18 January 2006
Sanctuary Records have announced the following U.K. tour dates:
18/4 - Salford Lowry
19/4 - Llandudno NW Theatre
20/4 - Leeds Town Hall
22/4 - Aberdeen Music Hall
23/4 - Stirling Albert Halls
25/4 - Dundee Caird Hall
26/4 - Greenock Town Hall
27/4 - Glasgow Academy
29/4 - Whitehaven Civic
30/4 - Gateshead Sage
3/5 - Sheffield City Hall
4/5 - Grimsby Auditorium
6/5 - Manchester Apollo
7/5 - Manchester Opera House
8/5 - Manchester Bridgewater
10/5 - Halifax Victoria Hall
11/5 - Blackburn King Georges
12/5 - Liverpool Philharmonic
14/5 - London Palladium
15/5 - Cardiff St Davids
17/5 - Reading Hexagon
19/5 - Portsmouth Guildhall
20/5 - Birmingham Symphony Hall
21/5 - London Palladium
23/5 - Truro Hall For Cornwall
24/5 - Cheltenham Town Hall
25/5 - Oxford New Theatre
27/5 - Kings Lynn Corn Exchange
28/5 - London Palladium
Ringleader Of The Tormentors: Album release date in the U.K.; You Have Killed Me: Single release date in the U.K.
18 January 2006
Sanctuary Records have announced the following U.K. release dates:
The album, Ringleader Of The Tormentors, is released on April 3 through Attack/Sanctuary Records. This is to be preceded by the single, "You Have Killed Me," on March 27.
13 January 2006
april 22 ABERDEEN Music Hall
april 23 STIRLING Albert Halls
april 25 DUNDEE Caird Hall
april 26 GREENOCK Town Hall
april 27 GLASGOW Academy
10 January 2006
Four Manchester dates
18 April...... SALFORD Lowry
6 May..... MANCHESTER Apollo
7 May..... MANCHESTER Opera House
8 May..... MANCHESTER Bridgewater Hall
4 January 2006
Morrissey has answered a third series of questions submitted by Questions And Answers participants. These questions and Morrissey's answers are as follows.
Q1: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO RECORD IN ROME?
Paul Rhodes, Derby.
...didn't we meet once...and discussed Alan Bates?
I'm inspired by Rome because it's the exact opposite to Los Angeles, where I've spent so much time in recent years.
As stunningly beautiful as Los Angeles is, it is also essentially a police state. The city belongs to the police, no one else. Everywhere you go there are police - watching, watching, and waiting for any reason - for no reason - to jump on people. Consequently, the people of Los Angeles are very nervous about everything - about parking their car, about driving too slowly, about crossing the road the wrong way, about sneezing without a permit, etc. If you walk down a street humming in Los Angeles you are immediately considered to be suspicious. Once you're arrested, the courts always support whatever the police say regardless of what that is. In Rome, the police are very casual, and they don't threaten people because they seem to quite rightly think that most people don't actually intend to break the law. This gains the police respect. In Los Angeles, the police believe that everyone is guilty of intending to commit a major crime - to know is to be guilty,etc. Rome has struck me as being a very safe city, and not at all uptight, which is a contrasting relief against the pressures of Los Angeles.
Am I ranting?
Q2: HOW HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR ITALIAN STAY?
Marco Zanini, Milan.
Although I admire the incredible preoccupation with style in Rome, the high presence of fur is the one awful aspect of the Italian female character. Yes, it's always women who wear fur - never men. Men invent wars, women wear fur. In Rome, women literally walk down the street with dead cats and dogs flung over their shoulders. In the past this apparently represented status or sexiness. I don't understand how women can be intelligent, can know, and yet still wear fur.
Am I ranting?
Q3: ARE YOU INTO DAYDREAMING?
Ann Poulter, London.
I think it's all I ever do. The alternative is making firm plans - which is something I find impossible. I've always seen life as a kamikaze course, and just dodging the bullets is success enough.
Q4: WHO DO YOU ADMIRE LYRICALLY?
Mark Raj, Atlanta.
Nobody in pop or rock. Elsewhere, the poet John Betjeman.
