Tag Archives: Morrissey

Morrissey Exhumes The Smiths Live In Hamilton

Morrissey live in Hamilton.

Morrissey live in Hamilton.

LIVE: Morrissey
February 14, 2000
Hamilton Place
Hamilton, Ontario

“Half A Person.”

“Meat Is Murder.”

“Is It Really So Strange?”

“Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.”

“Shoplifters Of The World Unite.”

Five Smiths songs. Betcha you’re kicking yourself for not making the drive to Hamilton now.

After dropping so many of the “oldies” as Mozzer so quaintly referred to them, let’s face it, any sort of objective criticism went out the window. And there were more than a few things which could have flown back in Morrissey’s face this night: He chose to play the steeltown of Hamilton rather than Toronto, a mere hour away (but now that I think about it, Moz has always had a strange working-class fixation despite his pure bourgeois ponce). He has no record label, largely due to the fact his last record, Maladjusted, was truly horrible. And, at 40 or so, Moz isn’t exactly the winsome young turk that made sexually ambiguous hearts flutter back in The Smiths days.

Still, by about the third song in, all of the potential black marks against this show were rendered moot, showing just what kind of performance Stephen Patrick could put on.

Moz started out slowly, with a three-pack of mid-tempo numbers that included “Ouija Board, Ouija Board” and “I Am Hated For Loving.” They were warmly received and prompted the obligatory surge of Moz diehards to the front of the stage, which was surprisingly easy considering that Hamilton Place is a soft-seat venue (and yes, everybody was standing throughout the show, something I’m not sure would have happened if Moz had played in the more dour surroundings of Massey Hall in Toronto).

Things really got going, however, when the festivities were sped up with “Billy Budd” and “November Spawned A Monster.” By this time Moz had launched his first sweaty t-shirt into the crowd and had his first stage-invader.

Throughout it all, Moz was peppering the crowd with witty banter, coy lines and even some jokes. He was laughing and jovial, and it truly was a departure from his customary tortured writhing. That injection of humour just may have been what helped get him over this night as well. We know Morrissey’s days of playing to 12,000 at Maple Leaf Gardens are over, and you have to admit he’s haggaring somewhat. But he’s smart enough to know that if he’s getting his people to not only travel an hour from Toronto to see him, but drop $40 for the privilege of doing so, he better do more than leave them stewing in a nostalgic fog recalling how that special boy or girl broke their heart.

I must say though, that nostalgic fog felt pretty good when the band broke into Smiths’ classic “Half A Person.” Like a bolt of electricity, this instantly sent a shock through the crowd. At this point, there were no more questions about Moz’s performance or appearance. Everybody was in the palm of his hand. From there, the crowd lapped up “Hairdresser On Fire” (turned into a faux rip on London, Ontario) and “Boxers” before a tempo change once again with “Now My Heart Is Full.”

With the crowd firmly hooked, the stagelights turned a blaring red and Moz entered into “Meat Is Murder.” If the first half of the show was about a friendlier, Moz-as-entertainer vibe, “Meat Is Murder” brought back all the morbid loathing that drew all those lonely-yet-haughty-types to The Smiths so long ago in the first place. Wrenching and poignant, it would have made a fine conclusion to the evening, except there was still more to come.

A crowd-stoking “Is It Really So Strange?” and “Alma Matter” closed off the regularly scheduled program for the evening. But when Moz and the boys re-emerged at the encore to perform “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” and “Shoplifters Of The World Unite,” the crowd broke into their biggest singalong of the whole evening in addition to prompting a renewed rush of stage invaders.

It was something of an abrupt end considering Moz had only just set the assembled masses into a frenzy, but you’re not going to hear much complaining. About the only thing that could have made the night better would have been a double shot of “Pretty Girls Make Graves” and “Panic.” And besides, how many times are you ever going to hear the Moz play five Smiths songs again?

This review was originally published February 18, 2000 via Chart Communications.

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Ditch TV Playlists: Ghostface, GNR, LCD and Pusha T

Guns n' Roses

Guns n’ Roses

I’m totally a playlist content curator right now thanks to the folks at Ditch TV allowing me to party in their sandbox.

They have no idea (or maybe they do?) what they’ve unleashed.

Here are 10 of my recent Ditch playlists:

LCD Soundsystem and All of Their Friends

Ghostface Killah is the Greatest

14 Times Neil Hamburger Was Amazing

Brilliant Rap Songs From 1990

Be Sad With Morrissey

Pusha T is the Greatest

15 Melodramatic Guns n’ Roses Moments

Brilliant Rap Songs From 1989

The Bizarre World of Salad Fingers

Ain’t No Party Like A Peaches Party

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16 Things Morrissey Hates

Morrissey

Morrissey

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.

Yeah.

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:

CANADA

The Canadian flag

The Canadian flag

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.”

MIKE JOYCE

Mike Joyce

Mike Joyce

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.”

NATALIE MERCHANT

Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant

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.

RECORD LABELS

Parlophone, one of Morrissey's many record labels

Parlophone, one of Morrissey’s many record labels

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.”

Maybe they hate him, too?

MEAT

Meat is murder

Meat is murder

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

British royal family

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.

BIRTHDAYS

Birthday cake

Birthday cake

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.

Sample lyric:

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)

JOURNALISTS

A media press scrum

A media press scrum

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.

RAIN

Rain puddles

Rain puddles

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

Morrissey with dogs

Morrissey with dogs

Dogs? But Morrissey loves animals? Sure… until they attack him.

