Ok, I read Morrissey’s autobiography, I still can not like the guy, why should I, he really comes across as a mysoginist in his writing – but I like his book and it also made me like his music. Surprise with a very capital S. I ordered the Smiths’ box set even.
So his nickname is Mozzer. A Mozzer in german means a person who’s systematically complaining. That’s what he does a lot in his book. He’s complaining about his record labels, be it Rough Trade, who are just not up to Morrissey’s class, be it Sire, who do not manage to push the Smiths singles into the charts, although the band plays sell out tours in the US.
It’s only logical that the second half of the book talks about chart entry this, chart entry that, sell out gig here, headlining a festival there. Morrissey’s a big success, we understand. It’s just a bit annoying that he has to ram it down our throats all the time. This means there are whole paragraphs intoxicated with plain and simple bore.
But despair not. The book’s really thick, there’s a lot more to it, I think it’s a passionate read in the strong parts. It’s fun to read him put down other acts like Siouxsie. It makes also very good background to the films you can find on Youtube, where some of his collaborators spill out their deception, in the end you just understand that Morrissey is difficult to work with, but that he also was a career opportunity for a lot of people like for instance Stephen Street (who’s that, you might ask – it’s all such a long time ago, those eighties).
Morrissey is so english, even when he’s rude, so he really belongs in Penguin Classics, where his book was published, very much to the anger of ‘real’ writers, one was even appearing on the BBC saying “I’ve published books for 10 years now before making it to Penguin Modern Classics, and this guy who’s only a pop singer…” and so on. Hahaha. That’s certainly one of the attractions of Morrissey, he likes to give those people the finger.
The book made me spend a whole week with his music, watching movies on Youtube, listening to the few records I could find. Because myself I’ve never bought one, and the local public library had never heard of him!
I just had the first LP of The Smiths I did get for review when it was released. I did not like it a lot. Which is understandable, the production is just so thin, Morrissey says. He hates that record, because it did not reflect the power of The Smiths. I think he’s right. Later recordings sound a lot better, although I found them too fat then, not appropriate for a bedroom angst singer.
The Smiths almost played our town, a gig was planned, contracts signed, the poster ready to be printed – when they pulled out, because they became an overnight success in british indie circles, having signed to Rough Trade. Rough Trade, then the holy grail for indie bands. Chez Mozz, they come across as a bunch of lazy hippies and crusties, more concerned with ideology than chart success, even fearing it.
This was the period when we had The Television Personalities, if memory serves me well. This was also a period we did cook for the bands in order to save money. I remember once making tofu for Alan McGee and the Creation troupe, and how they hated it. Yeah, I’m still ashamed, really. But Morrissey would have loved the food. He who leaves business meetings when the other one orders meat in the restaurant.
I could go on and on about the book, the films, the music – but I think you should make this trip by yourself. Here are some links that might help: