Seymour Stein book "Siren Song" includes The Smiths

Discussion in 'General Discussion archive 2018 (read-only)' started by kissmyshadestoo, Jun 22, 2018.

By kissmyshadestoo on Jun 22, 2018 at 8:19 PM
  1. kissmyshadestoo

    kissmyshadestoo Cheeky Defendant

    May 26, 2007
    Johnny/Morrissey on cover!

    Siren Song: My Life in Music Hardcover – June 12, 2018 - Amazon
    by Seymour Stein (Author), Gareth Murphy (Author)


    The autobiography of America’s greatest living record man: the founder of Sire Records and spotter of rock talent from the Ramones to Madonna.

    Seymour Stein is America's greatest living record man. Not only has he signed and nurtured more important artists than anyone alive, now sixty years in the game, he's still the hippest label head, travelling the globe in search of the next big thing.

    Since the late fifties, he's been wherever it's happening: Billboard, Tin Pan Alley, The British Invasion, CBGB, Studio 54, Danceteria, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, the CD crash. Along that winding path, he discovered and broke out a skyline full of stars: Madonna, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Madonna, The Smiths, The Cure, Ice-T, Lou Reed, Seal, and many others.

    Brimming with hilarious scenes and character portraits, Siren Song’s wider narrative is about modernity in motion, and the slow acceptance of diversity in America – thanks largely to daring pop music. Including both the high and low points in his life, Siren Song touches on everything from his discovery of Madonna to his wife Linda Stein's violent death.

    Ask anyone in the music business, Seymour Stein is a legend. Sung from the heart, Siren Song will etch his story in stone.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2018
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    1. Famous when dead
      Famous when dead
      This book is well worth a read.
      There's Morrissey, Marr and The Smiths references.
      Here's an appropriate excert to wet the appetite - lots of music history in this with a nice writing style and a great addition to any music book collection.

      "As for the Smiths’ larger-than-life singer, Morrissey, he was like a character off a Shakespearean stage—witty, profound, theatrical, yet looking squarely at reality. He was a true original whose lyrics were so well written, an English teacher, a vicar, and a psychotherapist could have spent all night fighting over the meanings. The drummer and bass player at the back, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, fit in perfectly, but it was clearly the songwriters, Morrissey and Marr, who were the magical force. In fact, that’s what I said when I shook hands on a North American deal with Geoff Travis after the gig. "The whole band were great, but Morrissey and Johnny Marr would stand out anywhere."
      In early 1984, Sire released their self-titled first album, The Smiths, which did well for an underground debut. I was most moved by “Reel Around the Fountain” with its opening line, “It’s time the tale were told of how you took a child and made him old.” That debut album was followed by Meat Is Murder in 1985. Its eight tracks featured a guitarist’s masterpiece, “How Soon Is Now?” which we pushed as a stand-alone twelve-inch. I called it “the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ of the Eighties,” because for a while, it was all you heard in indie record stores. A “guitarchestra” was how Johnny Marr described this method of layering up to ten guitar parts into a type of sonic painting. The Smiths had plenty of melodic pop songs like “Hand in Glove, “What Difference Does It Make?” and “William, It Was Really Nothing,” but thanks to “How Soon Is Now?” the Smiths had a heavyweight classic, which won the unanimous respect of American alternative rock fans.
      For their third album, The Queen Is Dead, which they began making in the summer of 1985, Morrissey and Marr wrote an absolute beauty that’s probably Morrissey’s most popular anthem, “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.” His lyrics were so effortless, so hard hitting, they had to have been lived. Any time it comes on the radio, my heart sinks for whatever inner torment Morrissey was going through at the height of the Smiths’ adventure. It reminds me so much of situations I’d been in myself, secretly in love with a straight friend you knew you’d never have.
      Brilliant as they were, the Smiths unfortunately weren’t made to last. Geoff Travis always says it’s because they never had a manager to guide them through the choppy seas of success. They did try but kept firing the unlucky candidates, always expecting Johnny Marr to resume his old duties as the band’s temporary problem solver. Marr now admits that his coke and alcohol consumption at the time were partly to blame for the unmanageable chaos the Smiths were becoming, which included the bass player’s worsening heroin habit. I don’t doubt any of this for a second. However, from hanging out backstage and reading their body language, I’ve always wondered if maybe Morrissey harbored a deep unrequited love for Johnny Marr, which I suspect Johnny Marr felt and couldn’t handle. That was always my gut feeling, and I wasn’t surprised when, years later, Morrissey confessed he was living with a man. It’s none of my business, of course, but I’d add Morrissey and Marr to the very long list of mysterious love-hate relationships that created some of the best songs ever written.
      The Smiths suffered a tragically young death, but they’d at least left behind five classic albums. Without any singles on the Billboard Hot 100, we ended up selling about half a million copies of every Smiths album in North America, which wasn’t exactly the big time in that period of booming sales, but it’s nonetheless a measure of how wide their cult status grew. American fans adopted the Smiths solely by word of mouth without any payola or marketing trickery. In fact, they only played a sum total of thirty shows in the United States, basically one small tour in June 1985 and twenty dates in August 1986."

