Here’s a little word of advice for any burgeoning Morrissey fans: don’t. Just don’t go there. By all means, listen to the man’s music, dance around to “How Soon is Now?”, court the opposite sex (or same, if that’s your thing) to Smiths albums, ponder and mull (thoughts, not wine) and reflect alone with Moz as your soundtrack, but don’t ever EVER refer to yourself as a ‘Morrissey fan.’ The Moz police really, really hate that.
Indeed, they hate it so much, that Moz superfan David Tseng, who runs the fansite Morrissey-solo.com, having travelled more than 5,000 miles to attend a concert in Copenhagen, found himself surrounded by security guards, thrown out without financial recompense, and being told “You know what you did.” A bewildered Tseng responded with “Er, I don’t.”
Now, Morrissey’s animosity towards him can’t have come as a massive surprise to Tseng, given that just recently, Moz took to the stage wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “F–K MORRISSEY-SOLO.COM”, but that said, holding one person responsible for the actions of many does seem a little…well, bats#@t crazy.
According to a public statement, “Mr Tseng, via his poisonous website, has caused so much intentional distress to Morrissey and Morrissey’s band over the years that Mr Tseng is not welcome at any Morrissey shows.”
Perplexed Tseng told The Guardian UK, “I’ve never intended to cause distress to Morrissey or his band. I post little commentary on the site, preferring to leave the discussion to site users – he seems to blame me for his fans’ opinions. I don’t agree with every post on there but I believe in free speech – I don’t like to censor, which is something he is supposedly against.”.
“It’s a control thing. If he doesn’t have control of the site then he doesn’t like it – he wants to knock it down. I think it’s because he’s having trouble getting a record deal so he’s looking for someone to blame. He’s frustrated.”
Tseng claims that this has probably come about as a result of certain discussion threads commenting on what Tseng calls Morrissey’s “stagnant” new material, and criticism of Moz’s current touring backing band, but a few discussion threads on the site do seem to tell a slightly different story, with many pointing out that up until sometime in the late 2000s, Morrissey’s relationship with Morrissey-solo.com had been, by all accounts, a positive one, with Morrissey even crediting the site on one of his compilations.
General consensus seems to suggest that the relationship turned sour when Tseng published a rumor that Moz had failed to pay people in his touring party, leading the ex-Smiths frontman to threaten Tseng with legal action. So Tseng does seem to be claiming more ignorance than he has any right to, but it is difficult to look at this falling out in an isolated context. Indeed, Moz has a long history of falling out with individuals, many of whom had been very close to him at one point in Moz’s life. That being said, inflicting scathing criticism on his fans does feel a little like the final domino as finally fallen.
Who was it who said that you should never meet your heroes? Yeah, that person was onto something there.
After a period of poor health forced Morrissey to cancel a string of both South and North American tour dates last year, the Mozfather is set to return to the states this year for a tour.
The British icon kicks off the trek on May 7th in San Jose, followed by a May 10th show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, eventually wrapping up on June 21st in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. In between are more than 20 dates in cities ranging from Denver to Nashville to Boston.
For two of the dates, Morrissey has enlisted both Tom Jones (!) in Los Angeles and Cliff Richard (!) in Brooklyn. Frequent tour mate Kristeen Young, a singer-keyboardist from St. Louis, will open all dates.
YES, you read that right. Morrissey and Cliff Richard and Tom Jones i.e. the best party ever, or if not the best, the weirdest.
“Everyone knows how much I hate Morrissey,” Richard said on Twitter, jokingly. “But you should see the size of the f*cking cheque he waved in my face!”
A bleeding ulcer, double pneumonia and a case of Barrett’s esophagus called time on Morrissey’s North American tour last year, and he famously released his bestselling autobiography.
The pairing of Morrissey and Richard has provoked disbelief from some, with Richard being a vocal British royal family supporter and Morrissey being equally vocal about his anti-monarchist views.
In fact, the former Smiths frontman recently wrote a letter criticizing Princes William and Harry for a recent hunting trip.
The Duke of Cambridge also received some criticism from Morrissey for going shooting in Spain on the day before he launched United For Wildlife, a campaign to end the illegal hunting of animals.
