Friday, May 22, 2015
Unhappy Birthdays : Why Morrissey is not My Guilty Pleasure
It's easy to a be a Kiss fan... you have an army with you. It's easy to be a Slayer fan, no matter how many line-up changes they have. If you decide to "Up the Irons" no worries, every one knows "Run to the Hills". Sure most hipsters have the re-pressed "Louder than Bombs " on vinyl. Even being a Smiths fan is easier than being a Morrissey fan. You can always say I just listen to them because of Johnny Marr. Being a Morrissey fan means it doesn't matter if its "the Queen is Dead" or "Ring leader of the Tormentors", you don't have to have the Smiths as a buffer. You want all the grandiose emotion at his command poured into you. Since It's Morrissey's birthday, I thought I would shed some light on what is like to be a Morrissey fan. Morrissey is not a guilty pleasure to me. I have no guilt about what my finance might call an obsession with the Pope of Mope as many call him. But you see, Morrissey's music is not mopey to me. In fact aside from some of my actual guilty pleasure pop like Madonna or Twin Shadow, Morrissey is some of the least depressing music I listen to. Granted the Cure often has songs I find too happy and one of my favorite sub-genres of music is funereal doom. A brand of mournful metal that marches to the grave at 40 bpms. Sure heaven knows he is miserable now. But his music encompasses a wide range of emotions and often finds the Moz not as the victim of his narratives but as the sardonic sadist.
I think if you read this blog you know I'm primarily a metal head, but the summer before my senior of high school the guitar hook to "How Soon Is Now" caught my ear and the rest is history.Granted I'm often the token goth when among metal heads and the token metal head when I am hanging out at the bat cave. In many of my interviews with metal bands when we get to the subject of what non-metal music they listen too...which is always a more interesting topic, because are you going to be surprised that Goatwhore listens to Slayer on the tour bus or that Watain listens to Bathory? No, but to know they listen to Queen and the Cure, puts me on Fascination street.
I don't hear the grimness. Bleak humor...yes. Morrissey a genius? Without a doubt. Are the Smiths heavy in their own way? Yes, the title track of "Meat is Murder" is heavier than most metal bands from an emotional standpoint. I love the fact that he compares Moz to King Diamond, another one of my favorite singers who is an acquired taste. If I think about most of my favorite singers I think that could be said about them Robert Smith, Kate Bush, Geddy Lee, Chelsea Wolfe, Zola Jesus... you know its them when you hear them. Robert Smith gets a similar treatment, he gets called whiney. I always think maybe they mean winey, because he drinks a lot of wine. Why would you want to listen to something that has universal appeal? That means you have nothing that resonates with you as an individual. The one thing sets Moz apart from the others is if you are a fan you also find yourself explaining his politics and other sometimes prima donna behavior. If Morrissey doesn't want to play in a venue that serves meat, at least he has something he stands for that strongly. Most people can't relate because they are not passionate about their own views. It's somewhat like terrorism, while you might not agree with some one's politics how many Baptist Churches believe strongly enough that they are willing to strap on a bomb? Yeah, I don't think so. Morrissey fans know it's not an easy job. At this point I have seen Morrissey as many times as he has canceled on me. He has even made disparaging remarks about the other musical icon I hold up on a similar pedestal...David Bowie. While I won't repeat what was said, I understand Morrissey enough to not take offense and know that in his heart of hearts he knows what a huge influence Bowie was on him and he would not exist if not for the doors David Bowie opened, ambiguous sexual persona's alone. Morrissey has been the light that had never gone out for me, at this point I have endured all his silly rock star shenanigans. I don't want the Smiths to re-unite.It wouldn't be the same. I don't need them to. I am fine with just the Moz, no buffer. Sure I love the Smiths and they were the gateway drug, but I can take Moz with no chaser. He can keep cancelling show after show, it won't change a thing, because being Morrissey fan might not be an easy way of life, but it is a better one.