Morrissey

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Morrissey

Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), known usually by his family name alone, is an English singer and songwriter, and was the frontman for The Smiths.

Sourced[edit]

from Songs[edit]

  • It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate, it takes strength to be gentle and kind.
    • from the 1986 song "I Know It's Over"
  • And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.
    And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side,
    the pleasure, the privilege is mine.
    • from the 1986 song "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out"
  • So when you say it's gonna happen now.
    Well when exactly do you mean?
    See I've already waited too long.
    And all my hope is gone!
    • from the 1984 song "How Soon Is Now?"
  • I've been dreaming of a time when
    The English are sick to death of Labour and Tories
    And spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell and denounce this royal line that still salutes him
    And will salute him forever.
    • from the 2004 song "Irish Blood, English Heart"
  • Why pamper life's complexity when the leather runs smooth on the passenger's seat?
    • from the 1984 song "This Charming Man"
  • In my life
    Why do I smile
    At people who I'd much rather kick in the eye ?
    • from the 1984 song "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
  • I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving,
    England is mine and it owes me a living
    • from the song "Still Ill"
  • You shut your mouth,
    How can you say I go about things the wrong way?
    I am human and I need to be loved
    Just like everybody else does
    • from the song "How Soon Is Now?"
  • There's a club if you'd like to go, you could meet somebody who really loves you,
    so you go and you stand on your own,
    and you leave on your own,
    and you go home and you cry and you want to die
    • from the song "How Soon Is Now?"
  • Hand in glove, the good people laugh, yes we may be hidden by rags,
    But we've something they'll never have
    • from the song "Hand In Glove"
  • There's more to life than books you know, but not much more
    • from the song "Handsome Devil"
  • Oh, the alcoholic afternoons when we sat in your room
    • From the song "These Things Take Time"
  • I'm here with the cause, I'm holding the torch
    In the corner of your room- can you hear me?
    And when you're dancing and laughing, and finally living,
    Hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly.
    • From the song "Rubber Ring"
  • Most people keep their brains between their legs
    • From the song "Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference"
  • But sometimes I'd feel more fulfilled making Christmas cards with the mentally ill.
    I want to live and I want to love.
    I want to catch something that I might be ashamed of.
    • From the song "Frankly Mr. Shankly"
  • And when I'm lying in my bed, I think about life and I think about death.
    And neither one particularly appeals to me.
    • From the song "Nowhere Fast"
  • Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?
    I dunno...
    • From the song "Still Ill"
  • Now I know how Joan of Arc felt,
    As the flames rose to her Roman nose
    And her Walkman started to melt...
    • From the song "Bigmouth Strikes Again"
  • As Anthony said to Cleopatra as he opened a crate of ale:
    "Oh, I say, some girls are bigger than others,
    Some girls' mothers are bigger than other girls' mothers.
    • From the song "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others"
  • There is no such thing in life as normal
    • From the song "The Youngest Was the Most Loved"
  • So I broke into the palace, with a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said "eh, I know you and you cannot sing"
    I said "that's nothing you should hear me play piano"
    • From the song "The Queen Is Dead (Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty)"
  • And you're standing on our streets
    where Hector was the first of the gang
    with a gun in his hand
    and the first to do time
    The first of the gang to die / oh my
    • From the 2002 song "First of the gang to die"
  • And you even spoke to me, and said :
    "If you're so funny
    Then why are you on your own tonight ?
    And if you're so clever
    Then why are you on your own tonight ?
    If you're so very entertaining
    Then why are you on your own tonight ?
    If you're so very good-looking
    Why do you sleep alone tonight ?
    I know...
    'Cause tonight is just like any other night
    That's why you're on your own tonight
    With your triumphs and your charms
    While they're in each other's arms..."
    • From the 1986 song "I Know It's Over"
  • Last night I dreamt
    That somebody loved me
    No hope, no harm
    Just another false alarm
    Last night I felt
    Real arms around me
    No hope, no harm
    Just another false alarm
    So, tell me how long
    Before the last one?
    And tell me how long
    Before the right one?
    The story is old - I know
    But it goes on
    The story is old - I know
    But it goes on
    Oh, goes on
    And on
    Oh, goes on
    And on
    • From the 1987 song "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"

