Morrissey Un-Masked: A Roadie Speaks

Journalist Andrew Winters went undercover as a roadie on Morrissey’s last tour – and boy, does he have some stories to tell. No one will be surprised that the Moz is eccentric, a tad disdainful, radically vegetarian, and a bit of a diva – all things that can be gleaned from his music. But even the biggest Moz fans will smirk at some of the hoops Winters had to roll through to be Morrissey’s roadie. He writes about his experience in The Times:

I am told that if I am accepted, then it will be the most unusual gig I will ever experience. I will get to know the protocols of working with Morrissey but the one overriding rule is the vegetarian one. No burgers from room service, no ham on salads, I get the sense if I am caught even visibly acknowledging the existence of a McDonald’s – instant sacking. I politely ask what the view is on fish. Seafood is sea life, I am informed, the same rule applies…

The production carries “sound-check suits.” I am informed that the band are considered “ambassadors” of the Morrissey tour and are therefore expected to be dressed in these suits for all soundchecks, all collective flights, all dinners and functions that may possibly include Morrissey – and it’s my responsibility to make sure that they are wearing them…

Morrissey instructs his PA to order him a large vodka concoction. Then something bizarre happens. A drinking game ensues, where one of the musicians is encouraged to knock back his pint to a chorus of “Down in one, down in one, down in one,” a chant to which Morrissey himself adds flamenco claps, skipping in front of his employee. He immediately beckons for another pint for the same musician and the process is repeated…

Am I bonkers, or does this sound like a total blast to anyone else?

In other news:

  • Is it me, or does Universal’s statement in support of Amy Winehouse‘s rehabilitation sound rather unsupportive? “Amy decided to enter the facility today after talks with her record label, management, family and doctors. She has come to understand that she requires specialist treatment to continue her ongoing recovery from drug addiction and prepare for her planned appearance at the Grammy Awards.” Ah, it’s all about the Grammys, eh? Screw Amy’s health and the longterm viability of our artist; we want the post-Grammy bounce, damnit. No wonder artists are leaving the major labels in droves.
    (The Times)
  • Friend Kelly Osbourne helped Amy move her stuff into rehab.(Daily Mail)
  • The Guardian‘s Dorian Lynskey is intent on knocking It girl Adele off her pedestal, panning her debut album in a two-star review: “Though the supple grooves and sumptuous strings of ‘Tired’ and ‘Cold Shoulder’ draw out her sly charisma, too many self-conscious ballads underline the difference between soul, which can shake you into feeling something new, and MOR, which merely soothes and affirms. Adele’s success appears preordained regardless, but next to Back to Black‘s Tanqueray-strength heartache, 19 is more of an alcopop.”
  • UB40 frontman Ali Campbell has bitterly left the band. He wrote this statement on his website: “The reason for me leaving the band is that management difficulties, which have been ongoing for almost five years, had become intolerable. I have been deeply unhappy with administrative practices and with many decisions that have been made in recent years, and I have an ongoing investigation into the handling of my business affairs in relation to UB40.”(Telegraph)
  • The Guardian‘s Jude Rogers takes a lay of the land on Radio 1. He’s most pleasantly surprised at all the chirpy, cheeky indie bands that are popping up: The Wombats, The Hoosiers, Scouting For Girls. “After prolonged exposure,” he says, “it may produce a similar effect in the listener as having your ears grated by an industrial cheese-shaver. Still, after years of Doherty wannabes who think their burps are as profound as Byron’s best odes, I know whose records I’d rather be bombarded by.”
  • More on pop’s comeback from The Guardian‘s Caroline Sullivan.
  • In an interview with The Daily Record, The Cribs frontman Ryan Jarman talks about his brush with death at last year’s NME Awards (“I landed bang on top of a big vase and a piece of glass shattered and stuck into my kidney”) and dating Kate Nash (“We tried to keep out of the public eye as much as possible because I think it is so tacky. There is nothing that can ruin a relationship faster than that.”)
  • As they head into their reunion tour, the members of Boyzone have hired the trainer that whipped Christian Bale into shape for Batman Begins.
    (Digital Spy)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

See more posts by Kevin Wicks