Monday, May 25, 2009
Morrissey has just turned 50 so it seems appropriate to say a few words, and what better person to kick off an occasional series on musical influences. I should say straight away that I wasn't a big fan of The Smiths, although I do own Big Mouth Strikes Again on 12" I prefer the live Morrissey version... "as her iPod started to melt". Somehow The Smiths were just too depressing in a pretty poor time for rock music in the UK.
Morrissey's solo music started in the same vein and then became more playful (if still willfully at odds with everything). I think the key difference though is the rest of his band, Boz Boorer and, particularly, Alain Whyte are big heros of mine and do, in fact, write most of the tunes on Morrissey's records. Ringleader of the Tormentors and You Are The Quarry are my favourite albums, but his band is also great live so check out the excellent Live At Earl's Court which sees them all at their peak (before Alain Whyte left the band) and includes some rare Morrissey tracks and some of the best Smiths songs too. This last record also includes one track that was never on an album but sums up the best of Morrissey's music for me, if you want one track to check out then listen to Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice - cracking tune, amusing yet caustic lyrics... perfect rock.
Of course I realise that Morrissey is much like that other British tradition that begins with M - Marmite. People tend to either love him or hate him - which is the sign of a truly radical artist, I could never court controversy the way he does, but I do try to be more creative than average in my lyrics. Whichever, it's good to see some real longevity in the UK music scene, so happy birthday you old bugger - I hope you have plenty more!
Some miscellaneous memories relating to Morrissey and (ahem) booze:
1) Drinking my friend Adrian's ENTIRE collection of red wine, whilst alternately playing and arguing for early or late period Morrissey songs as being the best. We agreed, drunkenly, to disagree.
2) Missing Morrissey's appearance at a Paris festival because Peachy and I didn't make it out of the hotel bar. What can I say, I enjoy getting drunk with friends... we did make it to see Radiohead the next day, and they were utterly fantastic.
To hear the Morrissey influence, check out my song: The Fool I Am
In other news, the recording for the charity record is full steam ahead. I'm very pleased that the peerless Haydn Callow and frighteningly brilliant Paul Tkachenko have agreed to play respectively drums and bass for me. I'm very, very excited about this. Now perhaps if I can just get Tony Visconti to produce it... hmmm. Much more news on this to follow.
The recording is leading to a slight lull in gigs, but I will be back stronger than ever with some new arrangements (although no new songs just yet) on the 4th June at the Nine Bar near Tower Bridge.
Full gig list:
4th June 2009, music from 7.30pm
The Nine Bar, 146 Tanner Street, London, SE1 2HG
15th June 2009
RAW Rocks @ The Abbey Tavern, 124 Kentish Town Rd, London, NW1 9QB
21st June 2009, open mic from 7.00pm onstage after 9pm
Stripped Bare @ The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, London, W1G OPP
28th June 2009, doors 7.30pm
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, Unit 1 Tower Bridge House, St. Katharine Docks, E1W 1AA
1st July 2009
Stripped Bare Acoustic Productions presents:
Wood 'N' Strings @ LOOM featured act
Loom Bar, 5 Clipstone Street, London W1W 6BB
Best wishes to you all,
P.S. Shamefully I have never seen Morrissey live, so the picture above is me and Peachy missing Morrissey in Paris, August 2006.