Tag Archive: New York Dolls



“A lot of people are homesick for The Smiths — and not because everyone else is abysmal, but because the songs of The Smiths are so good.” Hollywood Reporter, 2013

“I would rather eat my own testicles than reform The Smiths, and that’s saying something for a vegetarian.” Uncut, 2006

“I have so much pride and love for the songs of The Smiths. However, I must ask you, if you come across any Smiths CDs, don’t buy them because all the money goes to that wretched drummer.” Onstage in Edinburgh, 2008

“We’d come off remarkably successful tours and have to sit down and sign 80 cheques. Johnny and I would just look at each other and all of a sudden get very… old…it got entirely out of control, totally, totally out of control. This, if anything, was the cause of The Smiths’ death. Especially the monetary side. We were making huge amounts of money and it was going everywhere but in the personal bank accounts of the four group members.” Melody Maker, 1988

“Many people judge the Smiths as being absolutely dour in their approach. But I like to feel that whatever assessments people make of the Smiths, the Smiths speak absolutely for now, singing about the way people live as opposed to the way people don’t live, which seems to be the cast-iron mode of songwriting these days. We live in a world which is unlike the way Top Forty records convey it.” Rolling Stone, 2012

The New York Dolls and Patti Smith have proved that there is some life pumping away in the swamps and gutters of New York and they are the only acts which originated from the N.Y. club scene worthy of any praise. The Ramones have absolutely nothing to add that is of relevance or importance and should be rightly filed and forgotten.” Letter to Melody Maker, 1976.

“I wish you wouldn’t mention Miss Numan. Or, should I say ‘Miss Thing’. I dislike him more than I can tell you. People with receding hairlines never know much about anything. And such ugly shoe-taste too. You ought to be ashamed!” Letter to a pen pal, 1980

“Do you really like Kate Bush? I’m not surprised. The nicest thing I could say about her is that she’s unbearable. That voice! Such trash! You’ll learn, Sonny.” Letter to a pen pal, 1980

“The fire in the belly is essential, otherwise you become Michael Bublé — famous and meaningless.” Billboard, 2011

If I put you in a room with Robert Smith, Mark E. Smith and a loaded Smith and Wesson, who would bite the bullet first?
“I’d line them up so that one bullet penetrated both simultaneously (chuckle). Mark E. Smith despises me and has said hateful things about me, all untrue. Robert Smith is a whingebag. It’s rather curious that he began wearing beads at the emergence of The Smiths and (eyes narrowing) has been photographed with flowers. I expect he’s quite supportive of what we do, but I’ve never liked The Cure… not even ‘The Caterpillar.’” The Face, 1984

“Yes I have had a tan, actually. I went to Los Angeles and got one there, but it didn’t make it back to Britain. You’re not allowed to come through customs with a tan.” I-D, 1987

“There is not one person in the whole of England who can remember or repeat a single word ever spoken by the Queen, such is her command of communication.”True-to-You.net, 2010

“And, yet! I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event. Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?” True-to-You.net, 2012
“The entire history of Margaret Thatcher is one of violence and oppression and horror. I think that we must not lie back and cry about it. She’s only one person, and she can be destroyed. I just pray that there is a Sirhan Sirhan somewhere. It’s the only remedy for the country at the moment.” Rolling Stone, 1987

“Yes, I felt too old for Britpop. But maybe I just didn’t like it. The Little Englandness stuff of, ‘You’re too old to be here,’ even though people in their 30′s are getting younger is all part of British snobbery, isn’t it? ‘Where are you going?’ ‘You’re not allowed to be there.’ ‘What right do you have?’ They’ll say it about age, and they’ll say it about using the flag.” Melody Maker, 1997

“Rave is the refuge for the mentally deficient. It’s made by dull people for dull people.” Details, 1992

“Ultimately, I don’t have very cast iron opinions on black music other than black modern music which I detest. I detest Stevie Wonder. I think Diana Ross is awful. I hate all those records in the Top 40 – Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston. I think they’re vile in the extreme. In essence this music doesn’t say anything whatsoever.” Melody Maker, 1986