In Interviews etc.[edit]

About interviews[edit]

  • I say a lot of things I don’t mean.
    • interview by Andrew Harrison, Word Magazine (June 2003)
  • I think the main thing is that I very rarely recognise the actual interview in print. To me, it's like being painted by an artist. And then you see the picture, and they've painted someone else.
    • From Oor magazine (Feb. 1987)

About himself & his work[edit]

  • I don't perform. Seals perform.
    • From an interview with Russell Brand in December 2006, also quoted in the March 2007 issue of Uncut.
  • Well, I think when I was a child, more than anything else I wanted not to be ordinary. And I wanted to be considered to be a bit peculiar. When I was at school I wanted to be peculiar and I was delighted when I was at secondary school and I was actually thought to be peculiar (laughs). It was fantastically good for me because I looked around me and I thought, 'Well, however you are I don't want to be like you, so if you think I'm unbalanced then I'm delighted.' That really stayed with me.
    • From "Morrissey speaks to NME", interview by Alex Needham, NME (April 17 2004).
  • I normally live in Los Angeles, if you can call it normal living.
    • From the TV documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey (2003); also quoted in "Return of the lone stranger" by Mark Simpson in Guardian Unlimited (31th May 2003)
  • That's why I do this music business thing, it's communication with people without having the extreme inconvenience of actually phoning anybody up.
    • From the TV documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey (2003)
  • Not everybody is absolutely stupid. Why on earth would I be racist, what would I be trying to achieve?
    • From the TV documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey (2003)
  • I left my fingerprints somewhere - that's good enough. I am my own person - that's good enough. I stand my ground - that's good enough.
    • From the TV documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey (2003)
  • JU: Are you thin still?
    M: Um, in a crowd, yes. In a crowd of very heavy people.
    • From "LA Confidential", interview by Jaan Uhelszki, Mojo (April 2001)
  • Lots of people make the stage and it can seem very violent and over the top, but it's not really. It's always a kind of gentle ballet.
    • From "LA Confidential", interview by Jaan Uhelszki, Mojo (April 2001)
  • I never enjoyed life in my twenties, not one minute of it. It was a test of endurance that I'm surprised I survived. Professionally, of course, I was doing very well but personally it couldn't have been worse or more difficult for me if I'd been living in a mud hut in Leeds.
    • from an interview with Q magazine (1995)
  • I was quite advanced when I was at school, and when I left school it seemed that all these really oafish clods from school were making tremendous progress and had wonderfully large cars and lots of money, and I seemed to be constantly waiting for a bus that never came.
    • from "Oxford Road Show", BBC2 (March 1985)
  • DK: How often does the seriousness end and the irony begin in your work?
    M: Many times. I have a grand and endless capacity to find myself slightly ridiculous. I'm not pretending to be some wallowing prophet, for heaven's sake. I think we all have to sit down and look in the mirror and think, What is that absurd monstrosity?
    • from "Homme alone 2" by David Keeps, Details (December 1992)
  • I know I've reached the stage where other artists would bleach their hair or buy a fancy costume, but, inexcusably, I can only be me, which is a full-time occupation and causes terrible backaches.
    • From "I’ll astonish you", interview by Len Brown, Details (March 1991).
  • M: If you cannot impress people simply by being part of the great fat human race, then you really do have to develop other skills. And if you don't impress people by the way you look, then you really do have to develop other skills. And if you are now going to ask is everything I did just a way to gain some form of attention, well that's not entirely true. It is in a small way, but that's in the very nature of being alive.
    PM: Wanting to be loved?
    M: To be seen, above all else. I wanted to be noticed, and the way I lived and do live has a desperate neurosis about it because of that. All humans need a degree of attention. Some people get it at the right time, when they are 13 or 14, people get loved at the right stages. If this doesn't happen, if the love isn't there, you can quite easily just fade away. ... In a sense I always felt that being troubled as a teenager was par for the course. I wasn't sure that I was dramatically unique. I knew other people who were at the time desperate and suicidal. They despised life and detested all other living people. In a way that made me feel a little bit secure. Because I thought, well, maybe I'm not so intense after all. Of course, I was. I despised practically everything about human life, which does limit one's weekend activities
    • From "Wilde child", interview by Paul Morley, Blitz (April 1988).
  • PM: What annoys you most about yourself?
    M: Practically everything. I miss not being able to stand up straight. I tend to slide into rooms and sit on the chair behind the door.
    • From "Wilde child", interview by Paul Morley, Blitz (April 1988).
  • I think I'm a realist. Which people who don't like me consider to be pessimism. It isn't pessimism at all. If I was a pessimist I wouldn't get up, I wouldn't shave, I wouldn't watch Batman at 7:30 a.m. Pessimists just don't do that sort of thing.
    • from "Stop me if you've heard this one before", interview by Len Brown in NME (20th February 1988)
  • I once bought a Manchester United hat, which I think was 12 shillings, and somebody ran up behind me and pulled it off and just ran ahead. I thought, 'It's a very cruel world, I'm not prepared for this'. And I decided to get my revenge on society.
    • from "Stop me if you've heard this one before", interview by Len Brown in NME (20th February 1988)
    • "It's very closed, it's very away from the world. Nobody to can get to me, if there was a fire I would probably die"- Morrissey on his dark flat in Chelsea
  • When The Smiths began it was very important that I wouldn't be that horrible, stupid, sloppy Steven. He would have to be locked in a box and put on top of the wardrobe. l needed to feel differently and rather than adopt some glamorous pop star name, I eradicated Steven which seemed to make perfect sense. Suddenly I was a totally different person. Now when I meet pre-Smith people who call me Steven, I sit there and wonder who they're talking about. I always despised the name Steven, though being spelt with a 'v' rather than a 'ph' made life slightly more tolerable. But it was very important that Steven be drowned nonetheless.
    • from an interview by Elissa Van Poznak in The Face (1984)
  • I think if I'd led an acceptably frivolous teenage life I wouldn't be singing in this group. I'm sure if you have a great time and get everything you want, all the friends you want, then you tend not to be so ambitious. If you're deprived of certain things it makes you very resilient and you kick very hard for what you want. And I wanted something very special because I'd led such an unspecial life previous to the Smiths.
    • From "Keep young and beautiful", interview by Bill Black, Sounds (November 19, 1983).

