Former Smiths lead singer Morrissey is a curmudgeon of near-legendary proportions.
The caustic British 53 year old isn’t shy about voicing his opinions on things, and those opinions usually involve outlandish, withering insults directed at his enemies. For example, a couple weeks ago he teed off against the “blustering jingoism” of the London Olympics with a sideline rant connecting England to Greece and Nazi Germany in 1939.
These tirades have made him more than a few enemies over the years — it’s reached the point where other bands write songs about how much they hate him — but it’s also made him someone who’s always worth paying attention to.
At Spinner we’ve been having a hard time keeping track of all the things the Mozzer has been hating on lately, so we decided we needed to build a list. So here it is… 16 things Morrissey hates:
In 2006 Morrissey declared he would never play in Canada again until the annual seal hunt that takes place in the country is ended.
Said Morrissey, “We will not include any Canadian dates on our world tour to promote our new album. This is in protest against the barbaric slaughter of over 325,000 baby seals which is now underway.
I fully realise that the absence of any Morrissey concerts in Canada is unlikely to bring the Canadian economy to its knees, but it is our small protest against this horrific slaughter — which is the largest slaughter of marine animal species found anywhere on the planet.
The Canadian Prime Minister says the so-called “cull” is economically and environmentally justified, but this is untrue.
The seal population has looked after itself for thousand of years without human intervention, and, as the world knows, this slaughter is about one thing only: making money. The Canadian government will stream all of the pelts into the fashion industry and this is the reason why the baby seals are killed with spiked clubs that crush their skulls – any damage to their pelts is avoided. The Canadian Prime Minister also states that the slaughter is necessary because it provides jobs for local communities, but this is an ignorant reason for allowing such barbaric and cruel slaughter of beings that are denied life simply because somebody somewhere might want to wear their skin.
Construction of German gas chambers also provided work for someone — this is not a moral or sound reason for allowing suffering.
If you can, please boycott Canadian goods. It WILL make a difference. As things stand, Canada has placed itself alongside China as the cruelest and most self-serving nation.”
A drummer and one half of the rhythm section of Morrissey’s former band The Smiths (the other half, bassist Andy Rourke, claims Morrissey fired him from The Smiths via postcard), Joyce sued Morrissey and fellow Smiths member Johnny Marr for an equal share of the bands’ royalties in 1989 and won his case… and a one million pound settlement.
Moz had once compared Joyce and Rourke to “session musicians who could be replaced like parts of a lawnmower.”
The band 10,000 Maniacs, featuring prominent mom rocker Natalie Merchant covered Morrissey’s “Every Day is Like Sunday” on their 1993 EP Candy Everybody Wants.
Morrissey hated it.
His response? “Have a Go Merchant,” a b-side to the 1995 single “Boxers.”
The song is notable because he actually went there, and called out her mom rock-ness, singing “A small baby girl cradled in your arms/Your one big contribution.” As far as withering insults go, it was pretty vicious.
The Moz has been on the following labels: HMV, Parlophone, Sire, RCA, Reprise, Mercury, Attack, Sanctuary, Decca, Lost Highway, Major Minor.
And that doesn’t even count co-signs, weird distro deals, etc. Basically, he hopscotches from one label to the next each album because he hates record labels.
“Labels for the most part want to sign new discoveries so that that label alone is seen to be responsible for the rise of the artist,” he told Pitchfork last year. “There are no risks taken with music any more. No social commentary songs, no individualism. This is because everyone is deemed instantly replaceable.”
Morrissey’s so militantly vegetarian he probably has an FBI file on him about it. His defining song in this regard is Smiths tune “Meat is Murder” but it’s far from the only time veggie politics has reared its head in his professional life.
One of his favorite threats is to cancel shows if he so much as smells a hot dog and he infamously left the Coachella stage in 2011 after catching a sniff of meat.
His quote: “I can smell burning flesh and I hope to God it’s human.”
BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY
Moz has made numerous attacks on the British royal family over the years and recently got his band to wear ‘We Hate William And Kate’ shirts during a show in Argentina.
You’ll never truly understand how dark Morrissey is unless you’re the sort of person who listens to the song “Unhappy Birthday” from The Smiths 1987 album Strangeways Here We Come each year.
I’ve come to wish you an unhappy birthday
I’ve come to wish you an unhappy birthday
‘Cause you’re evil
And you lie
And if you should die
I may feel slightly sad
(But I won’t cry)
People who write about Morrissey are amongst his least favorite people. The subject of numerous salacious biographies in England, his response was the song “Journalists Who Lie” from the 1991 “Our Frank” single.
Says Moz on the topic:
They’re only trying to make their name
By spreading sickening lies
About the ones who’ve made their name
Mate, give us the knife
Give us the knife
He doesn’t like bloggers either.
You’re probably all, like, rain? But that’s got to be his third favorite thing next to the dramatic tears of a virgin bride left at the alter and the existential crises of 40 year olds who still have student loans, but no.
Just ask the Swedes who missed out on seeing him because it was raining outside.
Dogs? But Morrissey loves animals? Sure… until they attack him.
THE MARRIAGE OF KATY PERRY AND RUSSELL BRAND
When Perry and Brand met Morrissey he had no kind words for their then-impending union.
“I met Morrissey for the first time the other day and we had tea together,” Perry said. “He’s Russell’s mate and he is fascinating, but he was giving us a hard time about getting married. He swooned and sighed, ‘Oh, left hand third finger, don’t do it.’ It was just so eloquent and poetic and like one of his songs.”
Considering the two are now divorced perhaps we’ll just consider him right on this one.
We’re pretty sure the below lines, from “Sorrow Will Come in the End” of 1997’s Malajusted album, sum up Mr. Mozzer’s feelings on the topic:
Predictably, Morrissey would have problems with a guy who likes to string up dead animals in a tank and call it “art.”
And, as if on cue… Bam! … “I dislike the ‘use’ of animals in art, such as in the work of Damien Hirst… Do you agree that Hirst’s head should be kept in a bag for the way he’s utilised — and sold — dead animals?”
It’s songs like 1992 Your Arsenal gem “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful” that really cement Morrissey’s status as an A list grump. That said, maybe we give him a little leeway on this one because we’ve all got a couple buddies we’re envious of in some way or another.
Ask Billy Bragg. Rollercoasters make Morrissey puke. In the actual sense.
The NME gets its own category above beyond all the regular journalists because of the weird Batman-Joker thing they’ve had going on with the Moz for decades.
There’ve been good times and bad between the two. Nowadays though, it’s mostly lawyers letters due to libel suits based on the paper calling him racist because he referred to the Chinese as “a subspecies” for being cruel to animals.
This story originally ran August 23, 2012 on Spinner.