J: Which of The Smiths albums were you really into?
M: I knew about How Soon Is Now, Still Ill, Hand In Glove, but the first album I heard when I really bought into the whole thing was ‘The Queen Is Dead’. I remember buying it on vinyl, which I still have in my mother’s basement. The whole album raised my eyebrows. Morrissey is a force in his own right but Johnny Marr, and even Andy Rourke, I think his playing is really underrated and a really important part of the sound.
In Autobiography, Morrissey describes his first meeting of Michael:
Mikey Farrell is an outstanding addition on keyboards – an infallible guide of new sounds and dry wit, of mid-western hardiness and team squad yardage. Interestingly, a vast knowledge of show tunes and an ability to play almost anything ten seconds after first hearing it. His opening words to me were, ‘I’m a poor man’s Roger Manning,’ in his shaggy-hangdog look that would soon sharpen itself into stylish Pepe le Moko aspect. ‘My wife saw you at the Roxy when the Smiths first played in LA,’ he went on. ‘Oh, that must’ve been an interesting night since we’d never played the Roxy.’ God forbid I just leave things as they are. From Cleveland, Mikey is of Irish grandparents and is stubbornly competitive, which I enjoy since it usually works to my favor. Proof of something is the sun-drenched day when we all play football at Hyde Park in London, and once I’ve scored the first goal I close down the match since ‘it seems obvious where this is going.’ Mikey fumes since his chance to wrestle me into unconsciousness is thwarted.
ME: Do you know what you haven’t got?
MIKEY: A personality?
ME: Well, besides that. You don’t actually have piano fingers.
It is a noisy gathering at Pizza Express on Parkway in Camden.
MIKEY: The Queen is Dead had a big influence on me in high school.
ME: A bad one, I trust?
MIKEY: Of course.
I smell a new world of music with Mikey, but I also realize that he’s the type who would jump ship should the royal wave come from Barbara Strident. If I was anything at all, I was sewage disposal. The mouth speaks first, and then thirty seconds later the brain catches up with whatever it is I’ve just said.
Pianist, keyboarder, guitarist, songwriter, based in Los Angeles, CA. Performed in Morrissey's band, worked as musical director for Macy Gray and Vanessa Brown
For the visual artist please use Michael Farrell (4) For the label manager at Anjunabeats, please use Michael Farrell (5)
Michael Kevin Farrell is an American keyboardist, musical director, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work both recording and touring with Alanis Morissette, Morrissey and Macy Gray.