Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Legacy of Morrissey

THIS year's coachella festival is filled with all kinds of major historical figures -- not just paul mccartney but leonard cohen, the jam's paul weller and shoegaze pioneers my bloody valentine (who i had the ear-blasting pleasure to see play last fall in santa monica). 

one of the most influential is morrissey, the former smiths leader whose solo career finally started getting interesting a few years ago, and who has managed to generate a devoted latino fanbase  in the whitest of all musical genres.

all kinds of unlikely figures -- ryan adams, jk rowling, bono, outkast -- sing his praises.

HERE is my story in today's LAT on mozz and his influence. i hear him or the smiths everytime i hear the shins, the pains of being pure of heart, belle & sebastian, of montreal, the clientele, many others. and here is a live take of "first of the gang to die."

i had the fortune, or misfortune, to be in high school right in the middle of the '80s. tho i am neither gay nor latino nor a recovering catholic, the smiths spoke to me like no other contemporary band during that dreadful and jingoistic time. (okay, maybe r.e.m.) in college i would sometimes go to halloween parties dressed like him.

i am such a zealot i went to manchester, england -- one of the world's most important rock cities and mozz's hometown -- two years ago to walk in the footsteps of the smiths, buzzcocks, stone roses, etc. HERE is the ensuing travel piece, and here the top-10 manchester albums sidebar.

mozz celebrates his 50th birthday with a big concert in manchester on may 22... were it not my anniversary (that was an accident -- really) and were i not quasi-employed i would try to be there.

Photo credit: Flickr user gussifer


Milton said...

he performed at one of our local gambling casinos a couple weeks ago (a true artist) and I saw a video of him performing for the first time ... walking away from the mic and returning to sing a word or two ... wandering away morosely ... acting as if he was waiting for a bus. I laughed out loud.

the little travelers said...

my two high school sibs and i used to play 'meat is murder' while my poor mother would be preparing the thanksgiving turkey back in the day- good times i tell ya!

Scott Timberg said...

as to the first correspondent -- i did not see the show at in question but he's actually quite an engaged and passionate performer these days... in middle-age he's embraced a kind of old-school stage presence. (were i performing in a hellhole like foxwoods i might not give it my all either.)

but many videos on youtube that show what a great performer he is most of the time, as he was when i saw him a year or so ago.

Eric J. Lawrence said...

While never as intense a Mozz fan as you apparently are, I always enjoy hearing what he's been up to, and his latest solo album is reasonably good (the previous one didn't stick with me though). Curiously my favorites amongst his albums (the Smiths' "Strangeways, Here We Come," his solo album "Southpaw Grammar") tend not to be the ones most revered by the loyalists. I haven't quite figured out why that is.

While I haven't acted on my urge as you did, I would cherish a visit Manchester to participate in a pilgrimage to the homeland of fellow Mancunian Mark E. Smith of the Fall (although, technically, he's from Salford).