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Tony Fletcher’s latest biography:  ‘A Light That Never Goes Out – The Enduring Saga of The Smiths’ looks big, thick and serious when it lands on my door mat.  It features four smile-free Smith-faces on a black cover, not looking at each other, suggesting the air of a ‘whodunit’ and a possible role for Regis.  As a self-confessed slow reader with a plodding pace, I was worried about getting through it in time for an interview with the author.  It took me three weeks and four days to finish, after which I felt nourished, enlightened and excited to meet him.

It’s true that Smiths and Morrissey books are well-trodden paths and that famous knock of Johnny on Morrissey’s door has been thorougly documented, but ‘A Light That Never Goes Out’ is a bit like thinking that all the chocolate in the selection box is finished; then going on to find another untouched, unopened selection box behind the couch.  The ‘Mars Bar’ chapter is in the second meeting of The Smiths; when Morrissey knocks on Johnny’s door, climbing up to the attic passing pictures of Coronation St heroes to reach Johnny’s record-shop bedroom.  Here the book flips perspective to reflect a new view and is in no small way due to Fletcher’s in-depth interviews with Johnny Marr over the course of two years of extensive research.

Glimpses into young Smiths’ characters are revealed amidst a social and cultural back-drop of the seventies:  Johnny and Andy as boys with guitars strumming along to ‘Peace Perfect Peace’ at Sunday mass; Morrissey leaving St Mary’s at lunchtimes to go home to his mum for dinner; and Johnny getting egg’d after being sacked from The Co-Op (then walking home in the snow like a ‘frozen omelette’).  It is this narrative of vivid 3D images that make the book cinematic: the build up of the four individual paths coming together to rise and fuse a chemistry of music and poetry that the world had never seen before - then end it all spectacularly - just shy of the release of the final album.

Author Tony Fletcher has secured his own place in Smiths history.  His nineteen year old self conducted Morrissey’s first ever TV live interview at the Hacienda in 1984.  Technical difficulties aside, he remembers the evening vividly, reflecting on how the four young Smiths were never apart: ‘They were very closely huddled together, like The South Park kids… I remember they would walk around together, cross the room together, go to the stage together…’ 

Tony’s life long relationship with music and literature began - incredibly - at fourteen –  with an interview from Paul Weller for his school fanzine.  On meeting Weller: ‘I deliberately didn’t put the school badge on my blazer, so that I could look like a mod’.  

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[Tony’s band ‘Apocalypse’ went on to be the last ever support group to tour with The Jam].

We managed to cover most aspects of his life – including his other published biographies and his style of writing.  We talked about the Hacienda (when he shared a dressing room with Madonna) and of course… his favourite sandwich filling.  We even had a brief drift into the existentialist nature of The Smiths… but by this point, my mind had already been exploded, blown up and bombed by the fizz and excitement of Tony’s tales, so we parted, and I floated home in the wrong direction.

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J:  Please say your full name.

T:  Anthony John Fletcher.  I don’t know why my parents chose that name, I guess because it was popular at that time. 

J:  Please describe yourself in a sentence.

T:  Doer.

J:  What line of work were your parents in?

T: My mum was an English teacher and chorister.  My dad was a professor of music, musician and author.  If you think about it, it makes complete sense that I’m a music author; it was in the genes. 

J:  They must be very proud.

My mum has a shelf of my books.  She even read my X-rated novel: ‘Hedonism’.  I sent it to her because I wanted her to have every book of mine.  I said to her: ‘just put this one on the shelf, you don’t have to read it’.  She got back to me later, saying: ‘Oh it’s great it’s just like Irvine Welsh!  Like Trainspotting!’  I was like: ‘Mum!  You’ve read Trainspotting?!’

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Mrs Fletcher’s book shelf

J:  [Laughs] Who shortened your name to ‘Tony’?

T:  Paul Weller.

J:  What!  I wasn’t expecting that answer…

T:  I know!  When I started Paul Weller took me under his wing, to a large degree, and he always called me ‘Tone’ or ‘Tony’ and it was evident that ‘Anthony’ was just far too middle class.  I was fourteen.

