NME: "Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?!" - Billy Bragg (October 21, 2021); Smiths / Morrissey mentions

JF3_1935-Billy-Bragg-20-4-21-RTUSE-1392x883.jpg


In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them.


Talking about Boris Johnson...

“He wanted to include Kirsty’s cover of it. Here’s the thing: I listened to his Desert Island Discs and, as he was playing The Smiths, I was thinking: ‘He’s going to play ‘A New England’ – he’s going to play one of my songs and kill my reputation! This is going to be awful! But he didn’t – phew! (Laughs) You put out these songs and never know who’s going to hook onto them. I bumped into [austerity architect] George Osborne when he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and he exclaimed: ‘Billy Bragg!’ at me, before singing: I was 21 years when I wrote this song/I’m 22 now…’ You can’t choose your fans!”

In 1987, NME readers voted you the second Most Wonderful Human Being. Who beat you?


“I wonder how those readers feel now about making Morrissey the Most Wonderful Human Being.”
CORRECT.
“I got used to coming second to Morrissey and The Smiths. That was par for the course in those days. That was cool. Their standard was so high that getting anywhere near them was good.”
You wrote a statement in 2019 condemning Morrissey for spreading far-right ideas. Can you separate the man from his art?
“As someone who writes political songs, there are plenty of people out there who are Tories who like my love songs, so clearly you can do that. I struggle. I’m OK listening to The Smiths, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to listen to his solo albums anymore – although I wasn’t much of a fan of those anyway.”

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
It was not what I was saying.

He should have commented on it. He didn't.
I appreciate what you’re doing, but to be fair, the homophobia you’re referring to was very vague, not particularly aggressive, nor was it widespread. It’s easy to understand how someone would miss it (especially if they weren’t reading Morrissey reviews), or simply not interpret it as homophobia at all.
 
D

Deleted member 29417

Guest
I appreciate what you’re doing, but to be fair, the homophobia you’re referring to was very vague, not particularly aggressive, nor was it widespread. It’s easy to understand how someone would miss it (especially if they weren’t reading Morrissey reviews), or simply not interpret it as homophobia at all.

I would agree with you if he was less politically engaged & if he was less interested in Morrissey.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
I would agree with you if he was less politically engaged & if he was less interested in Morrissey.
I don’t think he was particularly interested in Morrissey back then. They were semi chummy back in ‘86, but he was always much closer with Johnny. And I don’t think his political engagements stretched as far as scouring the NME’s or Select’s reviews for any possible wrongdoings.
 
D

Deleted member 29417

Guest
I don’t think he was particularly interested in Morrissey back then. They were semi chummy back in ‘86, but he was always much closer with Johnny. And I don’t think his political engagements stretched as far as scouring the NME’s or Select’s reviews for any possible wrongdoings.

He was - he's been taking aim at M's solo career since it started & they all treated the music press as trade papers.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
I don’t think he was particularly interested in Morrissey back then. They were semi chummy back in ‘86, but he was always much closer with Johnny. And I don’t think his political engagements stretched as far as scouring the NME’s or Select’s reviews for any possible wrongdoings.
Don't even try; it's nothing but a long gaze into an abyss.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
He was - he's been taking aim at M's solo career since it started & they all treated the music press as trade papers.
Has he? What did he say back in the early years of M’s solo career? I have never picked up on any rivalry between the two.
And even if many treated the NME as a trade paper, the homophobia you’re referring to is so vague most, even Bragg, would miss it. I appreciate what you’re doing, but I think you’re wrong about this.
 

Stephen Hofmann

Well-Known Member
I don’t think he was particularly interested in Morrissey back then. They were semi chummy back in ‘86, but he was always much closer with Johnny. And I don’t think his political engagements stretched as far as scouring the NME’s or Select’s reviews for any possible wrongdoings.

You are joking right? Bragg was always in the shadows of the Smiths, as they forged pretty similar lyrical paths. There were heaps of admiration and jealousy going on.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
You are joking right? Bragg was always in the shadows of the Smiths, as they forged pretty similar lyrical paths. There were heaps of admiration and jealousy going on.
Like I said, I have never picked up on any rivalry. Has Moz ever mentioned Bragg? And what did Bragg say about Moz previous to the For Britain debacle?
 
D

Deleted member 29417

Guest
Has he? What did he say back in the early years of M’s solo career? I have never picked up on any rivalry between the two.
And even if many treated the NME as a trade paper, the homophobia you’re referring to is so vague most, even Bragg, would miss it. I appreciate what you’re doing, but I think you’re wrong about this.

The same as now - isn't a fan of his solo stuff.

It's not that vague, if he's going to pride himself on being an activist it shouldn't really have completely slipped past him.

It's not going to dent his reputation or anything, I just dislike it.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
The same as now - isn't a fan of his solo stuff.

It's not that vague, if he's going to pride himself on being an activist it shouldn't really have completely slipped past him.