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    2. gordyboy9
      the saint johnny of marr doing coke,wash your mouth out Seymour.
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    3. Peppermint
      Nothing we didn't already know, but fascinating nonetheless to hear it described in such plain terms, from first hand experience.
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    4. vegan.cro spirit# 453
      vegan.cro spirit# 453
      Seymour is, and so was his late wife, a huge :flamethrow:, so no surprise he thinks everybody else is too.doh:
    5. general disarray
      general disarray
    6. Anonymous
      It makes you do impulsive things for paranoid reasons like quitting your band because you think your band mate released a story to the press etc
    7. Roger O
      Roger O
      Morrissey was never in love with Johnny. He was in love with the Smiths. If he had been in love with Johnny he would have done anything Johnny wanted. Seymore and Linda were creepy. Johnny wasn't Mozzes type in any way. That is just a cheap guess on this creepy slimeballs part. Johnny was too young, slight and soft for our Moz.
    8. Anonymous
      Really? Who’s puny body and juvenile impulses was he singing about? Maybe Mike Joyce was more his type.
    9. Roger O
      Roger O
      Yes, its more likely he would have been attracted to smokin hot babe Mike over Johnny.
      My point was I doubt Morrissey was in love with Johnny. I dont see it.
      I think Seymore sleezy record exec wanted to get under Morrisseys skin with this body language speculation.
      I think its a passive dig at Morrissey.
      Mike and Johnny were too young and plain and dull for Mozz. They never partied together happily, it seems.
      Mozz was Debbie Downer at the time. I still love Mozz. Peace and Love.
    10. SuedeMoz
      Based on what? Do you have some insider knowledge that Seymour Stein harbors disdain for Morrissey? Reading the excerpt from the book he actually sounds quite fond of Morrissey... if he was trying to disparage Morrissey I think he could be a lot more direct. He could talk about Morrissey's reputation for being unreliable and difficult. How he thought Marr was the real talent of the band, etc. It just sounds like an honest observation from someone who was actually there at the time.
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    11. Roger O
      Roger O
      Also he claims that that's what caused Johnny to ditch the Smiths. Way way off.
      But I would like to read this book. Morrissey was not in love with Johnny. I'll eat my hat.
    12. Anonymous
      He likes Moz. This is from an interview from 2016.

      One of those acts was The Smiths. They could have been huge in the US but it never happened. Why?

      It’s obvious what happened. You know and I know it.

      Was it down to the “M” word? Morrissey?

      It wasn’t the “M” word. It was the “F” word – friction. That’s the word. The friction between the two of them [Johnny Marr and Morrissey] was the reason.

      I am very friendly with Johnny and I even have a relationship with Morrissey – which is not easy. I go out of my way to keep that relationship going because he is one of the very few artists – and I would put Johnny in the same category – who is a genius.

      It’s a really great, great shame [they split]. They just couldn’t get along. I think Morrissey had a problem getting on with people. He said some terrible things to me and then sort of apologised. It doesn’t matter. We still speak. I love him and I love his taste in other music.

