Would Johnny Marr have vetoed latter Mozzer lyrics?

herzeleid

New Member
If the Smiths had continued, do you think Marr would've stood firmly behind the Bengali/Asian/N.F triumvirate? Of course Bengali existed in the immediate post-Marr Ivor Perry desperation, but I would wager that had Rick and Bruce offered any resistance that they would've been roundly ignored by his nibs. Whereas Johnny was evidently considered much more of an equal. Given the umbrage Marr had taken at the lazy Panic-era racist accusations do you reckon he would have happily defended the trilogy? And if not, would he have had the influence to insist that they were altered and/or didn't make it on to a Smiths slab of vinyl?

I'm not looking to open a debate on the songs per se. I really like the latter two. But do feel that BIP is clumsy.
 

Peterb

Well-Known Member
If the Smiths had continued, do you think Marr would've stood firmly behind the Bengali/Asian/N.F triumvirate? Of course Bengali existed in the immediate post-Marr Ivor Perry desperation, but I would wager that had Rick and Bruce offered any resistance that they would've been roundly ignored by his nibs. Whereas Johnny was evidently considered much more of an equal. Given the umbrage Marr had taken at the lazy Panic-era racist accusations do you reckon he would have happily defended the trilogy? And if not, would he have had the influence to insist that they were altered and/or didn't make it on to a Smiths slab of vinyl?

I'm not looking to open a debate on the songs per se. I really like the latter two. But do feel that BIP is clumsy.
The thing is, when looked at with any kind of care and detail, I do not think the accusations of racism in these songs hold up. Presumably Marr would be so close to these songs that he would also of eshewed the interpretations of bigotry.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Another query - where would he have stood on the Union flag waving?
He would have done what he always did - feign complete innocence, stand quietly to one side and let Morrissey take all the shit.
 

mcrickson

Reckless Endangerment
Did Marr EVER veto any Moz lyrics during the Smiths? Although Moz allegedly had some small hand in musical arrangements (other Smiths have remarked upon his input regarding drum patterns) and the layout of the song, I think that the words were something Marr and the rest of the band were content to leave completely to Morrissey. It's like what Marr said in his 1987 interview about Strangeways that's on youtube - he wanted Morrissey to be seen as the frontman, the essential voice of the band. The band's politic. The band's views really reflected Morrissey's views. And I'd say really up until "Your Arsenal," when he was again working with a new band that he was touring with, his style of lyricism stayed about the same as it was in the Smiths. So I don't think anything would've changed, really. Marr wouldn't have suddenly started confronting Morrissey about his lyrics, because not much really would have changed as far as style goes.

Good thread, by the way.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Did Marr EVER veto any Moz lyrics during the Smiths?
I remember reading that Johnny suggested a very minor change to The Headmaster Ritual - "Bruises as big as dinner plates", rather than "bigger". Moz ignored the advice at the time, but sang Marr's version on Who Put The M in Manchester? - a sweet little nod to Johnny, I thought.
 

mcrickson

Reckless Endangerment
Ah yes, now that you mention it I recall reading that as well. Still though, I can't imagine there are any examples of Marr suggesting considerable revamping of Morrissey's lyrics, at least had they stayed together. It all would've progressed naturally. I think Morrissey still would've come up with very similar songs lyrically to those on "Viva Hate" and even up to a few on "Kill Uncle." The change for "Your Arsenal" was completely because he was working with a newer style of music than late 80s British indie pop. I don't think he could've ever written "Certain People I Know" to accompany a melody by Johnny.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
... I don't think he could've ever written "Certain People I Know" to accompany a melody by Johnny.
I dunno - The Smiths' T.Rex rip-off was "Panic", and the solo one was "Certain People..", so it's not out his range. Still, part of me is glad The Smiths didn't survive into the 90s. Johnny's "Oasis period" might have come just that bit earlier than it did, and God knows what Morrissey would have done then!
 

