Did Alain Whyte play on Ringleader of the Tormentors?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MozIsGod, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. MozIsGod

    MozIsGod Member

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    Given the recent news of the finished L.A. session without Boz and Gustavo, it got me thinking about the various studio lineups Morrissey has had over the years.

    One which I find peculiar is Ringleader of the Tormentors era which obviously credits Alain Whyte as being one of the three guitarists on the album. However, after giving the vinyl a spin the other day, I found it hard to distinguish any audible Alain guitar licks on the record. I could be wrong but it seemed like having Alain there in Rome was a bit of a waste (not discrediting the fabulous backing vocals he provided, of course).
     
  2. celibate

    celibate Forever Ill

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    Alain made demoos, worked not in Rome, Studio recording without Alain, but he's the composer, that why he was /is credited,
    or Alain must have come to Rome to play his guitarparts, but I don't think so. As he was fed up with Morrissey's game to make
    how much songs of each , on a studio album , there was tension growing between Boz and Alain, and Alain would not play on stage anymore,
    but made demoos
     
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    It can be tough to tell for sure which guitars are which .I have no doubt that Alain was there for at least some of the session - clearly they were still getting on reasonably well after recording, as he's mucking around in the promo videos with the rest of the band. Actually, listening back, 'In the Future' sounds like it could mostly be Alain to me (aside from the distorted solo and guitar at the end, which is clearly Jesse)

    Who knows though - maybe he played a load of stuff that got edited out of the mix? After all, Moz went to the expense of getting Morricone in to do a full orchestral score to 'Dear God', and 90% of it was edited out of the finished record. And he was sickenengly in love with Jesse at the time - remember that awkward interview with Jesse sat next to him throughout, or the promo video of the pair of them dancing together? Brrr. Bad choice, Moz.
     
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  4. gordyboy9

    gordyboy9 gordyboy

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    think because hes played guitar on other albums it would be silly and a bit of comedown to put alain whyte backing vocals.
     
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  5. Amy

    Amy Well-Known Member

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    Alain left (or was booted) for reasons that have never been entirely clear and Morrissey has never been keen to elaborate. Whatever the reason (tensions with Boz, mental health, illness, etc, etc) it was all done in a very underhanded way and now they do not speak at all. Just another slave who was shat on when he fell foul of the Emperor.
     
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  6. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian

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    From Autobiography:
    "Alain’s writing for Ringleader of the Tormentors had elegantly surpassed itself, with what would become Life is a pigsty, I will see you in far-off places and The father who must be killed defined for all time as the very best. Recording traffic noises for the song The youngest was the most loved we walk around late-night Piazza Euclide. A hardy shout comes from an open-top mini (which we later use on At last I am born), whilst Alain’s impromptu bop-a-bop-bom loops itself into the opening confusion of the track."

    There is lots of Alain discussion in the archive worth looking over too, but nothing concrete as to his playing on Ringleader...
    I believe he was definitely only writing music by time YOR was released 3 years later. He must have still been held in some regard as he is credited for more than half of it.
    Personally, I think a bit of ego comes in to play when you are potentially standing watching a new guitarist play music you've written and are more than able to play - I wouldn't hang around either.
    Regards,
    FWD.

     
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  7. Maradona

    Maradona Senior Member

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    I have a strong feeling Alain Whyte is all over "I'll Never be Anybody's Hero Now", at the very least; there some very distinctive Alain Whyte-style doodling going on after the "...and I haven't even died" line and going into the "And my love/is under the ground" bit.

    ...unless, of course, that's Jesse doing an Alain impression.
     
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  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Well, the rumour I've heard repeated several times, is that Alain (having written and made demos for a large chunk of the album), presumed he was going to be recording 'Years of Refusal' as well, but when he turned up to the sessions Boz was dispatched to intercept him in the carpark outside and tell him the news from Morrissey that he wasn't going to be allowed to participate. If true, it seems it wasn't so much that Alain walked, as he was given his own 'Andy, you have left the Smiths' moment, and told to take a hike. But neither Moz nor Alain have gone into details about the reasons why, so all we can do is speculate.
     
  9. markreed

    markreed Member

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    On the basis of ROTT, it seems fairly clear that Alain was present at at least some sessions, sang some backing vocals, and mimed the drums on the videos. That said, it would seem odd to have the co-writer of many of the songs who can play guitar, not playing guitar ; though, obviously, that happened at Wolverhampton in 1988.

    As for neither Moz nor Alain discussing, I am fairly sure a Non Disclosure Agreement would seal any loose lips.
     
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  10. Amy

    Amy Well-Known Member

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    I've heard this too. I can't verify it of course - but sadly it wouldn't surprise me, as Morrissey has "form" for such things and for getting other people to do his dirty work. Boz doesn't emerge well out of the story.
     
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  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

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  12. Jamie

    Jamie Bluff, Ardour & Assoc.

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    During Alain's Red Lightning foray several years ago, a trusted third party spoke to him about the album and he expressed disappointment in the mix. The implication was that a lot of his guitar work was buried. But he was definitely there for basic tracking, as Tony Visconti posted a picture of him and Boz in the studio on his website at the time.

