work it morrissey

The strange cult of “El Moz“

Steven Patrick Morrissey, born May 22nd of 1959 in Lancashire, to a working-class Irish migrant family, Morrissey grew up in Manchester where he established the well known band The Smiths in 1982. Six years later he would launch his solo act as Morrissey which is still going on. He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest lyricists in the history of rock with themes that diverge from the typical Rock themes of bravado and glorification. Morrissey is often referred to as one of the most influential artists of modern times, he has been a gay icon and animal’s right activist…but did you know he is also the cult icon of a strange Mexican subculture?

Of all the bizarre connections in the world of music, one of the strangest by far is that of Morrissey and Mexican people. In a culture that is notable for its firm machismo that despises anything that has to do with feelings and expression…why is Morrissey so popular? The answer is in the question, the toxic masculinity of the Mexican culture can only go so far before men themselves begin to feel asphyxiated by it. When you are taught from an early age that men don’t have feelings and men don’t cry and they have to be tough as nails, something snaps.  In comes Morrissey singing of that sense of estrangement and longing that can be found in traditional Mariachi and Ranchera songs of Mexico…the only difference is that men are allowed to feel.

Rancheras often speak of heartbreak and hurt in the only way they are allowed to without showing any emotions that are not manly, this often reduces the themes to anger. Anger that she left, anger that she is sleeping with another. Then the protagonist gets drunk and maybe fires a gun or rides a horse into the sunset. Well everything is different in Morrissey’s lyrics, they have the sentiment of a true Ranchera and the hurt and heartbreak, but it can be manifested in sadness and longing that is not patriotic or hyper-masculine. Basically Morrissey tells us that Boys cry too, and it’s OK.

In the spring of 2000, after seven years of silence, Morrissey decided to tour Latin America for the first time ever. The ¡Oye Esteban! Tour was obviously aimed at his extensive Latino-based fans which had grown out of proportion during those seven years. John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s “Soundcheck,” said about that run of dates. “At a time where he couldn’t get a record contract, here was this audience that was loyal and perhaps kind of unexpected, and he went and played to them. For many of us, that was the first inkling we had that there was something unusual and peculiar going on there.”

This new found awareness took music critics by surprise, they started to question why was Morrissey such a huge deal south of the border? Some made the association between Mexican folk music and Morrissey’s music. Others noticed how Morrissey’s style makes an appeal to the greaser culture of Hot Rods–and-pompadours that’s also quite popular among certain Latinos. Some ethnographers decided to look closer to home and found another answer in the Chicano community. A new generation of American born Mexicans felt displaced in their new land. With Latin roots and traditions but lost at sea in a country where you are not wanted felt the same angst that Morrissey was singing about; a deep-seated melancholy about where to belong. It’s easy to see how many of Morrissey’s lyrics deal with that identity crisis, with a sense of alienation, of being an “other” appeal to the entire Chicano community.

Morrissey took notice of this and for the past 15 years he has been making this link very explicit. His most famous recognition of this was during his ¡Oye Esteban! Tour where he declared in the middle of the concert “I wish I was born Mexican, but it’s too late for that now.” Other examples include him strutting around wearing the uniform of the Mexican soccer team Chivas de Guadalajara, rocking shirts with the most iconic Mexican saint La Virgen de Guadalupe. And then there’s Mexico, one of Morrissey’s newer songs which could double as an anthem of Chicano love for the homeland.

On the other side, in Mexico there are countless Morrissey and The Smiths tribute bands, most of them created by kids that call themselves neo-Mozzers. There are conventions, clubs and events with the only purpose of venerating one Steven Patrick Morrissey.

Is Morrissey’s love affaire with Mexican people legitimate? or only a shrewd business strategy? Only time will tell but the love that people south of the border feel for him is true and is pure as a light that never goes out.

