Amanda Palmer Pens Nauseating Open Advice Letter To Morrissey

Amanda Palmer has been bugging the shit out of music fans in a big way ever since raising $1.2 million for her new album on Kickstarter, then asking fans to play in her shows for free, talking about how fair it was that some immigrant fans gave her their bed to sleep in on tour, and finally becoming the worst thing of all: a TED Talk guru. At this point, the music is irrelevant. But Palmer has topped herself once again, this time publishing an open letter in Salon to Morrissey titled “Let me crowdsource your next album.” One almost wishes it added: "Or else."

First up, the squirm-inducing idolatry: Morrissey, she says, “helped open” her, whatever that means, and continues to “impact” her “various artistic forays.” I’m sure he’s honored. She once had the chance to meet him but refused out of a rarely displayed sense of humility, prompting her to ask: “How dare you have such power over me?” It’s at about this point in the letter that it will occur to you that Morrissey would never read Salon, let alone a Salon piece about himself.
Anyway, Palmer goes on to note that the Pope of Mope cannot find a label of late and should do—get this—exactly what she did with Kickstarter. With her help, naturally, since this technology is so beyond your average intelligent adult. Her conservative estimate: he’ll raise $2.5 million. And you know? He probably would. It’s just galling to have that pointed out amidst phrases like “as your devoted songwriting-spawn.” Maybe stick to leading by example, Amanda?


Some Songs About Margaret Thatcher

Welcome to the internet, where lists published on Wikipedia can quickly be turned into blog posts. Did you know that recently deceased Margaret Thatcher was a very divisive figure in cultural history? I am sure you did, especially if you saw that terrible movie about her that starred Meryl Streep. Naturally, people wrote a lot of songs about her. Here are a few. 

Morrissey – "Margaret on the Guillotine"

Paul McCartney – "All My Trials"

The Beat – "Stand Down Margaret"

Pete Wylie – "The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies"

Elvis Costello – "Tramp the Dirt Down"

Pink Floyd – "The Fletcher Memorial Home"

Morrissey Blasts Beyonce For Her Rhino Handbags

It’s about time the entire world started kissing Beyoncé’s ass. Morrissey has volunteered to start: he publicly admonished the star for her handbags made from animal products at his concert at the Staples Center in L.A. on Friday night.

The Hollywood Reporter reports the ex-Smiths singer scolded Beyoncé for carrying purses made from rhino hide, which had lead to the near-extinction of rhinos. He then performed The Smith’s song Meat Is Murder, a pro-vegetarian song with lyrics that go:

This beautiful creature must die

A death for no reason

And death for no reason is murder

Morrissey’s performance at the Staples Center had been conditional on the venue shutting down McDonald’s for the night. In February, the singer released a statement on going (quasi-)meatless:  

Reports that the Staples Center will not be 100% vegetarian on March 1st are playfully untrue. Contractually, all McDonalds vendors shall be closed down, and the only thing burning shall be my heart.

The singer also cancelled an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live because he refused to share a program guests from the reality TV show Duck Dynasty, who make products for duck hunters. Another statement from Morrissey reads: 

Morrissey is thankful for being invited to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow, February 26. However, he cannot morally be on a television program where the cast members of Duck Dynasty will also be guests. Morrissey would be honored to play the show, if ‘Duck Dynasty’ were removed.

At least he keeps things interesting, huh?

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L.A. Happenings: Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza Opens Today, Whist At Viceroy, Morrissey

MONDAY (today): Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza Opens in Culver City
New pizza joint Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza is all about recreating a Neapolitan-style pizza concept with seasonal California ingredients. The slices are pretty fancy, considering the dough rises for two to three days before hitting a 900 degree, wood-burning oven for 90 seconds. If there’s math involved in the recipe, you know they’ve gone beyond TLC. So don’t expect to casually wolf down a slice(s) at 2 am. Thanks to the restaurant’s crew of partners from Abigaile in Hermosa Beach (including owner Jed Sanford and chef Tin Vuong), pies will be working their way back into our diets.

Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza (9725 Culver Blvd., Culver City) opens Monday the 25th. For the inside-info, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

WEDNESDAY: Winemaker Dinner at Whist
Whist, the popular winery, is coming down south for one night to host a winemaker dinner at the Viceroy Santa Monica. Owner Alison Sokol Blosser will be present to offer all the best of her 85-acre estate vineyard varietals in the Willamette Valley. She’ll also announce a brand-spanking new experiential tasting room. It’s not slated to open until June, but there’s no reason to not pop the cork now.

Whist Winery’s Winemaker Dinner starts at 7pm at Viceroy Santa Monica (1819 Ocean Ave.). To make a reservation, call 310-260-7511. For more information on Viceroy, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

FRIDAY: Patti Smith Opens For Morrissey
OK, sure, the headliner here is Morrissey, who we obviously love, but Patti Smith has been on fire these days. She’s going to jam with her band in the huge Staples Center, so don’t forget your lighter. Or your bong. This concert is going to be one for the books: as per Morrissey’s request, the entire venue will be meat-free for a night.

Patti Smith opens for Morrissey on Friday, March 1st. Tickets are on still on sale. To learn more about Staples Center, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides. 

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Morrissey Proclaims He Shall Win The Battle of The 100% Vegetarian Staples Center

Please, please, please let me get what I want this time, said Morrissey to the Staples Center in Los Angles as he implored they go completely vegetarian for his upcoming March 1st concert. And the Staples Center reps were all like, "Moz, what difference does it make?" Feeling brutally rebuffed and known for holding more grudges than lonely high court judges, Morrisey took to True to You (A Morrissey Zine) to let them know, the more you ignore him, the closer he will get. Yes, the singer released a statement yesterday proclaiming:

Reports that the Staples Center will not be 100% vegetarian on March 1st are playfully untrue. Contractually, all McDonalds vendors shall be closed down, and the only thing burning shall be my heart.

20 February 2013
Los Angeles

Take that Staples Center, whose prejudges won’t keep you warm tonight.

Okay, now can we all agree this is ridiculous?

Decades of Pop-Stardom on Display When Morrissey the Entertainer Takes the Stage

This past Saturday, while perched on a marble railing above the lobby of the beautiful recently restored Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York, before a sold-out concert from Morrissey, it was easy to find the former Smiths front-man’s face: on badges fans had stuck to their winter coats. It was there, after a fashion, in the many fans who had adopted some version of his famous floppy pompadour and it was there, more officially, on sale—posters, mouse pads, and somewhere between 14 and 18 different T-shirts. It was even on the drink tickets, which were in the style of tiny $1,000 bills with Moz’s face right in the center.

Once the show started, however, it was a bit harder to find. Morrissey, now 53 and almost halfway through his fourth decade as a pop icon, spent much of the show lit from behind or above, making him appear in silhouette. He ran off stage frequently (mostly to change shirts), and often turned his back on the audience. It wasn’t even entirely clear if the face in the center of the kickdrum was his or if it was the drummer, or someone else entirely.

At the same time, he spent long stretches of the show reaching out to touch the audience, as is his custom—holding hands, locking eyes, and accepting gifts. He ended this concert, as he does most, by pulling fans onto stage to hug him (anyone who jumped on stage unbidden during this portion was put in choke hold by security and hurled back into the crowd). It’s his show. His famously fanatically and devoted fans, who came in all ages and ethnicities, from gray-haired men in dad jeans to pink-haired seapunk 20-somethings, were there not just to see him, but to connect with him and bask in his presence. But then why did he seem to go to such lengths to take their eyes off of him?

Morrissey has spent these many years painting himself into a unique corner—wildly, internationally famous for being honest and introverted. These are two things that are hard to maintain; it’s much easier to be famous for playing the guitar, or having nice boobs. He’s paid the price for trying to maintain the former: his off-the-cuff comments and attempts to honestly engage with his interviewers have gotten him labeled everything from a racist to a xenophobe, a closeted thug, and a terrorist sympathizer. The latter is no less vexing—how can you be a pop star and still pose as a wilting wallflower? Part of his answer in the last decade and a half has been to largely abandon that pose, becoming in middle age more of a blustery bruiser, less the person the wallflower fan is than the person they might wish they were. No longer does he stand in the corner and mutter that someone ought to hang the DJ; now he defiantly says what he believes and dares anyone to disagree from within the broad-shouldered and square-jawed build of a Guy Ritchie character.

