Morrissey

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Oct 14, 2014 / 12 notes

In a new interview before the beginning of his European tour the singer shares his views on politics, religion, Italy, Middle East and the missing parts in the American version of “Autobiography”

We read about your recent health problems. How are you now?
«As long as I avoid the television news I’m OK».
You thanked Italy for buying your album. What is your relationship with the country?
«My close friend Linder said just yesterday that “happiness is geographical”, and she’s right. Whenever I land on Italian soil I am happy – whether I want to be or not. It was Italy though who put Ezra Pound in a cage for two weeks… yes, a cage!… as punishment for being a genius. I think that was the lowest point in Italian history».
Surprise us with some Italian words you have learned. What can we expect when you play in Italy in October (info atwww.livenation.it)?
«Vorrei un biglietto per Catania. I haven’t had a chance to say this yet because I’ve never been to Catania and I have no plans to go».
Your Autobiography hasn’t been published in Italy yet. I read you decided to cancel the publication in some countries because you were not pleased with translations. 
«It certainly didn’t translate very well into American. Nobody understood it. I’ve had offers from 19 countries, but there’s no one in my life to deal with such offers and keep them straightforward. It would probably be issued in China with a picture of the Smiths on the cover. Business and headache are the same word».
Were you ok with the parts of the book that disappeared in the American version?
«Jake (Walters) was being pestered by the press, so his bit was removed. It remains in the UK edition, though, so there wasn’t much point chopping it out of the American. But there we are».

You mentioned many Middle Eastern countries recently in songs and statements. After Latin America would you be interested in a Middle East phase of your career?
«Yes, and it’s useful because Middle Eastern music is not youth-obsessed, so there’s hope for those of us with no insides left. I can’t wait to sing in Dubai».
Where have you been living in the last few years? Do places influence your lyrics?
«People always, always ask me where I live. Well, I live in the here and now. The world is one country. That’s all I can tell you. I don’t have any false theories about race and nation … I can’t stand religious militancy … it’s all so silly, isn’t it? It’s difficult enough just being human without having a mass of constraints placed on every single thought in your head».
Lyrics in “World peace is none of your business” have been described as less subtle and more “in your face”. Is that what you wanted to achieve?
«I think it was always so. I’ve never had fantasies about either the world or my place in it. Yes, the world has tensed up even more so in recent years, and I think we’re all mentally overtaxed by global tensions. Our basic strength is sapped every single day simply by thoughts of money, appearance and work. Happiness is rarely on the menu unless you’re very, very lucky».
Is the title of the album in some ways an invitation to care less?
«It’s a taunt. The hope is that we all reply OH YES IT IS! and get up and do something instead of watching the news on the television. Get out and CREATE the news yourself. I am offering the pen to the dog on the front of the sleeve because I am saying to her “Don’t you think it’s about time you did something instead of just … sitting there wit your tongue hanging out?” … which has often been said to me».

Did you choose the title of the album before or after performing at the Nobel Peace Prize?
«Long before! Their speeches were full of the usual good will, but if they had invited me to speak – and why would they? – I would have told them how good people say nothing and are ineffectual. There’s no point in repeatedly saying “we must have peace in the world” because if it were natural for humans to live in harmony then it would already be happening. I think violence is firmly built into our society and I think world leaders have a scientific curiosity for war and how far they can push an argument. The fact that nuclear weapons even exist puts the world in a mad and obsessive love with self-destruction and mass suicide. Those weapons can only be used once and we’re all toast. How is that useful?».
“Each time you vote you support the process”. What kind of government would you support?
«None that I can see. I hate the Nazi mentality yet it seems to be everywhere now. People have never quite been so unhappy, so pressurized, so voiceless, so weary of all the bad news, and no amount of prescribed drugs seems to make anyone happy at all. Most governments do not listen to the people who elected them into power, and the police attack anyone who attempts peaceful protest. Our political systems do not work. Just yesterday an 82-year old Italian woman was beheaded in her London garden. This is Cool Britannia, apparently».
Is it more disappointment or hate that drives you?
«I try to be a social thinker. I don’t dwell on hate, but certainly good will is not enough. Obviously I hate any form of dictatorship, but you can’t change anything unless you’re willing to take a risk. Mostly we make resignations rather than decisions. Don’t you agree?».
In your ideal world what would life be like?
«Umm … we would do things for the love of doing them, not for the fear of NOT doing them – which I think is how most of us live every single day».
“I’m not a man”, you sing in one of best songs of the album. Then what are you?
«Macaroni».
Your new record contract didn’t last very long. What happened?
«They wanted a credible album to re-launch Harvest Records, but they didn’t want me, so they dumped me without realizing that an Agreement hadn’t been executed, so they immediately had to withdraw the album from sale because they had no rights to it. For me, another horrible experience. Harvest were so contemptible that I had a conniption fit in the weeks running up to the release because they would not promote the album at all. It could easily have entered at 1 instead of 2 in the UK, but the label just would not promote it. Many people think that the label actually deliberately sunk the album. It looks that way, doesn’t it?».
You were chosen to compile a new Ramones compilation. But didn’t you write a letter to Melody Maker in 1976 where you said they didn’t have much talent?
«No, I didn’t say that! I said they had NO talent! Once I had posted the letter I went home and played the album again and it hit me like lightning. It’s great to be wrong occasionally. When Melody Maker printed the letter I felt so disgusting. I should have been killed in a canoe accident. So ashamed! I deserved a spike in the forehead».

