Monday, June 2, 2014


Last year I had a blog about being a geek (my other passions being significantly less "cool" than my love of music) and one of my favorite posts was about Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. It was about how I both liked and disliked the guy at the same time (aka "Schrodinger's Friendship" instead of "Schrodinger's Cat"). You can read it here if you are so inclined. But I say all this because I feel the same way about Morrissey...

Generally it's a bad idea to learn more about a music artist than what's revealed on their Facebook page or album's liner notes. They have a high tendency of being pompous a--holes; pretentious attitudes run rampant in any of the arts. This is no less the case with Morrissey. When I first started listening to him, I read up on him, and quickly learned of his vocal opinions regarding both politics and animal rights. The dude is kind of infamous for being controversial. I think a lot of that's by design too, but it certainly seems genuine in origin. But usually when it's that in your face, it can be off-putting; it feels like taking advantage of your celebrity. You are famous for being a singer, that does not permit you to tell me what I should think about anything. But I let it go and listened to his music no less, with Year of Refusal especially becoming a permanent favorite. Morrissey's picture became my phone's background for the longest time, and his lyrics are tattooed on my arm.

Music swoon. #morrissey
He may be controversial, but he is ridiculously cool. And then again, isn't it good that an artist would want to use their fame and time in the spotlight to stand for something? His ideas may not be more merited for his fame, but it certainly doesn't make them less so simply because he's not a politician or ethicist. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of the source... but when you make it personal - making their music and life mean more than a source of entertainment as it was originally intended - it's that much easier to become offended. Someone wanting to be a role model can inspire with more than a peppy lyric, but now can disappoint beyond just a mediocre album release.

So I kept listening. And when his tour was announced I was ecstatic! Bought tickets the hour they went on sale and was just shy of counting down the days. It was going to be a small road trip of sorts to see him, but undoubtedly worth it. This is Morrissey, dammit! And as close to seeing The Smiths as I'll ever get. And then his new album was announced and up for pre-sale. I definitely shelled out the cash for the over-the-top-premium-plus-package whatnot that included more than I actually wanted (which was really just the shirt, vinyl and CD) but then I was like, autograph?? YES. Even if I don't want it, I'd rather just have it and not want it then decide later that I wanted it and not be able to get it (which I'm also pretty sure it the definition of gluttony...oops). Anyway. I anxiously awaited the concert. Excited? Yes. Nervous? Yes. Because I still couldn't completely ignore the wobbly pedestal I had placed him on, and my fear that seeing him live would push it past the tipping point.

And it totally did.

We got to the show between acts, as there was no way I was going to see the opener (her stuff is wretched, so I won't even name names). It didn't help that the venue was cheap and over-hyped and not well situated for a concert really. But we waited patiently by the AV set-up (go figure, ha) and nervously watched the artsy/quirky music videos projected on two large white drapes while the crew set-up in the dark. Here's hoping for the best! ...And admittedly it really got off to a great start. The crowd was enthusiastic, the band was sharp, and Morrissey was up close and sounded fantastic. He sang one song from his Smiths' days, but the rest were great songs from his solo stuff. It was awesome. A dream come true! ...Until he opened his mouth to talk. I don't think he knew where he was, as he spoke about sea life and how sad that is (which is really weird as I do not live anywhere near sea life, a coast, or large body of water, or even a decent aquarium.) So that was odd, but laughable. BUT THEN. In the most offensive concert experience I can fathom, he began to play Meat is Murder. I guess in a way I should have seen that coming. The guy is definitely a vegetarian and is very very vocal about animal cruelty and rights. Won't even have dinner with someone who eats meat, according to an interview on Graham Norton (I think). So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised about that alone. I guess what did it, was the video projected during the song which solely depicted how farm animals are treated and killed. It even started with the "Graphic Content, Viewer Discretion Advised". UM WHAT? I just paid a decent amount of money to be here, it's not like TV where I can just change channels. I couldn't look up for a long time, and at one point felt uncomfortable enough to turn around and face away from the stage completely. This wasn't some art gig intending to make people uncomfortable, it wasn't a happening, it was a concert and that's how it was pitched. And for the record, he was in effin' farm country. We're totally aware of what we are eating, thankyouverymuch. I'll avoid a diatribe on the ethics of animals rights. Not relevant. What is absolutely relevant is that it was totally disgusting and not what I paid for honestly. I paid for a music concert, not a lecture on ethics. And realistically it wasn't a lecture anyway. It was appeal to emotion, which can persuade to a do a lot of things regardless of actual rightness or wrongness. The irony is that if he really wanted to do something to change our minds, his concert was held down the street from one of the largest universities in the area. If this is something he's that passionate about, he could have made the time to do an actual lecture and explain why he was opposed to it. I bet even if he charged people to go to that in addition to the concert plenty of people would have done both. I would have at least considered it. So instead, I left completely defeated.

So now what? I don't know really. I still enjoy his music (although his solo stuff significantly less so as it just makes me think of his show). And it's quality really hasn't changed. He still is incredibly talented. And he didn't ask for me to adore him [although he's not happy when his audience doesn't adore him -- e.g. Lincoln, Nebraska. (If you are unaware, he ended up being supposedly boo-ed by a single fan, and was quite irate about it, and then skipped the encore (which I don't think is owed to fans, I will grant him that) and then the fans proceeded to heckle as they all got on the tour bus to get the heck out of dodge.) Ha.] So maybe I set him up to fail. But man, did he fail. I'm a fan of his music, his intelligence, and his humor. But I'm not a fan of being told what to think, especially in a demeaning and offensive manner, that completely disregards my own intellectual merit and decision making abilities. Shouldn't we deserve at least as much credit as we give him?

But I'll keep listening...I guess.

1 comment:

  1. Although I am not as big of a fan as you are, I totally agree with you on this one.