      He is a big rockabilly fan and I love that stuff. It is very sad. But these things happen. It happened on a much bigger level. The Beatles should have stayed together. Their work on their own is very, very good but nothing like when it was The Beatles.
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    13. Roger O
      Roger O
      There is an upsetting story about Seymore and Linda coercing Dee Dee Ramone into having sex with one or both of them using a flashy watch Dee Dee had complimented as Dee Dee collected watches. Anyway He did it despite not being attracted to either, Then was remorseful. If its true then that is awful. People on heroine are fragile. If its true. Im pretty sure I read it in one of the big Punk history books, or maybe Dee Dees book. Also a friend of mine was friends with Aurtuto Vega in the 80s and it was known that Dee Dee was never a male prostatute or homo in any way. He had a full time job until the Ramones broke. He just admired Jim Carroll as many heroine users did and dug the rock mythology. Dee Dee liked girls only. Thats what we knew.
    14. Roger O
      Roger O
      Where is there any other evidence Mozz lerved Johnny. I don't buy it. Too on the nose. Morrissey was busy experimenting with antidepressants, reading and writing. He never even hung out to celebrate after these history making recording sessions. He was up to bed like mum and dad while the band listened to Prince and partied like its 1999. I miss Prince.
    15. Peppermint
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    16. vegan.cro spirit# 453
      vegan.cro spirit# 453
      More like Seymour being jealous, Moz probably turned down his advances.
      Seymour would break into a sweat when he saw a hot dude.:laughing:
    17. Roger O
      Roger O
      Great photo. I remember it well. They had a loving friendship for a while which soured on Johnnys end.
      Even though Johnny knew he was going to bail happily through the Strangeways recordings I know he regretted it a week after telling everyone he was leaving but he couldnt go back on it. Foolish pride. He was young. Mark my word. I know all. Later you sexy beasts.
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    18. Famous when dead
      Famous when dead
      From Stein's book (and used as a source by The New York Post under the title:
      That time Dee Dee Ramone tried to seduce a music mogul):
      "There was one afternoon when the craziness of our marriage knocked on our front door. Linda was running off to catch a plane, for once leaving me alone in the Central Park apartment. Minutes after she rolled her suitcase out the front door, the buzzer rang. I thought Linda had forgotten something—but it wasn’t Linda. Had it been anyone other than Dee Dee Ramone, you’d have thought it was just somebody in the neighborhood dropping by to say hello. But Dee Dee was the last person you’d associate with innocent coincidences. I just knew he’d been hiding on the street until Linda got into her cab. After all, she was his manager. He probably knew where she was flying, when, why, and on which airline.
      He appeared at the door with a filthy, horny face I barely recognized. He moved into the hallway and pulled a cigarette slowly from his packet. Like a diva in a 1950s movie, he placed it slowly in his pouting lips and reached his neck forward, signaling for a light. Mortified, I pulled a lighter from the hall table and flicked. He sucked on the flame and gently blew his first puff of smoke in my face. He then walked past me into the bedroom where Linda and I shared our brief, tumultuous marriage. In the most improbable striptease I’ve ever witnessed, Dee Dee peeled off his hallmark Ramones uniform. First the little T-shirt and then the sneakers and shredded jeans. He then lay on the bed naked like some eunuch in a Renaissance painting. His eyes and body position said it all: Take me whatever way you want. I’m your bitch.
      Dee Dee was a long story of drugs and delinquency. He was more insane than any of us, so far gone in fact that he’d already reached the point of no return where you don’t even care what anyone thinks. I’d heard he did some prostitution on the side, but I’d never quite believed it. I’d met all his girlfriends. I thought I knew Dee Dee. I’d watched him onstage a hundred times, thrashing his bass like a good little Ramone. What bothered me wasn’t that I happened to be his label boss; I just couldn’t stomach how feminine he’d become. I like my men masculine. For a prostitute, Dee Dee obviously hadn’t progressed very far up from public toilets. Had he just been himself, he’d maybe have gotten whatever he was looking for, which I can only guess was money.
      “Just a second. I’ll fix us a drink,” I told him and made a dash for the kitchen, wondering what the fuck I was going to do. While making noise with ice cubes, I picked up the phone and dialed a special number that would make the phone ring back. I placed the receiver gently back on the cradle, which set off every phone in the apartment. I ran into the living room, where Dee Dee could hear me through the bedroom door. “What?” I shouted into the dead telephone line. “No. I don’t see any fog … well, there’s none here.” It was one of my finest acting performances. “Oh, okay. See you in a bit,” I said and hung up. Looking panicked, I told Dee Dee that Linda had turned back because fog had shut down the airport. He had to get dressed and go.
      A white lie got me out of a tight corner. He probably sensed he’d been fobbed off, because he never tried that stunt again. Not that Dee Dee was the type of person who wasted time on regret or shame. As for me, my little secret was obviously no longer such a secret anymore, and even I was starting not to care that everybody knew I was gay. As I was about to discover, the thing about repressed sexuality is that it’s not necessarily physical desire that’ll lure you out of the closet but something far stronger."

      And just to add to the discussion:
      Morrissey in GQ magazine, 2005:
      "GQ: “Were you in love with Johnny Marr?”
      M: “Sexually? Absolutely not. There was a love and it was mutual and equal but it wasn’t physical or sexual. There are lots of people post-Smiths who would like to make some dramatic homosexual story. There never was one. It’s often said that Johnny rescued me but he was also bobbing about in his own lifeboat"

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    19. Roger O
      Roger O
      Im thinking about another story involving Linda and a watch like a rolex or something.I forget where I read it. Maybe Please Kill Me. Anyway they were just friends. Morrissey wasn't an idiot. His heart was wise. Johnny was not. The Pretenders didn't need him. Brian Ferry and Chrissy were already legends.

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