J:  How did you know Paul Weller at fourteen?

T:  I wrote to him after I started my fanzine at school.  During the Summer of ’77 there was something going on in  music.  I was sitting in a maths lesson, reading ‘Sounds’ under my desk and thought that starting a fanzine would be fun.  We did four issues that were pretty crap but I really enjoyed doing it.  So about a year later I wanted to step it up and wrote to a bunch of people to get interviews. Paul Weller was one of them.  He wrote back and said: ‘Yeah come up to the studio we’re making a new album’.  It was ‘All Mod Cons’.   I wore my new black school blazer as we were moving up from third year to fourth year.  I deliberately didn’t put the school badge on, so that I could look like a mod.  The first words he said were:  ‘Oh alright, have you come straight from school then?’

[Laughs] 

J:  Ah… crushed!  He was young himself then too…

T:  He was around twenty.  There was an interview he gave where he said that he couldn’t write teenage anthems anymore because he was twenty.

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J:  You’ve had a lot of jobs:  the magazine, TV Presenter; DJ, novelist, biographer…

T:  I have to say… not one of those is actually a ‘job’.  They are all basically to do with avoiding having to do a job [Laughs].  The closest we ever got was at the end of Jamming - now www.ijamming.net - when it had an office, which I enjoyed, but it got too nine to five for me at that point with a PAYE scheme.  But other than that, I’ve never had a job.

J:  Because you’ve never wanted one?

T:  Absolutely.

J:  Which one of those areas of ‘socio-cultural experience’ - not job - did you enjoy most?

T:  Well there was a danger of me being like a jack-of-all-trades when I was younger.  If you start out doing something and it takes off, you need to have incredible presence of mind to resist temptation to do other things.  The weird thing is that I started the magazine because I thought it would be fun but the truth is I thought I’d be in a band.  We had a band at school.

J:  What was the band name?

T:  The band was called ‘Apocalypse’.  God awful name, but we did release a couple of singles – Paul Weller produced one – we toured with The Jam, we were the last ever support group with The Jam.  We did all right.

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Apocalypse

 J:  Were you the singer?

T:  I was not.  I’ve got an awful singing voice.  I wrote part of the songs as guitarist, keyboardist, but part of the problem with the group was with two writers and there was competition for songs, as opposed to partnership.  I didn’t set out to be a writer until much later in life.  I’m really glad I wrote books like the Bunnymen and the REM book and I had a busy career as a freelance journalist.  When I moved to New York, I had a room mate who was waiter in the VIP room at the Limelight, so we started an alternative night there, where I was DJ, he was host.  I mention that because it was too good to turn down.  Eventually when I got married I came back from my honeymoon and packed in the club and decided to focus on my writing.  I’m proud of all these things but they are all very connected to music and media.  I also worked for ‘Rapido’ for a while, that was fun.  In fact it was the most fun job I ever had because I worked remotely, with no boss.  The first thing I did for them was with Samantha Fox, and it went from that to Keith Richards and James Brown.  I spent a day with James Brown where he called me ‘Mr Fletcher’ because it’s the BBC.  I couldn’t believe I was getting paid for it.

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J: Where do you live now?

T:  The Catskills, NY.  I lived in Manhattan first, then Brooklyn, then moved up to the mountains.  It’s a natural progression once you have kids.  I knew when I got to New York it was where I wanted to be.  So after living in Manhattan for a while we moved to Brooklyn.  It was quite a run down area at the time, but a very special block in Park Slope.

J:  Park Slope is a very upmarket area now, isn’t it?

T:  Yes but it wasn’t at the time.  There was gunfire at night and cocaine on the corner.  Having said that, it was a multi-cultural block with stoops and my older boy got to grow up in a culture where kids play on the street.  When we moved we sold it to a banker couple, because that’s what the place had changed into. 

J:  Why did you move from Brooklyn to the Catskills?