Q5: CAN YOU TELL US WHICH OF YOUR RECORD SLEEVES YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I designed all the Smiths original releases - but not the post-split re-issues [although the Diana Dors "Singles" sleeve was an image I had been hoarding.] The design that I thought best exemplified The Smiths was the LP version of The World Won't Listen, and I was horrified when it was mauled and chopped for the cassette and CD versions which cropped the image to only show the boy with the puffy cheeks. I couldn't understand why the full image wasn't reproduced, and since then it's always been reprinted as the boy with the puffy cheeks.
I also like the sleeve for Louder Than Bombs, which seems to sum up the recorded contents quite well.
I don't expect you want an answer concerning the solo sleeves since they've all been a bit random and mostly uninteresting. Some weren't designed by me and I now regret the sleeves for World Of Morrissey, Maladjusted, Southpaw Grammar, Dagenham Dave, Boxers - a period when I thought it best to let go. So I did. And I was wrong.
By the way, I mean the European Boxers sleeve, not the American sleeve, which was quite nice.
Q6: WHAT IS IT ABOUT ALAIN AND BOZ'S MUSIC, AND THEIR STYLES, THAT YOU ENJOY MOST?
Henry, Los Angeles.
Everything. For a start, they know their craft impeccably. They are obsessive musicians and in it for life. Alain's work has a melodious sadness to it, whereas Boz is drawn to pulsating rhythms. The best of Boz is Reader Meet Author, and the best of Alain is Life is a Pigsty. I honestly feel honored to have worked so much with both of them, and our relationship just improves with time - even if I don't.
Q7: HOW HAS JESSE TOBIAS AFFECTED THE NEW ALBUM?
If you hear the new album you will notice a marked difference in sound, principally due to both Michael Farrell and to Jesse. Personally and musically, Jesse has made a big impact - You Have Killed Me, The Youngest Was The Most Loved, In The Future When All's Well, I Just Want To See The Boy Happy....these songs, especially, fully release the hounds. There are no Boz songs on this album, but strangely, it is the album on which Boz has been most involved and had such a massive input. Boz is 24-hour non-stop, and if impetus lulls, Boz steers everyone back on track.
If it seems to some people that Jesse has replaced Alain, I would like to say that this isn't true. There is no replacing and there is nothing but harmony amongst all the players.
I understand that there are always poisonous assumptions on the SoLow site, but that's all just crap.
Q8: I ATTENDED FIVE SHOWS ON THE QUARRY TOUR. HOW DO YOU PICK YOUR OPENING ACTS?
It's always my personal choice. Sometimes it doesn't work because usually the audience isn't that enthusiastic. Years ago, in Dublin, The Would-Be's ran on, looked at the crowd, and then immediately ran off. That didn't quite work... I thought Elcka were great, and Sack and the Pony Club and the Smoking Popes ...and...er, who else? I'm the world's biggest Damien Dempsey fan, but every night he kept saying exactly the same things onstage, so one night I met him walking offstage and jumped on his back. He enjoyed that. ...... and ... so did I ....
Q9: ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING YOUR EXPERIENCES WITH SUCH DIFFERING PLACES AS MANCHESTER AND LOS ANGELES, HOW DO ELEMENTS SUCH AS GEOGRAPHICAL, LOCATION, CLIMATE AND SOCIAL TEMP OF THE CITY AFFECT YOUR ART?
Todd, Los Angeles.
None of these things affect me. In fact, nothing affects me. I am an island.
Q10: IN REGARDS TO STRETFORD, WHAT PLACES DO YOU REMEMBER MOST?
Of Stressford....mostly Longford Park, where I more or less lived every day - every corner a dark memory. Firswood Library - now butchered, Stretford Baths and Chorlton Baths - now concentration camps, the Quadrant, Ingleby Fields...and heaven knows I'm miserable now...etc.
Q11: DO YOU FEEL LIKE A MODEL TO TODAY'S YOUNGER GENERATION?
A model what? A model citizen? No.
Q 12: HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOURSELF POLITICALLY, OR DO YOU AT ALL?
