They came bearing gladiolas.
On July 29, 1992, hundreds of Houston youths lined South Shepherd near Alabama to meet Morrissey, who dropped by Record Rack as part of a six-city promotional tour for his solo album “Your Arsenal.”
You’d be forgiven for not knowing who Morrissey, aka Moz, aka “The Pope of Mope” was. If you saw local TV coverage of his visit, none of the on-air personalities seemed to know who Morrissey was either.
But that didn’t matter to the Gen-Xers camped outside Record Rack for nearly a day. As the frontman for the short-lived but seminal northern England band The Smiths, Morrissey was their Elvis, their Lennon, their Jagger.
Julie Garza was one of the first to meet him at the shop that day. Her friend scored VIP tickets through KRBE-FM (104.1).
“He was very charming,” she said.
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He signed a poster for her and the two shared a wry exchange that one could only have with someone who co-wrote “Girlfriend in a Coma.”
“I said, ‘With love, from Morrissey will do just fine on my poster,’” she said. “And he said, ‘If you knew me you wouldn’t say that.’ And he laughed and we laughed. It was really sweet.”
In a fairly lengthy interview for the Chronicle, Morrissey talked about the personal challenges of meeting his fans.
"For me to do a media event is quite a peculiar thing because media events can only be done in one particular way, and it's quite a hard way," he told reporter Karen Idelson.
"I'm an extremely shy person so my hopes of coming off natural are strained in situations like that. But, then again, there's no other way for me to meet the people who listen to my music."
Garza’s autographed poster has long since disappeared, but she remains a die-hard fan.
“I still love Morrissey to this day,” she says.
Alas, I was not at Record Rack that day, but I do recall the news coverage. The photos in the gallery above, specifically the fashion, take me back to my high school days.
But, as usual, there’s always more to the photos above. Here's what I see.
There’s the pagers, the jorts (so many jorts), the baseball caps for pretty much every other team except the Astros.
There are no cell phones here.
There’s the old Chinese restaurant next door to Record Rack.
There’s the little strip center across the street where Ruchi’s taqueria used to be.
And further down South Shepherd there’s Paperbacks Etc., a used bookstore stuffed inside a house. I liked that bookstore.
The bookstore/house has since been demolished. But these pictures help me remember how it used to be.
Odd. Can't see a pay wall.
Full text above, will sort gallery later.