Morrissey solta a
("Morrissey 'spreads' his voice")
Interview by Carlos Albuquerque
O Globo newspaper (Brazil), Apr. 2, 2000
Translation by Fabricio
additional translation help from Ana Beatriz Rocha
Original article (in Portuguese)
With Morrissey, it's yes or no. Yes, he is coming and, after passing through Porto Alegre, Curitiba and S�o Paulo, he will sing next Wednesday in Rio (at ATL Music Hall), overcoming a historic fear: of coming to Brazil and being ignored by the public, presenting himself before empty main floors. Yes, he will play some songs from his ex-band, The Smiths. No, he doesn't have a record label at the moment, and he is happy with that ("the record labels have never helped me"). No, he doesn't want to hang DJs anymore (as he sang in "Panic"). And don't, no, please, don't think about offering him a hamburger or a hot dog to the guy, who, yes, is a radical vegetarian (to the point of "suggesting" to the locals where he will play in Brazil that they don't sell meat during the shows).
Oh, yes, sometimes (but only sometimes, as he used to avoid journalists as cats avoid showers), Morrissey agrees to talk with journalists.
- I don't have anything against the press in general, but during my career I've had some problems with journalists - says the singer, by phone, talking from Santiago, in an exclusive interview (his first one to Brazil) to GLOBO. - Once a critic from the "New Musical Express" (English newspaper specialized in music) said I was decadent because I put a female vocal in a song. Oh, in the song in question, the only voice was mine.
The sharp view towards the critics have its reasons. A long time before being the present state (including sexual) of pop music, at the end of seventies, in Manchester (where he was born) Morrissey tried to live as a journalist, doing fanzines dedicated to James Dean and to the New York Dolls group and writing to the "Record Mirror" magazine. But history reserved to him a place in the titles of articles, not behind them.
- It's obvious that I have a very critical view of the critic. In general, however, it doesn't matter much to me what critics say about me, if they like my work or not. What I don't like is when they invent lies or gossip about my private life.
But even if he prefers not to say it openly, Morrissey knows how difficult it is to avoid attention in the press - especially the sensationalist ones - being the vocalist, lyricist and the head of The Smiths, one of the best bands of the eighties (to lots of people, one of the best English bands of all time).
Even if he doesn't like to talk about his ex-band or about his ex-partner Johnny Marr, Morrissey has been playing some Smiths songs in the current tour, such as "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" and "Is It Really So Strange?"
- I don't see any problem. I feel comfortable singing these songs because they aren't just Smiths songs only. They are mine.
Morrissey has also been including in the shows another Smiths song, "Meat Is Murder", which has become a good way to justify his radical attitude against meat in the places where he plays. He explains himself. Or tries to...
- This story is truly - tells - I don't think about it as a prohibition, but as a personal attitude. It sounds strange to sing "Meat Is Murder" while the bar is selling hundreds of hamburgers during my concert. In Mexico, the suggestion not to sell any kind of meat during the show was accepted and this made me happy. But I can't imagine how it will be in Brazil.
EX-SMITHS VOCALIST ATTACKS RECORD LABELS
Even though he's a cult pop star all around the world, and even though he has influenced most of the Brazilian rock scene in the eighties, Morrissey says he was afraid of come to Brazil (and to South America) in a many times announced and only now confirmed tour, and see places plenty of... empty seats.
- I swear I was afraid of all this. It's a new audience to me and I didn't know what I would encounter - he explains. - But, yes, now I think I was preoccupied in vain. The reception has been excellent and here in Chile there are people that have been waiting days at the Stadium door to get a good place.
At the middle of all this adoration, what calls attention is that Morrissey doesn't have a record label and hasn't released a new album in almost five years. This is the question: in times of the Internet and MP3, does Morrissey need a record label or do the record labels need a star like Morrissey?
- I don't know. I just have to say one thing: I never could count on record labels for anything in my life - he vents. - Record labels never helped me. I've never known what it's like to have support from a record label. In general, they treat artists as disposable things. It seems that they worried about immediate success and not about a career. And now, with the changes due to Internet, record labels are feeling themselves threatened.
Curiously, he doesn't have an official site on the net. One address (www.morrissey-solo.com) collects news and information from fans all around the world and functions as an official zine.
- I haven't had the time to devote myself to an official site, but soon I'll resolve it.
Yet in the novelties terrain, does Morrissey still thinks that the lyrics of "Panic" make sense, where he asks for the hanging of a DJ?
- This was just a symbolic thing, but I confess I don't have sympathy for dance music. I think it destroyed English pop. The only thing I like is Moby.
And how someone who wrote the anti-racist booklet ((!!) Fabricio translated it correctly...) "The National Front Disco" sees the ascension of fascism in Europe, especially in Austria?
- This is sad. Sometimes I don't believe we are living in an intelligent world.
Morrissey, in fact, sees this problem at a distance, as he moved from England to United States sometime ago.
- I have never had support in England, neither from radio or from TV. Even though it's been this way, every time I play there my shows are sold out.
Finally in Brazil, his plans include watching a soccer match.
- But please don't consider me an expert in this subject - he confesses.
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