About The Smiths[edit]

  • GQ: “Who’ll be the first of the Smiths to die?”
    M: “Me. I’ll be shot – probably by one of the ex-Smiths.”
  • GQ: “Were you in love with Johnny Marr?”
    M: “Sexually? Absolutely not. There was a love and it was mutual and equal but it wasn’t physical or sexual. There are lots of people post-Smiths who would like to make some dramatic homosexual story. There never was one. It’s often said that Johnny rescued me but he was also bobbing about in his own lifeboat.”

About pop culture[edit]

  • Music that is in the charts today is quite dreadful. I find it a great honour that I have never been considered for awards, such as NME etc. It is a personal victory. All awards shows should be banned!
    • Speaking on Radio 2 in 2009
  • (About Pop Idols) Obviously, it's designed by record company executives who want a cheap success, and they don't want to give money to anybody and they don't want to give contracts, so they've created this world of very bubbly teenagers who want to be "idols" and they think all they have to do is mime quite well and they've made it. ... But it's not the problem of the kids, it's the problem of the record companies, because it's just an inexpensive way for them to have so-called, I won't say "artists", but erm...You're nodding, you know what I mean.
    • From a radio interview with Janice Long (2002)
  • I listen to the radio now that we seem to be on it quite a lot, but before that, I didn't really listen a great deal. I gave up for a while. But other groups... without really trying to sound terribly down on modern music, much of it really doesn't affect me a great deal. It seems tragically tidy, and everybody has their little safety nets and their little life rafts, and once people seem to get a hit they seem to just dilute the formula constantly and there's no risk involved, and it's really so desperately tidy, that... I want to change things. But I don't want to imply that The Smiths are a high-risk situation anyway, of course they're not. They're immediately listenable. But it just needs somebody with some heart and some brain. I think popular music needs brains at the moment.
    • From a radio interview with David Jensen in 1983
  • It (synthesizers and drum machines) has contributed greatly (to an 'antiseptic' sound). And the fact is, when I look back on the last few years I really can't remember that much of the music, such is its lasting effect. I think it's instantly forgettable and it horrifies me in many respects. It's so sterile and non-human. I don't understand why people play non-human music. It really mystifies me when we're human beings. It's strange. I hate it.
    • From a radio interview with David Jensen in 1983
  • Well, the problem I've had with all the interviews I've had in America - I had meetings with about nine labels - and they all say to me "Will your new songs fit in with what is popular and what is in the chart?" And I say "Good God, I hope not!"
    • From a radio interview with Janice Long (2002)