-Schlimazelbabe

Inspired by @horsegirlharry and @jlf23tumble ’s joy division 1d shirts

Hmu if you want one when I print these up this week

Marrissey Quotes to sob over

Your welcome…

“It’s no secret that I would be on the next bus to his house.”— Morrissey, 1990, upon being asked ‘If Johnny phoned and asked to work with you again, what would you say? ‘

“He is painfully shy,” emphasises Johnny Marr. “You’ve got to understand that. We all look out for Morrissey. It’s a very brotherly feeling. When we first rehearsed, I’d have done anything for him. And as a person Morrissey is really capable of a truly loving relationship. Every day he’s so open, so romantic and sensitive to other people’s emotions.”  Johnny Marr, 1985

“He was different with me than he was with everybody else. I couldn’t have given my music to anybody - anybody else, and he appreciated it more, because he just fell in love with it, and that went on all the way through the band. In many ways he was my biggest fan really.”
— Johnny Marr on Morrissey

“We really were swept away by passion for what we were about to embark upon. I remember talking about the New York Dolls’ album cover photograph on the very first day we got together - should we sprawl all over each other in photos like they did? Without sounding too pretentious, the two of us were able to project onto each other and into the ether, everything in us that had been suppressed for years. There was a lot of shouting “yeah!” at each other, great, passionate agreement: “Yeah, that’s what I want to do too…”— Johnny Marr, 2004, reflecting upon the day he met Morrissey.

“He is painfully shy,” emphasises Johnny Marr. “You’ve got to understand that. We all look out for Morrissey. It’s a very brotherly feeling. When we first rehearsed, I’d have done anything for him. And as a person Morrissey is really capable of a truly loving relationship. Every day he’s so open, so romantic and sensitive to other people’s emotions.”  Johnny Marr, 1985

“Obviously with Johnny, I feel very defensive about our relationship. Some things have to be shielded, but the dedication I feel to him is quite solid and impregnable.”   Morrissey.

“There’s a lot of our relationship in those songs. That’s not to say the words are about our relationship, but the feeling in the recordings and some of the songs are a product of our relationship because we are so wrapped up in each other.”
— Johnny Marr on working with Morrissey

“He appeared at a time when I was deeper than the depths, if you like. And he provided me with this massive energy boost. I could feel Johnny’s energy just seething inside of me.”  Morrissey.

“The relationship between me and Morrissey is the best in the group, of the four of us. I still see him now. I called him last night. Last time I saw him was a couple of days before he went in to do his recent album. We let a bored media get the better of us, but there’s always been a certain telepathy between us even when we didn’t see each other. We played a game with the press and they played with us, but it’s not true life. No, we’re friends.”
— Johnny Marr, 1993.

“He appeared at a time when I was deeper than the depths, if you like. And he provided me with this massive energy boost. I could feel Johnny’s energy just seething inside of me.”
 Morrissey.

Smash Hits: What would you do if you could be invisible for a day?
Johnny Marr: I think I’d just follow Morrissey around and see what he gets up to when he disappears…

“ We actually got together a few times. We went for a walk in the country, we went out to dinner one night and later we just went for a long drive. It was really good to see each other away from any scenes. Like everyone, in private we’re quite different characters. I know the real Morrissey and he knows the real me. "   Johnny Marr quote

” We really were swept away by passion for what we were about to embark upon. I remember talking about the New York Dolls’ album cover photograph on the very first day we got together - should we sprawl all over each other in photos like they did? Without sounding too pretentious, the two of us were able to project onto each other and into the ether, everything in us that had been suppressed for years. There was a lot of shouting “yeah!” at each other, great, passionate agreement: “Yeah, that’s what I want to do too… “ 'There was a sense that we’d really found each other. We really admired each other and wanted to spend every minute of the day with each other.‘   Johnny Marr, about meeting Morrissey.

“Only he and I know that something like a fight or a difference in lifestyles or court cases or who said what in the press about who, or what fans might say, is pretty small change compared to the connection we have. It’s very deep. In short, there’s a very big part of him that I understand. And he knows it.'  Johnny Marr.