I don't consider myself to be political, even though to sing or to write are political acts, of sorts. The proof of your political thinking is usually in your conduct. I find myself opposing barbarism, that's all. People like Blair and Bush have proved that in order to succeed in politics you must be cruel and morally bankrupt. I see no difference between Blair or Bush and Saddam Hussein - all egotistical dictators. Perhaps the only difference is that Blair and Bush do it with a smile. Murder and smile .... as Shakespeare said. Good people do not succeed in politics - it's impossible. I also think that most people have lost faith and trust in politics, and this can only be because most political leaders prove themselves to be contemptuous of the people who elect them. When Bush decided that he would have a state visit to England, Blair described the anti-Bush protestors as "these people" - even though "these people" were in fact the ordinary people of England who had probably voted Blair into government. But, Blair was prepared to attack his own people in order to avoid upsetting Bush. This is what happens in non-democratic countries.
By the way, we will oppose barbarism on Saturday April 1st in Gotenburg at the Scandinavium.
Q13: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MESSAGE TO THE WORLD TO MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR ANIMALS ON OUR PLANET?
With people in the world such as Jamie Oliver and Clarissa Dickson Wright there isn't much hope for animals. I support the efforts of the Animal Rights Militia in England and I understand why fur-farmers and so-called laboratory scientists are repaid with violence - it is because they deal in violence themselves and it's the only language they understand - the same principals that apply to war. You reach a point where you cannot reason with people. This is why the Animal Rights Militia and the Hunt Saboteurs exist. They are usually very intelligent people who are forced to act because the law is shameful or amoral.
In England, animals are hunted to the point of extinction, and then a great effort is made to save and reintroduce animals, and once they are re-established, they are then hunted back to the point of extinction. Everybody needs to hate something, it seems.
Q14: ARE THERE ANY MILESTONES YOU'D LIKE TO ACHIEVE IN 2006 WITH THE NEW RECORD?
Richard, Milton Keynes.
No. It's done. It's there. I stand - or fall - by it.
Q15: WHAT KIND OF FEELINGS OR MEMORIES COME TO YOU WHEN YOU LISTEN TO YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC?
All the meaningful memories I have in my life are musical...........unfortunately. All that gets me through is some faith in music.
AM I missing something?
Please - don't answer.
23 December 2005
The new single from Morrissey is to be 'You Have Killed Me' scheduled for release at the beginning of March. The song is written by Morrissey and Jesse Tobias, and will be backed on various formats by 'Good Looking Man About Town' (written by Morrissey and Alain Whyte), 'Human Being' (written by David Johansen and Johnny Thunders) and 'I Knew I Was Next' (written by Morrissey and Jesse Tobias.)
To coincide with the March release of Ringleader Of The Tormentors, Morrissey will play 30 concerts in the United Kingdom, including four nights in Manchester at four different venues. Sanctuary Records will release full date and venue information within the next two weeks.
14 December 2005
Morrissey has answered a second series of questions submitted by Questions And Answers participants. These questions and Morrissey's answers are as follows.
How did you get the idea to mention Estonia in your song "America Is Not The World"?
I imagined the sexy and sharp people of Estonia - which is not considered to be a world leader in anything, as far as I know - looking at the Burger King fast-food hell of the modern American food industry, and actually feeling sorry for Americans.
America is frightening when it comes to food. Top priority advertising is given to anything at all that basically endangers people - from flesh "food" to heavy sugar to heavy salt. Gelatin is thrown into everything in America - and for what? Whereas, any foodstuffs that would help people - organic or vegetarian - are deliberately hard to find. The American Meat Industry constantly fights against food safety laws, and the Bush Administration routinely repeals food safety legislation. Half a million Americans have been contaminated by E. Coli, hundreds of children have died because contaminated meat is given to schools, and the country leads the way in obesity, kidney failure, and disabilities caused by bad diet. However, turn on American television any moment of the day, and you are sandblasted with commercials for ground beef and Yum-Yums. It's astonishing that the entire population of America hasn't been killed off by its own food industry - the food industry is certainly trying, and it is more of a threat to the American people than so-called "terrorism" is.
Am I bleating on? ...
How have you managed to never "sell out"?
I haven't had an easy ride with the print media in England, so I've always had a lot to fight against and there's never been a time in my life when any part of my "success" could be considered a foregone conclusion. So, I've never felt at ease enough to lie back and go with the "sell-out" flow. It seems to me that, in England, they give you a very hard time if you matter, but if you don't matter then they let you slide by.
I have always wondered if you play any musical instruments, and if so, which?
I honestly don't have the interest. I always wanted to sing, with nothing at all blocking my path to the audience. An instrument is the perfect thing to hide behind - always busy adjusting pedals, fiddling with amp-settings, looking down, and never directly facing the very audience that you are presumably addressing.
