Morrissey Sticks to His “Guns”

On February 26, 2013, in Music, by mugen

Stereogum has what starts out as a really informative article about Morrissey. (Full disclosure: I kind of hate Morrissey’s music, most of the time — can’t stand his voice, like every cover of a Smith’s song I’ve ever heard WAY more than the originals.)

But then it becomes the dumbest thing I think I’ve ever read, and really makes me feel like 1) I’m old, and 2) the current generation of music fans, no matter their taste, just “doesn’t get it.”

Writer Michael Nelson calls Morrissey out for sticking too closely to his moral stance on animal rights, in order to reach a broader audience. Maybe he missed the fact that the Smiths had an album in 1985 titled Meat Is Murder. Morrissey wouldn’t allow the rest of his band to be photographed eating meat at that time. He’s pretty adamant about this belief. (Full disclosure: I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, and while I don’t agree with any moral compunction against eating meat or using animal products, I understand the impulse and the belief and can respect it in others who don’t condemn my own behavior.) This is someone who publicly feuded with Robert Smith, another vegetarian who said, “If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’ll eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey.” The guy has dealt with both the FBI and UK intelligence regarding his anti-government statements. He’s on record chastising the sitting Prime Minister of England for hunting stags.He’s been a vegetarian since he was 11 years old.

As far as “reaching a broader audience,” Morrissey’s first solo album debuted at #1 on the UK Charts. How many bands have covered “How Soon Is Now?” — it’s been the theme song to both a feature film and a prime time TV show. He has one of the most insanely loyal fanbases in all of rock music. The British music press has had a nearly 30-year fascination with the man, particularly NME.

In the meantime, it appears that the Staples Center has agreed to Morrissey’s request and will have only vegetarian vendors at his performance.

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LOUDNESS – Lightning Strikes

On February 26, 2013, in Japan, Music, by mugen

Another cool find from my first trip to Toxic Beauty Records in Yellow Springs:

A signed copy of Lightning Strikes by LOUDNESS!

LOUDNESS is a Japanese hair-metal band. I got into them by finding Thunder in the East (1985), Lightning Strikes (1986), and Hurricane Eyes (1987) at the library when I was in high school. Some great stuff, lyrics all in English.

The edges of the sleeve are all chewed to hell, so whoever owned this must have listened to it a lot, or at least moved it around a bunch. But the signatures made it worth the $5 I dropped on it.
Vinyl does have a certain satisfaction and allure to it that nothing else quite approaches. I have been really excited to find stuff by (for example) Scheer on CD because there were so many 4AD singles when that band was active, but it’s not quite the same. Still, sometimes buying brand new music on vinyl almost feels kind of like a posture. It’s very weird. Reissues feel kind of fake.

But I listened to Lightning Strikes on vinyl for the 4 weeks I had it, and then played my cassette copy over and over for about 3 years. Fun stuff. If you’re into Poison, Motley Crue, Dokken, and that ilk, and you’re looking for something “new,” this could be a nice discovery for your collection.

An aside: I lived in Japan in Nara prefecture for 5 years from 2006-2011. Apparently, the drummer Higuchi Munetaka (RIP, 2008 liver cancer) has family (a grandmother, I believe) from the next village up from where I lived. When I was in Fukuoka, I went to Jackie’s Bar, and the owner was friends with the members of LOUDNESS. Very cool that I was able to relate to people about this band while I was there, and to have their autographs is very cool.

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