Superstar singer songwriter Morrissey gave an interview recently to Fiona Dodwell while in London performing at the London Palladium, speaking in glowing terms about his new album, which has finally gained distribution, Bonfire of the Teenagers.
“It’s very good, it’s about to be announced and released very, very quickly,” he said.
“It’s been a long claw, but it’s on it’s way,” he said, noting that he was “very pleased.”
“Because I’ve been around a long time,” he said, “and if you can still make music that really excites you, I think that’s unusual. I think a lot of people who have been around for 40 years can’t quite do that.” He couched that in his trademark yet incredibly honest humility, which has endeared him to fans for his entire career.
Morrissey is fresh off a residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and after a stint in the UK, has returned to the US for concerts on the east coast, where fans clamor to hear him with a passion that is unabated despite the longevity of his career.
His fans have been hopefully waiting for the release of the album, which has been controversial due to its addressing the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017.
When asked about his die-hard fans, Morrissey said “they’re incredible,” saying that believes they love him and his work because he’s “a real person.”
“They know I’m true,” he said. “It’s actually quite rare, really, to have that kind of an audience. You can be a stadium band, and you can play in enormous— to millions of people every night, but nobody wants to go near your stage.”
Every Morrissey concert sees fans rush the stage, eager just to be close to the performer. Mostly all the fans are looking for is a hug from the man whose music has saved so many lives by touching souls, by reaching out into the hearts of listeners and letting them know they are not alone on this earth. Morrissey and security often allow the embrace, and audiences quite literally feel that love.
“I wasn’t made by the music industry, I was made by the people. And there’s a huge difference. When you look at artists you can see who was put there by the music industry… And there are people who are of the people, and there are singers who are of the people, of which I am one,” he said.
Morrissey said that this can often work against a performer, because the music industry likes their own creations, like the profit they can make off those creations, and doesn’t quite know what to do with someone who fans adore despite any manufactured controversy those performers may face.
“They know I’m of the people,” he said.
“They don’t know what to do with people like me.”
Morrissey has made a personal connection with his audience, and he said that’s “gratifying” and “very, very geniune.”
He said that he doesn’t really have anything to do with the music industry, and that British radio has never been a friend to him. It would be nice, he said, to have some recognition, and that he does deserve to be on the radio. “They don’t include me anywhere,” he said. “Even just for perseverance even just to shut me up they don’t include me, it’s very strange, it’s very peculiar.”
He attributes that to those in the music industry wanting to be “chased.” “They want to be wooed,” he said, which is something that he absolutely will not do.
Morrissey is still writing and recording, and is working on a new album, but said that he would not release it while he gives life to Bonfire of the Teenagers upon its new release.
“It’s all I think about,” he said of the work. “I’m trapped, dedicated,” he said of songwriting and making music, it’s his meaning in life. “Otherwise I don’t really exist, and that’s okay.”
Morrissey doesn’t give many interviews, and he spoke about a time in his life when he did, which was in the late 1990’s. At that time, he said, he spoke a great deal about the dumbing down of British culture. Everything at that time in British life was “aimed at the moron,” he said.
“And that has absolutely happened now. If you watch British television commercials,” he said, “they’re insufferable. The noise and the content is always the same. People dancing in 6 million pound kitchens…”
“Music, really, not many people have faith in music anymore,” he said, noting that music labels can just get rid of people, and talented performers aren’t given a chance. “Now the labels are quite bloodless, they will just get rid of you if you say anything they don’t agree with.”
“Now they talk about ‘oh, we must have diversity, diversity, diversity,’ which is diversity is people that you don’t know. It’s just another word for conformity. It’s the new way of saying conformity: diversity. You don’t see anything diverse anywhere. It’s all conformity,” he said.
“When people talk about diversity they don’t think about the great things that we don’t have in common. And those things are ignored, and they always made countries very interesting,” he said, “because you could travel to Germany, you could see the most incredible culture, you go to Italy you see the most incredible culture. Now they just want everything to be the same, the same, the same.”
“So diversity means conformity, it doesn’t mean avant-garde, or let’s make really strange art, it means box everybody. Diversity, I think, is a dreadful word. Pin it to anything, and I think that situation is finished,” Morrissey said.
On cancel culture, and social media’s lending itself to it, he said “now everybody is an expert critic, everybody is an expert scientist, they know everything. They have the chance to review everything and destroy people. And if they can’t get their friends to join in, and ‘let’s make a campaign and destroy such-a-body’— I think it more or less happened to Germaine Greer,” he said of the feminist who has been rebranded on social media as transphobic for sticking for women’s rights, “JK Rowling is a perfect example,” the famed and brilliant author of the Harry Potter series who unleashed the ire of trans activists for stating that biological sex is innate and women need private space.
“There will be a way to control it eventually, but nobody knows how yet. And I think the political elite like it very much, because if you notice politicians are going rapidly as well. And that’s because of social media, and people saying ‘I don’t like you,’ which people couldn’t do in the past, but now they can.”
He said that the witch hunts aren’t really over, agreeing with Dodwell, saying “the thing is they desperately need to find a witch. They have to find a witch. They have to find somebody who is disgraceful and horrible.”
“You can see the joy in people,” he said, bringing up Mary Whitehouse, a British activism who campaigned against social liberalism in the 20th century. “The joy,” he said, “so many people have turned into Mary Whitehouse, trying to cancel— ‘I’m offended’— as if you being offended means you’re intelligent. It just means you’re an idiot.”
“People like that are dreadful people, just walk the other way, don’t look, do something else, bake a cake,” he said.
“We’re also in a protest culture like the late 60s, when everybody liked to go out on the streets and protest, and be angry about something and march up and down— everybody wants to do that now. They want to be irate about something, which is okay, but you might be wasting your time,” Morrissey said.
No interview with Morrissey would be complete without touching on his passion for animal rights. He’s pleased with the shift culture has taken toward vegetarianism and veganism, saying “I feel almost justified now” for his efforts toward that end.
“Everybody is becoming aware of animals as beautiful creatures who have done so much for us,” he said.
“They should be allowed to live.”
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