“It was a special musical relationship. And those are few and far between. For Johnny and I it won’t come again. I think he knows that and I know it. The Smiths had the best of Johnny and me. Those were definitely *the* days.”  Morrissey

“We were totally excited about where we were going to go, and we were falling over ourselves with ideas. Looking back on it now, it’s an almost even stranger set of circumstances, that the two talents fitted together like a hand in glove. There, I’ve said it. I don’t think I’m the only one who could imagine that song being about Morrissey and myself. It certainly did describe our relationship, and was born out of that new relationship.  Johnny Marr

‘It got to the stage where I was so impressed and infatuated, that even if he couldn’t play, it really didn’t matter…’  Morrissey

“So much has been made of that first meeting with Morrissey, but I suppose that looking back at it, it must have been the attraction of opposites. Like, he is a very tidy person and very organised and that was a bit of a shock to me, plus I had never seen so many books in the one room. I had certainly never met anyone like him and it still intrigues me why he was interested in JM. I’m still a little puzzled. Still a little confused. Because a lot about us is really very different. Like I am quite into rock ‘n’ roll and he has obviously nothing at all to do with it. I did say before that I think he needs a good humping and I really believe that. I tell him that about three times a week so you can see that there is a lot more humour in the relationship than everyone thinks. He is certainly the funniest person I know.”
— Johnny Marr, 1985.

“I am shaken when I hear Johnny play guitar, because he is quite obviously gifted and almost unnaturally multi-talented. Since he shows an exact perspective on all things, I can’t help but wonder: What is he doing here with me? Formulating writing systems and mapping out how best to blend our dual natures – here, against the hiss of the paraffin lamp, and me wrapped in the sanctity of an enormous overcoat acquired in a Denver charity shop for $5. Why has Johnny not already sprayed his mark – elsewhere, with others less scarred and less complicated than I am? It seemed to me that Johnny had enough spark and determination to push his way in amongst Manchester’s headhunters – yet here he was, with someone whose natural bearing discouraged openness. Stranger still, we get on very well. It is a matter of finding yourself in possession of the one vital facet that the other lacks, but needs.” Morrissey (Autobiography)

Q: Do you love Johnny Marr? 

Morrissey: “Yes… that’s not a hard one. I loved and love Johnny Marr.” (Q, 1994).

“The thing that brought us really close together is the essence of why Morrissey lives his life and why I live my life.Without the art of pop music and pop culture, life doesn’t make any sense. It was a pretty serious, deep need. It wasn’t just the need to escape our social situation, because underneath it all, one of the things that makes us the same is that we’re both incredibly sensitive. There was this burden with serious mental problems that were taken care of by records.”— Johnny Marr 

“After the first meeting [with Morrissey] we really couldn’t get together often enough” says Marr. “It was a few times a week. We got a hell of a lot done in that first month”. They were, Marr admits, in awe of one another’s potential. “He and I almost had this unspoken relationship where we were both able to be ourselves but we both knew how important we were to each other. What shouldn’t be forgotten is that we really, really liked each other. It wasn’t some business arrangement or relationship of convenience. There was intrigue and understanding because as different as we were, the thing that was paramount inside each of us was pop records and that absolute promise of escape. And he understood that without us ever having to talk about it”. (Simon Goddard)

"We Loved Each Other” - Johnny Marr

“Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together” was written with Johnny Marr in mind and it is the only song I have written with him in mind, post-smiths.“   Morrissey - Mojo Magazine 2002

"Sometimes, I think all he needs is a good humping”   Johnny Marr about Morrissey

From Angst to Aro – An Aromantic Playlist [x]

1. Love Love Love – Of Monsters and Men 2. The Outsider – Marina & the Diamonds 3. The Kids Aren’t Alright – Fall Out Boy 4. Freak Show – Set It Off 5. Anklebiters – Paramore 6. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift 7. I Have Forgiven Jesus – Morrissey 8. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You – Ed Sheeran 9. That’s How People Grow Up – Morrissey

5

The Tenth Doctor and Christmas Trees (with his Christmas companions)

Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year)

“I find people who’re quite artistic and creative crawl from dreadful conditions, while people who’re cushioned in life tend not to produce anything dramatically artistic. To me popular music is still the voice of the working class, collective rage in a way, though not angst-ridden. But it does really seem like the one sole opportunity for someone from a working class background to step forward and have their say. It’s really the last refuge for the articulate but penniless humans.” - Morrissey, 1984 

Photo: http://empaths.tumblr.com/