Nick Kent talks Morrissey and The Smiths in DN interview - Fredrik Strage / Morrissey 61 Facebook group

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Post by Fredrik Strage:

Jag intervjuade just rockjournalisten Nick Kent för DN. Han är aktuell med sin första roman "The Unstable Boys". Jag frågade också om hans relation till Morrissey och han gav mig väldigt utförliga svar. Eftersom jag bara fick med ett par korta citat i den färdiga texten tänkte jag bjussa er Moz-fans på resten. (Det här är inte korrat eller redigerat, bara utskriven intervju.)

Another big "what if" in rock history is what would have happened if you had agreed to publish the stuff that Morrissey sent you when you were a section editor at the NME? Maybe he would have become a rock journalist instead?
I never turned him down. I just didn't get back to him. He wasn't very good. But the main thing is that Morrissey was 14 years old. He was obsessed with the New York Dolls and I had spent enough time around the New York Dolls to know first hand that people who hang around the New York Dolls don't live very long. There's only one guy in the band still alive. Five are dead. Probably more than any other rock group of their era. So I just thought he'd better grow out of it. Also he was 14, what was I going to say? Leave school? Go to New York? I think he always resented me for that. Haha. We had a strange relationship. I remember interviewing him as a member of The Smiths, I couldn't remember him as Steven Morrissey, this kid that used to write to me. He wrote to a lot of people. But very quickly he wanted to know about the New York Dolls. And I knew about them. Johnny Thunders was the same age as me. We dressed the same and we had connections shall we say. So I knew the real story which he didn't. He just knew the story that he had read in the music papers. So I told him the real story of the New York Dolls and I remember him looking at me as if I was Saint Peter talking about Jesus Christ. This kind of worshipful look on his face. He wanted to touch the hem of my garment or something. I said to him "listen, man, the New York Dolls were a fine group, far be it from me to knock them but The Smiths are way better, you Morrissey are way more talented than anyone in the New York Dolls, that's just my opinion". And that impressed him. Haha.

I love The Smiths. I've been listening to them again. It's strange because their music came along at a really bad time in my life. Getting towards the end of my bad drug period. I was suffering from a really bad chemical depression. I was jaded and lacking stamina and everything was shit. Too many synthesizers. The whole music scene was all synthesizers at that point and I didn't like it. Then The Smiths came along and it was just wonderful. It was like hearing The Byrds again for the first time. I fell in love with music again. And meeting them was very nice. Johnny Marr gave me an amplifier, I was still a musician at that time, very nice of him. And a huge talent. I've played guitar with Keith Richards, I know how good a musician he is, like one-to-one, I know how good he is on stage but I also know how good he is when playing in a room and he's very good. He's much better in a room than he is on stage. And also Jimmy Page. Another guitar great. I've been in the same room and watched him play. He's great. But Johnny Marr was the best. When he was in The Smiths it was like... God, the beauty.... I'd purposedly go to soundchecks, before a gig, and Morrissey wouldn't sing it was just Joyce, Rourke and Marr getting the sound right. And they were rehearsing the songs for "The Queen Is Dead" which they were yet to record. They had just written them. And the music coming off that stage... everything that Marr played was just beautiful. It was like something out of a Greek myth. This golden music was coming out of his amplifier. Everything that he played was just... and they worked every day. The Smiths worked hard. The Smiths were the opposite of The Sex Pistols and The New York Dolls. They developed. They rehearsed. They wanted to be great. Every f***ing day, man. Morrissey and Marr would get together and say: "OK, today we're gonna write our version of '8 Miles High'. We're not gonna copy it but we're gonna do something as monumental as that." And they wrote "How Soon Is Now". Then Marr said: "OK, today we're gonna do our 'Gimme Shelter'." And they wrote "Bigmouth Strikes Again". They'd pick a song that was a classic. "OK, we're gonna do our 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling'." And they wrote "I Know It's Over". You understand? That's the level they were working on. Everyone else were thinking like: "OK, we want to sound a bit like Leonard Cohen, a bit like U2, and a bit like Depeche Mode, and the singer wants to sound a bit like Jeff Buckley. We'll put these ingredients together and we'll write our own songs." And that's pretty much what Coldplay does. And hundreds of thousands of people like that approach. That's a mainstream approach to rock music and has been for the last 30 years. But I don't like that because when I hear groups like that I just hear their influences. There's no personality. It's like the difference between Prince, who takes loads of influences but brought his own personality, versus Lenny Kravitz who takes Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, a little bit of John Lennon, and a lot of other influences but doesn't really add anything of his own to it.

The Smiths were like The Velvet Underground. They had their own sound. And those are the rare groups. Those are the important groups that are going to last.

Is it true that Morrissey wrote the song "Reader Meet Author" about you?
I haven't heard the song so I don't really want to comment. There was a time when things were nasty between us. Now we just ignore eachother. I prefer it that way. I don't like his politics. I don't know too much about him. I haven't even listened to his last album. But I listened to "California Son" and I really enjoyed that. I thought he made some really good choices. Joni Mitchell. Laura Nyro. But as for the stuff that he writes now... no. I don't want to say anything negative about the guy but I'm not gonna say anything positive either. Loved him in The Smiths.

The original DN article:



You will own nothing and you will be happy...
He does have issues - it's the idea that he's a calculating monster that I think doesn't hold up.

Things like crying in airports, taking 3 times the dose of valium to get through the day, being afraid to go to the Southpaw Grammar launch, hiding in the pub to avoid an interview with a high-powered manager, perpetually having flu, being possessive, clingy & territorial but there being no anecdotes of him kicking off at festivals, television/radio shows or with venue staff...

It all points to the anxiety & depression he's talked about extensively.

Plus the other likely explanation that it's not fair to go into as he's not said anything.

Completely agree - anxiety and depression and Irish melancholia are probably the origin of most of his 'difficult' behaviour, rather than any desire to be a prima donna.

Ketamine Sun

Agree that homophobia often plays a part.

Simon Amstell is a prat. It was quite funny though.

S. A is the host? Anyway, I felt bad for the person that left, he was justified for leaving. I didn’t think it was funny. I could be wrong, but I saw the incident as a celebrity being
harassed simply because they were a celebrity or whatever. The host was really digging into him.

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