posted by davidt on Saturday May 15 2004, @03:00PM
Scans (5 pages) posted on the general board by Bigmouth Struck
Just got my May 21, 2004, issue of Entertainment Weekly and noticed that there's a 4-page interview with Morrissey.
Flipping through the magazine, I first noticed his picture on page 5 with the caption:
"The dark lyrics, the sunny melodies, the sharp opinions: Original mope rocker Morrissey is back (page 34)"
Since my scanner went to hell, here's a transcript of the interview/article entitled "Happiness Is a Sad Song."
Morrissey is resigned to being a solitary man. But what really breaks his heart are Britney, Mick Jagger, and 'American Idol.' -- By Michael Kochman
Morrissey does not appear to be armed with a Walther PPk, and he's not savoring a martini, shaken or otherwise. But if they're looking to cast a new James Bond, it would be hard to find a better fit than the 44-year-old former Smiths singer. Sitting in a bungalow in the exclusive Beverly Hills Hotel, he's giving off a distinct secret-agent-on-vacation vibe. An immaculate Gucci blazer and pink dress shirt. A carefully pomaded swoop of hair. A gentlemanly British manner and quickness with an arched-eyebrow quip. A certain familiarity with humanity's darker side. Really, he couldn't be more perfect. So would he be willing to take on the role?
"Absolutely," he says. "They need look no further. I've even got the dickie bow. And God knows I'd be very cheap." Of course, these days he might not be able to squeeze it into his schedule.
Fresh off five sold-out concerts in Los Angeles (where he now lives) and two days before flying to New York for another five-concert run at the Apollo Theater, Morrissey is suddenly back in a big way. He's headlining this summer's Lollapalooza tour, and his first new album in seven years, You are the Quarry (out May 18), is already getting more attention than anything he's released in recent memory.
Deservedly so: Quarry proves that Morrissey's time in the sunshine has not blunted his sharp tongue, quenched his longing, or wilted his famous quiff. Sipping a cup of fine British tea (he's suffering from a bit of a cold) that is constantly refilled by his lovely entourage of one, L.A.'s most unlikely resident settles down to chat about his unexpected resurgence.
EW: You're everywhere these days....
Morrissey: As I should be! [Laughs]
EW: Are you surprised that everyone seems interested in you again?
M: Yes. But then I've really never had a record company fighting for me [like Sanctuary]. With Reprise in America and EMI in England, I was inherited from a previous situation with the Smiths, and the people who had signed us were no longer there. Also, I like to think that people in recent years have become disillusioned with the direction pop music has fallen into. Music lovers are absolutely sick to death of the way it's manipulated and the way people who have nothing to offer are pushed forward.
EW: Like who? Are you thinking of stuff like American Idol?
M: Idol is an easy target as [the contestants] are really just very simple children who are manipulated by truly awful grown-up people. But I certainly think B. Spears is... the devil. The way she projects herself and the fact that she is so obviously vacuous. I think it's such a shame that she became so influential to very small children. Most of the faces I see on the covers of American music magazines are just dreadful -- people with nothing to offer the world at all.
EW: It must be satisfying that so much of your fan base is still young.
M: It's quite confusing because it seems as if [my fans] have always remained the same age, and I'm the only person on the planet who is actuallyaging. So it's vexing, but also fascinating. People will offer the theory that the songs are full of so-called adolescent yearning. And I fail to see how, since I am not adolescent. But that's how people explain it. There are a lot of young people who want somebody who has that vague flash of uniqueness, who seems like a human person, and mysteriously I seem to have fit the bill. [Laughs]
EW: So how do the songs on your new CD reflect your life now?
M: When I was quite young I wanted to be a reporter and I couldn't quite manage to break into that, but I still have strands of that. I have to report life as I see it. I am a witness. [This CD] really, really is my life. You may giggle, but I consider myself to be a serious pop artist, so it means the world to me.
EW: A song on the new CD, "The First of the Gang to Die," notes your huge Latino fan base. How do you explain that phenomenon?
M: I really don't know. When it began almost 15 years ago I was absolutely amazed, and it contines. Exactly why I can't fathom.
EW: You've lived in L.A. for eight years. Most people would consider a sunny, upbeat place an odd choice for the man who wrote "Cemetry Gates."
M: Well, it was never part of the general life plan. I just found myself staying. I had thought of Paris and even Florence, but I had never really thought of L.A. So it's very, very peculiar for me to still be here. The instinct is always to moan and complain and poke fun [at L.A.] as everyone does, but obviously there are pleasantries. Certainly the trees are beautiful.
EW: Do you feel that you have something to prove with the solo work, even after all this time?
M: Not necessarily. There was never any reason why I should have had a solo career. I had it thrust upon me, and I think I am doing quite well. There are always a bunch of critics who say, "Well, it's not the Smiths." And I say, "Why do you expect it to be?"
EW: How do you handle criticism? A lot of critics hated your last album, 1997's Maladjusted.
M: Well, I... yes, I have been accused of everything that a human being can be accused of.
EW: I actually like that CD.
M: Yes, I do too. [Laughts] We are the two people who do. I find most criticism ludicrous and merely spiteful, but I appreciate it when I can learn something from it, when it is truthful and has a spark of sincerity. Most of the time, it's merely willful destruction.
EW: How long do you want to keep doing this? When you see Jagger and Bowie still going at it, what goes through your mind?
M: Absolute, sheer horror. For a while I think Bowie was the blueprint for a fantastic career. Now he is the blueprint for the opposite. I think the public -- certainly in England -- fell in love with Ziggy Stardust. I'm not so sure they fell in love with David Bowie.
EW: In a similar way your fans want "Morrissey" all the time. You're kind of frozen in time.
M: Oh, yes, I am. I admit that. People always expect me to be 22, anemic, and falling over furniture. I'm associated with frailty and weakness, wilting and wanness. And it's not true. Even though I am coughing in a very Byronic way today [Laughs], it's absolutely not true. I feel quite strong.
EW: But you're not eager to join Sir Mick, to get knighted?
M: Once again, it's an easy target, but I think it's absolutely ghastly that he did that. You think back to the person of '68, '69, '70, how his face was full of fire and venom. One thing to David Bowie's credit: He has refused [to accept a knighthood]. Probably because he wants to be, I don't know, Lady-in-Waiting.
EW: Despite the gloom in your songs, there's also a lot of humor, which people often miss.
M: It's people who know of me but don't listen to me who have that opinion. I think the audience understands completely. It's really not that I'm a depressing person. It's simply that I'm not a bouncing moron.
EW: But clearly you relate very directly to the loneliness in you songs.
M: Yes, I do. I am an open human being. Lots of people feel they are part of the unrequited club, but they don't admit it because it is seen as a weakness. But of course I don't mind at all. I do feel I'm just overburdened with affection and love, but I can't offload it because people are rather underserving, or life is generally just too... brittle. So I find most of it remains locked inside me.
EW: What goes through your mind when you hear an audience sing along to the darker stuff?
M: I'm absolutely electrified. Because I live alone with those songs, and they came from the absolute edge of the emotional cliff. When a crowd sings something that really means something... for me it's stirring. Well, it's not stirring, no. There are no words. It's just getting it out. And even if it's only just for that moment when you're in the audience on that night, you're not alone.