Have you ever been offered to write a vegetarian cook book?
«No, but people have often threatened to cook me».
Ever wanted to do an album with crooner standards? Which songs would you pick?
«Well, you know I love the Italian song To Give is The Reason I Live, or, as some say, To Give (The Reason I Live). I love anything with a funeral pace».
Are you scared how they might portray you in “Steven”, the movie?
«I’m bound to be some demented nuisance with badly-cut hair. It’s strange when people who have never met you feel that they can accurately portray the story of your life onscreen. Can you imagine? I mean, for all they know I could walk with a limp».
Who would you choose to interpret you?
«I can’t think of anyone unattractive enough».
Is the novel you are writing pure fiction? Or is it inspired by real events?
«Yes, it is pure and it is fiction. I still think a song has more reality for people than a novel, but both can have sensual tension, I suppose».
For a few hours everybody believed you had joined Twitter. Those tweets were actually written with your style. Were you mad at the person who pretended to be you? What is so wrong with social networks?
«Nothing is wrong with social networks, but Facebook and Twitter are very personal things and it’s annoying when people open Facebook accounts and pretend to be me … I’m sure I don’t need to explain why. I mean, if I opened a Facebook account tomorrow as G Santoro from Repubblica and I said that my mother was a small black gypsy and my father ate soil for breakfast, well, wouldn’t you be annoyed?».

Oct 8, 2014 / 4 notes

It wasn’t much of an issue because I had no education anyway, therefore nothing was expected of me. It’s not as if I was about to become an astronaut and then I suddenly decided to join “The Harlots of 42nd Street”. My own future was quite grimly in my own hands, and I think it was generally assumed I’d jump off a cliff, so very suddenly, being on television singing “This Charming Man” appeared to be a very slightly better option. - Morrissey

Oct 8, 2014 / 31 notes

The Swiss Music Show interview Morrissey, October 2014

David: Your latest album seems to have a running theme. It expresses a feeling that there is a big crisis in the loss of values; treatment of others, of animals and of our own political and social responsibility as a community in general. You have always been outspoken in terms of certain issues within certain songs, but this entire album, particularly, seems to be very strongly political in (almost) its entirety. Have you become more political or do you feel that the times have become even more dire and you have felt more driven to express and question these issues?
Morrissey: I could be wrong but I feel certain that Hitler did not win the war, yet we are all living under the jackboot and every country has its own version of authoritarian dictatorships. Everything has tensed up and people have never quite been so unhappy. Everybody wants change, and this fanatical discontent is obviously most evident in the Arab Spring. It emphasizes an unnerving hostility that most governments have towards the people who have elected them. I think it is time for constitutional reforms at every level because this is not 1940 - at least, not according to my calendar.
Listening to the first song off your new album evokes a sense of questioning the whole voting system.
In England voting is an illusion because of the designed restriction to two main parties - neither of which have the power to make the people feel either happy or even content, and neither of whom listen to the people once the party is elected. Politicians have never quite been so unconvincing, and most appear to exist in a world of pure comedy. Because of this, very few people vote, and England has a Prime Minister who wasn’t even voted into power. It is its own ridicule and it is further away from the people than ever before. Expectations of politicians are now so low that this emptiness of spirit has become the modern face of England. I cannot say the United Kingdom because it isn’t united.
Do you vote?
I haven’t ever voted because my vote is too precious to me, and I will not use it simply in order to get rid of someone if only to replace them with somebody else who isn’t quite so corrupt. All of the power belongs to the people, yet the carnival of politics doesn’t ever mention this fact.
Can you talk a bit about the tension within families as heard in “Staircase at the university”? Where does the inspiration for songs like this come from? 
 
I am aware of constant media reports of young people killing themselves due to exam failure, and of course it’s horrific and stupid, yet it must have its roots in the family or the guardians surrounding the young person. We are all objectified in some way, and once our weaknesses are known then everyone around us preys on those weaknesses. The people who are most strong and most useful are those who do not care what others think. This, I think, is why self-expression is limited to whatever serves those around u 
What do you think would drive a family member, (especially a parent) to justify the disowning or rejection of their own child for something such as a grade, a particular professional choice, etc?
 
In defense of parents, they might not quite understand how close to the line their child is, and a lot of parents wrongly think that pushing their child will make the child robust. It might be true if you’re an athlete, but not if you’re studying physics. It’s also worth considering that some parents don’t actually like their own child, so they have no guilt over making them feel less than worthy. 
Personally, did you feel supported or rejected by your choice to create music? Do songs such as these come from your own experience?
It wasn’t much of an issue because I had no education anyway, therefore nothing was expected of me. It’s not as if I was about to become an astronaut and then I suddenly decided to join “The Harlots of 42nd Street”.
My own future was quite grimly in my own hands, and I think it was generally assumed I’d jump off a cliff, so very suddenly, being on television singing “This Charming Man” appeared to be a very slightly better option.
Likewise, what kind of advice and wisdom would you give to a person in that situation?
I’m not clairvoyant or a medieval magician so I can’t claim to have any gift of projections, but individual existence, I think, is painful for many reasons, and I think we’re all ruled by loss, fear, loneliness, exhaustion, our appearance, our intolerance … so we all shouldn’t be quite so hard on ourselves considering what we’re up against minute by minute. Of course, our societies show only a pictorial and plastic picture of what we should have and how we should be living, even though almost no one lives that way.
I get the feeling, through what we know about your ideas about the UK Royal family, bullfighting, animal cruelty etc, that many things that are often excused by the idea of ‘tradition’ are not valid when it comes to suffering, to the subjugation of one being over another.

