To Whom It May Interest #8:
Struggling To Understand The Smiths – Part 1: An Introduction

To Whom It May Interest,

The Smiths: consider this a big step for me…because it is.

As long as I’ve been aware of Morrissey, (most notably as long as I’ve remembered watching his lame, asexual ass posing Christ-like with his shirt blowing open in the wind to reveal a Band-Aid affixed over his fucking nipple), I’ve wished him ill. I’ve wished him very ill as a matter of fact. For me, Morrissey has lived as an example of what happens when you neuter rock music. His very being completely hikes the sack up before snipping it off with a pair of dull scissors, hence the pain that always seems to exude from his “oh so sad” exterior. Even his pompa-dou weeps.

If you’re me, your reaction is “fuck that guy!”

I will admit that this blinding hatred (okay, serious dislike) has probably led to some unfair perceptions regarding Mr. Morrissey. Most notably, I never really gave The Smiths a chance. I’ve heard some of their songs over the years and completely dismissed them as wimpy swill to spoon-feed to all the pussies in Pussyville. It’s a bitter and probably prejudiced conclusion, but there are some reasons for that. First off, a lot of this stuff at first listen really DOES sound like wimpy swill to spoon-feed to all the pussies in Pussyville. (Yeah, I know I’m refraining; shut up.) Secondly, admitting that you like The Smiths automatically requires that give up all your Sabbath and Rollins Band records. Anything loud and obnoxious that got you through every horrible part of your life and made you flip off your parents no longer belongs to you. The Clash? No. Dead Kennedys? Forget it: it’s gone–all gone–and all because you let The Smiths take up residence in your otherwise testosterone-soaked and violently furious music collection. For this alone, I didn’t want to ever, EVER, consider that I might like The Smiths. So, admittedly, I kept myself shut off from the experience.

But, after years of Smiths/Morrissey hatred, you start to question the validity of your previous assessment, especially when confronted with a rather massive legion of fans that swear The Smiths are the best thing that ever happened to music. My wife, a member of that crowd, has been preaching the Smith gospel to me for years and I never backed down. I would not be swayed. However, over the past week or so, I wondered if it would benefit me to reexamine my stance.

So, with as open a mind as I can possibly muster, risking of course the worthiness to own Damaged or Seasons In The Abyss, I am letting my ears be host to a couple Smiths records. During the week, I will be analyzing and describing the process as I struggle to realize what many seem to understand already.

Hope you enjoy.

Letters From A Tapehead


Unknown said…
Having a somewhat involved introduction-to-the-smiths story of my own, that sounds like it will be a bit similar (thinking the smiths were, basically, fey music at its feyest), I can't wait to see how this turns out.
Anonymous said…
Wow. You've got to be kidding me.

Since when did you become one of the one-dimensional jocks with whom I attended high school in south Jersey? You know, the type who is homophobic, barely literate and takes everything at face value... You were probably the type of guy who would make a radio request for "The One I Love" by R.E.M. To show the girl you like how much you care. C'mon, I expect much more from someone like you.

And as for Morrissey's nipple, it's very telling to me that you site The Rollins Band as some sort of benchmark for manliness. A band which is fronted by a perpetually blouse-less tattooed and rippled man; strutting and preening in sweat-soaked gym shorts as a seemingly all-male audience drinks him in with their fist pumping rhythmically. Hmmm.(And yes, I was often there too, but I can have both, apparently).

So my friend, it seems you have much farther to go than was first assumed.
Sean Caldwell said…

Well, I hope you enjoy the series then. I'm going to try and finish it all over the course of the week, but it might spill over into next week. Either way, I'll try and be prompt with my essays.

Thanks for reading,
Letters From A Tapehead


HAH! Dude, I would never have requested ANYTHING by REM!

Seriously though, I sought out to reexamine a band that I know I had an unfounded and pigheaded assessment of in order to expand my head and my musical soundscape. I have you to thank for that so...thanks.

In the meantime, no I was never a jock from South Jersey. Just a very angry kid from Ambler and, if what I was listening to didn't get my fist pumping in the air or make me want to slam my carcass up against other malnourished teenaged skin sacks like myself, then it wasn't worth my time. These days, things are a little different.

Letters From A Tapehead
Anonymous said…
Chris L - it is funny, for the past five years, aside from wedding crap, the only think Sean and I have fought about was The Smiths. I love, he loathes. I think for him, the loathing is like my fear of spiders or clowns - completely irrational, but powerful.

But, don't worry, I caught him humming "Frankly, Mr. Shankley" the other day, we are slowly breaking him.

Also, in his defense, he is the least homophobic jock-type guy I have ever known.

Anonymous said…
Anyone who knows me well would tell you that if I engage in ANY Smiths/Morrissey debate it is a clear indication that I certainly care about that individual. So... I kid because I care.

I know you will see the light. I'm just trying to get you there as soon as possible.

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