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This Is Morrissey: An Interview; by Fiona Dodwell
Topic Started: Tue 5 Jun 2018, 20:58:03 (351 Views)
mammaof3
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https://www.tremr.com/Fiona-Dodwell/this-is-morrissey-an-interview

Fiona Dodwell
5 hours
Music
This is Morrissey: An Interview

EVERYBODY TODAY HAS AN OPINION ON MORRISSEY. How much of our views of him are shaped by a selective media (as opposed to the man himself) is something to consider. Is it ever possible to separate the man from the myth? The truth from current popular opinion? Throughout the duration of his life in the public eye, Morrissey has never shied away from being true to himself, of being honest and frank, even when the price to be paid is high (the media, as we have seen, do not take kindly to those who dare to tread a different path from the one they approve of and are paid to promote).

There have been many headline grabbing pieces using his name and face to push their agenda: at times he has been charged with harsh accusations, and yet he does not stand back. In true Morrissey style, he stands boldly forward. He is an articulate artist of confidence, unafraid to say his piece.

Never one to stand still on past achievements or to stagnate in still waters, Morrissey has released eleven solo albums since his days with The Smiths, including You Are The Quarry , Ringleaders of the Tormentors , World Peace is None of Your Business , and his latest, Low in High School . His work remains beautiful yet provoking.

Next month will see the legendary icon perform several dates across the UK. In a live setting Morrissey treats his latest offerings with the same reverence as his impeccable back catalogue – honouring his older material but sharing his passion for the new as he evolves. Morrissey is unusual in this regard; there aren't many artists who have survived this long in the cut-throat music industry and yet managed to remain at the top of their creative field.

When I penned my recent piece, 'Morrissey: The Great Unfiltered Artist' it was my aim to shine a light on somebody who I felt was at times misunderstood, and to attempt to question what we were 'sold to believe' (as I feel we always must when faced with a heavily biased media). Morrissey very kindly agreed to an interview with me. I came away from his responses having a greater sense of the man himself, and of where he was coming from - his words often insightful, at times humorous but always honest. For that, I thank him.

Here is the interview in full.

Hi, Morrissey. Thank you for agreeing to take part in this interview.

Low In High School is now out, you're back on the road with a lengthy world tour and your upcoming album This Is Morrissey will be released soon. It's been a busy, creative time. Would you say you are happy with how things are in your music career right now?

Is it a career? My position doesn't ever change very much, and hasn't since 1984. I am very proud of the music, the live concerts are magnificent, the bad reviews are relentless. It rolls along, the audiences increase around the world, but it's still easier to get hit by lightning than be played on radio. I think I've earned the right to be here by now ... surely?

Low In High School has quickly become one of my personal favourites. There is a distinct sound to the album and the themes within are, as always, thought provoking. Can you tell us a little about the creative process you go through when writing songs with your band?

There isn't a process. No one hears the vocal melody until we are recording the song in the studio. We don't ever rehearse, or jam, or even discuss song directions. A studio is booked and we turn up. No one knows anything until the producer presses Record. It's an edginess that usually works. I haven't ever sat together with the band, just strumming through ideas. Even the actual key is unknown until the day of recording. Quite inventive, wouldn't you say?

Absolutely. It seems like such a unique approach but it obviously serves you well.

Several tracks in the new album could easily be considered up there amongst your best work (for instance, Israel, I Bury the Living, Home is a Question Mark). It seems the media at times ignore the quality of your work and instead concentrate on analysing you. Do you ever feel frustrated when they overlook your work in favour of scrutinising you as a figure?

I don't think the quality of the work is ever considered. I think the approach to each review is " well, how do we feel about Morrissey this month? ", and the answer ... whatever it may be ... provides a full assessment of the songs. I don't think I sound like anyone else, and this is often a traumatic problem ... because modern music and modern radio must have a common seagull sound ... a bit like a golf-themed restaurant.

It seems important in 2018 that you don't know who you're listening to and you don't much care! We are now trained to expect absolutely nothing from modern music, therefore, if a new band comes along who are passably OK, the press go overboard with five star praise - disbelief that someone new is really not atrocious. But ... are they good or is there simply no one else?


I see it a lot, too. More often than not it seems like there is an immense sense of relief when someone comes along who doesn't sound like everyone else - that in itself is a rare thing.

One thing that struck me when listening to the album was how politically charged it was. Do you feel that the lack of industry support for the record was a concerted attempt to not give attention to some of the issues you tried to shine a light on?

The world is now politically charged. I am simply a part of it. Everything is politicized now. My previous album World Peace Is None of Your Business was dropped after ten days of release because it was thought too political. In other words, it was too true.

