New interview for "La Nación", Argentina - December 4th, 2018
Morrissey before his visit to Argentina: "Censorship is stronger than ever"
Link: Morrissey antes de su visita a Argentina: "La censura está más fuerte que nunca"
In recent years, Morrissey declared himself against massive migrations to Europe, questioned part of the #MeToo (which caused Daniel Grinbank to desist from producing his show in Argentina) and expressed his support to Anne Marie Waters, leader of For Britain, a right-wing party of the United Kingdom designated as anti-Islam. His interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel, published in December of last year, contained so many controversial textbooks that Morrissey decided to suspend the conversations with written media, with which he only speaks by email (in this way this note was made). Probably he did not change, but the context. The former leader of The Smiths was always an incorrect declarer, and his views on religion, animal rights, music or politics were not always aligned with the dominant discourses of rock. In parallel to this side of debater, in the last decade and a half he fed his work with a campaign of great level, a series of albums ranging from You Are the Quarry (2004) to Low in High School (2017). At this point, his solo catalog competes seriously with that of the Smiths, mythologized forever in the Olympus of youthful emotions. On these things Moz responds before his arrival in Buenos Aires, where he will land for the fifth time to play this Friday at the DirecTV Arena.
During the last decade and a half you published many albums, something that did not happen between the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s. What changed in your life that led to this fertile period?
No seal signed me for seven years. After Sanctuary appeared, I said "Yes!" and You Are The Quarry came out.
Do you think there is a lack of ideas in current pop music? If so, what would you say is due?
Censorship is stronger than ever. This is because it was discovered that music is as politically persuasive as the media. If your music is a manufactured product and a little faked, the guarantee is that you will do well. If you try to promote independent thinking, you will be considered a radical, and you will be separated.
You said recently about the music press: "You have to write mercilessly about pop artists that probably saved your life." At the same time you are a favorite of the critics. In your case, do you think there are journalists trying to "bury their father"?
Sometimes we can feel shame for having loved a singer or a band up to such powerful levels, and often the only way to cure the obsession is to cut off the singer's head.
You're a master of the slogan in pop lyric. One of the latest titles that comes to my mind is "Home Is a Question Mark", from your most recent album. What can you say about this part of your artistic process?
It is, as you assume, a way to attract the eye, or the ear, and people certainly have an enormous capacity to receive, even when there are so many things in the commercial arena that insult our intelligence. So a great song title can be as effective a hook as a great chorus.
You defined as "morbid sentimentality" the obsession that many people have with the Smiths. Why do you think it's still a relevant band?
The songs are very, very good. The name of the band is timeless. There was a unanimous urgency linked to its useful life. It was not touched by product strategies, market machinery, stadium tours or even money. It thrived in a context of immediate enthusiasm, an evident lack of planning and no remote suspicion that there was a career ahead.
Can you tell me the story behind "Who Will Protect Us from the Police?", A song from your last album that talks about Venezuela?
I had been seeing a lot of images of news of the riots in Venezuela, and in general I saw the police protecting the establishment from the people, that they are always referred to as activists, or rebels, or demonstrators, or mobs ... when, in all the cases they are only the people. I was wondering why the police automatically attack the people, and why it does so with such enthusiasm. We never see the police protecting the people from corrupt governments. Even when it is the people, and not the governments, who pay the police.
How do you get to those Middle Eastern sounds that permeate some songs from your last albums?
They are dramatic tunings, I think.
If you traveled in time and had to describe your songs to a citizen of nineteenth-century London, what would you say?
I would ask him to imagine the need to sing, and that would explain everything. I do not sing to be observed.
What part of the composition process do you enjoy the most?
It is a wave of emotions to hear the first rehearsal of a song. Your voice almost begins to sing without you. Suddenly all the musicians are locked up to germinate an idea that crossed my mind on any Thursday.
Why did you reject Damon Albarn's invitation to record on the last Gorillaz album?
Is not my style. I keep on my side of the fence.
Argentina is the world capital of love for The Ramones. You have your particular story with the band, which started as hate [at age 17 he wrote a harsh criticism on Melody Maker] and it became love. What do The Ramones represent for the history of pop music, and especially for you?
I love them almost irrationally. There is no hate involved, I assure you! It is sad and at the same time funny how their music today is considered almost joyful, when during their existence it was hardly considered entertainment. Now the supermarkets use the songs of The Ramones in TV ads. It can take a long time for the world to catch up.
By: Pablo Plotkin
(Sorry for the translation mistakes)