It's not going to dent his reputation or anything, I just dislike it.
I would love to read some quotes. Either way, saying you’re not a fan of someone’s solo career doesn’t mean you’re starting or participating in a rivalry.

Not even the staunchest activist can speak out on everything. Nor can they be expected to be aware of every politically incorrect slight written in the paper. Those are ludicrous expectations.

For the record, I’m definitely not defending Billy Bragg. I used to be a fan, primarily of his personal stuff, and I have a few cd’s, but him constantly being up M’s ass and his incessant need to be PC has turned me off of him. But demanding that he should’ve defended Moz back in 1992 because of some possible, vague homophobia directed at M is just silly.
 
D

Deleted member 29417

Guest
I would love to read some quotes. Either way, saying you’re not a fan of someone’s solo career doesn’t mean you’re starting or participating in a rivalry.

Not even the staunchest activist can speak out on everything. Nor can they be expected to be aware of every politically incorrect slight written in the paper. Those are ludicrous expectations.

For the record, I’m definitely not defending Billy Bragg. I used to be a fan, primarily of his personal stuff, and I have a few cd’s, but him constantly being up M’s ass and his incessant need to be PC has turned me off of him. But demanding that he should’ve defended Moz back in 1992 because of some possible, vague homophobia directed at M is just silly.

It's not really vague - the article directly links Morrissey's sexuality to racism. And Bragg did comment in the NME on the scandal - something about Morrissey not having clear politics. So, I think he should have been more clued up.
 

Mike Rourke

Well-Known Member
You are joking right? Bragg was always in the shadows of the Smiths, as they forged pretty similar lyrical paths. There were heaps of admiration and jealousy going on.
Bragg has covered several Smiths songs (including Ask and Never Had No-one Ever) and has always been mates with Marr so I wouldn't say he was jealous of them. In response to another comment, he has challenged Morrissey's muddled political comments/stance in the past, way before the For Britain era. He has also said fairly recently (words to the effect of) that Johnny Marr is the best thing about The Smiths - if this is the case, why doesn't he cover Marr's solo songs? He has been pretty disingenuous about Morrissey over the years, but to blame Bragg for Morrissey's current situation is bonkers.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><>
Bragg has covered several Smiths songs (including Ask and Never Had No-one Ever) and has always been mates with Marr so I wouldn't say he was jealous of them. In response to another comment, he has challenged Morrissey's muddled political comments/stance in the past, way before the For Britain era.

He has also said fairly recently (words to the effect of) that Johnny Marr is the best thing about The Smiths - if this is the case, why doesn't he cover Marr's solo songs?

Hear hear!

He has been pretty disingenuous about Morrissey over the years, but to blame Bragg for Morrissey's current situation is bonkers.

I don’t think anyone’s saying Bragg
is responsible for Morrissey's current situation
 
V

vegan cro spirit .777

Guest
:rolleyes:
hes mates with the other commie,:handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft:, he of the invisible vinyl single:thumbsdown:
that should tell you everything you need to know about this specimen :hammer:
 
A

AKA Foster88

Guest
Bragg's a woke virtue signalling blow hard these days, it's a shame because in his early career he wasn't nearly as intolerable. If you followers on various social media outlets want him to shut up or get a word in before you are blocked ask him about grooming gangs in Rochdale and Rotherham (I know there's more), #Metoo didn't stretch to those young girls. He'll duck out of that exchange.

ask him about Lee Rigby or the recent MP who was murdered. Ask him about the murdered gay men in Reading? I guarantee you'll be left wondering!

Billy picks his 'isms' and phobias to suit his bullshit agenda. Like many these days that are much younger than himself he's not interested in conversation unless you are agreeing with him. The young people have a life to live yet and can be forgiven for seeing the world in absolutes. Bragg should know better. He's deliberately disingenuous these days.
 
C

chrisl

Guest
"I don’t think I’m going to be able to listen to his solo albums anymore – although I wasn’t much of a fan of those anyway.”

What a twat thing to say. First, we all know the long and exciting list of BB hits from the 2000s, 2010s, 2020s...but still.

I am a very liberal American, both economically and socially (though probably not by Gen Z standards), here's what confuses me about BB who has made his bones as being for "the working man" and unions (at least in so far as immigration is concerned): As someone who wanted to keep workers empowered, shouldn't BB be against open-door immigration policies, which are designed to keep wages low for Britons, and to exploit the labor of immigrants? It's one thing to be against immigration "culturally"—which, sadly, I think Morrissey is, but it doesn't make sense from an economic position. Probably why the British working classes were pro-Brexit. Just like working-class Americans are for the billionaire party of Republicans.
 
D

Deleted member 28251

Guest
It’s slightly odd of Bragg to suppose he’s making a statement by not listening to Morrissey albums he doesn’t particularly care for anyway. That would suggest he’s somewhat tortured by Morrissey in a way that extends beyond both music and politics.
 
Top Bottom