Going back to the This Is Morrissey compilation (to be released July 6th). With so many fantastic tracks to chose from your back-catalogue, was it hard to select which ones would appear on the collection?

It's difficult to choose because so many of the songs are fantastic. The album is so full of life, and worthy questions, and great choruses, and quite playful. It's a very underrated catalogue, but perhaps everyone feels this way about their own songs.

Being in the media and experiencing scrutiny from the press, you are probably used to reading (unfair) judgements and a biased summary of your personality. What, do you think, is the biggest misconception people have of you?

I often have no idea what people are writing about. I don't recognize myself in their criticisms. They live in a world of their own, and they won't break away from what each other says on any subject. You long for a reviewer who steps away from the pack. I don't think I've done an interview with the UK music press since 2007, which isn't snobbery, but I simply became tired of the ridiculous BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN headlines ... my voice is very soft and quiet, in fact, and it doesn't strike again, or even strike at all.

The past 10-15 years has seen a massive increase in long defunct/retired bands reforming. It strikes me more often than not that this is about cashing in on fan nostalgia as opposed to the art or creative process. What is your opinion on this trend?

I think a lot of the bands are honest enough not to pretend that art or creativity are factors in reformations, and it's enough just to play the old songs in the same way because ... why else would anyone want to see them? It's such a big business now because the world is very short on bands that have any meaning. Yes, you can be enormous, but your music might not develop any passion in its listeners. The Ramones exploded worldwide at the point when the group members died.

We often underestimate the affect that songs have on our lives, and how frequently we re-buy those songs, and suddenly we're 74 and we still love whatever we loved at 14. Pop music is treated as transitory fodder - but it isn't. Those lyrics become gravestone markings.


I often feel that many of our greatest artists, such as yourself, get taken for granted, especially if they have had a significantly long career behind them. Have you ever felt that people don't always give your newer work the same chance as you were afforded earlier in your career and do you think this is possibly because you have not pandered to trends like some others have?

It's the human condition, isn't it, to take others for granted ... from your grandparents to your Jack Russell. Death is always such a shock because it's not supposed to happen, even though death is the most obvious part of life. With my solo albums, I have enough gratification from the people who appreciate it, and I know that very many do. Historically, it is disregarded because the Smiths were so good, but are not here, so that absence is lamentable. But I initially loved music because I found it, and it's important that you go to music without it coming to you.

Now of course, we are all hit over the head by pre-determined number 1's, and nothing connects because the process of heavy marketing is neither exciting nor art. We are faced every single day with multi-platinum singers about whom nothing can be said other than that they are multi-platinum. It's like mouthing the high notes without actually hitting them. Do you see that yourself?


I do. It strikes me that the music industry today has become very bland. This is exactly why I think your work remains outstanding.

There are a lot of singers who just want to get on the TV and be looked at. I know I do. Sorry, that was a joke.

To what extent, if any, do you think your fame has changed you as a person?

None. I am exactly as I always was ... and I say this with great bitterness!

You haven't released many live concert DVDs throughout your solo years. Do you have any plans for a future release and are any of the upcoming dates going to be recorded or live-streamed?

There was one, Who Put The M In Manchester? which did very well, and another at Hollywood High School. Every concert that I do is recorded, so I have at least two thousand under the bed.

Social media seems to have become an elevated platform for people to express how offended they are. Do you think there is a group-think mentality at play and if so, who is controlling the narrative?

People have an urgent need to express their ... well, it isn't disapproval, it's hatred... like drivers giving you the middle-finger as they speed off at 100mph. If they didn't have such a quick getaway they wouldn't do it. It seems to be the number one human emotion now ... social media shaming. Do you agree?

I do, truthfully. I think the sly anonymity of the internet gives people an opportunity to express an uncountable amount of hatred, and so much bullying, too. Things are said with a confidence that would never be uttered face to face. There may be good aspects to social media but it's counter-balanced by a lot of negativity.

Morrissey, you are known for your passion for animal rights and have said you are a vegan in previous interviews. Did you - or do you - find any aspect of following the vegan diet difficult? Are there things that you miss?

I don't eat animals, birds or fish. I don't consider myself to be vegan, vegetarian or carnivorous. I'm just me. I refuse to eat anything that had a mother, that's obvious. I've always found food to be very difficult because I only eat bread, potatoes, pasta and nuts... all stodge. I can't eat anything that has any flavour. I've never had a curry, or coffee, or garlic.

I'm absolutely hopeless when I'm handed a menu in a restaurant. I go directly to the Kiddie's Meals. If I find baked beans then the night is a huge success. If you ever bring me out to dinner it's important that you also bring a toaster.


As a life-long vegetarian myself who has also explored the vegan diet, I often find that meat eaters are keen to challenge me or argue against my principles, often when I haven't even raised the subject with them. Have you ever experienced this and why do you think it occurs?

