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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
You’re playing the O2 Wireless Festival with Beck, and I know you wore a Beck t-shirt in one of your videos. Are you a particularly big fan of his?
No, I don’t really know much about him. I knew a woman at the time of that video who dared me to wear the t-shirt, so I did, and she was thrilled. I didn’t assemble the bill for the 02 festival. I’m actually surprised I’m even on it.
What do you enjoy about being based in LA as opposed to, say, New York?
I like the film history of Los Angeles, and I’m constantly searching for the smogginess and dim-light of those old films… Susan Hayward in Smash-Up, or Susan Hayward in I Want To Live… or anything starring Richard Conte, John Garfield, Dana Andrews, Kirk Douglas… or Barbara Stanwyck dumping the body on the railroad tracks… Build My Gallows High, The Killers, Kiss Me Deadly… things like that. I also like the Herb Alpertness of it all, and the Burt Bacharachness and the Wayne Manor bit. You know, Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward Dick Grayson? No? Oh. Well, then.
Are there specific songs from throughout your career that you’re particularly proud of?
I love most of them. My favorite is ‘Life Is A Pigsty’ from Ringleader Of The Tormentors. That song just about covers it. Perhaps there’s about six that I can’t stand, but even they are not hysterically bad. There are a few older songs that absolutely confuse me – I have no idea what I was thinking of. ‘Roy’s Keen’ for example. But over a 25-year recording stretch there’s bound to be a few stinkers. It’s a long time to expect anyone to be constantly compulsive. If most singers make one or two great records in a lifetime it’s a miracle. For me, the low spots are there to make the high spots all the more sharp. It’s all personal stocktaking and songwriting doesn’t work when you try to force it to happen. That’s my view, anyway.
Any chance of a Morrissey covers album?
Yes, I’d like to do it now, even though it’s become a bit of a minor cliché. But, so what – we’re all minor clichés.