Was Morrissey right to turn down the opportunity to reform the Smiths in 2008 (with Marr and Rourke)

Was Morrissey right to turn down the opportunity to reform the Smiths in 2008 (with Marr and Rourke)


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Maurice E Maher

Well-Known Member
Now that we know a little bit more about the situation (e.g. that there would have been a different drummer, and when it might have happened) it'd be interesting to know whether people would have been in favour or against the idea...

I'm adding this recent quote from Marr - looks like it would probably have meant a new Smiths album so not just a nostalgia thing:

"I’d thought anyway that if the Smiths were ever going to reform a big part of it would have been to make a new record, because on the one occasion – that I talk about in the book – that it may have nearly happened, I was one hundred per cent as excited about writing new songs as I was about playing in front of two hundred thousand people. Because I’m always led by new records I guess. I don’t know, weirdly, you are a nostalgia act when you do the big comeback, and usually no-one gives a damn about your new material. But, that wouldn’t be my mentality"
 
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rifke

team bougatsa
yes, the smiths should be left there, back in the eighties, to their time. whatever the smiths were back then, had back then, cant just be transferred to the here and now without that quality being cheapened--while also cheapening the artists involved, because to revisit something, to go back, negates the artists ethic of going forward, always building. it can be seen as a capitulation. plus the more unattainable a thing is the more value it has.
 

Quando quando quando

Well-Known Member
Now that we know a little bit more about the situation (e.g. that there would have been a different drummer, and when it might have happened) it'd be interesting to know whether people would have been in favour or against the idea...
Against.
The Smiths were and are so fucking great to me that time, now and for eternity and they have a huge catalog of music that is timeless to me. I listen to them quite a lot and really, really enjoying the music.
Sometimes I think it was a shame they could not go on after Strangeways because the promise of that album in itself for future music was so great. They were at a turning point, more or less. Maybe getting a bit less Smithsonian but also more musical adventurous and it had such a great promise in it.
Johnny Marr was exceeding his boundaries as a musician and Moz was Moz as he ever was and his lyrics were as great as ever.

But Viva Hate was great too! And I knew, I forever knew I was gonna buy all his music and see him as much as I could. Of course there were flaws and ups and downs in his career, all the more interesting.
I really, really like WPINOYB and consider it to be one of his greatest albums.
Cheers.
 

Calamine Lotion

Well-Known Member
I don't read it like he turned down the opportunity but more like he just let it go by not following up. Also, to me "reforming the band" would mean making new music and not just doing a "reunion" tour. But I'm not trying to be critical. It's just that the wording is suggestive of a way that I didn't really see it but I could be wrong. I don't think a tour means the band is reformed. I don't really have an opinion either because I know a lot of people would like to see it, but I don't care to see them reunite for money. Also they were close to perfect and could only really tarnish their legacy. I wish I'd seen the Sex Pistols but I have no desire to go see them now.
I'll vote no he should have reformed the band, for the fans that want to see it, but I don't think I'd want to. It would be full of those people that wear the shirt but can't name three songs and the tickets would be too expensive.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
In 2008 it was probably right for him not to reform. Morrissey's solo career was in a good place then and he had studio albums and compilations being released on a regular basis.

Would it be right for him to reform now? Well they would be able to get a record deal if they released something new, but it would force him into a massive climbdown and mean that they would largely be a nostalgia act live which he would probably hate. So probably not.
 

Maurice E Maher

Well-Known Member
The whole 'tainting the legacy' issue is interesting but I don't think there's any evidence for this. People are needlessly precious about the whole thing.
The last ten years has seen lots of legendary bands (e.g. Blur, The Specials, The Stone Roses) reform to almost universal acclaim.
None of them, really, has become any less legendary, even if they've put out a couple of new so-so albums (e.g. The Pixies).
There are also bands that never split up but ceased to release commercially or critically successful albums 30+ years ago like The Cure, The Buzzcocks and The Rolling Stones. They all remain iconic, revered bands.
 
I don't know if he "turned it down" as such, but rather chose to let the opportunity go when it was as close to being available. Whether there's any truth to the rumour that Moz wanted to tour immediately rather than wait for the Cribs to do their shows.... who knows.

In any event, I think it was the right thing to do. The Smiths have their brilliant place in history and it should be left as such. 30 years has gone by and so much has changed, it wouldn't be the same. Yes, I'm one of those 'precious' people when it comes to this issue but nobody wants to look back on the beautiful Smiths years only to know that they came back 30 years later and a disappointing reformation occurred - that's not something that is just possible, but given the complexities of the relationships involved it's probable.
 

Maurice E Maher

Well-Known Member
I don't know if he "turned it down" as such, but rather chose to let the opportunity go when it was as close to being available. Whether there's any truth to the rumour that Moz wanted to tour immediately rather than wait for the Cribs to do their shows.... who knows.