Slavery was once tradition, as were public executions and segregation and organized torture and child labour and bear-baiting. When the people spoke up and demanded that all of these barbaric amusements were abolished, the Church and governments opposed the people. Precisely the same thing happens today. The people must lead the way, and have done so where food quality is concerned, and also by raising awareness for governments on issues such as global warming. Just become something is a tradition does not mean that it leads to a useful result. You look to your elected government to be civilized, but governments rarely act with feeling and thought. Their only concern is economics. It is individuals outside of government that appeal to the public’s emotions, whether this be Charles Dickens or Karl Marx. People in power are never poets. But they should be.
Tell us about the song “The Bullfighter dies”
In the first place, there is no such thing as a bullfight because nobody fights the bull. The bull is tormented and tortured and then viciously killed. In Spain the bull is slaughtered in the arena, whereas in Portugal they kill the bull beyond the sight of the public. Obviously to murder a bull in the name of entertainment is human stupidity and cruelty at its most base, and it is the shame of any country who allows it. I might be impressed if the matador or the footmen approach the bull without spears, and if they do not wrap the bulls horns in soft leather. But they do not face the bull with any equality because the matadors are cowards. When the matador is traumatically injured it is said that the bullfight has gone wrong. But why has it gone wrong? Because it is not a fight at all, it is simply torment. To kill any other living being in the name of entertainment is inferior on an intellectual, moral, cultural and religious level. We have no right to do what we please with living beings.
That being said, to take it a step further, do you think that the death of the bullfighter, who knew what he was getting into from the beginning, is, in a sense, less of a tragedy than the bull, who didn’t dream of being a celebrity, rich from the event or likewise?
Well, of course, the bulls can’t report to us on how they feel about their drawn-out death, their humiliation, their intense suffering, the systematic torture of its fellow beings. In Park Lane in London there is a large statue for animals which says ANIMALS IN WAR-THEY HAD NO CHOICE, which is all very well, but why doesn’t it say ANIMALS IN ABATTOIRS-THEY HAVE NO CHOICE. Humans always see themselves as the central fact, and they have no pity for animals yet, in the case of the bullring, they expect the pity of the crowd if what happens to the bull accidentally becomes the outcome for the matador. Why is it only the bull that deserves to die? What has it done? It is the matador, not the bull, that creates the situation. It will be abolished by the force of law very soon, but the people must push harder
Not only do you voice your own views on eating meat but you follow through with it - for example the censorship of meat stands at music festivals.  
I don’t know why people are so silent because we are all quite moral creatures in the sense that we object to murder and theft and so forth, but why is there little compassion for animals? Wouldn’t we run to protect any living creature that is being abused and is helpless? Why is there such an absence of pity when it comes to the slaughterhouse? Is it just because what happens there is away from public view? In England, badgers are gassed to death because they interfere with the farmers right to earn money.
Why can’t one politician stand up and tell us that money is not the source of life? They just can’t do it. Is any form of cruelty acceptable as long as it makes money for somebody somewhere? Some years ago I played at the Glastonbury festival in England, but the person who runs the festival refused to allow me to show a film clip during the song “Meat is Murder” because he said it would upset children. I explained that the animals in the film did not want to be in the film, and that if the festival sells hamburgers then why can’t we see how they’re made? Isn’t it educational? He (Michael Eavis) explained that he had a dairy farm and that his cows were happy, so this is why he didn’t want the film shown. But how does he know that his cows are happy? Do they dance and sing? Are they happy when they’re sent to slaughter with their loved ones? How can animals protest? They can’t, and they rely on people such as me to speak up for them.
I’m curious to know what you had to go through to do that. Was there as big of a backlash against you and did you feel a stigma then for making that stand?

I’m not concerned about backlashes because you are basically hearing disapproval from people who are not your friends, anyway. So what does it matter?
What was the response from the music industry in this case?
Well, I’ve been on 307 labels in the last few years! I don’t think anyone knows what to do with me. The strange thing is that I do not have exceptional views. I am not remotely extreme. I am simply not a zombie.
Furthermore, I’m also curious to know if there was any particular festival or entity that was surprisingly supportive or backed you that you didn’t expect?
Yes. I’ve been asked to return to two major festivals and they have vowed to have their first ever event without flesh-food. This will be historic if it happens, although obviously it would never happen with Glastonbury because of the views of Michael Eavis. We shall see! The world is changing. Some people lead the way, others follow. 

A lot of ecologically minded admire your views towards animal protection and actions to ban grilled meat.
However you are allowed to treat animals is ultimately the manner by which you believe you are allowed to treat humans. My view is that eating animals is to the 21st century, what tobacco was to the 20th century. Eating animals is a disaster for the animal, a health disaster for the consumer, and an ecological disaster for the planet. You just cannot do anything worse than eating meat! Even war, sick as it is, might have a moral aspect somewhere, whereas eating meat is conclusively disastrous on every possible level.
I know that here in Switzerland these actions were very positively received, but were there other places that were supportive as well?
Yes. The public deception of meat as protein doesn’t wash anymore with intelligent people. Mad Cow Disease occurs when farmers feed flesh to their cows, so therefore meat doesn’t help the cow - it kills it. The rhino, the elephant, the hippo are vegetarian … do they seem undernourished and lacking in protein? And what about the bull? People who ate meat might become angry at vegetarian or vegans because they secretly know that they have been duped into believing that animal flesh is good for humans. Most modern diseases are directly attributable to meat consumption, and it is mostly irreversible damage.
What does it say to you about countries that respond well to moves such as this in terms of animal rights?
We all boast of an inborn capacity to recognise right from wrong. Not even the world’s happiest optimist could agree that factory farming is right on any level. It’s no coincidence that people who work in abattoirs are almost always suffering from mental issues. It’s a running joke that only desperate people would work at McDonalds. And it’s true. We never hear of a person of great moral strength and intellectual character saying “my ambition is to work for Kentucky Fried Chicken”, because McDonalds and KFC are thought to be the last employment refuge.
Were there any particular places where you felt or encountered the opposite or even worse? How do you, or could you even, reconcile playing in places that don’t accept this?
I played in Oporto in Portugal many years ago and I noticed in a restaurant window a complete lamb propped up yet shorn of all of its skin. And this was meant to entice people in! I don’t think I have ever seen anything so horrific in my life.
Does that openness to nature and respect of the animal rights come into the equation when you pick a city when touring? 