Yes, when I was 14, I had a reasonably impressive drum kit, and when I heard Jerry Nolan and saw him on the cover of the New York Dolls' first album, I thought, That's me! Off I go! ... But it wasn't me, and I didn't go anywhere. This year, Deano [ex-drummer] gave me a kit to bash around on, but I think it's probably a bit late for me to suddenly turn up as the new drummer with New Found Glory. And yet ... ?
Do you have a certain place where you'd like to be to write songs?
Miriam Champer, 15
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.
The answer is in the bath. I lie there for hours singing my head off. Whenever I've moved house, I first call the agent and ask what the bath is like - nothing else much matters.
By the way, you are lucky to live in Eugene. I've only played there once, but I was very taken by it.
I have been very intrigued by Jobriath's music. Which songs of Jobriath's are your favorites?
Hobart, Indiana, U.S.A.
My favourite is "Morning Starship," but I like them all - with the exception of "Rock Of Ages," which is a bit hard to take.
When you are writing a song, do you think about the melody first, or do the words create the melody?
Usually the melody comes first and then the words jump in, but before either I must have a certain feeling and a certain incentive in order to make both the voice and the words sound true. Luckily, for me, I'm always unstoppably driven. It must end soon - for all our sakes ...
What potential do you think art has as a vehicle for social change?
Alysha Layla Shaw
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Feminism - yes, Greenpeace - yes, PETA - yes, Art - no. Most people have no interest in Art, and only accept it under extreme protest. All media heroes are Artless, all politicians are devoid of Art, and anyone in music attempting to convey Art is usually ridiculed. I think it's safe to say that the human race is probably scum, on the whole. There's no evidence to the contrary.
Publications have touted this or that band as the "new Smiths." Of those bands who have been given this lofty title, who, in your esteemed opinion, was the most deserving?
Jarrod San Angel
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
None. The Smiths stood out because there was no one else like them. Originality seems to be impossible now. There are so many people making music, but they all dress and sound exactly the same. This is why, as time goes by, it seems so surprising to people that The Smiths were actually successful - given the unyielding nature of the approach and the songs.
Are there any musicians or bands emerging now that excite you?
Dunellen, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Were you pleasantly surprised and happy about the response that you received throughout the world when You Are The Quarry was released?
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
I think it could have happened with Vauxhall And I, but neither EMI nor Sire-Reprise were interested. Sanctuary was VERY interested, which is why it worked so well. It's important to have someone pitching for you at every level, and I'd never had that until I met Sanctuary.
Do you have any memories from your visits to Athens?
As a matter of fact, no, I don't. Where exactly is it?
What was your favourite show that you played in 2004?
My personal favourite was Roskilde, with Manchester Move and Dublin The Point second and third ... although Glasgow and Birmingham never fail me. The only stinker was Bologna.
What are some of your favorite classic films or recent ones you've seen?
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
My favourite in the last few years has been Late Marriage starring Lior Ashkenazi. It's one of those rare films wherein the entire cast is excellent, and the film is powerful without one single special effect or any sound trickery. Lior Ashkenazi more recently starred in Walk On Water, which is also worth seeing.
Do you know if your next tour will include any South American countries?
Yes, it will. I've been to Peru, but I've never played there. I would go to wherever there seemed to be interest - except China, which is too barbaric. In China, as we all now know, cats and dogs are skinned alive for the fur industry. Come, come, nuclear bomb.
Which songs do you always enjoy singing live?
Oldham, Manchester, England
Most of the songs are very wordy, and there aren't ever any flashy guitar solos, so the time onstage is usually a vocal rat-a-tat-tat without any pause, which is why I can't manage to stay onstage for longer than one hour and twenty minutes - I literally get lock-jaw. I think it's easy to stay onstage for hours if you just fiddle about with a guitar and keep your head down, but if it's a vocal assault, then it's harder to maintain energy levels. The song that has lasted longest in the live set is "November Spawned A Monster," so I think this must answer your question .... The ones in a higher register are better.
30 November 2005
Statement from Morrissey:
The latest statements from M Joyce on a BBC 6 radio interview as faithfully reported on the MorrisseySoLow site have been brought to my attention and I feel I should make this reply as an attempt to put the matter straight.
