Morrissey Claims He's Being Deleted from "Being the Central Essence" of the Smiths

"It's a bit like saying Mick Jagger had nothing to do with the Stones"

Photos: Man Alive! (Morrissey), Ervins Strauhmanis (keyboard)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jan 11, 2024

Even if you don't have every last note of the Smiths' discography committed to memory, you likely know that Morrissey was the group's lead singer and primary lyricist. However, the man himself is wondering just how many hold knowledge of that fact, claiming that bad actors are working to undermine his place in the band's lore.

Who are these bad actors in question? Why, members of the media, of course. In a message shared via his website — titled "Cancel Culture Begins at Home" — Moz alleges that there's "an obvious media shift to delete me from being the central essence of the Smiths."

Yes, the man who received ample TV interview time late last year to whinge about how his delayed album release is "traumatic" wants you to believe he's still being silenced and written out of his former band's history.

Specifically, Morrissey takes issue with "several news sites" reportedly claiming that the Smiths' initial meeting with Rough Trade Records involved only guitarist Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke, "even though Andy wasn't even a committed band member at that point." Per the singer's memory, "The meeting, of course, was Morrissey and Marr."

"Even Geoff Travis has now suddenly decided that he 'can't remember who was with Johnny,'" he continues of the Rough Trade founder, "even though Geoff looked me squarely in the eye on that very day and said 'we'd like to release Hand in Glove immediately,' and he then more importantly said to me that his name was Geoff with a G, not Jeff with a J. The hounds are snapping! Hand in glove, I stake my claim! I'll fight to the last breath!"

Of course, Morrissey doesn't link, let alone name, any of the "several news sites" he's hit out at, and the comment from Travis he's referencing fails to turn up anywhere but his own website. However, guitarist Marr's 2016 autobiography Set the Boy Free does tell of Marr and Rourke visiting London to hand Travis a cassette of early recordings, one of which was "Hand in Glove." How had he not taken issue with this telling upon publication those many years ago?

It's yet another "old man yells at cloud" moment for the terminally aggrieved vocalist, and he might even come to realize that upon calming down. Of his purported deletion, he writes, "this cannot work because I invented the group name, the song titles, the album titles, the artwork, the vocal melodies, and all of the lyrical sentiments came from my heart … and so it's a bit like saying Mick Jagger had nothing to do with the Stones."

Ultimately, the "central essence" of Morrissey is conflict, evidenced in conspiratorial thought, culture war raging, concert complaints, public feuds, support of far-right politics, ham-fisted views on raceshameless grifting and making the odd salient point.

May the Bonfire of Teenagers keep him warm as he rages against the dying light of his computer screen.

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