With The Smiths starting a Twitter account sending ripples of excitement through the internet, Shaun Ponsonby tries to slap some sense into everybody.
A bollocks load of music publications lost their collective shit this week when The Smiths created a Twitter account. Perhaps vaguely courting click bait, these witless, transparent morons decided that they would use this as an excuse to run several “Are The Smiths Reuniting?”-type stories.
Of course, the obvious answer is; “No they’re fucking not, what kind of cretin would believe that?”
For starters, Joey Barton – who I’m told is a fully grown man who kicks a clump of leather around grass for a living – hasn’t mentioned anything. A few years ago he vowed to get Mozza and Marr back together, telling a notorious Murdoch-owned rag unfit to be used as toilet paper; “If I could get The Smiths back together that would top anything I could achieve on the football pitch.”
Yeah, because it’s not the millions of quid, or the audience adulation, or hatchet burying, or triumphant goodwill that will get The Smiths back together – it’s violent thug Joey Barton. So perhaps we should ask him what is going on, because he will obviously be the man in the know.
They are one of those bands who will have rumours circulating about reuniting until the day they’re all dead. Probably even beyond that. “Morrissey is buried with a goat, is this a clue to a possible Smiths reunion?”
But truth be told, there isn’t much The Smiths can gain from reuniting. If anything it has more chance of tarnishing their legacy. They are much better off apart now. Morrissey and Marr’s solo careers have been doing fine, though Morrissey now claims to have retired from the stage in the UK (how seriously to take anything he says, I don’t know), and the other two, whatever their names are…Andrew Ridgley and Pras? Yeah, they’re still alive. Probably.
But of all the many, many influential bands who have reunited, how many of them actually met expectations? Morrissey’s heroes the New York Dolls seemed to pull it off after he himself instigated it, and their first reunion album One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This surprised fans by being as good as anything they ever did in the 70s, despite years of bizarre turmoil.
Maybe that’s the clincher. For the most part, the ones that have worked out have been the ones where there seemed to be some unfinished business or was reputation-saving. New York Dolls ended in a haze of heroin and confusion. Their initial return actually helped tie things up.
Perhaps the best high profile example of a reunion that was necessary was The Beach Boys. The group’s architect and resident genius Brian Wilson’s mental problems and decades under the care of abusive therapist Eugene Landy (long story – watch the Love & Mercy biopic) led to decades of sub-par material written by other, less talented members of the band.
Lead singer Mike Love, who according to Rolling Stone magazine is widely considered “one of the biggest assholes in the history of rock & roll“, then basically dedicated his time since the group’s 1973 album Holland to turning the Beach Boys from a genuine creative force into a circus act. Do you know why you think of old people in Hawaiian t-shirts singing cheesy throwaway pop when you hear the Beach Boys instead of ground-breaking projects like Pet Sounds and Smile? Mike Love, that’s why. This is a man who not only wrote Kokomo, but is proud of writing Kokomo, one of the worst songs ever performed by a legendary group.
So, when all living original Beach Boys reunited for a new album and world tour, it was almost legacy-saving. The resulting That’s Why God Made The Radio may not have been Pet Sounds, but it was miles ahead of anything they had done previously (average rating for their previous four albums on Allmusic: 1.5/5) and even ended with a simply marvellous four-song suite.
The reunion tour was also a relief, with all living members taking the stage, as opposed to how they had been touring with Mike Love and hired hands. Of course, Love being the owner of the Beach Boys name, he then fired the rest of them and basically carried on doing what Axl Rose did for a decade or so and tour continuously with session players. Here’s a true fucking story; there are now more original members of the Beach Boys in Brian Wilson’s solo band than there are in the official Beach Boys, which means that their recorded legacy may have at least ended on a high note but their name is still being dragged through the mud. Or sand, as it were. That soggy sand that sticks to your feet and is a bugger to get out in the shower.
Unlike the Beach Boys though, The Smiths don’t really have that ongoing soap opera. Their legacy is actually perfectly intact and going out to play these songs in huge, cavernous arenas, where half the people there are chomping on hot dogs, will only counter everything The Smiths were supposed to be about. Like the Sex Pistols’ numerous cash-grab reunions.
But what about this Twitter account?
Well, aside from this pretty conclusive tweet
Morrissey also commented on it on his True To You fan site that “this account has not been sanctioned by him and has no connection to him.” He ended his message with the pretty ominous message “follow it at your peril,” which sounds like it should be accompanied by lightning and organ music. My guess is the label set it up to promote some upcoming project. Expect an official Netflix rockumentary, deluxe reissue campaign, Record Store Day release, or career-spanning box set.
Just don’t expect a Smiths reunion. That goes for you too, Joey Barton.
I think its safe to say that no-one is surprised to find Simon Cowell‘s name in the leaked Panama Papers.
Surely I’m not the only one sick of hearing about the over-hyped Last Shadow Puppets album? Two overrated, unlikeable and conceited cretins make another record. Whoop-de-fucking-doo.
RIP Merle Haggard.