Morrissey’s credibility has taken a major tumble ever since he voiced his ardent support for right-wing, extremist political party For Britain. Not only did the world’s oldest record store decide to ban all of his releases, but musicians such as Billy Bragg are now disowning The Smiths frontman.
In an interview with The Big Issue, the politically outspoken Bragg said Moz had “betrayed” and “broken the hearts” of Smiths fans worldwide by standing by For Britain and its founder, infamous anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters. A longtime opponent of fascism, racism, and bigotry, Bragg added that he could no longer could respect Morrissey,
“I think he’s decided that he wants to betray everything he ever said in the Smiths, and he’s broken the hearts of a lot of people…
The Smiths expressed a lot of people’s own sense of disconnect with society and helped them to find their own identity, and he’s totally trashed that. I’m heartbroken for them because I’m a big Smiths fan, too. And I’m heartbroken for Johnny Marr because he’s genuine, a lovely guy, and he doesn’t deserve to have his legacy dragged through the dirt…
I have no sympathy for [Morrissey], no respect for him, but I have a lot of sympathy and respect for his audience.”
As Stereogum points out, Morrissey’s upcoming tour mates Interpol are also addressing the singer’s current political controversy — well, sort of. When recently asked by Hot Press, frontman Paul Banks basically skipped out on taking any real stance on the issue.
“We thought it would be a good show for our band,” he said. “That’s how I’m looking at it. I don’t get too much into the other stuff.” (The other stuff including Moz saying he isn’t racist because everyone “prefers” their own race.)
Banks’ comment is not unlike that of Morrissey’s former Smiths mate Johnny Marr. In an interview last month, he said he wasn’t “worried” about Morrissey’s questionable views affecting The Smiths legacy.
Update — Monday, July 1st: Banks issued a statement clarifying his comments. The frontman said he was originally misquoted by Hot Press. “The actual quote that I gave regarding the upcoming Morrissey tour was ‘We thought it would be a good show for OUR FANS.’ Not ‘for our band.'”
He also said, “I abhor racism, homophobia, and any form of prejudice based on a person’s nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identification, or socioeconomic status”. However, he doesn’t believe all his collaborators should share his same views. “I do not always hold the same beliefs as artists I work with, and I do not consider that to be a requisite.”
— Paul Banks (@bankspaulbanks) July 1, 2019