In any event, I think it was the right thing to do. The Smiths have their brilliant place in history and it should be left as such. 30 years has gone by and so much has changed, it wouldn't be the same. Yes, I'm one of those 'precious' people when it comes to this issue but nobody wants to look back on the beautiful Smiths years only to know that they came back 30 years later and a disappointing reformation occurred - that's not something that is just possible, but given the complexities of the relationships involved it's probable.
If Morrissey hadn't sung live, and Johnny Marr hadn't played guitar for 20 odd years, it could well be a risk. But we know from current or very recent tours that Morrissey can still sing as well as he ever could (including the old Smiths songs) and Marr is still every bit as good as he was, so there is no risk of disappointment in terms of them playing the Smiths songs. If they wrote some new ones, though, there's a fair chance the songwriting magic wouldn't be quite the same as before.
 

Quando quando quando

Well-Known Member
In 2008 it was probably right for him not to reform. Morrissey's solo career was in a good place then and he had studio albums and compilations being released on a regular basis.

Would it be right for him to reform now? Well they would be able to get a record deal if they released something new, but it would force him into a massive climbdown and mean that they would largely be a nostalgia act live which he would probably hate. So probably not.
In 2008 it was probably right for him not to reform. Morrissey's solo career was in a good place then and he had studio albums and compilations being released on a regular basis.

"Would it be right for him to reform now?"
Only if they could start again from the point of where they left.
Meaning Strangeways.
I don't know if that is possible, think it is very difficult.
Don't care much for legend status of the Smiths that would be damaged.
How come? Those records and their music will always be there.
They won't get changed. Just interested in the new musical possibilities that are, potentially still there with Strangeways in mind.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><>
I wish M and Marr would go into the studio and record a new album under different names, maybe .... 'Jan and Dean', and deny any accusations that the artists on that record are actually them. :)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I think the Smiths should have split up after releasing first single 'Hand in Glove'. What if their later records had been crap? They would have totally ruined their legacy. Artists should be preserved in amber at the earliest opportunity, and never be given the chance to change or develop, or produce anything new. It's the only way to 'preserve the magic'.

Doing anything new is far too risky, because I might not like it, or it might not live up to my memories. Much better to play it safe and not even try to do anything.
 
If Morrissey hadn't sung live, and Johnny Marr hadn't played guitar for 20 odd years, it could well be a risk. But we know from current or very recent tours that Morrissey can still sing as well as he ever could (including the old Smiths songs) and Marr is still every bit as good as he was, so there is no risk of disappointment in terms of them playing the Smiths songs. If they wrote some new ones, though, there's a fair chance the songwriting magic wouldn't be quite the same as before.
You're certainly right - having had the privilege of seeing Moz last Friday night in Canberra he is absolutely a genius and a powerhouse, and as far as I'm concerned always will be. Johnny of course is the same, as talent like that never fades. What I was more referring to was not the quality of the music they might produce, but the dynamics of such an endeavour (re 'complexities of the relationships'). None of us really know what the dynamics of M&M are now, personally let alone professionally. There's a difference between catching up in a pub on occasion and going out on the road to perform the Smiths songs 30 years after the fact.

I don't know, for me it feels like there's a lot of water under the bridge that would need to be sorted out before they could realistically consider coming together again (provided both wanted to, which Moz may or may not have been briefly open to then but certainly isn't now). I feel like Johnny alluded to that when he said the thing about with the right effort it seemed it could actually be done (or words to that effect in the article). If the atmosphere of them together was off, it doesn't bear thinking about. But then again, this is all hypothetical anyway. We've got them both still actively performing, and I'm grateful for that.
 

Quando quando quando

Well-Known Member
I think the Smiths should have split up after releasing first single 'Hand in Glove'. What if their later records had been crap? They would have totally ruined their legacy. Artists should be preserved in amber at the earliest opportunity, and never be given the chance to change or develop, or produce anything new. It's the only way to 'preserve the magic'.

Doing anything new is far too risky, because I might not like it, or it might not live up to my memories. Much better to play it safe and not even try to do anything.
You are funny!
 

AztecCamera

Well-Known Member
Why? He makes millions every year from the corporate acoustic "secret" gigs with John Maher "Johnny Marr" all over America.
 