Maurice E

Junior Member
If the Smiths had continued, do you think Marr would've stood firmly behind the Bengali/Asian/N.F triumvirate? Of course Bengali existed in the immediate post-Marr Ivor Perry desperation, but I would wager that had Rick and Bruce offered any resistance that they would've been roundly ignored by his nibs. Whereas Johnny was evidently considered much more of an equal. Given the umbrage Marr had taken at the lazy Panic-era racist accusations do you reckon he would have happily defended the trilogy? And if not, would he have had the influence to insist that they were altered and/or didn't make it on to a Smiths slab of vinyl?
I'm not looking to open a debate on the songs per se. I really like the latter two. But do feel that BIP is clumsy.
Bengali in Platforms and National Front Disco can easily be interpreted as potentially racist songs. But Asian Rut is one of the most passionately anti-racism songs I've ever heard.
Please could you explain how this song could be considered racist? To me, it can only be thought racist in the mind of the most idiotic and fuck-witted music journalist, but perhaps I'm missing something?
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Bengali in Platforms and National Front Disco can easily be interpreted as potentially racist songs. But Asian Rut is one of the most passionately anti-racism songs I've ever heard.
Please could you explain how this song could be considered racist? To me, it can only be thought racist in the mind of the most idiotic and fuck-witted music journalist, but perhaps I'm missing something?
How is 'National Front Disco' racist? The narrator is lamenting the loss of a friend or relative who has "gone over" to the National Front - not sympathising with the N.F himself. The "England for the English" part is written in quotation marks in the lyrics so it's obviously intended as reported speech... I don't see anything racist in that song. People just seem to see the provocative title and make assumptions from there. That said, "Bengali in Platforms" is a spectacularly ill-thought out song that has always sounded racist to me and makes me uncomfortable on every listen. I can't believe he's removed "The Ordinary Boys" from the Viva.. reissue instead of that claptrap.
 
Believe this or not, but I once worked as a DJ in a Liverpool Nightclub in the 90's ( The Casablanca, if anyone is out there old enough to have actually attended...and still remembers it...).
It was a fantastic place, with people/students of all ages and different cultures, coming in to just enjoy the "Vibe".

My own musical "Education" was improved by some customers bringing in CDs and Vinyl, and asking me to play it...I would "Vet" it on my headphones first, and , if I felt it would "Work", I'd find a spot to play it. It usually went down well ( Whatever language it was sang in)...And there was Indeed, a "Bengali" chap who frequented the place, and Yes, he DID wear platforms...but he brought some decent tunes in with him, which others seemed to enjoy listening to/dancing to. The smiths tunes and Morrissey also went down pretty well with the crowd too.....I cannot understand anyone thinking Morrisseys Lyrics are racist, or Anti-anyone, IF they actually LISTEN to them first. I know he can be a right sillyso-and-so with his own "Political/Ethical" views, but, even if I may disagrre, at least he has the right to believe in them. I actually played "Bengali in Platforms" one night whilst the aforesaid chap was in the club, and he just carried on dancing and smiling...it was that kind of place......R.I.P the casablanca. ( I was also "Ordered" at one stage NOT to play any Simply Red songs, as Mick Hucknall was in the building, and he didn't want any "bothersome Fan" attention ....so I played a few.anyway....so sue me!!).
 
I can't say I have ever considered "Bengali..." to be even remotely racist, or even to be easily misinterpreted as racist... I have in fact always seen it as being utterly sympathetic to the Bengali in the song. The lyrics are hardly cryptic or vague...

Same goes for the other two.




Also, "Bengali" is in no way a racist term, ffs. No more than "Brit" or "Canuck".
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
I think Morrissey would have vetoed a lot of Marr's later music.
LOL.

True.

He already did so with "The Draize Train", by most accounts. Making it an instrumental B-side was essentially a veto.

To answer the question, Marr did veto Morrissey's lyrics. He left the band. I'm pretty sure he guessed that Morrissey's lyrics would start to become stale and uninspired-- but to be fair I think he thought exactly the same thing about his own music. He saw The Smiths as peaking with "Strangeways", but he probably also understood, as many critics had already been saying, that the band was perilously close to languishing in self-parody, if they weren't already. Marr did them both a huge favor.

Did he anticipate Morrissey's edgier, more ambiguous lyrics about race and nationalism? Probably not. To reach the decision to leave The Smiths, he didn't really have to get that far.
 
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