About life & death[edit]

  • Well, I think the way you feel as a teenager stays with you, forever. I really believe that. And we try to change and we hope that we change, but we don't really in big ways, in serious ways. I think the personality is formed at that time, for the good and for the bad. ... We all want to grow up and move on and appear to be different to people. And we want people to see us in a different way. But, I don't know, I think the personality is very, very strongly cemented, and we just bear whatever shortcomings we have and learn to live with it.
    • From a radio interview by Jed the fish (1997)
  • MS: Have you ever turned to religion?
    M: At no time. I am a seriously lapsed Catholic. It was at the usual time, 10, 11, 12, after being forced to go to church and never understanding why and never enjoying it, seeing so many negative things, and realising it somehow wasn't for me. I can only have faith in things I see. I could never be converted to Buddhism.
    • From The soft touch", interview by Mat Snow, Q (December 1989)
  • I'm bereft of spiritual solutions. I do believe that there has to be a better world, but that's rather simple. I'm quite obsessed with death. I've gone through periods of intense envy for people who've died. Yes, I have a dramatic unswayable unavoidable obsession with death. I can remember being obsessed with it from the age of eight and I often wondered whether it was quite a natural inbuilt emotion for people who're destined to take their own lives, that they recognise it and begin to study it. If there was a magical beautiful pill that one could take that would retire you from this world, I think I would take it and I suppose that's the extremity of the obsessiveness.
    • from "Stop me if you've heard this one before", interview by Len Brown in NME (20th February 1988)
  • I could never really make the connection between Christian and Catholic. I always imagined that Christ would look down upon the Catholic church and totally disassociate himself from it. I went to severe schools, working class schools, where they would almost chop your fingers off for your own good, and if you missed church on Sunday and went to school on a Monday and they quizzed you on it, you'd be sent to the gallows. It was like 'Brush you teeth NOW or you will DIE IN HELL and you will ROT and all these SNAKES will EAT you'. And I remember all these religious figures, statues, which used to petrify every living child. All these snakes trodden underfoot and blood everywhere. I thought it was so morbid. I mean the very idea of just going to church anyway is really quite absurd. I always felt that it was really like the police, certainly in this country at any rate, just there to keep the working classes humble and in their place. Because of course nobody else but the working class pays any attention to it. I really feel quite sick when I see the Pope giving long, overblown, inflated lectures on nuclear weapons and then having tea with Margaret Thatcher. To me it's total hypocrisy. And when I hear the Pope completely condemning working class women for having abortions and condemning nobody else... to me the whole thing is entirely class ridden, it's just really to keep the working classes in perpetual fear and feeling total guilt.
    • from "All men have secrets and these are Morrissey’s", interview by Neil McCormick,Hot Press (May 4, 1984)
  • Age shouldn't affect you. It's just like the size of your shoes - they don't determine how you live your life! You're either marvellous or you're boring, regardless of your age.
    • from "The cradle snatchers", article by Frank Worrall, Melody Maker (September 3, 1983)
  • The reports of my death have been greatly understated.

