14 December 2005
Morrissey has answered a second series of questions submitted by Questions And Answers participants. These questions and Morrissey's answers are as follows.
How did you get the idea to mention Estonia in your song "America Is Not The World"?
I imagined the sexy and sharp people of Estonia - which is not considered to be a world leader in anything, as far as I know - looking at the Burger King fast-food hell of the modern American food industry, and actually feeling sorry for Americans.
America is frightening when it comes to food. Top priority advertising is given to anything at all that basically endangers people - from flesh "food" to heavy sugar to heavy salt. Gelatin is thrown into everything in America - and for what? Whereas, any foodstuffs that would help people - organic or vegetarian - are deliberately hard to find. The American Meat Industry constantly fights against food safety laws, and the Bush Administration routinely repeals food safety legislation. Half a million Americans have been contaminated by E. Coli, hundreds of children have died because contaminated meat is given to schools, and the country leads the way in obesity, kidney failure, and disabilities caused by bad diet. However, turn on American television any moment of the day, and you are sandblasted with commercials for ground beef and Yum-Yums. It's astonishing that the entire population of America hasn't been killed off by its own food industry - the food industry is certainly trying, and it is more of a threat to the American people than so-called "terrorism" is.
Am I bleating on? ...
How have you managed to never "sell out"?
I haven't had an easy ride with the print media in England, so I've always had a lot to fight against and there's never been a time in my life when any part of my "success" could be considered a foregone conclusion. So, I've never felt at ease enough to lie back and go with the "sell-out" flow. It seems to me that, in England, they give you a very hard time if you matter, but if you don't matter then they let you slide by.
I have always wondered if you play any musical instruments, and if so, which?
I honestly don't have the interest. I always wanted to sing, with nothing at all blocking my path to the audience. An instrument is the perfect thing to hide behind - always busy adjusting pedals, fiddling with amp-settings, looking down, and never directly facing the very audience that you are presumably addressing.
Yes, when I was 14, I had a reasonably impressive drum kit, and when I heard Jerry Nolan and saw him on the cover of the New York Dolls' first album, I thought, That's me! Off I go! ... But it wasn't me, and I didn't go anywhere. This year, Deano [ex-drummer] gave me a kit to bash around on, but I think it's probably a bit late for me to suddenly turn up as the new drummer with New Found Glory. And yet ... ?
Do you have a certain place where you'd like to be to write songs?
Miriam Champer, 15
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.
The answer is in the bath. I lie there for hours singing my head off. Whenever I've moved house, I first call the agent and ask what the bath is like - nothing else much matters.
By the way, you are lucky to live in Eugene. I've only played there once, but I was very taken by it.
I have been very intrigued by Jobriath's music. Which songs of Jobriath's are your favorites?
Hobart, Indiana, U.S.A.
My favourite is "Morning Starship," but I like them all - with the exception of "Rock Of Ages," which is a bit hard to take.
When you are writing a song, do you think about the melody first, or do the words create the melody?
Usually the melody comes first and then the words jump in, but before either I must have a certain feeling and a certain incentive in order to make both the voice and the words sound true. Luckily, for me, I'm always unstoppably driven. It must end soon - for all our sakes ...
What potential do you think art has as a vehicle for social change?
Alysha Layla Shaw
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Feminism - yes, Greenpeace - yes, PETA - yes, Art - no. Most people have no interest in Art, and only accept it under extreme protest. All media heroes are Artless, all politicians are devoid of Art, and anyone in music attempting to convey Art is usually ridiculed. I think it's safe to say that the human race is probably scum, on the whole. There's no evidence to the contrary.
Publications have touted this or that band as the "new Smiths." Of those bands who have been given this lofty title, who, in your esteemed opinion, was the most deserving?
Jarrod San Angel
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
None. The Smiths stood out because there was no one else like them. Originality seems to be impossible now. There are so many people making music, but they all dress and sound exactly the same. This is why, as time goes by, it seems so surprising to people that The Smiths were actually successful - given the unyielding nature of the approach and the songs.
Are there any musicians or bands emerging now that excite you?
Dunellen, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Were you pleasantly surprised and happy about the response that you received throughout the world when You Are The Quarry was released?
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
I think it could have happened with Vauxhall And I, but neither EMI nor Sire-Reprise were interested. Sanctuary was VERY interested, which is why it worked so well. It's important to have someone pitching for you at every level, and I'd never had that until I met Sanctuary.
Do you have any memories from your visits to Athens?
As a matter of fact, no, I don't. Where exactly is it?
What was your favourite show that you played in 2004?
My personal favourite was Roskilde, with Manchester Move and Dublin The Point second and third ... although Glasgow and Birmingham never fail me. The only stinker was Bologna.
What are some of your favorite classic films or recent ones you've seen?
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
My favourite in the last few years has been Late Marriage starring Lior Ashkenazi. It's one of those rare films wherein the entire cast is excellent, and the film is powerful without one single special effect or any sound trickery. Lior Ashkenazi more recently starred in Walk On Water, which is also worth seeing.
Do you know if your next tour will include any South American countries?
Yes, it will. I've been to Peru, but I've never played there. I would go to wherever there seemed to be interest - except China, which is too barbaric. In China, as we all now know, cats and dogs are skinned alive for the fur industry. Come, come, nuclear bomb.
Which songs do you always enjoy singing live?
Oldham, Manchester, England
Most of the songs are very wordy, and there aren't ever any flashy guitar solos, so the time onstage is usually a vocal rat-a-tat-tat without any pause, which is why I can't manage to stay onstage for longer than one hour and twenty minutes - I literally get lock-jaw. I think it's easy to stay onstage for hours if you just fiddle about with a guitar and keep your head down, but if it's a vocal assault, then it's harder to maintain energy levels. The song that has lasted longest in the live set is "November Spawned A Monster," so I think this must answer your question .... The ones in a higher register are better.