His legions fans and virtually unquestioning adulation among critics (separate from the tabloid journalists who seek to make a quick buck from stirring up controversy) are also something of an albatross. Walking into the show, my head was swimming with images of various hopelessly devoted Morrissey fans I’d know or seen over the years: the black haired, facially-pierced backpack patch-sporting girls I’d know in high school and college, the fanatically over-identifying Mexican-American fans in William E. Jones’s Is It Really So Strange, or the wafer-thin androgynous boys from just after college. I have been reading rapturous writing about the man most of my life. Take, for example, this quote from Simon Goddard, author of Songs That Saved Your Life, who told The Believer in 2004 that “Morrissey solo has become more of a religious experience. It’s all about what he represents. It’s sort of like kissing the papal ring.”

Could the man just put on a good show, have a beer, and go to bed? Is it possible for him to be other than transcendent? Given the show I saw Saturday, I’d say it definitely is—which I don’t mean as an insult. His voice is strong, he’s in great physical shape (unsurprising for relatively wealthy man in his fifties in 2013), and he seemed at times genuinely engaged, especially when showing graphic videos of animal cruelty as he sang “Meat is Murder.” Still, other times felt strongly rehearsed. The way he left the stage to change shirts just before launching into “Let Me Kiss You” so that he could tear it off and hurl it into the crowd at the moment he sings “Then you open your eyes / And see someone you physically despise,” felt as if it had been done thousands upon thousands of times before.

And, of course, it has. No matter what we might fool ourselves into believing, performances are rehearsed. We just don’t want them to feel that way. An audience wants to feel present at a spontaneous bit of electric presentness by their idol, to share a perfect bit of time together. And this weekend, they got to. If Morrissey didn’t perform exactly as someone might expect, well, I’m sure they could go fuck themselves, as far as he cared. He did exactly what he wanted. And in the end, that’s the most Morrissey thing he could have done, which is what everyone was after in the first place.

Illustration by Kevin Alvir.

NME to Morrissey: ‘Sorry, You’re Not Really A Racist’

Back in 2007, NME posted an interview with former Smiths singer Morrissey in which he came off as a bit of a racist, doing his best Rush Limbaugh impersonation while talking about how immigration had ruined England. "The gates of England are flooded," he was quoted as saying. "The country’s been thrown away." Yikes! Morrissey claimed the quotes had been fabricated, and took to suing the publication to reclaim his reputation. The libel case goes on this summer, but NME just released a statement apologizing the singer, perhaps to lessen the legal reaming they’re about to receive. 

The statement, in full, reads:

In December 2007, we published an article entitled ‘Morrissey: Big mouth strikes again’.

Following this, Morrissey began proceedings for libel against us. His complaint is that we accused him of being a racist off the back of an interview which he gave to the magazine. He believes the article was edited in such a way that made him seem reactionary.

We wish to make clear that we do not believe that he is a racist; we didn’t think we were saying he was and we apologise to Morrissey if he or anyone else misunderstood our piece in that way. We never set out to upset Morrissey and we hope we can both get back to doing what we do best.

Upsetting Morrissey usually leads to a a few new songs; something with a histrionic title like, "NME, NME, Set Me Free" or "Why Must You Be, NME" or "The NME Is Everywhere." So maybe it’s better for everyone that we were spared any further drama, though I suppose there’s still time for the summer trial to bear depressing fruit: "Only I Can Be The Judge Of Me," or something appropriately legal-related. 

Morrissey Claims He’ll Retire, But So Have These Stars

Morrissey has been a malcontent for as long as anyone can remember. The former Smiths singer is famously cantankerous (and litigious), but despite all his grousing, we’d never guess that he’d actually give up performing.