About politics and society[edit]

  • Actually I despise royalty. I always have done. It's fairy story nonsense. The very idea of their existence in these days when people are dying daily because they don't have enough money to operate one's radiator in the house, to me is immoral. As far as I can see, money spent on royalty is money burnt. I've never met anyone who supports royalty, and believe me I've searched. Okay, so there's some deaf and elderly pensioner in Hartlepool who has pictures of Prince Edward pinned on the toilet seat, but I know streams of people who can't wait to get rid of them. It's a false devotion anyway. I think it's fascist and very, very cruel. To me there's something dramatically ugly about a person who can wear a dress for £6,000 when at the same time there are people who can't afford to eat. When she puts on that dress for £6,000 the statement she is making to the nation is: "I am the fantastically gifted royalty, and you are the snivelling peasants." The very idea that people would be interested in the facts about this dress is massively insulting to the human race.
    • from "This Charming Man", interview by Simon Garfield, Timeout March 1985
  • TW: I must ask you, what right does the fact that you are a popular and successful popstar give you to comment on political and…
    M: Well, I feel that, if popular singers don’t say these things, who does? We can’t have any faith in playwrights any more, we can’t have any faith in filmstars, young people don’t care about those things, they’re dying arts. And if you say, what ‘right’ do you have, the implication there to me is that popular music is quite a low art, it should be hidden, it can be there but let’s not say anything terribly important, let’s just make disco records or whatever. So I really feel that we do have an obligation and I know that people respect it and they want it and it’s working to great effect.
    • from "Granada Reports", interview by Tony Wilson, Granada TV February 1985
  • I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event. Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism? The "dazzling royals" have, quite naturally, hi-jacked the Olympics for their own empirical needs, and no oppositional voice is allowed in the free press. It is lethal to witness. As London is suddenly promoted as a super-wealth brand, the England outside London shivers beneath cutbacks, tight circumstances and economic disasters. Meanwhile the British media present 24-hour coverage of the "dazzling royals", laughing as they lavishly spend, as if such coverage is certain to make British society feel fully whole. In 2012, the British public is evidently assumed to be undersized pigmies, scarcely able to formulate thought.

As I recently drove through Greece I noticed repeated graffiti seemingly everywhere on every available wall. In large blue letters it said WAKE UP WAKE UP. It could almost have been written with the British public in mind, because although the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain, the 2013 grotesque inevitability of Lord and Lady Beckham (with Sir Jamie Horrible close at heel) is, believe me, a fate worse than life. WAKE UP WAKE UP.

    • from a statement on the website 'True To You' 2012

About gender[edit]

  • It's hard to be a man. It's made to be hard and I don't know why. I think it's easier to be a woman. The women's movement has been so successful; the men's movement has never been accepted. I think it's not wanted. I think the expectation that men be stoic and strong is so enormous that finally they decide that this is the attractive way to be. There's more to life than being macho - such an ugly word - which is something that I realized at the age of one.
    • from "Homme alone" by David Keeps, Details (December 1992)

About love[edit]

  • When you’re a teenager and in your early twenties it seems desperately eternal and excruciatingly painful. Whereas as you grow older you realise that most things are excruciatingly painful and that is the human condition. Most of us continue to survive because we’re convinced that somewhere along the line, with grit and determination and perseverance, we will end up in some magical union with somebody. It’s a fallacy, of course, but it’s a form of religion. You have to believe. There is a light that never goes out and it’s called hope.
    • from "I've always felt like an exile" by Andrew Billen in The Times (30th May 2006)
  • TF: At which point did you stop being celibate, why and who with?
    M: I don't see how anyone would benefit from seeing that kind of information in print. Least of all me.
    • From "The Face Q&A", The Face (November 1999).
  • When you're young, you're afraid of being alone. Solitude is a burden and you try to escape from it. You always wonder when it's going to come to an end. Sometimes you can't get rid of it. At the age of 38, you use it in a different way. You've learned how to live with it, and you don't try to get rid of it by all means anymore. After all you may call this resignation, but I don't think it's harmful. You're not just standing there, in pain, asking yourself 'Why am I alone? Why don't I go out?' etc. You don't ask yourself these questions anymore. You adapt yourself. Living alone does not mean living in nothingness.
    • From "My gilded prison", interview by J. C. Panek, L'Indic (November 1997).
  • M: I don't have relationships at all. It's out of the question.
    NK: Why?
    M: Partly because I was always attracted to men or women who were never attracted to me. And I was never attracted to women or men who were attracted to me. So that's the problem. I've never met the right person.
    • From "The deep end", interview by Nick Kent, The Face (March 1990).