I've experienced it all my life and it's because they assume you've adopted the moral high ground by refusing to eat a dead animal. And they're right! But you only take the stand on behalf of the butchered animal - you don't make money from your point of view. You become the voice of the animal .... who kicked and struggled to hang on to life, but who was chopped up because some fat oaf in Woking fancied some commercial-break nibbles.

The truth is, vegans are actually superior beings. A television documentary recently covered a duck farm somewhere in England, and as all the chicks emerged from their incubator chirping away, the TV presenter said "Ooh they're so cute, they so beautiful, oh look, look at their little faces," and then she turned to the camera with a straight face and said matter-of-factly " the chicks will be allowed to live for 8 weeks and will then be slaughtered," and I thought, wow, people really ARE utterly stupid, aren't they? This is what you're up against - recognition that the chicks were beautiful, yet not ALLOWED to live longer than 8 weeks because someone wants to suck on their innards. It's barbaric. Do people realize how deadly they sound?


You have shared criticisms of the political system and expressed that you do not vote. Do you believe that the political arena could ever be shaped into something that helps people in the future, or do you think that human beings in positions of power are inherently corrupt?

I have been following a new party called For Britain which is led by Anne Marie Waters. It is the first time in my life that I will vote for a political party. Finally I have hope. I find the Tory-Labour-Tory-Labour constant switching to be pointless. For Britain has received no media support and have even been dismissed with the usual childish 'racist' accusation. I don't think the word 'racist' has any meaning anymore, other than to say "you don't agree with me, so you're a racist. " People can be utterly, utterly stupid.

Anne Marie Waters seeks open discussion about all aspects of modern Britain, whereas other parties will not allow diverse opinion. She is like a humane version of Thatcher ... if such a concept could be. She is absolute leadership, she doesn't read from a script, she believes in British heritage, freedom of speech, and she wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law. I find this compelling, now, because it's very obvious that Labour or the Tories do not believe in free speech... I mean, look at the shocking treatment of Tommy Robinson...

I know the media don't want Anne Marie Waters and they try to smear her, but they are wrong and they should give her a chance, and they should stop accusing people who want open debate as being 'racist'. As I said previously, the left has become right-wing and the right-wing has become left - a complete switch, and this is a very unhappy modern Britain.


Do you have any spiritual or religious convictions? Have you ever believed there is more to life than just this physical plane, or is this “it” for us?

I don't understand why God doesn't look down on this mess and intervene. He can't be THAT busy?

As someone has really been through so much in the industry, have you ever considered walking away from it all?

Am I even in it? I don't think so. I get a chance to record every few years and I grab it, otherwise I'm not involved.

Many music fans have become wary of the charts today and feel that streaming sites such as Spotify are actually creating a false picture of what people are really listening to. Do you feel in this current musical climate that chart positions even hold much relevance any more?

It no longer rings true. With vinyl, the consumer makes an effort to get the disc - which can take weeks. With streaming, 6-year olds watching X-factory will download anything that they see just because their friends do, yet it means nothing to them, but it charts.

Vinyl customers are considered to be serious music lovers because there is a testing period between wanting and getting - when you eventually find it and pay for it. If everyone still had to leave their homes and walk to a record shop the chart would be an entirely different place because effort and serious consideration are usually required. As things stand, the audience for Britain's Got Talent has full monopoly of the UK music charts. Hence ... laptop laziness.


List of the Lost, your first fictional novel, was a fantastic read. It was, for me, one of those stories that haunted me after I finished it. I believe fans would love to read more fiction from you. Is another book release a possibility for the future?

The book was meant to be a modern Brighton Rock, and, yes, certainly horrific. It was heavily criticized for being what it fully intended to be. But, having said that, I don't know anyone who actually liked the book!

I've read it three times!

Whenever it was mentioned people looked down. That's quite OK! I am of stern stuff.

There has been strong world music influence in your recent albums. Songs such as Istanbul, The Girl from Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn't Kneel, I Will See You in Far Off Places, Staircase at the University, The Bullfighter Dies etc. They have all got a flavour of other cultures. Do you feel like escaping the humdrum of Dear Old Blighty has inspired you and your band in your musical direction?

Yes! I love to travel now, and I feel very excited to be in Turkey, Poland, Finland, Israel, and so on. Whether they actually want me there is entirely another matter. But, of course, it's always great to get away from Channel 4 News. In fact, that really is the main reason to travel …

Thank you, Morrissey, for taking the time out to answer these questions.

Edited by mammaof3, Tue 5 Jun 2018, 21:48:09.
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Reggie Peppery
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Thanks for posting Mama, what a great interview! Morrissey has become the voice and the conscience of Britain! History will remember him as the last “Great Briton” and that is a fact!
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DAVIE
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Ah, so Morrissey picked the songs on the album! And he's gone back to vegetarianism...I think he does eat more things than what he lets on though!