    Going purely on familiarity with his guitar style/tones from his Morrissey albums and several years worth of bootlegs, I'd wager Alain is responsible for:

    - A good chunk of the guitars, including possibly the electric sitar, on "I Will See You In Far-Off Places" (possibly the "muezzin vocal," too)
    - The brief jangly guitar sequence that underscores the middle eight of "Dear God Please Help Me"
    - The lower part of the guitar riffs on the pre-choruses ("I entered nothing...") of "You Have Killed Me"
    - The "bomp-ba-bomp" intro and first chorus backing vocal in "The Youngest Was The Most Loved," likely some guitar
    - The jangly guitar sequence going into verse two of "In The Future When All's Well" (almost identical to the tone on "Dear God")
    - Most of the guitars on "The Father Who Must Be Killed"
    - The main power chords and sustained notes at the coda of "Life Is a Pigsty"
    - Several of the guitars on "I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now" (as another poster alluded to)
    - The main electric guitar on "To Me You Are a Work of Art"
    - Though harder to discern styles, I suspect he plays some guitars on "On The Streets I Ran" and "I Just Want to See The Boy Happy."

    Alain's sound is also very audible on "Human Being" and "Good Looking Man About Town."

    While Morrissey suggests in his book that Alain was pulling away from him, etc., anyone with half a brain and a quarter of a heart would find it incredibly difficult to return to a job they'd had for nearly fifteen years to work alongside the man (Jesse) who was - effectively, whether Morrissey called him so or not - your replacement. I find it more than a touch bittersweet that Alain wrote the beautiful melody to "Dear God Please Help Me" yet seemed not to be present in the studio video while Morricone was recording the strings. It should have - would have - been a "pinch me" pinnacle in his songwriting & recording career.
     
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  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    He's noticably absent in that 'behind the scenes' video...unless he was the one behind the camera recording it?
     
  14. King Leer

    King Leer Leering since '97

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    Haven't watched the In the Future... video in yonks. It's a fun ditty and one of Morrissey's attempts at a 60s "death" song.
    I remember thinking at the time that the vid really captured Alain's character. After all those years at Morrissey's left he's relegated to "performing" behind the drum kit while Jesse takes his spot. And yet he remains good natured about it all.

    Tracks like Dear God... and Life is a Pigsty truly displayed his boundless creativity.
     
  15. rivum

    rivum Member

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    I've been a smiths/moz fan since the 80's but never really kept up with the insider info related to moz's band lineups.
    One thing I've always been curious about but never really found a satisfying answer to was how jesse ended up in the gang. obviously when he started alain was still around - how was it that they needed 3 guitarists? or is it (presumed to be) as simple as alain was on his way out so jesse came in before the departure to smooth the transition?
     
  16. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    It was always my belief that Alain took a break to either rest or do other stuff so Jesse filled in and then took the spot over
     
  17. Peppermint

    Peppermint Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, Jamie, there wasn't a 'Bloody Impressive' rating so you'll have to make do with 'Insightful'.
     
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  18. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian

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    He was drafted in after Alain left during the Quarry tour.
    Mikey Farrell pushed Jesse forward having worked with him & Jesse's ex-wife (in the group "Splendid").
    Moz recollects:
    "As we begin the You Are the Quarry tour in 2004 we say goodbye to Alain, who shuts the door upon himself – taking himself off the road amid fears that he is suffering from exhaustion, which certainly seems to be true. Backstage at the final Alain show in Dublin, he takes me aside and whispers: ‘I know who is planning your downfall. It is not me.’ I stand back and I let chance stirrings take their lead, but as Alain departs we are contractually bound to find an immediate replacement, and we eventually settle with the steely and stylish Jesse Tobias. We had all felt great concern for Alain, but, always knowing too much, I await personal criticism for Alain’s departure – having had no part in it. Assuredly, criticism whistles through the poplar trees soon enough with accusatory emails from Alain, and my only surprise is that I’m surprised. By such gestures I now live, as if whatever you bestow has no value unless the flow is endless, and as soon as your life-giving generosity retires, you are human filth. That’s just the way it goes. Having rescued Alain from the mad-death of his mind-crushing job at Camden Council, he would now cross continents rather than say a hello to me. When both Nancy Sinatra and Marianne Faithfull cover songs written by Alain and I, he has nothing to say, as if it
    had always been his due, and as if it could so easily have happened with any other co-writer from East Finchley.
    ‘Where were the New York Dolls from?’ asks Alain, as he trails away. I’m so confused by the question that I can’t utter any sound by way of reply."

    It appears the cessation of playing live left him contributing to song writing/studio only which then ended fully as Jesse contributed more and more (5 of his songs making it on to Ringleader).
    Regards,
    FWD.
     
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  19. Peppermint

    Peppermint Well-Known Member

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    I remember feeling very sad reading that passage in Autobiog, and reeling just a little at the mean-spiritedness of 'I rescued him, he'd be nothing without me'. Morrissey suggests that Alain was the one in the wrong for sending him 'accusatory emails'... but it says something about his track record that I find this hard to take on face value. The rumour (as I'm sure you know FWD) was that Alain had mental health problems, and if that's true he wasn't given much sympathy from his boss (who never tires of telling us about his own mental health history). Not knowing either of them, I'm more inclined to side with the numerous people who've met Alain and said what a kind, friendly, modest bloke he is.
     
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  20. rivum

    rivum Member

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    thanks, as always.
     
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