T:  I wasn’t moving forward, in my life and my relationship, in Brooklyn, so something needed to happen, and then our second kid came along and that was it.  We already had a very small place in the Catskills to go to on the weekends, but we kept finding ourselves in that Sunday evening thing where we’d drive back to the city and were like: why are we doing this?  We spoke to a few other couples that had settled up there and they recommended it.  There are so many artistic people up there, musical, creative; it’s a wonderful place to live. 

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J: Let’s talk about that interview at the Hacienda.

T: [Laughs] Okay…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsqloR9xej8

J: When you look back at yourself, what do you think?

 T: That is the one piece of my very short-lived on-camera career that I cannot bear to watch.  I realise now being older how to handle a situation like that.  It was just very tense.  It was Morrissey’s first interview.  I had interviewed Wham and Elvis Costello live, so I was used to that, but this was the first ever live outside broadcast and it connected back to another live broadcast in Newcastle, so they were running two live shows at once.  That might seem easy these days but it was a real big deal then.  In the Hacienda they had these ‘Factory All Stars’ on stage and they were really cool members of New Order, A Certain Ratio and Section 25, doing something together to a backing track.  The producer said to us: ‘Right you’re up in the balcony; they’re playing down there, when we count you in they’ll kill the sound and you’ll carry on with Morrissey’. 

J:  … and they didn’t kill the sound…

T:  That’s why it’s embarrassing because they counted us in and I went to start talking and it was so noisy!  The Hacienda had famously bad acoustics anyway, and Morrissey couldn’t hear me!  And I couldn’t hear him.  And he’s tall!  So I was like shouting up to him but it’s evident that he can’t hear me so I made the mistake of looking to camera like: ‘Are we on?’  The faces of the Director next to the camera just dropped and they sent someone off to the soundboard.  What could have been a really sharp two minutes, it was me just shouting at Morrissey and him shouting back at me.

J:  [Laughs] It has a beauty all of its own… you’re both young and awkward and it captures early Morrissey.  I think it’s lovely to watch how people develop.

T: That’s interesting, from my perspective it was difficult, it was hard.  It was great that people watched it because it was his first TV interview.

J:  I think you should forgive your nineteen year-old self.

T: I don’t think I can forgive myself for that jacket!  [Laughs]. The Michael Jackson jacket!  Having said that, it’s a Johnsons jacket so I’m assuming that Johnny Marr would approve. 

J: How were all four of the Smiths that night?

T:  They were new and they were very eager.  I was talking to Johnny about this memory - that they did have that ‘gang’ mentality – despite what we now know about the financial set up.  All four of them were very closely huddled together, like the South Park kids.  They all came in to give Morrissey their support and I remember they would walk around together, cross the rooms together, go to the stage together…

J:  I love that image.  The Hacienda was full of young talent that night.  Madonna was there too wasn’t she?

T:  Yes, Madonna was there, she shared our dressing room, and they gave her a little blind to change behind.

J:  Madonna shared your dressing room?

T: I cannot think why, at nineteen, I needed a dressing room, but we needed somewhere to be in between, like a green room, and Jools Holland was in Manchester so he might have needed one.

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J:  How did you end up presenting The Tube at nineteen?

T:  Because of doing the magazine.  When The Tube started they did a story on Jamming and put it out half way through the series.  Then they invited me up to be on live, which really was amazing.  They said they were going to keep in touch, called me in the summer and did some testing.

J:  How did you come to write the Echo and The Bunnymen book?

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T:  When my magazine packed up in 1986 and I was in debt one of my really good friends told me that there were some problems with trying to get a Bunnymen book together.  Barely a week passed between Jamming going under and me being in debt to be asked to write this Bunnymen book.  It’s never been so easy since because I approached Echo and The Bunnymen and said ‘Are you interested in a book?’ and they said ‘Yeah.’

J:  Are you happy with your books?

T:  The writing has got better over the years.  The R.E.M. first edition just got a final update.  I was re-reading it and pretty happy with the writing, and thought it’s okay, it’s good, it’s fine.  The novel is great but it was a hard sell.  The Clash book doesn’t really count in the sense that it’s not a biography but I really enjoyed doing it, just writing about the music for once.  The book on the New York City music scene I’m really proud of.