I think it’s more helpful to go to intolerant places because otherwise you’re left mumbling amongst your friends. Having said that, I don’t hand pick touring cities absolutely for their callousness. I just go where I go. Yes, the Nazi influence is everywhere, but there are good people everywhere, also.
You’re due to play in Switzerland soon where different communities with different languages live side by side. There is a domination of the Swiss-German community over the rest (Swiss-French, Swiss-Italians…) As a British person of Irish origins, what do you think is the responsibility of the majority to include the minorities in building a common culture?
I don’t think communities strengthen by inclusion of languages and what might be new cultures. I think the opposite happens because most people fraction off to hang about with the gang whom they feel most understands them. We all feel that we have a divine right to wherever we were born, and we want to preserve it and hold on to it. It’s unlikely, for example, that Buckingham Palace would ever be turned into a mosque. Multi-cultures in England have only taken place in lower-income areas.
Switzerland is a model of democracy that takes decisions locally, regionally and nationally by involving every major parties’ representatives. People also vote several times a year via referendums. Would this be a good model for other old democracies like Great Britain?
It’s a question of what you are voting FOR, not the physical act of walking into a booth carrying a small piece of paper. The British media will not allow a third party to gain strength, and if it does there is automatically a smear campaign that would never be attached to the two mainstream parties. We have no chance for change, and anyone who says “I have a better idea” is laughed off the planet. A central government should consist of members of at least five major political parties, so that views are many and varied and best represent the people. The very idea of one party becoming the government simply because they scraped through with 4 extra votes is ludicrous because a significantly larger number of the population did not vote for them. It is often argued that Margaret Thatcher could not possibly have been the most hated woman in England if she in fact won four elections, but the number of people who voted against her was always staggeringly higher than those who voted for her. Prime Ministers soon realise how much they are disliked, and they then act against the people, if only out of spite. One single Prime Minister or President no longer works. The human race is now too openly varied to continue to look up to the old-fashioned, macho, sexist, married, war-ready male. Life is not like that anymore.
Conversely, do you think that, given the craziness that we see in pop culture, reality shows and all the other sad state of affairs, we should leave the workings of a country in all aspects and on all levels to the voice of the people?
Yes, I do, because you must not judge the human race by what you see on television! TV has become a fluff head cake-baking nation in order to keep people in place, largely because the internet has unlocked everyone. The young contestants on embarrassingly dehumanised television talent shows are not really how young people are. Television generates fiction and provides us with the main task of forgetting… over parodied mannerisms … omg obsessions with diets and divorce … the persistent noise and applause for no reason … the audience roars of excitement at anything that might be considered sexual… television has jumped backwards as everything else races forwards.
The “Suisse Romand” love English and French, as if English was also part of the Swiss-French Culture. As a British person, what makes you sensitive to the French-speaking culture?
I have always loved the high-surface drama of French music … Charles Aznavour singing “Take me …” and I love the fanatical discontent of French film. The arts are best, for me, when failure is expressed magnificently. I do not like the sexlessly smiling sterility of artificial talent, which, of course, is modern pop-dance techno twirl. It is ridiculously unconvincing. Edith Piaf wore a little black dress and sang on a bare stage without much amplification and she made the walls shake. Most modern singers cannot appear onstage unless they have 500 dancers around them… no one can stand up there alone and just … sing.
For all of the sympathy that Switzerland has shown towards various issues such as animal rights (discussed in part one below), it is still viewed as a place where the rich and corrupt are sheltered, secure and welcomed; how do you see Switzerland in these terms and how do feel about coming here? Did you feel any reservations about playing here?
I visit Switzerland at least five times every year and I feel very content. It is not my view that simply because a person is rich that they automatically should be drowned. My only sadness with Switzerland is the cat-skinning trade, where cats are obviously skinned for their fur. I don’t need to elaborate. It spoils Switzerland, as it would spoil anywhere. It is not necessary and it should stop. Let animals live their lives and you feel you have a right to live yours. They feel that too!
The region of Lausanne is a place where a lot of French authors found the region inspirational. Would you consider living in a place like Lausanne for the beauty of the place, the calm and safe daily life, the respectful environment?
I know Lausanne very well. You have never spotted me walking up the hill to Lausanne centre? I am the person who sprays red paint across all of the McDonalds and the steak house billboards. I am fascinated to note that other people have started to do it, too. On his autobiography and his fans.
You saluted the intelligence of fans who understand the meaning of your songs and posted videos to promote songs from “World Peace is None of Your Business” on the social video platforms. How do you view the role of the web and especially social media in terms of your career today?
It has helped ‘World Peace Is None of Your Business’ in a way that the record label just could not. The people understand, even if the oh-so-clever executives at Capitol-Harvest … refused to. It proved, though, that the label will not be led by the record-buying people, but instead the label want to shape the pastiness of the Top 50 and keep it sterile.
How would you have imagined this whole online world of social sites, music distribution, etc. would have affected the Smiths if it were around and as prevalent then as it is now?
It would have been perfect because Smiths songs cover so many different topics whereas most bands will just sing about one thing only. The Smiths’ world went for the throat, but was expansive, and led people to investigate film and literature and so on. I don’t think Abba ever did that.
Do you think that, with all you had to go through with Harvest, labels in general are really interested in the artist signed for what they are bringing to the table and what that ensues or merely for the signing of the contract and that the details particular to the artist, in this case you, are unimportant?
Harvest wanted to re-launch the label with a credible album, but they didn’t want anything to do with me as a living, breathing, opinionated entity.  Once they had a Morrissey album, then they would hopefully sign younger bands who will want to be on the label because of the Morrissey thing.  I wish those bands much luck … not to mention fortitude.
Is there an alternative to this for artists looking to be signed?
I think the industry is locked into the control of the 5 biggest labels, and these labels trade with one another for the number spot and for Grammy Awards and Brit Awards, etc … the idea is to use the artist to plug the label.
The artist is, in flesh and blood, nothing.  Like a dairy cow, once the artist fails to yield, the throat is slit.  There is no friendship at all between label and artist. 
Did you find that writing and publishing your autobiography and sharing your story provided a sort of therapy for you? What do you think the you of 1983 would have made of your music, your persona as it is now?
I think the me of 1983 would have very much relied upon the me of 2014. I’m what I was always looking for.
 Likewise, what do you feel about your music, your persona of 1983 now? Is there any particular song from the past that you feel especially close to after all these years and if so, for what reason?
In 1983 I was very sexless, and chronically depressed. These two go together quite well, but aren’t terribly helpful. It is unusual, I think, to be suicidal, yet to suddenly find success because you ARE suicidal.
You had to cancel a few concerts due to illness last year, that must have been disappointing for you.
There is nothing worse than having to cancel, and the decision isn’t always made by me. The recent U.S. tour was fantastic until the encore of Boston when I collapsed and was rushed to hospital with acute fever. It took me 5 weeks to recover, and during those 5 weeks of recovery Harvest Records dropped me! So I wondered if life could get worse.
If you could describe your ideal concert- type of venue, audience, etc., what would it be?
It’s impossible to say because whether it’s a stand-up hall or a seated opera house it could go either way. The night depends upon certain electrodes that either spark … or just don’t … and if they don’t, there’s nothing you can do about it.

