You’ll never guess where The Monk was last night. But it’s a bit easier to guess where he wasn’t if you bothered to read the headline today. I was definitely not at the Orange Peel seeing Morrissey’s show, because the scamp bailed… again! That makes 0/3 attempts since 2009 for the erstwhile Smiths singer to grace Asheville with his presence at The Orange Peel. My question is… who in their right mind would ever try to book La Mozza ever again?!! He is now more notorious for his constant serial bailing on shows than for his songwriting. It’s as if he’s trying to make Sly Stone look dependable after all of those years. Good thing I was never a fan!
From what I’ve read though, breach of contract is a fairly effective career killer for entertainers who persist in playing the no-show game with any regularity. Books I’ve read on the lives of musicians drill this point home and one can only surmise that Mr. Morrissey has himself some extremely sweet contracts drawn up that perhaps enable him to laugh all the way to the bank. Why promoters let him get away with this repeatedly is a question that won’t be answered any time soon.
I was non-plussed when word got out of a March 9, 2009 appearance at The Orange Peel. Of course, it sold out in due course only to have the astringent crooner cancel the show due to “illness.” The frequency with which the delicate flower gets ill is scant endorsement for the singer’s notorious vegetarian lifestyle. But even his vegetarianism was used as a crutch to ditch shows. Perhaps one of his most legendary actions was walking offstage at Coachella due to the “smell of meat cooking” by the vendors at the show. But it wasn’t just his Orange Peel show in 2009 that was stillborn. There were many, many more cancellations! If I were small-minded enough, I could probably start a Morrissey Cancellation blog!
Some people are a wee bit unwilling to cut the guy any slack. Others crossed the line into mockery. When another Morrissey show was announced for The Orange Peel last year for December 5th, I didn’t lose any sleep over the fact that one of my least favorite singers was coming into town to bedevil me. I was cocky enough to know that there was no way I’d ever run into the guy at any of my favorite vegetarian restaurants! The show sold out to the faithful anyway. I didn’t bat an eyelash when his entire US tour was cancelled due to “his mother’s illness” by October of last year… over six weeks in advance of his non-appearance. If I’d bet money that his concert would not have happened, the odds wouldn’t have gotten me change for a soda!
I was surprised to see the show rescheduled that time, for last night, but true-to-form, Morrissey cancelled the entire tour…again, this time citing hospitalization for a bleeding ulcer. If his ulcer is bleeding, I can only surmise that his fans have far worse stomach ailments by now, since the guy obviously has some serious issues that are preventing him from singing for money. Me? I’m all for anything that keeps him off of a stage!
I remember when I first heard about The Smiths after their “Hand In Glove” single came out on Rough Trade. Since they didn’t make videos then, I was spared ever hearing them for a year or so. By the time I heard them after Warners in the US made a clip against the band’s wished for “How Soon Is Now,” I was immediately repulsed by this singer who practiced the worst sort of… what I can only call caucasian melisma that I’ve ever heard!
If there’s anything I like less than excessive vibrato* in singers [I think few can get away with that trait] it’s melisma. Nine of ten who employ it absolutely disgust me, but Morrissey holds the record to annoying me with his tuneless adenoidal warbling throughout every second of music, as if he were deathly frightened that some listeners might begin to enjoy the contributions of the musicians instead of the star we all adore.
Fortunately, he doesn’t give us the chance. So no, I never liked The Smiths or especially Morrissey solo. The freaky thing is, though, that when I hear those Smiths tunes I couldn’t bear to listen to covered by anyone else, I can still delight in the undeniably impressive lyrical content and music. Once he went, solo, I noticed the magic went away, and solo Morrissey covers are almost as toxic as the real deal. I’m talking to you, Mr. David Bowie.
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* See Belinda Carlisle after she got singing lessons which ruined her for good!