As well as calling William a “thickwit”, Morrissey ended his letter by saying: “We can only pray to God that their hunting guns backfire in their faces.”
Classic Morrissey, then.
From fronting The Smiths to his vastly successful career as a solo artist, Morrissey’s penchant for somber wit has remained. Though his works are bleak, his often tongue-in-cheek delivery encourages a wide palate of emotions, making his range one of legendary proportions. Few artists are able to embody such a prominent personality through songs rooted in accessible alternative-rock. Whether you’re a victim of unrequited love, a bad friendship, or simply hate it when your friends become successful, there’s a Morrissey song for you. But it’s easy to grab one of his Greatest Hits compilations. Grasping Morrissey’s true genius requires listening to his best albums, front to back. Here are his best solo efforts:
Viva Hate (1988)
When The Smiths disbanded in 1987, it was because of a rift between the band’s two leaders – singer/lyricist Morrissey and guitarist/songwriter Johnny Marr. Marr was largely responsible for the sound behind Morrissey’s deep and quivering croon, and most fans wondered how Morrissey would fare having a different composer at the helm. Morrissey was always purported to be fiercely loyal to one project a time, whereas Marr had been working with other artists prior to The Smiths’ break-up. It was natural to wonder if Morrissey would fizzle out. But less than a year after the band’s break-up, Morrissey proved he was still on top with the release of Viva Hate. It was his solo debut, and the first of many that would define his acclaimed post-Smiths career. Working with Stephen Street and Vini Reilly, Morrissey concocted a jangle-pop sound not too far from The Smiths’ final LP, Strangeways, Here We Come. “Everyday Is Like Sunday” and “Suedehead” became some of his most famous songs, reaching radio waves instantly with their polished grandiosity. And then there’s “Late Night, Maudlin Street”, the pinnacle of emotive Morrissey epics. As a reflection on adolescence, and all its somber and defeating moments, the simultaneous impact of nostalgia and heartbreak is rarely captured so well.
Your Arsenal (1992)
Your Arsenal is the first release from Morrissey’s current backing band, who contribute on all his solo albums from Your Arsenal to 2009’s Year of Refusal, his most recent full-length. Alain Whyte was the chief composer for Your Arsenal and, along with other frequent Morrissey songwriter Boz Boorer, he derives from the rockabilly scene. While remaining excellent, the album represents a slight shift in style for Morrissey. Transitioning from more fluid jangle-pop to thicker rock, tracks like “You’re Gonna Need Someone on Your Side” and “You’re the One for Me, Fatty” showcase a sound heavier in guitar and bass, with distortion and various effects appearing more frequently. That’s not to say Morrissey’s voice is pushed to the back, though. Mick Ronson’s brilliant production expertly juggles his presence with the musical backdrop, mixing rock-laden efforts with subdued ballads like “Seasick, Yet Still Docked”, which wallows in lovesick pity over swaying acoustics before Morrissey concludes with, “My love is as sharp as a needle in your eye You must be such a fool to pass me by.” As that line shows, his melancholy doesn’t necessarily equate to a lack of self-worth. These subtly beautiful contrasts, both lyrically and musically, help make Your Arsenal one of Morrissey’s best.
Vauxhall and I (1994)
Stylistically, there’s not much different on Vauxhall and I than Your Arsenal, released two years earlier. There remains the contrast of high-spirited rockers – “Now My Heart Is Full”, “The More You Ignore Me”, and “Speedway” – with reflectively gorgeous ballads, namely “Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning” and “I Am Hated for Loving”. Now comfortable with his new lineup, Morrissey juggles the various tones with more efficiency than ever. The album’s first half rolls along at a brisk pace with efforts like the fleeting “Billy Bud”, while the middle features the aforementioned ballads. The release moves along with very natural pacing, now led by famed rock producer Steve Lillywhite. Songwriter Boz Boorer’s rockabilly influence comes most alive on closer “Speedway”, where a buzzing chainsaw incorporates well into one of Morrissey’s most infectious efforts. Vauxhall and I is one of Morrissey’s most diverse releases, and one that has aged with considerable grace.
