Morrissey has never been shy about his opinions – even before he was famous as the frontman of The Smiths, he penned this scathing op-ed slamming The Ramones. Over the years, the singer hasn’t thought twice about slamming institutions, artists and trends. Some of these bon mots have just been chalked up to his entertaining flair for the dramatic. Others haven’t been quite as well received.
In this clip from the British show Data Run, Morrissey admits to never liking children, even when he was one. Although it’s clear that the interview segments between Moz and Johnny Marr and the children posing the questions were clearly taped separately, given his tone, Morrissey seems to be aware that he’s addressing kids. That offhanded remark at around 3:22 marks the kind of unmitigated candor we’ve come to expect from the moody crooner.
Moz has never shied away from turning the stage into a soapbox. That was certainly true during a concert in Warsaw in 2011 when he compared a mass-killing in Norway with the slaughter of animals for fast food.
In a 1992 issue of Details magazine, Morrissey condemned dance music as “...the refuge for the mentally deficient. It's made by dull people for dull people.” The fact that this was said by a guy who gleefully sang the refrain “Hang the DJ!” on the 1986 Smiths jam “Panic” should be surprising to no one. Still, when Moz issued this condemnation of dance music, we can only assume that a 4-year-old Skrillex shed a single tear, Iron Eyes Cody style.
Morrissey blamed immigration for the dissolution of a unified British identity in a notorious interview published by NME in 2007. “England is a memory now,” the singer remarked, “The gates are flooded and anybody can have access to England and join in.” Despite his questionable quotes, Moz did manage to successfully sue the publication for libel when it alleged that he was a racist, causing NME to issue an apology. Still, his remarks only fuel accusations of the singer’s nationalist tendency, especially given his past instances of performing in front of images of skinheads and singing while draped in a Union Jack during concerts attended by National Front members.
Morrissey was decrying a lack of British identity in 2007, but in 2012 was blasting the nation for its obnoxious jingoism when London hosted the Olympic Games. Since the singer has never been a fan of subtlety, he compared the host country’s patriotic mood to 1939 Germany in an online letter to his fan club. Oh, what a difference five years can make.
In 1984, Morrissey remarked to a British newspaper that “all reggae is vile," a charge that laid the groundwork for future accusations of racism. In 1986, Moz told Melody Maker that reggae in itself was “the most racist music in the entire world” because it’s allegedly “...an absolute total glorification of black supremacy.” The fact that Moz then, in the same interview, goes on to dismiss all of contemporary black artists such as Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston as “vile” doesn’t really help his case.
Over the years, Morrissey has blasted many people, corporations and institutions over animal rights issues. He’s renounced his fandom of Roxy Music over Bryan Ferry’s pro-hunting stance, taken shots at artist Damien Hirst for making art out of animal corpses and even refuses to set foot in Canada over the country’s annual seal hunt. Moz has never been one to mince words when it comes to animal abuse. However, he definitely crossed the line in 2010 when he told the Guardian Weekend magazine that he regarded the Chinese people as “sub-species” over their animal rights track records. It was certainly a poor choice of words for someone who is already plagued with accusations of racism.
Although rumors of a Smiths reunion pop up every so often, Morrissey’s relationship with Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke are frosty at best. In fairness, how could they possibly be on good terms after Rourke and Joyce successfully sued the singer for their share of Smiths royalties, which had been going mainly to Morrissey and Marr. As for those two, while they seem to fall in and out of touch over the years, it seems doubtful that they could be in the same room, much less share a stage.