THE MARRIAGE OF KATY PERRY AND RUSSELL BRAND

Katy Perry and Russell Brand

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.

LAWYERS

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

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:

Lawyer… liar
Lawyer… liar

DAMIEN HIRST

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

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?”

SUCCESSFUL FRIENDS

Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand and Morrissey

Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand and Morrissey

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.

ROLLERCOASTERS

A rollercoaster

A rollercoaster

Ask Billy Bragg. Rollercoasters make Morrissey puke. In the actual sense.

NME

Morrissey on the cover of NME

Morrissey on the cover of NME

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.

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Songs About Friendship

The Beatles

The Beatles

It was International Friendship Day recently so I got to dig deep and find some of the best and worst of songs about amigos.

Folks like Carole King, The White Stripes (Jack needs a friend) and Morrissey (multiple entries… he’s obsessed with friendship) all made the list.

To read it head over to Huffington Post Music Canada by clicking here.

 

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My Therapist Says I Don’t Have To Listen To Joy Division Anymore

Joy Division

Joy Division

I have to skip ahead any time Joy Division comes up on iTunes when Sarah’s around and there’s a specific reason why.

She wrote about said reason for Noisey.

You can read about it here.

 

 

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16 Things Morrissey Hates

Morrissey

Morrissey

UPDATE: Because Spinner is RIP I’ve unearthed this listicle at the following location.

As the (proud?) owner of over 50 Morrissey and The Smiths CDs, and as someone who qualifies as at least two different things that Morrissey loathes (being Canadian and a music journalist), I felt I was uniquely qualified to mine the depths of the Mozzer’s hatescape to create the feature “16 Things Morrissey Hates” for Spinner.

To find out why the Brit miserablist hates rain, dogs and Natalie Merchant, click here.      

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Aaron’s Top Albums Of 2004

Morrissey

Morrissey

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2004:

1. Morrissey You Are The Quarry
2. The Veils The Runaway Found
3. The Organ Grab That Gun
4. Arcade Fire Funeral
5. Feist Let It Die
6. Apostle Of Hustle Folkloric Feel
7. Jens Lekman When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog
8. By Divine Right Sweet Confusion
9. The Golden Dogs Everything In 3 Parts
10. The Dears Thank You Good Night Sold Out

There are a number of naggingly unsatisfying inclusions on this year’s list.

I don’t particularly go back to Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry much these days, but at the time it ranked as an amazing comeback record after a couple crappers from the Moz. So that would have been more than enough for a Smiths/Morrissey fan like myself to push it to top spot.

Morrissey “First Of The Gang To Die.” This might be the Moz at his storytelling best:

Coming in second this year was The Veils’ The Runaway Found. This is a great band who’ve been criminally slept on over the years. With them and Moz, Jens, The Dears and The Organ all on my list there was clearly a vibe I was feeling in ’04. I’m not sure what that might be, maybe morbid melodrama?

The Veils “Lavinia”:

Putting The Organ’s Grab That Gun at #3 feels like a bit of a cheat considering I put their Sinking Hearts EP on my Top 10 the year before. I’m going to chalk putting this one so high up to me projecting — hoping that The Organ would be to the world what I thought Moz and The Veils were as well.

The Organ “Memorize The City”:

That Arcade Fire Funeral record was like a bolt of lightning, wasn’t it? I mean, seriously, who knew those guys were going to hit the grand slam and turn every indie band for the next five years into gang-singing, handclapping 13-member art collectives? Nowadays, knowing more about their prep school backgrounds and natural entitlements, there’s a certain realization that I don’t really identify with the Arcade Fire at all, but I still have to admit they can create some compelling music.

Arcade Fire “Wake Up”

Putting Feist’s Let It Die at #5 was probably an error on my part brought on by the fact that my friend and co-worker Chris Burland had put out her previous album Monarch on his label and I would’ve felt a vague desire to be supportive. I like two songs on this album — “Mushaboom” and the Bee Gees cover “Inside And Out.” That shouldn’t have been enough for this album to place where it did.

Feist “Inside And Out”:

I never listen to Apostle Of Hustle Folkloric Feel any more. I haven’t even ripped it into iTunes so I’m going to guess I was getting a little swept up in the rise of Broken Social Scene at the time and it was clouding my perspective.

At #7 was Jens Lekman’s When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog. I’m not really sure why I put this on my list. I don’t really like this album all that much and it’s actually Lekman’s next album Night Falls Over Kortedala that I was really into.

I’ve steadfastly maintained that By Divine Right remain one of the most important Canadian bands of the last 20 years and putting their album Sweet Confusion at #8 was a small gesture in support of that notion. Against the rest of their catalog this is one of their lesser albums — still good — but in hindsight Sweet Confusion’s inclusion on my list feels too political now.

By Divine Right “Soft Machine”

The Golden Dogs’ Everything In 3 Parts was a very exciting record for our household when it came out. They were a great band live, they were fun people to be around, and the album was solid, too. I’m still not entirely sure why they never got bigger than they did, but this was still a great ride to be on at the time.

The Golden Dogs “Yeah”:

The #10 pick The Dears’ Thank You Good Night Sold Out is kind of embarrassing to me. The Dears were probably my favourite Canadian band right around then (and might still be now), but this is a live record. I don’t really listen to it any more, and didn’t really listen to it that much when it came out. Nowadays I’m far more ruthlessly clinical about my Top 10 lists and putting this on the 2004 list has a certain cute “Aw shucks” loyalty that I don’t know if I’ve “lost,” but I don’t quite let rule me in the same way any more.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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