It’s time the tale were told, someone once sang, and since The Smiths split in 1987 the band’s rhythm section have only chosen to speak out in the courts about their roles within the band – until now.
Inside The Smiths, produced by Manchester filmmaker Stephen Petricco with veteran punk Mark Standley, sees bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce finally telling their side of the story. Unlike previous programs that suffered from gross factual inaccuracies, poorly cobbled together by independent TV companies, this DVD at least gets it from the horse’s mouth, though is hindered by some annoying technical discrepancies.
Opening in black and white from a Manchester cemetery is indeed very Smiths, but when Standley insists on introducing the documentary with a bizarre affected Goth-like demeanour, the context suddenly shifts to what could be an episode of The Twilight Zone. Thankfully though, Rourke and Joyce rescue things in the nick of time. Both candid, witty and good-natured, they avoid using this DVD as a platform to air bitter disputes. Rourke, for the first time, openly describes the point he was forced to leave the band during his heroin addiction and his genuine sadness for the rift with long-time friend Johnny Marr. Joyce recalls the day he first auditioned for The Smiths high on mushrooms and Morrissey’s clearly infuriating avoidance of responsibility. The promised star contributions however don’t compliment this, mainly consisting of whoever could be found hanging out in the hospitality area at the Leeds Festival (plus the obligatory ramblings of Mark E. Smith); opportunist soundbites rather than pre-booked studio interviews.
Inside The Smiths doesn’t so much serve as a detailed synopsis of the band, but more of a low budget but nevertheless endearing kind of olive branch to certain other members of the band. Somehow I don’t see a Smiths reunion just around the corner.