At the Hollywood Bowl, Morrissey faithful make peace with his right-wing rhetoric - LA Times

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At the Hollywood Bowl, Morrissey faithful make peace with his right-wing rhetoric - Los Angeles Times


For many Morrissey fans at his show Saturday, they’ve found a detente between his music and his slide into right-wing rhetoric.

“He’s a human being, and his music speaks to a lot of people,” said Erika Alvarenga. “He’s entitled to his opinions. I’m not affected by it at all. The music is separate from his views.”

“But if he ever started singing about immigrants, I wouldn’t come to his concerts anymore,” Jimmy Alvarenga added.

Most Morrissey fans seemed aware that his politics and comments had turned darker since the U.S. and U.K. elections of 2016. But that didn’t seem to overly bother them as they waited outside the 17,500-capacity Hollywood Bowl. Morrissey isn’t quite the commercial draw he was decades ago — the day before the concert, many upper-level sections were barely half-sold — but by showtime, the crowd had filled out closer to capacity.

Melissa Gomez, 46, from Rosemead, didn’t hesitate to say that she’d stick by Morrissey.

“No way,” she said, when asked if his anti-immigrant stances might ever cost him her fandom. Gomez is Mexican American, and although treatment of migrants is a searing issue in American life, she wore her Morrissey shirt proudly. “He’s not the threat here,” she said. “He’s a good person.”

Onstage at the Bowl, Morrissey struck a grateful tone, back in his adopted hometown in a left-leaning state. “I’m home, I’m home, I’m home,” he said, as he dove into his single “Suedehead,” which brought the crowd to its feet. He even titled his new album of classic-songbook covers “California Son,” a nod to the generations of fans here that have supported him through thick and thin.

But at times, he couldn’t help himself, at one point donning a T-shirt bearing a profanity directed at the Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper that has criticized his rhetoric in recent years.

Some fans admitted they’d gone through mental gymnastics to square the sensitive singer they know and love with the unsurprising possibility that a very wealthy 60-year-old white man from Britain might have some unsavory views about immigrants in 2019. “I was really surprised,” Jimmy Alvarenga said, recalling when he first heard of Morrissey’s slide rightward.

But others seemed resigned that canceling Morrissey at this point may just be too much of a loss.

“He says the dumbest stuff,” said Evan Navarro, 23, of L.A., who has listened to Morrissey and the Smiths for a decade. “But I love his music. There’s just too much history there.”

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It's more complicated than that, he has talked about growing up in a fiercely Irish Catholic family & he's said that he didn't feel he belonged to Manchester, even though he grew up there. I think his attachment to England is more about wanting it to be his, rather than him actually thinking that it is his. Which is why he gets hurt & leaves so often.

That's a very good observation actually. Never thought of it that way. So it's melancholy for the England he imagined for himself. That's Morrissey for you. A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But we love him.
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