About vegetarianism and animals[edit]

  • (Eating meat) is really on the same moral level as child abuse. It’s the same thing. Animals are like children, they look to us for protection. We should protect them. I really feel quite smug about mad cow disease and foot and mouth and so forth, and I just think ‘Well, what do you expect? People have been saying it for years.'
    • From the TV documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey (2003)
  • I think animals need all the help they can get, because they have none. They have no rights. They have no protection. And so I think animals need help. And I think animals look to humans for protection, and of course humans lead them into slaughterhouses, which to me is just like an image of leading children into a slaughterhouse. There’s no difference. That level of trust and… But it’s a very cruel world.
    • From a Norwegian TV interview (2002)

About other artists[edit]

  • Because he (Elton John) is pushing his face in all the time, and telling us about his private life. Nobody's interested, he's incredibly rich, he should just go away, and he's just hoisting his problems onto everybody and working them out publicly and...I've said enough.
    • From an radio interview with Janice Long (2002)
  • Strangely, I liked them (the Sex Pistols) until they made records. I saw them quite a few times before they actually made records. And when they did, it just became... suddenly punk had this enormous scope and was everywhere. Obviously it lost everything. And looking back, I don't really have that much affection for the whole punk thing. It really didn't mean so much to me at all. But of course, I would rather it have been there than not.
    • From a radio interview with David Jensen (1983)
  • But, ultimately, I don't have very cast iron opinions on black music other than black modern music which I detest. I detest Stevie Wonder. I think Diana Ross is awful. I hate all those records in the Top 40 - Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston. I think they're vile in the extreme. In essence this music doesn't say anything whatsoever.
    • From "Home thoughts from abroad", article by Frank Owen, Melody Maker (27 Sep 1986)

Odds & Ends[edit]

  • Jools Holland: "Knock Knock!"
    Morrissey: "I'm not in!"
    Jools: "Oh, come on."
    Morrissey: "I refuse to open the door."
  • DK: Have you ever been to a rave?
    M: Rave is the refuge for the mentally deficient. It's made by dull people for dull people.
    • from "Homme alone 2" by David Keeps, Details (December 1992)
  • CH: Have you told many fibs today?
    M: I lie a lot - it's really useful - but everything I've said today has been the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me... er... Trevor...
    • Interview by Chris Heath, Star Hits (1987)
  • Cleavage Sister: "What do you feel about erotic art?"
    Morrissey:"I don't know much about rotting art?"
    Cleavage Sister: "What about erotic music?"
    Morrissey:"I know a great deal about rotting music."
    • Interview at a concert (RPLA - whose singer James Maker is a friend of Morrisseys)

In Concert[edit]

  • I can't believe I'm 29. Where did the years go? Why did the years go?
    • From Who Put The 'M' In Manchester? (2004)
  • It's the nicest birthday I've ever had. You've made a happy man very old.
    • From Who Put The 'M' In Manchester? (2004)
  • I find Christmas very difficult
    • Morrissey's reply to a fan's question "What do you think of Christmas?" at Earl's Court 18th December 2004
  • Hello you little charmers... We're The Smiths...
    • The Smiths, live at the Hacienda (1983)
  • I have so much pride and love for the songs of The Smiths. However, I must ask you, if you come across any Smiths CDs, don't buy them, because all the money goes to that wretched drummer.
    • Live at Edinburgh, (2008)
  • I suppose you have work tomorrow? That's quite sad, really.
    • live in Claremont, CA (1997)
  • I can smell burning flesh ... and I hope to God it's human.
    • "... midway through his performance, he was overcome with fumes from the backstage barbecue." - Tim Jonze Guardian. Live at Coachella festival, California (2009)

External links[edit]

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