1. From '83 to '87 M Joyce happily and willingly received 10% of Smiths recording royalties.
2. In '89, as is documented, Joyce sued Morrissey & Marr for 25% of Smiths recording royalties.
3. In '96, Joyce took his claim to court - and on the basis of the 1890 Partnership Act the judge awarded Joyce 25%.
4. In '97, M Joyce was paid 215 thousand pounds from me, and 215 thousand pounds from Johnny Marr.
5. In '99, Joyce appeared on British television and made the statement: "There was no contract saying we were gonna get 25%."
6. In 2001, as a final payment of back royalties, Johnny Marr paid Joyce 260 thousand pounds, plus "costs." At this time I was in the US and was not served with court proceedings, so Joyce obtained a Default Judgment. He then put forward a claim from me for 688 thousand pounds - well above and beyond the amount Johnny Marr was ordered to pay. In my absence, the figure was not contested.
7. Since 2001, and because of the Default Judgment against me, Joyce has taken out Third Party Orders against the following societies: my personal bank account in England, Smiths royalties from Warner Music, my personal PRS royalties, my personal PPL royalties, and he has attempted to seize UK concert fees from venue to venue. This money, to date, totals 700 thousand pounds. This figure is in addition to the figures mentioned above.
8. By grabbing the full total of Smiths royalties from Warner Music (and this means that when the public buy a Smiths CD in the UK, the royalties go to Joyce, and have done so since 2001) Joyce has knowingly deprived Andy Rourke of his 10% Smiths royalties, and has deprived producers John Porter, Stephen Street, Grant Showbiz and Steve Lillywhite (for "Ask") of their entitlements. Joyce did not declare to the courts that others - namely, the above - were also beneficiaries to the Warner Music royalties.
9. In 2001, Joyce attempted to seize both my mother's house and my sister's house by claiming that I had taken my assets out of the UK; he made this claim even though he had direct access to all of the above – which are in the UK. Joyce eventually dropped both of these claims due to lack of evidence, and he refused to pay the 150 thousand pounds that it had cost me to defend his groundless claims. Joyce also dropped his claim as co-composer with Johnny M on Smiths compositions, and Joyce also dropped his claim for Producer royalties on Smiths recordings, and Joyce also dropped his claim for a share of Artwork payments given to me for providing Smiths record sleeves. There were, in fact, no payments to me for Smiths Artwork. Joyce made a further claim for 25% of all Smiths t-shirts sold during the '83 to '87 period, even though there was no evidence that any royalty for t-shirts had been received by either myself or Johnny Marr.
10. In legal fees alone, Joyce has cost me 600 thousand pounds - this is quite apart from any payments made to him, and is quite apart from any money seized by him. In total, Joyce has cost me 1 million, 515 thousand pounds. This is an approximate figure - it could even be higher.
11. The Joyce action is continuous. Because of his Default Judgment he continues to take my royalties, and the royalties of others mentioned above, from Warner Music - consequently I have not received record royalties since 2001.
12. Since 2001, the money claimed by Joyce is charged, to me, at 100 pounds a day in interest.
13. During the Smiths' lifetime, when Joyce willingly took a 10% royalty, he did not contribute towards any expenses of any kind, did not take on any Partnership duties or responsibilities, and he received his 10% as gross earnings.
The point I wish to make is this: Joyce is not poor, unless, living as he does in the Cheshire green-belt, he lives beyond his means. Somehow, he appears to believe that he should have equal financial status to both myself and to Johnny Marr, even though Joyce has done dramatically less than Johnny and I to attain the positions we now have.
Joyce is not poor because of one reason - me. His career now is the fictitious position of an unpaid ex-member of the Smiths. He has also pursued all of his claims on Legal Aid.
I don't make this statement in search of sympathy from anyone, but I wish that the people at MorrisseySoLow who support Joyce would at least get their facts right before they say anything. Even with his 10% share, Joyce was wealthy. Now, he is extremely wealthy.
What more does he want?
I have fought the Joyce action as much as I could over the years, but the simple truth is that, under British law, the word of a judge will not be overturned. In the absence of any evidence from the 1980s, the judge in this case relied upon the Partnership Act of 1890 to help Joyce win his claim. Joyce has exploited the judge's final verdict in order to get as much as he can from me, from Johnny Marr, and also from Andy Rourke.
