This is pretty much my worst nightmare ever imaginable ever

I’m about a month late in commenting on this, but I was preoccupied with hospitalization and stuff at the time. Plus, it’s probably new to you anyway. So ok, Morrissey gave an interview to the UK magazine NME, wherein one of his quotes sounded like he was being racist against immigrants in London. My concerns are not with what he actually said or meant to say, because a) I’m pretty confident Morrissey isn’t racist; b) he could show up at the Brit Awards with the N-word tattooed on his chest and I would still think “Let Me Kiss You” is the best song recorded in the past five years (well ok, that might color my opinion a bit, but you dig). My take-away from this affair has to do with the epic statement he issued lambasting the NME for misrepresenting him.

First, the context for my head-explosionness: I interviewed Morrissey’s manager at length a few months ago for a recap of his recent marathon tour; while interviewing the man himself would have made my next four decades, I can’t say I was terribly disappointed not to, given how much I would have wanted to constantly die the whole time. Plus, the manager was great, I got an exclusive out of it, and all was peaches. And then the NME (and writer Tim Jonze) makes Morrissey unhappy, and he posts this at true-to-you.net:

I do not mean to be rude to Tim Jonze, but when I first caught sight of him I assumed that someone had brought their child along to the interview. The runny nose told the whole story. Conor had assured that Tim was their best writer. Talking behind his hands in an endless fidget, Tim accepted every answer I gave him with a schoolgirl giggle, and repeatedly asked me if I was shocked at how little he actually knew about music. I told him that, yes, I was shocked. It was difficult for me to believe that the best writer from the “new” NME had never heard of the song ‘Drive-in Saturday’; I explained that it was by David Bowie, and Tim replied “Oh, I don’t know anything about David Bowie.” I wondered how it could be so – how the quality of music journalism in England could have fallen so low that the prime “new” NME writer knew nothing of David Bowie, an artist to whom most relevant British artists are indebted, and one who single-handedly changed British culture – musically and otherwise.

Oh. My. God. If I were Tim Jonze, I would seriously honestly never recover from that. To reach that place in your career, to interview one of the most famously private and yet unabashed icons in pop history, and to get your ass handed to you on a knife-encrusted platter of jam-covered shit balls by your musical idol. The thought that I was two degrees removed from such a soul-crushing fate makes my skin crawl. Granted, I personally would not have made that specific mistake, just as I would not have interviewed David Bowie on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” and prepared nothing but questions about Ziggy Stardust, to which he repeatedly replied “well, that was just one part of my career a long time ago” and I kept saying “um, ok, so… tell me about where you got the idea for Ziggy.”* But still, I haven’t, for example, ever listened to “Tommy” in one sitting (I know!), so anything could happen. Oy.

*She totally did this a few years ago, it was the funniest thing ever, and by “ever” I mean within the realm of on-air snafus committed by otherwise well-respected NPR correspondents.

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3 Comments

  1. Mango Tree Crisis

     /  January 9, 2008

    you’re a ballsy as ever. I wish your blog blessings in times to come.

  2. m. stern

     /  January 10, 2008

    amazing that this still comes up – moz was being accused of racism as far back as ’91-’92, for “Bengali in Platforms” on Viva Hate, “National Front Disco” on Your Arsenal and the whole wrapped-in-a-union jack performance /skinhead fetish thing that he was doing back then. NME are the ones who kicked off that whole thing in the ’90s and then if I remember correctly had to kiss his ass to get him to talk to them around the time of the ’04 comeback. I’ve heard complaints before that music journalists in the UK don’t know what they’re talking about, but a lot of the US stuff, print and blog, seems to indulge in the same sort of enthusiastic inscrutability you find in NME in the early-mid ’80s.

    Also, I remember hearing Terry Gross interview Kathleen Hannah, and when Kathleen Hannah mentioned her vocal style being influenced by Poly Styrene of X-Ray Specs, Terry Gross clearly thought she was making a joke and was talking about polystyrene the substance.

  3. Oh that silly Terry Gross! Well, you know a lot more about the Moz-NME history than I do, but the bottom line is, yikes. :)

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