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The unbearable lightness of being Morrissey
Ahead of his 50th birthday, Morrissey talks exclusively to Hot Press about the sexual nature of singing, letting go in the studio, being blacklisted by the UK's Radio One and how he approaches songwriting.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 03 Apr 2009
Moments like this would justify Jerry’s indifference on other tracks. I think a producer’s role is to create order – even chaotic order, but order nonetheless. There are so many considerations flying around a studio during the time of recording – vanity, inferiority, ambition, the practical approach, anxiety, and the producer is the link to making all of these considerations unified, otherwise everyone is more or less just making their own solo album in their head.
The album cover features a photo of you holding a small child, who I believe is Sebastien Pesel-Browne, son of your assistant tour manager. Have you ever considered parenthood?
I wouldn’t have the gall to assume that any living thing would want me as a father. What a burden to place on a small, innocent child.
Many performers reach a stage where they start to feel self-conscious about working in the realm of popular music and cast about for some way to keep doing what they’re doing, but with a dignity that befits age. How do you negotiate this?
I think it’s important to ignore praise. If you ignore praise then you naturally ignore criticism. If you let criticism in, then you’re done for.
You live, in any case, in a situation whereby the music writers who are inclined to criticise you have never actually themselves attempted to do what it is you are doing, so you wonder how they can fault you for doing something that they themselves have never mastered. It can all very easily unbalance you, especially when most pop journalism is so consistently inaccurate, yet relishing their own wit and their own place within the review of your recording. My own position, therefore, is to lethally disregard anything at all that is said – whether good or bad. It isn’t the gluttony of the self-engrossed, but a form of protection. It’s true that once you make a recording you then hand it to the appraisers, but your own instinct is the best judge of whatever it is you do. When you first begin, before you’ve ever recorded, you don’t write to music critics to ask them what you should play if and when you finally get a chance to record, so why on earth you should listen to them once you’ve made your record is baffling to me.