It doesn't look like he will be writing any future fiction either. There's always time to improve, Moz!

He should expand more on the left-right politics switch. I think I have an idea on what he's on about.
Edited by DAVIE, Tue 5 Jun 2018, 23:11:29.
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Iamborn1

Great interview had a giggle to myself about the golf themed restaurant

I also hear the lyrics "we are the last true British people you will ever know"

Having said that, it was obvious that Moz embraces other cultures enjoys travelling and truly loves Britain 🇬🇧 but feels compelled to escape what has become a sinking ship he's right about the hate via the internet the media so full of vitriol and the music sindustry everyone needs a holiday

Bring a toaster... I should (dairy free) cocoa.















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JoanOfArc
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What a great great interview!!And he mentioned Poland!!!!I cant believe it!!!Im so happy he remembers us!!Also i need to buy some toaster haha:):)
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JoanOfArc
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I still cant believe he mentioned us!!!I hope i will be able to walk good enough to be at some shows like in August.June/July too early for me:(:(.Im already walking short distances but quite slow and clumsy.I will never again try Aerial Silk.Thanks for posting Mammaof3. radiatinglove
Edited by JoanOfArc, Wed 6 Jun 2018, 15:23:08.
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Iamborn1

DAVIE
Tue 5 Jun 2018, 22:53:39
Ah, so Morrissey picked the songs on the album! And he's gone back to vegetarianism...I think he does eat more things than what he lets on though!

It doesn't look like he will be writing any future fiction either. There's always time to improve, Moz!

He should expand more on the left-right politics switch. I think I have an idea on what he's on about.
I do not understand how he can give credence to any political agency

When? in the whole of human history did they ever act for the good of the people/ the state or the state of the people or the country?

The agenda is always beneath the surface the smiles and the promises a thin veil and in the end tears and pain for the lost causes

Wake up smell the coffee even if it does leave a smell on your breath it's better than the smell of b.s that they promote

Who is she really? Anne Marie waters?(waters down the truth) most probably.

Does she eat meat? Well I wonder

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JoanOfArc
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"You have shared criticisms of the political system and expressed that you do not vote. Do you believe that the political arena could ever be shaped into something that helps people in the future, or do you think that human beings in positions of power are inherently corrupt?

I have been following a new party called For Britain which is led by Anne Marie Waters. It is the first time in my life that I will vote for a political party. Finally I have hope. I find the Tory-Labour-Tory-Labour constant switching to be pointless. For Britain has received no media support and have even been dismissed with the usual childish 'racist' accusation. I don't think the word 'racist' has any meaning anymore, other than to say "you don't agree with me, so you're a racist. " People can be utterly, utterly stupid.

Anne Marie Waters seeks open discussion about all aspects of modern Britain, whereas other parties will not allow diverse opinion. She is like a humane version of Thatcher ... if such a concept could be. She is absolute leadership, she doesn't read from a script, she believes in British heritage, freedom of speech, and she wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law. I find this compelling, now, because it's very obvious that Labour or the Tories do not believe in free speech... I mean, look at the shocking treatment of Tommy Robinson...

I know the media don't want Anne Marie Waters and they try to smear her, but they are wrong and they should give her a chance, and they should stop accusing people who want open debate as being 'racist'. As I said previously, the left has become right-wing and the right-wing has become left - a complete switch, and this is a very unhappy modern Britain."

Very interesting quote-at least finally England will have some decent political party.This Anne Marie Waters sounds quite sane although she is still too soft on Islam and their treatment of women.But at least she tries to do something.Never heard of Tommy Robinson will have to read about it.But generally its good to see some sane people in Western Europe.
Edited by JoanOfArc, Wed 6 Jun 2018, 18:28:51.
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Reggie Peppery
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So many things Morrissey said in this interview has previously rattled round in my head previously, my thread “Has the Moz changed or have I changed?” sums it up for me, Moz is Moz, he is the great constant and if you go through life thinking Morrissey has changed then you are entirely unaware of the changes in yourself! Morrissey on a very fundamental level has never changed, and why should he?!

Morrissey is standing up for decency, honesty and the fairness, yet look at who attacks him! Only the corrupt mainstream media and the very last of the dregs of humanity!

Softness is a very sad and very British disease, people like Morrissey can hold a shining beacon to the issue and force a discussion and/or change! All credit to him that he does this at his own expense!

What a man!
Edited by Reggie Peppery, Wed 6 Jun 2018, 22:30:18.
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Kathleen
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Tommy Robinson?

I'm genuinely so sad.
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