Above interview conducted by David Glaser, published in both French and English. English translation by Amy Araya.

The Smiths’ world went for the throat, but was expansive, and led people to investigate film and literature and so on. I don’t think Abba ever did that.
Morrissey, Swiss Music Show interview, October 2014
Oct 8, 2014 / 107 notes
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Oct 8, 2014 / 19 notes
My only obsessions on earth have been music infatuations. When I was barely 10 my father’s friend told me the people who wore black in the mall liked The Smiths. The “Just Like Heaven” video was the first music video I ever saw. A year later I tried my hand at stealing a Peter Murphy button and was detained for my passion. I don’t think those are the type of sentiments that ever leave you.
Sep 30, 2014 / 101 notes
Sep 28, 2014 / 9 notes

I’m going to get all Dangermouse on that shit and mixdown Bigmouth Strikes Again with Snoop’s Up Jump Tha Boogie!

Sep 28, 2014 / 23 notes

You’re just some weird little goth person who listens to too much Morrissey and has watched The Craft one too many times.

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Sep 28, 2014 / 9 notes
PROCEEDS FROM THIS ITEM WILL BE DONATED TO officialpeta 
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Sep 28, 2014 / 15 notes
So many bands don’t say a fucking thing, they’re like, “I’m an entertainer, I’m here to take the world’s mind off what’s going on.” But you have this opportunity in your life to say people to 10 people, or to 10, 000 people. Whether they choose to listen and pay attention… well I don’t care, I don’t give a fuck. But being a woman, and seeing how common rape culture is, I feel it is important to stand up, make your voice heard. If you don’t like it that’s fine, I’m not trying to force anything down anyone’s throat, but if I can get a podium, I’ll use it as a moment to express what I feel, the things that are important to me. I hate to be a sap that quotes Morrissey, but it’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate, it takes guts to be gentle and kind. It’s a true sentiment. You look at like comment sections on any messageboard, and the world is just fuck this, fuck that, I hate you, you’re a woman so you deserve to be fucked, you’re gay and that’s dumb. It’s the easiest thing in the world to be a shithead. It’s not easy to take a stand about something.
Sep 25, 2014 / 79 notes
Sep 24, 2014 / 18 notes

John Cho tells the Morrissey story. Again. Two years after they told it the first time in eatthattoast's video. No new tale to tell, Johnny? 

Oh, the Christian far right? Yes. Very homophobic. You need to have a female president next, and then after that, a gay president. That’s the full journey from Obama’s legacy onwards. There’s a great Morrissey lyric from “America Is Not the World” from You Are the Quarry that goes, “In America, the land of the free, they said / And of opportunity, in a just and truthful way / But where the president is never black, female or gay, and until that day / You’ve got nothing to say to me, to help me believe.” It’s quite an old song from before Obama took office, but you’ve done black, then you need to do female, then the next, gay.
Sep 8, 2014 / 81 notes
Morrissey’s a great lyricist, but there’s a tone in his voice I find unlistenable. That kind of lugubrious tone. There’s the same tone in my voice, actually, and I find it equally unlistenable.
Nick Cave
Sep 6, 2014 / 134 notes
Sep 5, 2014 / 21 notes

