascinating. So yes, it is.
JL: So where do you observe all of the stuff that might be an inspiration? Do you go to the GAME?
Morrissey: To the GAME?
Morrissey: I do not go to the GAME.
JL: Right. Do you go, I don't know...Shopping? Do you go onto the beach? Do you...what?
Morrissey: I drive a lot. I drive a lot.
JL: Do you cruise?
Morrissey: Well yes, I do.
JL: Have you got a Cadillac?
Morrissey: No I haven't!
JL: What kind of car have you got in the States then?
Morrissey: I've got a...J A G.
JL: Oh lovely! (Laughs)
Morrissey: So I zoom around, and just watch, and overhear, and stick my nose in occasionally. And it just flows, it just flows...Life is a fascinating thing. And people are fascinating to observe.
JL: People are though, I think. I mean I'm a huge people-watcher. I could sit and just observe all day.
Morrissey: I know, people are absolutely insane, the human race is insane, and everybody's mad!
JL: So the next track that you're going to do for us, "Irish Blood, English Heart". What's this one about then?
Morrissey: Well, you can guess from the title. I mean, it's the components that make up my tubby little body. (JL Laughs)
JL: Let's hear it.
SONG 2: IRISH BLOOD, ENGLISH HEART (Janice Long session).
JL: "Irish Blood, English Heart". We'll play that actually, if it's alright with you, for Scott Thomas. It's his birthday today, and he wants to know if you'd follow Roy Keane's example and do an autobiography?
Morrissey: Well, it has been offered by several people, and I have actually started it.
JL: Have you?
Morrissey: Yes, I have.
JL: Is that to set a record straight, or just because you want to do it?
Morrissey: It's to set a multitude of records straight, so whether it actually ever becomes published, whether it reaches the shops, I don't know. There'd be so many injunctions, I'm sure, because so many untruths have emerged around my name and my life, and maybe we all feel that way, I don't know. But yes, I've started it, and it will be a fascinating thing to finish.
JL: Can you prioritise which are the most, you know, untruth?
Morrissey: Em, there's been so many things. I mean if it has so far been a career, it's been a very strange one. It's been a very unusual story. I think, and I haven't noticed anybody that resembles me emerging on the music scene, or, on the face of the earth. (Janice giggles). So, yes, this autobiography will be interesting.
JL: I'm obviously going to touch on the court case...
JL: But I don't want to go on about it. I want to know what it's done to your head. I mean, you know, Johnny Marr paid the back pay, you haven't, and you stand by your principles, and you're taking it to the Court of Human Rights.
JL: Do you go to bed at night thinking about it? Do you have days where, you know, "I'll do this, then I'll do that"? It's still obviously...
Morrissey: Well yes, every day something does happen. I mean, it doesn't alter the course of my personal life.
Morrissey: It hasn't made me ill or anything like that. But as each day passes the extreme injustice, and the extreme injustice of all the boards in England - the Lord Chancellor, the onboardsman - all the people who are supposed to be objective, and had supposed to look at cases and give you a fair hearing, they've rejected me. And you say "Well, why have you rejected this case?" and they don't tell you, they just say "we're rejecting it", which is very unfair. Because in England, with the law, nobody has to give you any answers. The law is a very very strange thing. It exists in a world of its' own.
JL: So no chance of a Smiths reunion then?
Morrissey: Janice...(JL laughs) I'm going to headbutt you, in five minutes!
JL: I just think it's funny all that stuff at the moment would have been ringing promoters going "Oh yeah, I'll give him one and a half million!"
Morrissey: Well, you know, the Smiths may reform...BUT NOT WITH ME!
JL: What about Man U? Are you still...?
Morrissey: I'm not very interested.
JL: Ah well, Steve Alcroft, he won't be going with you to see Everton. What about Manchester itself, because, obviously, it's had that huge injection of cash. Did you watch the Commonwealth Games? Are you familiar with the new look Manchester?
Morrissey: (Deep breath) No...
JL: No? We've had questions asking about that, so that answers that one. An interesting one: the Willy Russell book, 'The Wrong Boy', which I still haven't got round to reading, and it reminded me actually this, where there's the character Raymond, wrongly accused at school of doing something, and he ends up writing to you.
JL: And you have read it...
JL: It lends itself to, by all accounts, a play, or a film.
JL: Would you be pleased?
Morrissey: I would be absolutely thrilled. Because I thought the book was extraordinary. I'm really surprised it hasn't been made into a film, because by all accounts, it's sold enormously, so I was really, really thrilled by it. I thought it was a fantastic accolade.
JL: I love the idea that Willy, well Willy Russell, actually, said he thought you were some "caterwauling", you know, "monstrosity", that he could just hear coming from his son's bedroom. And now, of course, he's a huge Morrissey fan.