“In recent years I saw McDonna live, and no audience member reached up toward her to try to touch her. I see this so often with artists whom we’re told are global stars. It is a big lie. Or else, you might possibly be a big star, but you are not loved. My audience has an urgent need to touch, to shake hands, to move out of their seats, to defy so-called security, to make physical contact. They don’t simply sit and observe, but feel the urge to act. It’s a great compliment for me, and one that most Grammy winners could probably never imagine.” Rookie, 2013

“I am inspecting music solidly and the development of a Smiths replacement just isn’t happening. I expected it last year but it didn’t happen, that evolution, the natural course of events,” NME, 1989

“Music that is in the charts today is quite dreadful. I find it a great honour that I have never been considered for awards, such as NME etc. It is a personal victory. All awards shows should be banned!” BBC Radio 2, 2009.

“We will not include any Canadian dates on our world tour to promote our new album. This is in protest against the barbaric slaughter of over 325,000 baby seals which is now underway.” True-to-You.net, 2009

“We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown, with 97 [sic] dead. Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried shit every day.” Onstage in Warsaw, 2011

“I was amused to hear that Sir Paul McCartload was very angry that Staples had said yes to me but no to him, when really, he should be happy for any victory on behalf of the animals. I know he works tirelessly for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA], but he also loves the British royals, whose treatment of animals is abysmal. The Queen herself wears enough fur to blanket most of Russia. He also once sang “Give Ireland back to the Irish,” which was directed at the Queen. Well, she refused, and she still refuses, yet Sir Paul gives her the thumbs up! If he cared passionately about animals, he’d return his knighthood. He doesn’t need the Queen’s approval. He’s given more pleasure to people worldwide than she could ever dream of.” Hollywood Reporter, 2013

(Eating meat) is really on the same moral level as child abuse. It’s the same thing. Animals are like children, they look to us for protection. We should protect them. I really feel quite smug about mad cow disease and foot and mouth and so forth, and I just think ‘Well, what do you expect? People have been saying it for years.’” The Importance of Being Morrissey, 2003

“I don’t perform. Seals perform.” Uncut, 2007

“I can’t be interviewed and talk in light, wispy terms. In throwaway interviews where people ask me basic things, I feel an absolute sense of worthlessness.” The Face, 1984

“I really can’t survive being misquoted. And that happens so much, I sit down almost daily and wonder why it happens. But the positive stuff, one always wants to believe, and the insults one always wants not to believe. When one reads of this monster of arrogance, one doesn’t want to feel that one is that person.” Melody Maker, 1984

“In Rolling Stone, obviously, which got me into lots of trouble, there was a statement that ‘Morrissey is a man who says that he is gay.’ Which was news to me. And it had an absolutely adverse effect on our chances in America.” Creem, 1985

Read more about his quotes here: http://bit.ly/13BtJ5I

Illustration by Minna

Illustration by Minna

I don’t think I really need to introduce you guys to Morrissey, but just in case: He’s been an icon for, oh, more than three decades now. He began his career in the early ’80s as the frontman (and heart) of the Smiths before going solo in 1987, and he is notorious for not only his music, but also for his political activism, especially when it comes to animal rights (he cancelled a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight because the cast of A&E’s Duck Dynasty was also scheduled to appear).

Read more here: http://bit.ly/XiUZks

AMY ROSE: You started writing music when you were in your teens, and published books about James Dean and the New York Dolls when you were in your early 20s. What was your creative process like as a young person, and how has it changed?

MORRISSEY: Those weren’t books, just juvenile essays, and thoughtless rubbish at that. I had no creative process, just pain, which I mistakenly assumed might be creative process. Well, it wasn’t…

I think the way you address alienation in your music really resonates with your fans. Do you think a certain degree of loneliness enriches our lives? Is it OK, or even good, to feel alone?