You Are the Quarry (2004)
The 21st century has resulted in several fascinating stylistic turns for Morrissey. For instance, 2006’s Ringleader of the Tormentors featured the legendary Ennio Morricone providing the arrangement for “Dear God Please Help Me”. The past decade has been a very entertaining ride for Moz, but of his most recent releases 2004’s You Are the Quarry remains the most solid and consistent. The first three tracks are “America Is Not the World”, “Irish Blood, English Heart”, and “I Have Forgiven Jesus”; they seem to beg for controversy in their titles alone. But it doesn’t get past the point that few Morrissey albums start out better. Along with “First of the Gang to Die”, these are triumphant pop anthems that touch on a variety of issues, from painstaking nationalism to familial ties. As usual, Morrissey serves as one of the best lyricists in music, painting his narratives with a melodic sincerity that is entirely unique to his craft. It doesn’t require a dramatic stylistic transition to keep him relevant, and You Are the Quarry is one of the latest to prove that.
The jangly guitar riffs and epic indie-pop melodies often masked the rather depressing nature of The Smiths’ output. But Morrissey hasn’t earned his eternal miserablist reputation for nothing and amongst both his solo and former band’s back catalog, there are a plethora of songs that are so immediately unremittingly bleak that they make Leonard Cohen look like Miley Cyrus. Here’s a look at eight of his most doom-laden tunes.
Taken from their fourth and final studio album, Strangeways Here We Come, Morrissey unleashes the kind of venom he would later become renowned for on possibly the most spiteful birthday message ever recorded. Not content with claims that he will kill both himself and his dog, his spurned lover routine also sees him brazenly promise that he wouldn’t cry if his cheating former lover died herself. Obviously, hell hath no fury like a Morrissey scorned.
Seasick Yet Still Docked
Appearing on his third solo effort, 1992’s Your Arsenal, this melancholic ballad is one of his most lyrically simplistic efforts. But drenched in a potent mix of self-loathing, jealousy and sadness, it’s also one of his most heart-breaking as his ‘pour freezingly cold soul’ pines over the object of his affections that will always remain unattainable.
I Know It’s Over
Penned by Morrissey and Marr during a marathon writing session for 1986’s The Queen Is Dead, “I Know It’s Over” is arguably one of the band’s bleakest odes to unrequited love, combining suicidal thoughts (“the knife wants to slit me, do you think you can help me”) with a begrudging well-wish to the newlywed who spurned his advances (“sad veiled bride, please be happy”) and a despairing cry for his mother.
One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell
The title says it all. Appearing on his ninth studio album, Years Of Refusal, “One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell” is a bitter look at the twilight years of a man’s life which manages to balance unrepentant statements of intent (“And when I die, I want to go to hell”) with flashes of dark humour (“And the smiling children tell you that you smell”). Proof that even as he entered his fifties, Morrissey remained as utterly morbid as ever.
Girlfriend In A Coma
The lead single from The Smiths’ swansong is possibly the most famous example of Morrissey’s fondness for seriously unhealthy relationships as he reflects on the several occasions where he could quite happily have murdered the girlfriend who is now in a coma, before asking the doctor about the chances of her pulling through in a manner which suggests he hopes the answer is zero.
Recently featured prominently in coming of age drama The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, “Asleep” is one of The Smiths’ best-loved and most emotionally devastating B-sides. Explicitly tackling the subject of suicide, Morrissey has never sounded more morose than when he’s muttering the lines, “sing me to sleep, and then leave me alone, don’t try to wake me in the morning” whilst accompanied by Stephen Street’s ghostly piano-led production.
There’s A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends
The torch song closer from his 1991 solo LP, Kill Uncle, “There’s A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends” appears to tackle the perception that all gay people are sent to eternal damnation when they meet their maker. The kind of defiant, if achingly sad, song you can easily imagine Morrissey requesting as his funeral song.
Suffer Little Children
However, Morrissey’s tales of self-angst are nothing compared to the emotionally devastating subject matter covered in “Suffer Little Children,” the standout from The Smiths’ 1984 eponymous debut. Addressing the heinous crimes of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley that were dubbed as ‘The Moors Murders,’ the track was initially greeted with controversy for the fact it referenced each of the victims by name. But after Morrissey managed to convince that its intentions were honorable, it is now widely regarded as one of the band’s most haunting pieces of work.
