Morrissey’s U.S. tour started this week and ticket sales are less than fantastic. In fact they pretty much suck. I am aware of this because I have been tracking the resale market over the summer, as I ruminate on attending. I feel miserable about the pending show here, which is perhaps appropriate given Moz’s penchant for writing and performing songs celebrating that emotion. Except in this case my misfortune stems from having bought tickets months ago in the presale.
We’ll get to the “Morrissey: Provocateur, dick, racist, or all of the above?” question eventually, but let’s start with the presale. If you are as frequent a concertgoer as I am, you probably understand the double-edged sword that is the fan presale. For some artists, it is the singular way fans can get tickets at face value—which is already a total screw-job, but at least better than buying in the even more jacked up secondhand market. Tickets cost astronomical sums these days, far outpacing inflation compared to a decade ago. Staggering tack-on fees don’t help, but grumbling about that seems like yet another a quaint relic of the ’90s, like rock bands that play actual guitars. If you want to see big name touring artists who sell out venues, you’re going to get robbed, period.
But what about those performers who don’t sell out their shows right away? They still have presales. Plenty of their tickets still get diverted to the scalper market and posted on Stubhub and the like for outrageous sums. At least initially. But then the supply and demand teeter-totter often swings back and throws the fan into the dirt. The show doesn’t sell out at all. Not initially, not after a few months, not ever. The promoters then panic and start offering tickets at TJ Maxx prices. This sucks for the fan that many months before shelled out face, as the value of those tickets plummets.
Change your mind? Change of plans? Can’t get the day off/find a babysitter/afford to go anymore because the economy tanked and you lost your job? You’re screwed. Don’t need as many tickets because your buddies bail? Hope those assholes paid you because otherwise you’ll never recoup your outlay.
I’m something of a Morrissey apologist but this is not a great cover. Moz’s clunky guitar player doesn’t nail the fluidity of the Pretenders’ original lead guitar line. That part was created by Rockpile’s Billy Bremner, who Chrissie Hynde and producer Chris Thomas brought into the studio a month after James Honeyman-Scott died of a drug overdose. I had always assumed it was Honeyman-Scott playing on this single, but nope.
It still boggles my mind that Morrissey is so faithful to his thoroughly mediocre backing musicians. He’s stuck by guitarists Boz Boorer and Jesse Tobias since 1991 and 2005, respectfully. Those guys might not be able to play Bremner’s lead guitar part properly, but I can think of somebody who could…
So it goes.
Morrissey told Rolling Stone: “I think the original can safely be counted as a pop classic, and as always with the Pretenders, of the brain as well as the loins. Chrissie is always ready to do something before anyone expects it, and for me that’s a well-developed artist. Chrissie is one of my longest and enduring friendships. I don’t have many. Chrissie is the funniest person in the world, yet she has absolutely no sense of humor. We have been in many absurd situations – all her fault, of course. I know she’d marry me tomorrow, but she’s already had 11 husbands and she’s always being spotted digging in the garden at midnight.”
And that’s why I still love this guy. On his curious decision to pose with a guitar he explained, “I wanted people to see that I can play as well as Jeff Beck. I wanted them to, but they never will!”
I always thought Morrissey could easily transition to being an English soap star should he ever decide to give up the music game. I mean, look at him: Can’t you just see him scheming to undercut his rivals with understated but nefarious actions and a whiff of debonair superiority?
Unfortunately, Moz lives in a soap opera and too often undercuts himself with ill-advised comments on everything from Brexit to sexual assault. Being a Morrissey fan has never been easy.
In his latest video, Moz dances (as much as you can call it that) on what looks like the set of a 80s variety show. Perhaps it’s shot on the soundstage next door to East Enders where he also has a recurring role?
While Moz lacks in the swinging hips department, the songs that have come out from this his 11th solo studio album harken back to his best and earliest solo work from Viva Hate and Your Arsenal. And Goddamn if he doesn’t look great as the leading man in his own TV drama.
I’ll probably skip reading his next interview but I look forward to hearing the rest of this album.
It’s super easy to hate Morrissey. I get it. He says and does a lot of stuff that’s impossible to defend. He applauds Brexit, he cancels tour after tour, he makes you sit through a half hour of YouTube videos before he arrives on stage. And yet…I’ve loved him so long I can’t stop now.
And most people don’t really get his sense of humor. He’s a funny dude. And he’s always aimed his meanest sarcasm at himself. Self-deprecating doesn’t begin to describe it. More like self-lacerating. And it’s hilarious.
“I spent the day in bed; I’m not my type, but I love my bed.” That’s funny. Reminds me of the Tom Waits spiel about taking yourself out on a date, coming home and putting some smooth music on the radio, and by 2:30 in the morning you’ve ended up taking advantage of yourself. Morrissey is more concise.
And you certainly can’t argue with his recommendation to “Stop watching the news.” We’re all burning out on outrage these days and it’s not doing any of us any good to have 24-7 exposure to awful news. Just check in on What The Fuck Just Happened Today? once in a while and keep on keeping on.
As the man says, there’s nothing wrong with being good to yourself.
I was never a punk. In high school I was a trendy little femme who liked the Smiths and sixties music. Duckie was my fashion icon. The only punk rock I listened to was the Dead Milkmen.
The king of the punks at my school was a senior named Alex who came to class one morning with perfectly spiked hair. Multiple four-inch spikes of Ziggy-red hair held up with egg whites or Elmer’s or some other gravity defying concoction. While he was walking down the hall some big dumb jock took a donut and placed it on one of those epic spikes.
Alex left the donut on his head for the rest of the day.
To me, that epitomizes punk rock. You make a personal statement that goes against the grain, you get hassled for it, but ultimately you subvert that mockery by reclaiming it and making it your own.
I didn’t see any donuts at Riot Fest this year but there was no shortage of that same punk rock attitude.
Look at this picture and just imagine the comments. Imagine being a poor soul with ugly shoes who happens to pass by. The insults would be earth shattering. Mozzer, Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher all passing judgment on you in a public space? It’s just too much.
But now imagine that rhetorical arsenal put to work for good. Imagine these were the judges of a nationally televised talent show. Forget American Idol or The X Factor or America’s Got Talent…this is Fuck Off The Stage!
Act after act would come out to perform their bit and then stand there as these three loudmouths dress them down for the entertainment of millions. Mozzer’s turn-of-phrase, Noel’s Northern English verbal blunt trauma, Brand’s…Brand-ism. The horror!
And the best part would be that nobody wins…ever. The season would end with no winner, no big finale…just those three guys having pints and talking shit. THAT I would watch.
“19 years to-the-day since Morrissey met guitarist Johnny Marr, Princess Diana is killed under circumstances foreshadowed in Morrissey’s work.” I absolutely love shit like this. So good, so fun, so nutty.
Princess Diana smashed into the 13th pillar in the underpass, which therefore means that she smashed into the 13th of the “arches” formed by those pillars. Correspondingly, Morrissey’s 13th word on Side 1 of the album THE QUEEN IS DEAD is the word “arches”; Morrissey’s 13th word on Side 2 of the album THE QUEEN IS DEAD is the word “smash.”
But during his second song, Black Cloud, he stepped forwards to the front of the stage to shake the hands of fans when a plastic bottle of beer was hurled at him. The singer stood up and said ‘goodnight’ to the stunned 8,000-strong crowd before walking off stage.
One dipshit in Liverpool ruined it for everybody. You don’t fuck with the Mozfather.