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"I've got something to get off my chest"
In a world exclusive interview, Morrissey sets the record straight on sex, religion, politics, David Bowie and his Irish heritage, and casts a Trinny & Susannah-esque eye over Brian Cowen
Paul Nolan, 30 Jun 2008
(Pictures, by Naomi McArdle, were taken at Morrissey's June 28 gig at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham)
Twenty-four years after The Smiths released their debut album, Morrissey remains one of the most intriguing figures in music. He has enjoyed a huge critical and commercial renaissance in recent times, with 2004’s You Are The Quarry (his first album in seven years) initiating a career resurgence that continued with 2006’s equally well received Ringleader Of The Tormentors. These records demonstrated that the singer had lost none of his trademark lyrical flair; the subjects addressed ranged from isolation and loneliness to religion, politics and Morrissey’s Irish heritage.
However, despite his creative rejuvenation, it has not been all plain sailing for Morrissey, who has found himself at the centre of two major press controversies in the past six months. First, NME published an interview in which the singer allegedly made negative comments about immigration, which resulted in Morrissey’s legal team issuing a writ against the magazine for defamation. Next, Word magazine was forced to apologise to Morrissey in court, after it was adjudged that one of its articles had suggested Morrissey was a racist and a hypocrite. Ongoing legal cases prevent Morrissey from commenting on either story.
Nonetheless, there is still much to discuss with the singer, whose enigmatic aura has no equal in rock save Michael Stipe. Ahead of his eagerly anticipated dates in Cork and Dublin's superbly-appointed Royal Hospital grounds this month, Morrissey – who has been based in Los Angeles since the late ’90s – agreed to be interviewed by Hot Press, with topics up for discussion including David Bowie, The New York Dolls (who provide support at both of his Irish gigs), Nancy Sinatra, Brian Cowen, his upcoming album Years Of Refusal, the state of contemporary music, sex, relationships, and why he won’t be living out his retirement in Clare. Oh – and the occasion on which he was asked by the BBC to represent Britain in Eurovision.