Morrissey has canceled his current North American tour citing illness.
The English singer has attempted to tour the continent twice in the past half-year or so, but has had to cancel or postpone dates on both those tour legs, one due to his own illness and the other attributed to the illness of his mother.
But in statement announcing the cancellation, Morrissey said he’d reached his “physical limits.”
He also wrote the following in the statement:
It takes a lifetime to find the right words, and at the moment, I haven’t got them.
I’ve been a colossal pain where this continuously unpredictable illness is concerned, and now the physical limits have been reached.
The tour had, in fact, been fantastic for all of us – a new slice of life full of concentrated power.
The audiences everywhere have given so much, although I know that neither of us will ever receive our due.
I hope this isn’t the end, and I hope there will be other chances, minus the heavy burden of illness.
Knots of grief today, but full of resolve for tomorrow.
In all he had to cancel 22 upcoming shows on the tour. A representative for the singer said that Morrissey “had taken a hiatus and will not be able to continue on the rest of the tour. Morrissey thanks all of his fans for their well-wishes and thoughts.”
In recent months, it has been reported that the former Smiths frontman has battled pneumonia, a bleeding ulcer and a throat condition, though the exact extent of his current ailment was not revealed.
Morrissey was recently in the news for refusing to appear in a scheduled performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in February because the episode also included cast members of the reality show “Duck Dynasty.” Morrissey said the stars were “animal serial killers” and refused to appear unless they were bumped from the show.
Let’s get this out of the way right now. Johnny Marr is no Morrissey. Singing just isn’t his strong suit, but the man can still wield an ax like he could during his heyday in the 80s.
At the NME Awards last night, Johnny Marr grabbed the Rolling Stone’s Ronnie Wood to help him out with a little song called “How Soon is Now?” While it wasn’t the most stirring rendition your ears will ever hear, it is a pretty cool spectacle to behold nonetheless (check it out in the YouTube video below).
I’d give anything to be a fly on the wall when Morrissey finds out about Marr dusting off their classic to parades out for the awards show. Yeah that Smiths reunion is never, and I mean, never happening.
Morrissey’s going to try a North American tour again after two failed attempts. He’s back with a 28-date trek through the continent.
Most of the new dates (25 to be exact) are rescheduled dates he was forced to postpone last year and earlier this year, and he’s added three additional dates, as well.
The tour will kick off tomorrow, February 27 at the Balboa Theater in San Diego, and Morrissey will stay on the road through an April 30 appearance at the Warfield in San Francisco.
Morrissey was originally set to appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” tonight, February 26, but has since cancelled because he found out the other guests booked are the stars of the popular A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty.”
“Morrissey is thankful for being invited to perform on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ tomorrow, February 26,” said a statement from the singer’s camp. “However, he cannot morally be on a television program where the cast members of ‘Duck Dynasty’ will also be guests. Morrissey would be honored to play the show, if ‘Duck Dynasty’ were removed.”
Morrissey himself added to the statement: “As far as my reputation is concerned, I can’t take the risk of being on a show alongside people who, in effect, amount to animal serial killers. If Jimmy cannot dump ‘Duck Dynasty’ then we must step away.”
It appears that Morrissey’s people have been in talk with Kimmel to find a compromise, and it was offered that Morrissey could tape his performance, but it appears no settlement could be reached.
Morrissey missed a months worth of dates earlier this year due to a bleeding ulcer and Barrett’s esophagus. He also cancelled North American shows last year due to the illness of his mother.
The tour will include a March 2 date at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and it was initially reported that the venue would go all vegetarian for the first time during the show. However, that claim was later denied by AEG, the owner of the arena.
Morrissey has canceled six upcoming U.S. concert dates after being diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer.
The 53-year-old singer was hospitalized last week at the William Beaumont hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan and underwent tests for a “suspected bladder infection.” He is expected to make a full recovery, and as of now the tour is scheduled to resume February 9 in Las Vegas. In the meantime, however, shows have been cancelled in Asheville, North Carolina; Nashville; Atlanta; Lawrence, Kansas; Clear Lake, Iowa and Lincoln, Nebraska.
