Back in nineteen eighty blah blah, I can remember being the most obsessed, fanatically nerdy of Smiths fan: scouring the tiny “import” record stores of south Orange County for ridiculously expensive Japanese copies of Hatful of Hollow and shrieking hysterically at Smiths concerts like a pre-teen Beatles fan at the Fab Four’s 1965 Dodger Stadium performance. Good times. Even during an era when really great bands were getting played on the radio at a pretty steady clip, as far as I was concerned – aside from never actually being able to make it all the way through “Meat Is Murder” without hitting the “Skip” button –The Smiths were the shit.
When The Smiths broke up over irreconcilable artistic differences and various assorted heroin addictions, I was devastated and inconsolable. I’ve read The Severed Alliance about fifty times trying to make sense of it all, but sometimes good things just come to an end and all that we have left are the memories and some really excellent bootlegs. Last night I was able to relive the happy, carefree days of my youth to a completely transcendent degree when I attended one of five performances by Morrissey happening this week at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Fucking A, what a great show that guy puts on! Honestly, I was blown away! To my surprise I really loved all of the Mozz’s solo material, old and new (some songs yet to be recorded) but I’d be a big fat liar if I didn’t admit that my very favorite parts of the show were his amazing renditions of Smith songs, as follows:
“Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” (Opening song)
“The Boy With The Thorn In His Side”
“Stretch Out And Wait” (“Stretch Out And Motherfucking Wait” – are you kidding me? Squeal!)
“Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”
“Death of a Disco Dancer” (Which was absolutely mind blowing)
“How Soon Is Now?”
Looks Like Your Dad: Rocks Like Elvis
Jesus God, it was the best concert I’ve seen all year. Massive thanks go out to Matt Walker, Morrissey’s drummer extraordinaire, for getting me, Tracy and Geoffrey VIP seating upstairs.
It’s an amazing thing when an interview becomes a conversation, especially one where ideas are exchanged and the subject opens up to reveal aspects of the music that were either unintended or unconscious. In my Modern Drummer interview with Gail Worley, I discovered a new appreciation for my own work, and also that maybe all the subtleties I thought would probably go unnoticed actually had an impact on the listener. Her interview was like a getting a much needed second wind in the middle of a long set.