Personality Clash: Morrissey Vs All The Young

Stoke hopefuls' Ryan Dooley talks to the Smith legend
Personality Clash: Morrissey Vs All The Young
Morrissey is an icon of British music. As outspoken as he is lyrically adroit, the former Smiths frontman is as used to making waves as he is records.

Ryan Dooley holds the mic for Stoke hopefuls All The Young, who were personally invited by Morrissey to support him earlier this year.

As All The Young put the finishing touches to their debut album, Ryan got in touch with his new friend and mentor to learn a little bit more about him...

Ryan: The last time we met was at our gig in London at the Proud Galleries. We were pretty blown away by the fact you came and thrilled you came and said hello afterwards. Did you enjoy your evening?

Morrissey: I loved it because it reminded me of the early Smiths days. You had your own Stoke contingent who were prepared to make as much noise as possible. I love it when watching the audience is an entertainment in itself, and when you find yourself laughing at how the band and audience react to one another. Laughing nicely, of course.

Ryan: Some of your comments in the media have been top drawer as of late. Some newspapers have taken issue with some of your comments.

Morrissey: Well, they always do... They MUST!

Ryan: We found you to be quite the gentlemen. Have you been misunderstood in any of your statements?

Morrissey: I think I am officially ‘Mad Morrissey’ now, and everything I say must be ridiculed because that’s one way of NOT dealing with the contents of the actual comment. The Guardian is now like the Sun was in the 1970s: completely intolerant and full of contradictions. With the riots recently the media are obsessed with punishment as solution, but no-one has the intelligence to ask why the people did what they did. We live in very dumbed-down times. Everything - news media, music, music magazines - are presented with the assumption that the people as a whole are utterly thick, so therefore when I say, as I have, that the so-called royals are the most dysfunctional and unpleasant family in British history, no-one asks me why I think this. They simply print ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. Oh, I could go on. And do, often.

Ryan: Your song ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ is one of my favourite songs of all time. I think it’s a great point that you are making and it’s a subject that people tend to shy away from. I too wish I could be proud of both sides of my heritage. I love the country I was born in but I sympathise greatly with the treatment of the Irish. Do you think that opinion is missing from a lot of today’s music? Morrissey: I think ANY opinion is missing from today's music. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to come across social commentary ANYWHERE, and the labels are more conservative now than ever before. Ryan: You’re known for giving your support to whatever new bands you like. I think it is quite admirable how you give your favourite new bands an opportunity to play in front of your fans. What other bands have you been listening to recently?

Morrissey: I’ve learned to fish around for myself because there aren’t any magazines who dig too deeply. The NME used to be very good at this, but...do they even still exist? I don’t know, I never see it anywhere. Radio is also impossible now because it’s purely techno-dance and as a consequence the Top 40 singles are made by studio engineers who have one immediate hit and then disappear forever. So, all the usual trusted bases have gone, and you have to sniff out newer groups by yourself. In recent years I’ve loved Kristeen Young and Doll And The Kicks and Damien Dempsey, but nothing happened for them, which re-enforces the ‘luck’ element to success, or the obsessive determination of someone important on the label to make a band successful - which is why it happened for Muse or Coldplay. There are still bands who have fame thrust upon them because the chairman of the label needs a new success to boast about at board meetings. Gab, gab, gab...snore.

Ryan: What made you want to form a band?

Morrissey: I never wanted to be a musician. I wanted to stand upright and sing out. I didn’t want to look DOWN as most people onstage do. I wanted to walk the plank, to dive in, to take it on the chin. I wanted to give too much, like Al Martino or Maria Callas or Edith Piaf...or Tom Jones in his mad days. I loved it when singers were so over-emotional that onlookers would feel slightly embarrassed or uncomfortable and then absolutely love it. You very rarely see modern singers or modern groups TAKING the audience SOMEWHERE. Emotionally, of course; I’m not talking in terms of local transport.

Ryan: Who did you listen to growing up?

Morrissey: Did I ever grow up? I loved all British pop as a kid, but I got terribly serious in my early teens and my heroes were David Johansen, Ron Mael, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Patti Smith. I loved anyone, virtually, who rocked the boat, or who was prepared to seem unusual or unbalanced. In 1974 Ron Mael wrote the lyric: “You mentioned Kant and I was shocked / Because where I come from none of the girls have such foul tongues”, and I thought that was so clever. You get it, don’t you, Ryan? Have you ever heard ‘Piss Factory’ by Patti Smith from 1974? No-one could do that today, and no-one has ever been as quotably funny as David Johansen was in 1973 and 1974. When did you last read an interview with a singer and laugh out loud at the replies?

Ryan: Never.

Morrissey: Exactly. I knew you’d say that.

Ryan: Do you think we’ll ever have a band as influential as The Smiths or Morrissey again?

Morrissey: No! And I’m not being bloated when I say that. It just seems to me that so many channels for new bands are now blocked. Anyone who changed the landscape crept up and surprised everyone, but how can that be done now with such deadly conservative patterns everywhere? I worry for All The Young and anyone that I like because even though you have so much, there’s a terrible sinking feeling everywhere that’s bound to discourage. Have you finished the album?

Ryan: Yes, all of the songs have been recorded and we’re really happy with the results. We just need to mix it and argue about the track-listing now! We’ve taken our time to make sure that our better songs are ready for its release, which is quite hard to do. We’re hoping the record’s release will provide a tonic for everyone’s January blues!

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This article appears in the October issue of Clash Magazine, find out more about the issue and how to subscribe HERE.

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