Everyone is, in fact, alone. Being contractually tied to another person—in marriage, for example—accentuates the loneliness, because you have effectively allowed the state to determine your obligations to someone, as if you can’t trust and manage your own feelings by yourself. Anyway, I see humans as essentially solitary creatures, and this is not changed by surrounding ourselves with others, because they, too, are solitary. Life is a very serious business for the simple reason that nobody dies laughing.

What were your greatest aspirations as a young person, and would you say you’ve achieved them?

My greatest aspiration was to make it through the coming week. As a teenager I found life to be inevitably disgusting, and I could see no humanity in the human race. When my time in music began, I found all my goals were reachable. For the first time ever in my life, I spoke and people listened. I had never known such a thing previously. My life as a teenager was so relentlessly foul that I still can’t believe I actually survived it. Perhaps I didn’t…

What political causes mattered most to you back then, and are they still important to you now?

War, I thought, was the most negative aspect of male heterosexuality. If more men were homosexual, there would be no wars, because homosexual men would never kill other men, whereas heterosexual men love killing other men. They even get medals for it. Women don’t go to war to kill other women. Wars and armies and nuclear weapons are essentially heterosexual hobbies.

The most political gesture you can make is to refuse to eat animals. It was so when I was a teenager, and is still the case now.

What music or movies or artists do you recommend to your teenage fans today that they might not know about?

The arts have diminished, because we are now living through a time when we are encouraged not to think. No one making music wants to waste time struggling with art. A group like the Sex Pistols would never again be allowed to slip through, and there is no such thing in 2013 as a popular artist who sets their own terms for success. Whether it be Beyoncé or Justin Bieber, we see singers who have absolutely nothing to offer anyone as they walk offstage clutching three Grammys in each hand.

Many of your lyrics deal with self-preservation in a world that can sometimes be less than gentle. You strike a balance between acknowledging personal hardship and pain and fiercely appreciating beauty. What helps you to see the loving and good parts of life during tough times?

If I feel it, then others surely must. That’s the only thought that sustains me.

At the end of each of your shows, people rush the stage and try to hug you or hold your hand. You’re always very gracious about it in a way that many artists aren’t, but how do you feel about it?

In recent years I saw McDonna live, and no audience member reached up toward her to try to touch her. I see this so often with artists whom we’re told are global stars. It is a big lie. Or else, you might possibly be a big star, but you are not loved. My audience has an urgent need to touch, to shake hands, to move out of their seats, to defy so-called security, to make physical contact. They don’t simply sit and observe, but feel the urge to act. It’s a great compliment for me, and one that most Grammy winners could probably never imagine.

One of our readers said that she realized you two were soul mates when she noticed she was wearing the same color nail polish as you at one of your shows. I’m sure our teenage readers want to know: where do you find good cruelty-free products?

It isn’t difficult these days, because lots of companies have abandoned animal testing, mainly because they know people no longer want animal-tested products—for moral reasons, but also because of the logical realization that a test on an animal doesn’t have any bearing of how human skin will react to the same ingredient. [Some of the major companies] have started to turn their back on animal torture, and that’s very encouraging. And some companies—Clarins, for example—say they do not test on animals, but they won’t print this information on their products. But if there were any real concerns for public safety, then cigarettes, which kill most of their customers, would never be sold.

How would you describe the experience of writing your forthcoming memoir, and what do you hope readers will take from it?

I think autobiography is mostly self-worship, or personal mythology. In my case, self-disgust is the spur, which doesn’t mean it isn’t poetic or elevated or even funny.

What would you like to achieve, as a person and an artist, in the years to come?

I have no vision of the future. I never have. There is nothing to consider other than today. I’m saving tranquility for when I’m dead.

If you could tell your teenage self one thing, what would it be?

I am still my teenage self. If you think that we all step through a door marked Adult, or that we sign a Grown-Up Document, you’re quite wrong. We remain as we always were, and that, alas, is one of life’s many nasty tricks.

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