MORRISSEY: “THE LAST THING SECURITY FORCES EVER WANT IS PEACEFUL PROTEST”

veganlogicdinamo interviews Morrissey


5 September 2014
First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. It’s a big honour for me. I’m not going to ask you anything about the Harvest drama because you already explained it perfectly. Most people seem to not get it but I like the way you have fallen out with your record company. In our society, it is strongly advised to keep our mouth shut if we want to succeed. In my opinion, you are a total antidote against this common notiosn. You are still your teenage self and have the same spirit that always refuses to accept the nonsense of the record industry. There’s one thing I want to ask… You said you pushed the label for a proper video for “Istanbul” but they backed off. Have you had a specific idea/narrative for the video? 
Yes, it was based on the opening scenes of “West Side Story” with the band and I actually dancing through the streets.   Harvest just wouldn’t do it.  It was the first snap in our relationship, mainly because they didn’t have any alternative ideas.  I don’t mind objections if someone has a better idea.  Ultimately the head of Harvest DID have an idea … which was “let’s get rid of Morrissey”… unfathomably silly.
I read these lines on NME.com: “Can you imagine not having a Morrissey-shaped chapter on this pivotal time for music, when the old forms are dying out and the new ones are yet to be born? It’s unthinkable. It would be like leaving Jesus out of “The Last Supper.” In your opinion, what is the main purpose of the old forms in this age?
I’m not entirely sure what they mean, but I would imagine it’s a reference to the Lou Reed generation – all of whom will probably pass away within the next ten years.
All of the Ramones have now gone. Or else the NME consider the old forms to be the people who wanted to make music in order to enforce different content because they understood the value of change and the power of music, and so on. 
Reading your fantastically written “Autobiography” was a great joy to me. When I finished reading it, I felt that it is a great evidence that you are still the outsider’s outsider. You are still the ultimate idol of the bookish, isolated teenagers holed up in their bedrooms. So, in a sense nothing has changed with you. Some might say, considering the large amount of mainstream attention, this might seem like a misnomer. In fact, you always tell the brutal reality because you have the critical mind of an outsider. Why do you think so many musicians lack this attitude towards contemporary culture and abandon their imagination to so called “practical necessities”? 
 
I feel that a lot of people have given up on music precisely because of situations similar to the one I’ve just had with Harvest … that labels cannot cope with artists who are not clichéd.  But it’s never been the case throughout the history of music that a label in itself has changed music for the good.  It is always the artist, and it is  the artist that keeps people who work for record labels in their jobs.  Even if an artist has confusing ideas to a label, the ideas should be given a chance because the artists vision might help the label eventually, even if the label are too constricted to understand at first.  I don’t think a record label invented Alice Cooper or The Ramones or Patti Smith, or any artist that ever had a vision.  Now, I think, other bands will be reluctant to sign to Harvest because of how Harvest has treated me.  The vanity or ego of a label can also destroy a label rather than make it appear to be in control.
In “Autobiography”, you tell us about some details of how The Smiths emerged as an independent band in Manchester. Many things have changed over the past 30 years. So many of the people who are making the breaks today seem to be produced by established figures and the internet play a big role in this. If you are an emerging artist, the music industry must be frightening at the moment. If you had to enter the music industry today, how would you go about it? What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career in the craft?
 
I know a lot of young people who, in another climate, would have made music, but who are repulsed by the way talent is now artificially created.  My own view is that it doesn’t matter how you break through as long as you have something to say, but, of course, it can’t be a coincidence that all of the major artists in the mainstream music chart have absolutely nothing to say and are utterly servile!  It seems to me that music is no longer a place for individual expression unless you just want to make music for yourself and your friends.  Every fact of the modern world is crying out for change and release, yet there is no evidence of this in the mainstream music charts.  It’s almost as if no one is allowed through unless they are … well, meaningless. 
Although streaming looks to be the future of music ‘consumption’ -I hate to use this word- a while ago some musicians, especially David Byrne and Thom Yorke, got some attention when they publicly complained about Spotify and other digital music services. Major labels love Spotify because they receive a huge amount of shares, but artists are not equal on it. There are indie labels, as opposed to majors, receive no advance, receive no minimum per stream. For years, the major record labels used their monopoly of distribution and their control of radio to prevent independent music from competing in the mainstream. Now with the record industry in disarray, do you think it’d be possible to change the system and let people decide what’s popular, not marketing?
 
The labels don’t want the people to choose.  Marketing is all that modern music is about, and it is only marketing and not talent or ability that creates success. This is why only the dumbo generation succeeds in pop without much trouble, because synthetic excitement isn’t likely to be a problem for the labels. But because marketing is the only reason why any singer is successful, songs with no merit become huge hits, and consequently the music world is unconvincing, and it relies upon awards to make singers appear to be genuine artists.  At the same time, young people who are serious about singing or playing an instrument would look at television talent shows and find them morally repulsive.  Which they are!
“World Peace Is None of Your Business” is a stunning record. In the opening track, you sum up the current desperate situation of the world. It’s a powerful anti-war, anti-state song. You openly agree with the anti-voting revolution. The No Vote campaign has been very much discussed in Turkey recently because of the local elections and presidential elections. I totally understand why you support this strategy. Yes, it is time for a form of change. Because the bad guys always win! How do we stop that? Is non-voting system alone enough? How do we achieve a nonviolent change?
Well, a little spark can cause a big fire! It doesn’t really take much to turn the world’s social outlook upside down.  I support the No Vote campaign because it is a silent vote for constitutional reform.  No vote means you have no confidence in whatever it is you’re served up.  The present system is entirely and absolutely authoritarian – and nothing else.  Electing the least of a hideous bunch always leads us to precisely the same unhappy place.  The idea of a single President or Prime Minister is ludicrous to me, because you are absolutely giving the divine right to a single individual to do what they please to other living beings, and to define rights and wrongs, and to carry out such dealings away from any public scrutiny.  Consequently, in the Middle East there never seems to be enough blood.  The human race has grown more nervous, not less, under the current regimes, and elected political parties persistently show themselves to want nothing to do with the people once they get the public vote.  
The song “Istanbul” has touched my heart deeply. Its lyrics are so poignant that most Turkish people related it to the resistance that took place in Turkey last year. The year 2013 was very tough for the Turkish people. There was a nationwide wave of protests against the oppression of the Islamic-rooted government. The Turkish police used tear gas and water cannon as the primary methods to disperse people. Their response to the civilians was extremely violent. Seven young people died and thousands were injured in the police crackdown on the protests across Turkey. Berkin Elvan, one of those young people who got killed by the cops, was only 14 years old. When you released “Istanbul”, almost everyone in Turkey couldn’t help but think of our brown eyed boy Berkin. Could this be just a coincidence?
 