Finally, Joyce does not have the legal right to sell unreleased Smiths material - it belongs to Warner Music. Joyce did not pay for the recording time under which any demo material was recorded. Furthermore, Joyce cannot sell any unreleased work by Johnny Marr or Andy Rourke without, at very least, their permission.
Thanks for reading this,
20 November 2005
Morrissey has answered a series of questions submitted by Questions And Answers participants. These questions and Morrissey's answers are as follows.
Of all your songs, from both Smiths and solo material, which song are you most proud of lyrically?
Haworth, West Yorkshire, England
It's impossible to answer this because I'm proud of most of them. There are only a few that make me shudder – such as "Get Off The Stage," "Journalists Who Lie," "I Don't Owe You Anything".... But most of them, I think, somehow stand the test of time. Of course, some songs are better than others....
What qualities do you admire in a person?
Louise Stephens, 18
Clare, Suffolk, England
It would be easy to say such things as honesty or loyalty, and so on – but the fact is that if you like someone you'll forgive them of almost any kind of indiscretion. In truth, I'm drawn to people who aren't afraid and who question authority. It takes great courage, I think, to defend animals – and it takes great courage to speak your mind. Most people are petrified by public embarrassment – especially in America, which is why the police constantly shout at the public – this doesn't happen in any other country. Except Fiji.
What are your happiest moments and memories in the life of Morrissey over the last 15 years?
Why the last 15 years? Didn't I exist in 1989?
The happiest moments have been the birth of each album. Some people might think this is somewhat sad, and maybe it is, but it's the truth nonetheless. Meltdown was also a high spot for me, and selling out the MEN Arena so quickly.
Hello our dearest Morrissey,
I was at your concert in Paisley last year, and it was the greatest night of my life. Did you enjoy it?
We will salute you forever.
Amy Rodgers, 17
Yes, Paisley was a great night. We were warned that the place was "dog-rough" and that the people might give us some trouble – which, of course, only whetted our appetites. But it wasn't so – everyone was very good to us and the audience were just perfect.
Could you please name one artist from each of the previous five decades – the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s – who has had a lasting influence on you?
...probably not! Certainly nobody from the '80s or '90s has had a "lasting influence" on me. The royal three remain the same: The New York Dolls, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, with Nico standing firm as first reserve. Oh, and Olivia Newton-John.
John Lydon once said something along the lines of, "The Irish mean it, man." Those words come to mind when I listen to your music. To what extent do you think your Irishness colours how you express yourself as an artist?
Thank you so much for writing and singing!
Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland
Ireland has always been a very credible and very poetic place, with no one under any illusions about themselves – we all end up in the same bucket, etc. This manifests itself within me by the fact that I'd obviously like some success with what I do, but I'm also slightly embarrassed to be singled-out. Silly, isn't it.
Has being a vegetarian defined your life significantly?
Many thanks for taking the time to read the questions – I wait with bated breath!
Being vegetarian is a political gesture, so it can't fail to affect your life. By becoming vegetarian you are rejecting a dominant, macho, wife-beating, throat-slitting lifestyle. Vegetarians are also often disliked because they cause so many people to do what they'd rather not do: think. Also, vegetarians, by the nature of their existence, are telling flesh-eaters that what they, the carnivores, are doing, is wrong – and nobody likes to be told this. In a basic sense, I can't bring myself to sit at any table where flesh is served or eaten – unless, of course, it's human flesh.
What is the most important advice that you would give people to be happy?
Thanks for this opportunity.
I'm no expert when it comes to happiness – I don't honestly think it's possible.
Unfortunately, comfort and contentment become the maximum goal, and these are attainable. It's important, I think, not to allow others to pressurize you, and it's important not to be intimidated. Most humans are just silly, and 95% of our daily activities are a complete waste of time anyway – so there's a strong likelihood that human existence itself is somewhat silly. Look, for example, at British television – ghastly.
I think that Ennio Morricone is one of the great composers of our time. I regard the music to Once Upon A Time In America as a heartbreaking masterpiece. Is it true that Morricone has worked with you on your new album, and if so, how was it to meet Il Maestro and work with him?