Some of the cancelled dates, including the Atlanta concert at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, were already makeup dates for shows that were postponed last December when Morrissey left the tour to be with his ailing mother.
“Morrissey apologizes greatly for any and all inconvenience and looks forward to continuing his U.S. tour,” said a representative for the singer. Moz’s rep also said that rescheduled dates will be announced in the upcoming days and that “Morrissey is expected to make a full recovery and thanks everyone concerned for their support during this time.”
Morrissey hasn’t released an album since 2009’s Years of Refusal, but kicked off a U.S. tour in October 2012. At the time, he gave a very Morrissey-esque response to Billboard when asked why he decided to tour without an album to response.
“Because a lot of people like me,” he replied.
Even though he’s released no new music, it’s been quite an eventful year for the former Smiths singer in addition to the tour. Longtime drummer Matt Walker announced that he would not join the tour, and though a statement by Morrissey stated that “his exit is sad,” Walker wrote on Twitter that “things are weird and getting weirder,” referring to his time with the band.
Morrissey has also indicated that he may make good on a promise he made many years ago to retire when he reaches the age of 55.
Late last month, Morrissey canned a handful of dates on his U.S. tour to fly back to England due to his mother’s illness, but now he has released a slew of rescheduled dates starting in January of next year.
Things will kick off at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Greenvale, Long Island, N.Y. on January 9, 2013, and the tour is scheduled to run through a March 8 date in Portland, Oregon at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. In between those dates, the former Smiths’ singer will visit cities all over the U.S., including Atlantic City, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Nashville, Austin, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
At the California concert date, which will be held at the Staples Center, Patti Smith and her band will join the bill as the special guest. Kristeen Young will open all shows.
The press release announcing the new dates includes the following quote from Billboard:
It’s rare these days to see a hyper-literate artist succeed as an over-the-top entertainer. His band is top notch.
I think that just about sums it up about as well as it can be. Plus, we all get to see what kind of ridiculous things are going to come out of the mouth of Stephen Patrick Morrissey, this time as he heads around the country, which is just part of the fun.
And a final note, if you needed more convincing, this might be the last time Morrissey tours the States ever. He said earlier this year that he may retire when he turns 55 in a couple years, because one time, years back, he said that he would retire when he hit that age.
“Yes,” he said when asked if he still planned on retiring. “I am slightly shocked to have gone as far as I have. This is my 30th year, and I’ve aged a lot recently, which is a bit distressing for me, as it must be for anyone.”
Morrissey has postponed all of his scheduled U.S. tour dates this week to return to England to be with his ill mother.
The news affects four scheduled shows this week, which were to be held in Pittsburgh; Columbus, Ohio; Flint, Michigan and Chicago. In a very brief press release posted on the Morrissey fan site it is clear that, “Events for this forthcoming week are postponed – but not cancelled – as Morrissey has returned to England where his mother has been hospitalized and is unwell.”
The site goes on to give instructions for those that have already purchased tickets to the postponed shows.
“Those who have already purchased tickets for the dates in Pittsburgh, Columbus, Flint and Chicago are encouraged to hold on to their tickets and look out for rescheduled date,” reads the statement. “The new dates will be announced within the coming days… The remainder of the U.S. tour will be unaffected, resuming in Minneapolis on October 29.”
After that show in Minnesota, Morrissey is scheduled to remain on the road in the U.S. through December 8, when he has a show scheduled at the Showboat Resort and Casino – House of Blues in Atlantic City. He also has concerts scheduled in Salt Lake City, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Atlanta, among other cities.
Earlier this year, Morrissey announced that he may retire from music when he turns 55-years-old, which will be two years from now. He originally made the statement that he would retire at 55 years ago, and confirmed his plans when asked during a recent interview with MSN if he still felt this way.
“Yes,” Morrissey said. “I am slightly shocked to have gone as far as I have. This is my 30th year, and I’ve aged a lot recently, which is a bit distressing for me, as it must be for anyone.”