It’s a not uncommon story, and you must remember how the Syrian unrest began with Assad arresting ten schoolchildren under the age of 15, and throwing them into prison where they were tortured. Assad did this because the kids had written DOWN WITH THE REGIME on a wall. This incident alone started the Syrian uprising, and the families of the schoolchildren took to the streets, and it was here that Assad’s Security Forces shot at the families and killed some of them.  This action then brought 20,000 people onto the streets chanting anti-government slogans, and Assad was free to slaughter whomever he wished. The UK government is now ready to re-engage with Assad!  But increasingly we see how civilian murders don’t actually matter at all with governments.  The recent Malaysian plane attack is a perfect example.  In the first few days the media referred to it as an attack, and then suddenly it became a disaster.  By ‘disaster’ they were telling us that nothing would be done about it, as if it were a flood or something.  We all see how civilian deaths do not register with world leaders unless a loss of oil or gas is involved, and suddenly there’s no question of military intervention.  What enrages me is how people who rise up against corrupt governments are referred to as rebels, protestors or agitators but never ever referred to as “the people”, which is what they are.  It is corrupt governments who are the rebels. You will never hear a news report say how “the police shot at the people”, yet you will always hear “the police shot at demonstrators” – as if demonstrators are not really people.  By calling the people ‘agitators’ or ‘rebels’ it divorces them from being your mother or your cousin.  You suddenly imagine fringe anarchists butting in.  The so-called Security Forces cause the most trouble and the most deaths throughout the world – Ferguson in the USA is a perfect current example – and the problem is that the Security Forces are beyond prosecution.  Because of this, nonviolent protest is always deliberately made to become violent by Security Forces so that the political issues are overshadowed by the news of violence instead, and this absolutely never fails.  So, instead of hearing why the people are taking to the streets in peaceful resistance, we are told of how several policemen were hurt in violent clashes, and this alone becomes the news story, and the plight of the people is ignored.  The last thing Security Forces ever want is peaceful protest because then the anti-government message is being aired and heard as loud as a bell.

You say when you’re in Istanbul you feel as if I could never die. And you should know that when you sing in Istanbul, we (all of your fans) feel the same. When are we going to experience this wonderful mutual feeling again? In October?
 
In December.  It is a Sunday evening.  I’ve always tried to get Istanbul Opera House, but it’s never available… or it doesn’t exist.
Ara Güler, a famous Turkish photojournalist, once said, “Istanbul is Jean Giraudoux’s La Folle de Chaillot. Every since my childhood I always identified the city with the madwoman of Chaillot, a crazy woman of the type you can find in the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations… Now she has grown old, but she never neglects her appearance. She puts on her jewelry, and applies her perfumes. She has caskets filled with jewelry from the old days of magnificent and grandeur. Touch this mad woman of the palace known as Istanbul anywhere you like and a jewel will appear.” You revealed that Istanbul is the second to Rome as your most favorite city in the world. What image appears in your mind’s eye when you touch the city?
I love cities where the people are on the streets because I feel less alone.  If you are seen on the streets in England you must always account for why you are outside – I don’t mean politically, I just mean generally.  In America, anyone walking along the street is thought to be up to no good.  In England we are always enclosed, and usually zombified in front of a television.  In Istanbul and Rome I can walk and walk and walk, and I love to see groups of older people sitting around in squares or cafes just … doing nothing.  In England you can’t sit anywhere unless you buy something, and America is the same.  Unless you buy four bottles of wine you’re obliged to leave.  I also love societies where different age groups mix naturally, and I find this so in Turkey, and it’s very important and rewarding.  England and America look upon senior citizens as a problem. 
When you gave a concert in 2006 in Istanbul, you got on stage and saluted the crowd by saying “Zeki Müren!” It was a nice surprise for us, but nobody knows why you said that. How familiar are you with his music?
Not very.  He was introduced to me by an old friend (James Maker), and I found his style to be quite funny and soothing, and it interested me that such a traditionally macho culture could adopt a Zeki Muren without much fuss.  
“The Bullfighter Dies” emphasize the cruelty to animals and human selfishness in a very effective way. I hope your new song could help to stop this horrific animal abuse in Spain. I don’t know if I am being too naive but listening to “Meat Is Murder” was sufficient to make me vegan years ago. On the other hand, we live in a society where violence has been very present at the most intimate levels. How hopeful are you that one day animal cruelty will be seen the same and given the same justice as human cruelty?
 
