Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Smiths in their own words... II.

The Queen is Dead!... You didn’t listen?

(On Freud) "He just made people feel so neurotic about their lives. I mean, if you dreamt about a lampshade, it meant you wanted to be whipped by the local vicar or something". (Morrissey-NME, February 1994)

"I remember being in a Pizzaland in Altrincham, giving the waitress my order - yeah, yeah, cheese and tomato, all that - and she said, You know the strings on 'There Is A Light' - is that an emulator or is it played? (Laughs) I was like, Whaaat? Are you fuckin' joking or what? What a fucking question! I thought she was going to say, you know, Parmesan cheese? Anchovies?". (Mike Joyce)

"The song 'The Queen Is Dead' I really like. I used to like the MC5 and The Stooges and it's as good if not better than anything The Stooges ever did. It's got energy and aggression in that kind of garage way. I didn't realize that 'There Is A Light' was going to be an anthem but when we first played it I thought it was the best song I'd ever heard”. (Marr - Select magazine, December, 1993)

(About title track of The Queen Is Dead would be The Smiths' big epic?)"It was always about ten, 15 minutes long. It just happened in the studio, didn't it? It was like a Beatles mad 'I Am The Walrus' metal jam." (Andy Rourke)

"I know.( On The Queen Is Dead, Never Had No One Ever) there's a line that goes 'When you walk without ease/on these/the very streets where you were raised/I had a really bad dream/it lasted 20 years, seven months and 27 days/Never had no one ever'. It was the frustration that I felt at the age of 20 when I still didn't feel easy walking around the streets on which I'd been born, where all my family had lived - they're originally from Ireland but had been here since the Fifties. It was a constant confusion to me why I never really felt 'This is my patch. This is my home. I know these people. I can do what I like, because this is mine.' It never was. I could never walk easily.” (Morrissey-Melody Maker, September 1986)

So, 'The Queen Is Dead'. Your supposed masterpiece. You're not so sure, are you?
"No, it's not that. It's the way that people just follow popular press opinion without listening for themselves. It might be the best thing we did. But if you're talking about that, you've got to look at 'Louder Than Bombs' cos we were a good singles group. Singles were very important to us.
"But 'The Queen Is Dead' made me ill. I was working impossible hours, I never saw daylight. But I had to get totally absorbed in it. I knew exactly what I had to do to make that record and it was a matter of putting myself on the edge, getting into insane mental states. The most recent Smiths track which I've listened to was 'Never Had No-One Ever,' and I'd forgotten how good it was. But that came from the mad self-absorption that we were into . I knew at that time that I had to make what was to me a great piece of art. To me there was no difference between the pressure I was under and the pressure Charlie Parker or Keith Richards or Lenny Bruce was under. Which might sound pretentious for someone who's supposed to be a down-to-earth Manchester lad, but I've never been that down-to-earth. I don't care too much for being down-to-earth."
(Marr - Select magazine, December, 1993)

“The Queen Is Dead is more memorable because we took it on tour to America and round Europe and exciting, whereas Strangeways we never got to tour with. I'm sure it would have worked with an audience." (Andy Rourke)

”What we’ve got, all four of us, is the music… music like The Queen is Dead that can’t be touched, It’s there and it’ll be there forever, no matter what” (Mike Joyce-UNCUT, January 2006)