According to an interview that Moz gave to something called LAMC Productions, though, he plans to call it quits come 2014. The 53-year-old singer told the site he was ready to kick back after what he called “aging a lot recently.”

“I am slightly shocked to have gone as far as I have,” he said. “This is my 30th year, and I’ve aged a lot recently, which is bit distressing for me, as it must be for everyone. The body changes shape and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

As sad as we’d be to see Morrissey go, we have to say we don’t believe it will happen. And not just because the thought itself is devastating. Plenty of artists have claimed they were retiring, only to show up time and time again on stage. Here are four of our favorites.

In 2008, at the Bonnaroo music festival, “Paper Planes” performer M.I.A. announced to her crowd that “This is my last show, and I’m glad I’m spending it with all my hippies.” In a later interview, she said "It was my last ever show. And it still is. I stopped touring after that and I didn’t want to make music again. I was quite happy to just leave it all behind. I was happy with what I had achieved." Not too long after that, however, she appeared at a party for the fashion label Diesel and then told Entertainment Weekly, “Now,with the success of ‘Paper Planes,’ there’s pull for me to make another record. Even my mum believes in me more.” Of course it didn’t take. In addition to never truly disappearing from the public eye, in 2010 she released the Vicki Leekx mixtape and a remixes EP and has a new album coming out this summer. 

After widely claiming that 2003’s The Black Album would be his last, Hova indulged himself in what he has called the “worst retirement in history.” He was barely gone before releasing 2006’s Kingdom Come. I believed it for two years,” he said of his short-lived golden years. "Something, when you love it, is always tugging at you and itching, and I was putting it off and putting it off. I started fumbling around to see if it felt good.” 

Cher’s Living Proof: The Farewell Tour kicked off in June 2002 and while originally slated to last for three months, the series of shows, meant to be the diva’s last, ended up going on for three years. And then did she retire? Of course not. In 2008, she was back on stage in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, where the then 62-year-old star had another three-year residency.

50 Cent
In 2007, rapper 50 Cent did his best to start a feud with then fledgling performer Kanye West, saying, "If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on September 11, I’ll no longer write music. I’ll write music and work with my other artists, but I won’t put out any more solo albums." And what happened when West’s Graduation outsold Fiddy’s Curtis? "I don’t think I’ll retire,” he later said. “I think you should look forward to me going behind the scenes more, I still have passion for music.” In 2009, he released Before I Self Destruct, and the rapper supposedly has another record dropping this year.

Smiths Reunion Tease Continues, Marr Has ‘Feelings of Love’

“We tried and we failed,” goes the chorus to “Jeane,” my own personal favorite song by the Smiths. It might as well be the mantra of the band’s former members, all of whom seem to spend an inordinate amount of time flitting about the (admittedly very exciting) idea that one day they might reunite.

There was, of course, the Internet hoax last week that claimed the band was finally ready to mend fences and get back together. It was quickly shot down by the band’s former guitarist Johnny Marr, who posted to his Facebook account that, “"The rumor of the Smiths reunion is untrue. It’s not happening."

To Marr’s credit, he had just weeks earlier told the NME that the band would only get back together if the British government disbanded.
"We won’t be re-forming this week,” he said. “Maybe if the government stepped down.”

But lest fans get too comfortable with the idea that there’s an icy divide between Marr, Morrissey, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, Marr just told The A.V. Club that during his recent remastering of the band’s catalog, “there were many feelings of love.” Those feelings even prompted him to email the other guys in what we can only imagine as a middle-aged rockstar version of the drunken sext.

“I was transported back to a lot of different feelings,” Marr admitted. “Not for the entire period that I was remastering all the songs, but here and there. I remember feeling as I did when I was making those records and it was a very… There were many feelings of love.

“And that’s why I sent an email to the members of the band saying I can hear the love in it, you know?”

Don’t get your hopes up for anything, though, Smiths fans. Unless David Cameron decides (and he might!) that resigning his position would be worth it to get the band back together, we can look forward to years of this unnerving back and forth.