With gratitude and tenderness,
Yes, the Maestro came into the studio with his orchestra and worked on a song called "Dear God Please Help Me" – which was very flattering because he'd turned so many multi-million selling pop acts down (I won't mention their names – U2, David Bowie, etc.), so I was delighted that he said yes to scruffy old me. In the event, he was very shy, and he was heavily surrounded and shielded, and there was no way that he and I would end up at the local pub playing darts. But – that's OK. Life's rich tapestry, and so on.
I am Belgian and a huge fan of yours since 1985. I have seen you in concert many times around the world (in the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, France, Holland, Germany, etc.), as well as in Belgium.
Do you think that, in addition to the upcoming tour dates that you mentioned, you will play more concerts in Europe, such as in Belgium or France?
Thank you a lot for existing, and God bless you.
It isn't always a question of simply waking up and deciding where to play – there must at least be the possibility of a waiting audience – that certainly helps. There isn't much of a grasp on how popular I am in places like France or Belgium – no one ever seems to know anything, so only Paris is ever touched upon. Holland remains a complete mystery. Personally, I'd love to go to every major French city, but, Lyon apart, there are never any offers, and that's what it all comes down to. Otherwise I'd stand onstage in Bordeaux and sing to the bar staff – nobody else would be there. Except – at a stretch – you?
I am looking forward to hearing your work with Tony Visconti. At this time, is there more that you would like to share with your fans as to the overall sound of your new album?
Thanks for staying true to your fans and true to yourself.
Michael D. Fellows
New York, New York, U.S.A.
Firstly, the musicianship is outstanding. Secondly, the songs are very strong, which is a great thing to be able to say this far down the line. We were all very unified – everyone gets on very well, we are all very close friends, and everyone works for the common good, and there is never anyone pulling away – as there has been in the past. So, this all helped to make the album as good as it is – and we all know it is the best. It is not a continuation of You Are The Quarry, and it has no links to the past. Tony has been a very uplifting influence – has done a great job as producer and I'm honoured to have worked with him. Marco Martin, who engineered, also played such a big part in the overall sound, and we're all eternally thankful to him.
I'm a big admirer of yours, and I have been for many years. I find it very encouraging that you and many other folks I admire in the entertainment field are for animal rights. How did you first get involved with PETA?
I am looking forward to your next album, and I hope to see you back in New York on tour soon!
With love and respect,
New York, New York, U.S.A.
It began in 1985. The Smiths had played in Washington, D.C. and the concert was finished and I was...where else...in bed...and the phone rang...which was very unusual because there is always a block on my telephone. A voice introduced himself as Dan Mathews and he explained his mission was to build PETA to earth-shattering proportions...and he has! Twenty years on I am still in awe of Dan. Every single day of his life he is in a different corner of the world saving animals – none too big, none too small, none too far away – Dan is there, getting arrested, causing a flurry with the press, and his success stories are phenomenal. He has literally saved millions and millions of lives, and with PETA, his achievements are astonishing. He is the ideal American hero.
If American television shows that have musical guests – such as Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, Late Show, etc. – asked you to make appearances in support of the new album, would you consider it? (If so, I would write letters to said shows requesting you.)
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Yes, of course. Try to stop me.
Does the title of the new album, Ringleader Of The Tormentors, have a particular personal significance to you, and if so, what would that be?
Thank you for inspiring me to finally commit to vegetarianism.
Gabriel Garcia Pablos, 15
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Yes, but if I tell you what it is I might put you off. Patience.
What do you love the most about living here and now?
Everything I love remains in my own somewhat private view of how I'd wish it all to be. I don't think much of life as a whole, and the world seems to be a complete and utter mess – thanks to people like Bush and Blair. I'm astonished that I'm still here – at 46, which seemed an unreachable age to me not so long ago. I am about to release a new album and many people seem to be very interested – which is a surprise considering how many times I've been publicly buried. But I'm still at the stage whereby I have absolutely no idea where I'll be in seven days' time. Face down in the gutter?
15 November 2005
The final tracklisting of Ringleader Of The Tormentors is:
1. "I Will See You In Far-off Places"
2. "Dear God Please Help Me"
3. "You Have Killed Me"
4. "The Youngest Was The Most Loved"
5. "In The Future When All's Well"
6. "The Father Who Must Be Killed"
7. "Life Is A Pigsty"
8. "I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now"
9. "On The Streets I Ran"
10. "To Me You Are A Work Of Art"
11. "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy"
12. "At Last I Am Born"