I think eating animals will be to the 21st century what smoking tobacco was to the 20th century, and because this is becoming evident, the factory farmers are hitting back very hard.  I don’t know anyone at all who eats animals, but the dominant animal-haters always make sure they are heard and seen, and this is why people such as I, who do not financially profit from their views, must also keep jabbing away.  There is, in fact, no such thing as bullfighting, because no one actually fights a bull.  There are bullmurders, but not bullfights.  It’s similar to those who call themselves hunters, yet they are armed to the teeth with weaponry that gives them an absurdly childish advantage over the animal.  The so-called hunter doesn’t even come within close range of the animal.  Everything is done from a safe distance.  This is why I despise people like Prince William and Prince Harry who have a paranoid obsession with killing animals. They are so typical of the stupidly cruel killers who never actually get their hands dirty.  They are both absolute pests.
We also live in a society where violence is a cultural style belonging especially to men. That’s why I find the song “I’m Not a Man” very brave. Every line in the song is to the point and deadly accurate in describing how society’s definition of men harms the mind and identity. In “Autobiography”, you tell us that Bowie’s androgynous appearance shook the British society in the 1970s. Do you remember the first image you saw that blurred the physical distinction between genders and the text (poem/book/story etc.) you read that did the same?
 
This again is why I despise Prince William and Prince Harry.  There’s a crackdown on possession of firearms in England, but the only people we ever see with guns are the stupid Royals, yet nobody says anything!  I think violence is ingrained into our societies because of the abattoir or slaughterhouses, and we usually find that however a person is allowed to treat animals is also the way they feel entitled to treat humans.  On the subject of gender, I think Gertrude Stein was the first image I saw of someone who just wasn’t prepared to follow on behind.  But it isn’t always simply a question of heterosexuality or homosexuality.  There are as many variables in heterosexual society as there are in homosexual society.  Describing a person in terms of their sexuality actually tells you nothing about that person.  The human race is a lot more varied than we are generally encouraged to believe.  So, I therefore found such as Gertrude Stein to be interesting because their androgyny seemed to unite male and female in one, and didn’t close off any new or further experiences, which sounds very healthy to me.  This is why early David Bowie and Patti Smith seemed like messengers, yet most of us still live in societies that insist upon painfully limited gender roles, and the assumption of male heterosexual rightness is still the absolute face of global politics.
You have compiled the track-listing for the forthcoming Best of the Ramones CD/LP and you have also chosen the slave image. What impresses you most about the Ramones?
At first, nothing!  I thought they were terrible on the Monday that I  bought their first album, and by Tuesday I was sneaking back to re-listen, and by Wednesday I was playing the LP at midnight, and by Thursday I was shocked at their magnificence. It’s incredible how the Ramones are now so hugely popular.  If they were still alive they’d be the biggest band on the planet, yet they died thinking nobody loved them.

The music industry is one of the industries where it is socially acceptable to discriminate against females. In the last couple of years, some female musicians have spoken against gender discrimination in music. What’s your take on this issue?
 
I don’t think anything has changed, thus you will hear how “she’s one of the best female singers” whereas you would never hear “he’s a great male singer.”  In your question you ask me about female musicians, but really, isn’t the term ‘musicians who are female’ because otherwise we’re acknowledging the proper musician as being without doubt male.  It’s similar to when people use the term ‘a female doctor’ as if men have the absolute divine right to be doctors whereas women do not.  “It was a female police officer” sounds as if we’re saying ‘not a real police officer’.  In music, we still look back on early Patti Smith and The Slits as being such radical breakthroughs because they were definitely not fluffy and feminine, whereas it’s now entirely flipped back to the helpless little girl voice being the one we only ever hear on the radio.  The Spice Girls were marketed as ‘girl power’, which is exactly what they weren’t.  If they’d had any guts they would have called themselves The Slum Mums, and of course, forget girlhood, it ought to have been ‘woman power’ if anything.  Could you imagine The Strokes announcing ‘we represent boy power’?  
As far as I know, there are 13 books named after your lyrics. (Here’s the list: http://www.avclub.com/article/but-not-much-more-not-much-more-13-books-named-aft-104692) Have you read any of these books?
Only the Douglas Coupland book.  I also see that there’s a new Swedish TV drama called Viva Hate.  A lot of similar things happen.  There were films called Mute Witness and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Louder Than Bombs … and, uh, it’s impossible to list them all.  It thrills me, though.  It proves that someone is listening.
How do you stay balanced and recharge your battery, given the stress of modern life, and all the things you have going on in your career? Do you ever have to get away from the music or your responsibilities for a moment in order to re-center? If so, what kinds of things do this for you? And most importantly, how is your health in general?
 
I don’t manage to remain very balanced!  I’ve suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for several years, and I feel intensely melancholic every day.  But have you ever actually heard of anyone who found lasting happiness? I think human existence is painful… fear, loneliness, physical decay, ill-health, loss … and we must face these things every single day whilst also exercising the most austere self-discipline about work, money, appearance, and so on.  It’s confusing also because although money in itself is not the source of life, everything arounds us tells us that it is.  
You’ve been in so many people’s lives for so many years. Your music has had such an existential tone over the years, bordering on bitter at times. And you still stand on stage and never get out of people’s consciousness with the years. When you look back over your musical career, is there a feeling that stands out from the rest?
 
It’s never felt like a career.  Not for one single minute.  In fact, I have no idea what it is!  Certainly I feel unwanted by the music industry, and the recent Harvest thing accentuates that.  But it was never different.  The fact that I’ve survived for so long is quite incredible.
Thank you very much again. I am excitedly waiting to see you in Istanbul!
Likewise, although I probably won’t spot you unless you look especially noticable. Perhaps if you dressed up as a goat?