Exclusive Features
Anniversaries, Cover Stories, Editorials,
Interviews, Lists, and Comprehensive Rankings

Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singer’s Best Quotes

on March 04, 2013, 12:03am
view all

morrissey lawn Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

Morrissey recently canceled a scheduled appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! because the show’s other guests, the stars of Duck Dynasty, “amount to animal serial killers.” Something Morrissey declared in a public statement or intimated in an interview has seized headlines around the world? Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

While Morrissey’s cancellation proved ripe for parody on Kimmel, statements in the past have inspired more controversy than chuckles. Comments on England losing its English identity have generated accusations of racism, as has the singer’s referral to the Chinese as a “subspecies” while lamenting the nation’s lack of animal protection laws. Whether you love or loathe the perpetual drama, at least he’s never boring.

In a world full of safe, inoffensive pop stars, Morrissey is the rare provocateur, and here are some of our favorite quotes.

Mikala Taylor // Frank Mojica

Photo via Morrissey-Solo

Morrissey on Style

morrissey naked Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“[Clothes] don’t have the relevance they once had, like in the ’60’s you could look at someone and assess their personality. That’s not the case anymore. Clothes are no longer the window of the soul.” I-D, 1983

“If you have no image, if you become popular and people begin to mimic you, how you dress can seem to be something that’s quite manufactured and contrived, which of course it never ever was. I think the image trap is just there and everybody goes into it. It strangles most people.” Hot Press, 1984

“Long hair is an unpardonable offense which should be punishable by death.” Smash Hits, 1986

“I once bought a Manchester United hat, which I think was 12 shillings, and somebody ran up behind me and pulled it off and just ran ahead. I thought, ‘It’s a very cruel world, I’m not prepared for this’. And I decided to get my revenge on society.” NME, 1988

“There’s nothing wrong with the odd sequin now and again. No, I’m not going to enter a glam phase, do I look as if I am? I’m more likely to wear satin here than on stage. No, I’m happy just being dumpy dumpy dumpy me. Dumpy, fat, and middle aged.” NME, 1989

Morrissey on Celibacy

morrissey Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“Sex is a waste of batteries.” Melody Maker, 1986

“I’m just simply inches away from a monastery and I feel that perhaps if I wasn’t doing this that I probably would be in one … which of course is a frightening thing to dwell upon.” Picture Disk, 1984

“Obviously I’m interested in sex and every song is about sex. I’m very interested in GENDER. I feel I’m a kind of prophet for the fourth sex. The third sex, even that has been done and it’s failed. All that Marc Almond bit is pathetic. It sounds trite in print but it’s something close to ‘men’s liberation’ that I desire.” Sounds, 1983

“That was the problem with the ‘celibate’ word because they don’t consider for a moment that you’d rather not be, but you just are. I was never a sexual person.”

Who last saw you in your natural state?

“Almost certainly the doctor who brought me into this cruel world.” The Face, 1984

Morrissey on Morrissey

morrissey1 e1362346624263 Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“I think I must be, absolutely, a total sex object. In every sense of the word.” NME, 1989

“The Last Of The Famous International Playboys are Bowie, Bolan, Devoto and me,” NME, 1989

“This is my 30th year, and I’ve aged a lot recently, which is bit distressing for me, as it must be for everyone. The body changes shape and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Hollywood Reporter, 2012

“If I were knocked down tomorrow by a passing train, I would be considered the most important artist ever in the history of English pop music. That’s just a rough guess.” Musician, 1991

What annoys you most about yourself?

Practically everything. I miss not being able to stand up straight. I tend to slide into rooms and sit on the chair behind the door.” Blitz, 1988

Morrissey on Other Humans

morrissey fans Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“Most people, I find in life, do not want to be individual. They do not want to be individual. They want to walk in a pack; they want to be part of a herd. God forbid they’re ever considered to be special. And that’s why most people reproduce, because it proves that they’re a regular Joe. But there’s certainly such a pressure in American society to be that regular Joe.” LA Weekly, 2007

“The people who come to my concerts are ridiculed in the English press as being very weak, ineffectual, effete people who should join the army, etc. and I find that really offensive but that’s life really.” Alternative Press, 1993

“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.” Rookiemag.com, 2012

“For those of you who claim to now be officially sick to death of me – if this is really true, then why exactly are you reading this? As a matter of fact, I am even prepared to humble myself to nothing before those who carp; you see, any hospital-stay leaves us in danger of becoming unnecessarily agreeable. Life will right itself. Whatever happens, I love you.” True-to-You.net, 2013

“Jobs reduce people. One of our lines goes ‘I’ve never had a job because I don’t want one’ : jobs reduce people to absolute stupidity, they forget to think about themselves. There’s something so positive about unemployment. It’s like, Now We Can Think About Ourselves. You won’t get trapped into materialism, you won’t buy things you don’t really want…” Sounds, 1983

Morrissey on Journalists

morrissey colbert Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“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

“They’re only trying to make their name/By spreading sickening lies/About the ones who’ve made their name/Mate, give us the knife, give us the knife” “Journalists Who Lie”, 1991

“I say a lot of things I don’t mean.” Word, 2003

Morrissey on Animal Activism

morrissey meat e1361235333484 Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“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, 2006

“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

Morrissey on Music

morrissey musi Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“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

Morrissey on England

morrissey anti england Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“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

Morrissey on Other Artists

morrissey1 Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“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

Morrissey on The Smiths

morrissey johnny marr Morrissey In His Own Words: The Singers Best Quotes

“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

view all
Previous Story
Interview: The Men
No comments