Quando quando quando

Well-Known Member
Why? He makes millions every year from the corporate acoustic "secret" gigs with John Maher "Johnny Marr" all over America.
You have been saying this for quite some time now without any proof.
If you are so " in the know " about it pull some of your mighty strings and contacts to deliver some hidden video footage of said events.
Ask Nancy or one of your contacts at the marketing department, do them some favours and get that video footage uploaded here. Now. Pronto. Before it is too late. You never know what might happen in the future.
You would be the darling of this hateful online cresh. What? Of the whole fucking interwebs! :laughing:
 

Calamine Lotion

Well-Known Member
The whole 'tainting the legacy' issue is interesting but I don't think there's any evidence for this. People are needlessly precious about the whole thing.
The last ten years has seen lots of legendary bands (e.g. Blur, The Specials, The Stone Roses) reform to almost universal acclaim.
None of them, really, has become any less legendary, even if they've put out a couple of new so-so albums (e.g. The Pixies).
There are also bands that never split up but ceased to release commercially or critically successful albums 30+ years ago like The Cure, The Buzzcocks and The Rolling Stones. They all remain iconic, revered bands.
Maybe but I think The Smiths are on a higher level than Blur, The Specials, or The Stone Roses. People are glad to see a band come back generally, and if you have a few drinks and listen to them play songs you loved when you were a teenager that is going to be okay for most people. But if you compared what The Smiths would look like now to how they looked then, and more importantly the fact that they had an air about them that they were taking over the world, that isn't going to be the same now. It was more than the songs.
For those other bands you mention that are still going, if The Cure had retired after Disintegration they would be much more iconic, and if the Rolling Stones had quit about 1980 people would wonder what they might have been able to achieve. Turns out they haven't had a song worth being excited about in decades and the show is popular because they made so many hit singles early in their career. Not knocking them for continuing but they are not relevant to anything except nostalgia. No one cares what they new Rolling Stones album is going to sound like.
 

hand in glove

40 percent papier mache
Subscriber
I love Johnny and would love to see him work with Morrissey again, but not as the Smiths.
 

Maurice E Maher

Well-Known Member
Now that we know a little bit more about the situation (e.g. that there would have been a different drummer, and when it might have happened) it'd be interesting to know whether people would have been in favour or against the idea...
Just cross-posting here but it looks like we would have been talking about a new album too - at least that's what Marr had in mind - so it wasn't just a nostalgia thing:

"I’d thought anyway that if the Smiths were ever going to reform a big part of it would have been to make a new record, because on the one occasion – that I talk about in the book – that it may have nearly happened, I was one hundred per cent as excited about writing new songs as I was about playing in front of two hundred thousand people. Because I’m always led by new records I guess. I don’t know, weirdly, you are a nostalgia act when you do the big comeback, and usually no-one gives a damn about your new material. But, that wouldn’t be my mentality"
 
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Anonymous

Guest
"I was one hundred per cent as excited about writing new songs as I was about playing in front of two hundred thousand people."
Moz in 2011:

Daily Telegraph: So if the two of you were to play one more concert together, you think that would tarnish everything?
Morrissey: I think whether it did look wrong or it didn’t look wrong, many people would say it looked wrong. And I have enough to live with as things stand, without more accusations and more criticism.

Daily Telegraph: Forget the criticism. Think of all the people who would love it.
Morrissey: But then there’s something about the public always wanting a reformation here and there from such a body and such a band, just simply because they feel, “We’re the public and we can demand it.” And once it happens, nobody’s actually really interested. I mean, can you think of a reformation that continued to be fantastic after the first articles and the first concerts and so forth? After the reformation, six months later, all the musicians begin to feel how they always did about each other. And it rot

Moz in 2013:

"Well I think people become obsessed with things they can't really have, and then once they get it, they say, "really, well, it wasn't that good" and then they move on. Because every time groups reform, it's insane news for 2 weeks and then it's very ho hum, and it's very "uh, what's next?" I don't think any reformation has ever been incredible, I don't think it's made the world free or excited people beyond recognition. Can you think of one? It's fake, I don't get it, and also when bands reform I find they go straight into stadiums and they have big merchandising deals. But you never hear of a band reforming quietly, and rehearsing for a year, in the countryside, and playing together. They always reform and go straight for the money and straight for the stadiums. And it doesn't bode very, very well."
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Mostly a no because it doesn't seem like any of them want to do it for just the music and none of them seem to really like each other. If marr had a massively successful solo career do people really think he'd still be eager to reform the smiths. Even if they made new music there would still be an element of nostalgia and for this reason it would take a while to get past that and I don't think they're gonna do that with one album. Also morrissey seems to really not be about playing the old songs if his current set list is anything to go by and they would be pressed to play the old smiths songs live if they went on tour. He almost doesn't seem to like playing his own older solo songs. Someone mentioned suede but I think it'd be more like the experience Brett had when he tried reuniting with Bernard for the tears which everyone wanted. Bernard didn't want to play old songs but was forced to add some. People generally liked the album but it only ever got compared to the downers and dog man star. The interviews mostly focused on this and all of this only seemed to renew the old tension between them. I loved the album but from the experience of the people involved it didn't seem to make them very happy and the whole thing looked a little ugly from the outside. I mean morrissey hates his interviews now imagine the questions he'd get if they did a reformation. Personally judging from how the reformation conversation went, it doesn't sound like morrissey so was really all that serious about reforming
 
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