Morrissey: Well he did write to me, and it was very, very nice. But even the bits in the book which were sort of, a bit, shall we say 'critical', I don't mind that kind of thing. I'm used to that, so that was ok.
JL: And by all accounts, at the gig, and obviously I couldn't go, because you only went down there.
Morrissey: Tut tut...
JL: But RIGHT across the age, you know, spectrum - kids, people who were, you know, when...And then grannies! You're not becoming a Cliff are you?
Morrissey: Yes, I am. That's what I'd like to do.
JL: A sort of clean-cut...
Morrissey: Yes, oh yes, very, very clean-cut. Well it's the same story all over the place really. It is a wide spectrum, and (it's) never really reported upon. I mean, it's generally thought that, you know, the people who listen to me are very clichéd and very sort of, dressing in black and doom-laden. Absolutely not true. The most extraordinary cross-section of people. Very, very small people and, shall we say, senior citizens?
JL: Well that's answered Martin Phillips' question as well, who wanted to know if there was a typical Morrissey fan. Actually, talking about the autobiography, I've always thought there must be a novel in you somewhere.
Morrissey: Many...Many many...There's time.
JL: But do you jot them down, or are they all just 'up there'?
Morrissey: No, they're 'up there', and...down other places. But I do have offers to do things, and I just want to concentrate on this, because I think to write words, to sing, to record, to sing on a stage, it's the strongest art-form, I think. It's the strongest mode of expression. Everything else, I think, is weaker, whether you write poetry, or novels, or whatever. Everything's a bit weaker. So standing on a stage, and singing, with your own voice, your own words, music, power, it's as high as you can go.
JL: It must be one hell of a feeling, I always think.
Morrissey: Well...Yes, it is.
JL: It really...I know, it must, it must just be totally fantastic. John Price wants to apologise to his mum for all the years he sat in his bedroom, listening to you, and ignoring her...
Morrissey: Well, he probably did the right thing.
JL: Have you got a love life?
Morrissey: I'm not answering that question.
JL: Why not?
Morrissey: Because you're just too nosey, you don't deserve to know. You just want to take all this gossip back to Birmingham, and fax somebody in Kirby, and...it's NOT on. Let's talk about YOUR love life.
JL: My love...Well, that's very well at the moment, thanks. I'm still with Paul...
Morrissey: No, that's not good enough. Details.
JL: No, but...You know...Is it still the case that you're celibate?
JL: No. Good. Well, I mean, whatever, you know, but...
Morrissey: I am married to God.
JL: ...Yes...When did you find him?
Morrissey: I am married to...that audience...
JL: No, but what I'm saying is, who do you go to when you want a cuddle and stuff? Because you must be, you know...I know you love your own company and all of that, but there must be times when you go 'Oh, that was a really bad day, gizza cuddle'? (Morrissey laughs)
Morrissey: 'Well gizza cuddle'! I don't think I've ever said that, really!
JL: But who do you snuggle up to?
Morrissey: I'm not telling you!
JL: Why not?
Morrissey: Well, you don't deserve to know!
JL: Will you tell me when the microphones are off?
Morrissey: Why do you think you deserve to know EVERYTHING?
JL: Just...Feel as though I should ask...
Morrissey: Yes, well, you've got that devilish look on your face.
JL: But do you have mates and stuff though, that you hang out with and...?
Morrissey: Yes, I do, yes I do. Yes, I'm nourished, I really am.
Morrissey: And, erm, I'm NOT a freak.
JL: Er, who said you were?
JL: You're not looking at me, are you?
Morrissey: No, I'm not a freak of nature. I mean, the British press always say I am.
JL: So when can we expect you back?
Morrissey: Erm...When...I just haven't a clue. I go...with the flow.
JL: Do you sneak through Heathrow? Every now and again?
Morrissey: Yes I do. Oh yes. I do, I really do. Yes. England is extraordinary. Especially the press, they just never change. NEVER change.
JL: But you must get a lot of England over in America at the moment, with Tony Blair forever being there?
Morrissey: No, he's not popular in America, he's not popular. I mean, they still talk about Thatcher, believe it or not. And Tony Blair has no footing at all. And when you hear him, very very rarely, on the British channels, he just sounds like...He just sounds like a little...Well, a little bird, chirping away to himself, with nobody listening...
JL: Well, look, it's been fantastic. And we had lots of people phoning in, "How did you get him?", and we said "Well, we just asked." That was all we did, we asked, and you said yes.
Morrissey: Yes, but you know, it's you, and my heart skipped a beat. (JL giggles) And I thought about all those times when, in the past, and...You have a special place in my heart, Janice.
JL: Great, innit? (Laughs) Morrissey, thank you SO much. Final track is..."I Like You".
Morrissey: Thanks for saying that, Janice.
SONG 3: I LIKE YOU (Janice Long session).