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J:  What advice would you give to young writers?

T:  Write everyday.  If you can’t write everyday then you’re not a writer.  That’s how you’ll answer that question, and in a way it will take over. I don’t pick up my guitar everyday, but I do write.  If I was meant to be a musician I would be picking up my guitar everyday.  You know what you are based on the fact that you can’t live without it.  I think writing is really hard as a creative endeavour because it’s so solitary.  If you’re in a band you get feedback from other musicians, and even if you’re a solo musician with headphones on the music is feeding back to you, so you can stay up all night working on that.  With writing, there’s nobody out there to filter work.  I’ve got nobody really that I could give half a book to, nobody I’d trust.  If you have a piece of music it’s much easier to get a demo recording.  The solitary aspect is a tough endeavour.

J:  True, but I think what you said about the musician and the music feeding back to you rings true for writing too.  Reading over or enjoying writing about a character and their development can be rewarding and sort of, ‘the petrol’ for the next bit.

T:  You’re talking about fiction now?

J:  Yes, sorry.

T: I think with non-fiction, you get to the point that there’s so much paperwork, and it’s research all the time.  It becomes work.  I think it’s harder, certainly for me.

J:  And there’s the pressure to be factually accurate all the time.

T:  But I think when you’re writing fiction and the characters go off and it’s like you’re watching them running around the room it’s really quite fun.

J:  Was there a point in your life where you clicked and thought: ‘That’s it!  I’m a writer’? 

T:  There’s genuinely a part of me that still thinks ‘hopefully one day I’ll be a writer’.  I read other peoples books and think they’re better than mine.  But I also have people tell me I’m a good writer.

J:  I think you have to have those insecurities to spur yourself on.

T:  Absolutely.  Michael Stipe has insecurities and he’s a genius.  The answer would probably be when the Keith Moon book came out.  Barely a week goes by where I don’t hear someone say it’s a great music biography and that blows me away.  But at the same time, I’m like, well how the hell do I follow that up?

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J:  You interviewed a lot of people for ‘A Light’, most significantly Johnny Marr.

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T:  I think Johnny was the most important interviewee for the book.  If Johnny hadn’t co-operated it would have been hard.  I did ask Morrissey - a few times - but I figured we wouldn’t get him.  Johnny holds the key to The Smiths legacy.  The number of people I went to talk to who said: ‘Does Johnny know about this?’ and I had to tell them yes; then they were like: ‘Okay well if Johnny’s alright with it then yeah, I’d love to be part of the book’.

J:  Did you hear back from Morrissey?

T:  His assistant assured me that he had received the letters. It would have been wonderful if he’d decided to write back with why not, but he didn’t and that’s that.

J:  Before we get into the book, can we talk about the cover?  It looks a bit like a murder mystery… Morrissey is facing away from the other three, it’s set on a black background, nobody is smiling… obviously I know what happens at the end but if I didn’t I’d be expecting maybe a death… or a prison sentence…

T: [Laughs] That’s great if that’s what you thought.  A few people have likened it to the cover of ‘With The Beatles’.  We wanted something quite classic.  The idea was that The Smiths didn’t need an introduction, so we didn’t put anything on the back cover either.  It was just like, this is The Smiths, this is the book, these are the people.  I hope that worked, I have a nightmare with covers.

J:  It does.  It has a very authoritative air.  Is it an ‘enduring saga’ or a ‘complete history’?

T:  When I did the synopsis I just came up with ‘enduring saga’ and it stuck.  I sold it as that title.  The idea is that The Smiths are an ongoing fascination, and that’s why it’s enduring.

J:  Within the introduction you talk about why you wrote it: to set The Smiths in a socio-cultural and political context, with in-depth family background.  Why did you approach it this way?

T: It’s a pattern in all my books, it’s massively important to set the cultural scene.  My book about the New York City music scene has seventeen different chapters like that, all about the social, economic, immigration context and how that produced disco.  I thought it was really important.  That first chapter of ‘A Light’ – about Manchester - took me more time to write than any other chapter in the book. 

J:  Which other Smiths biographers do you admire?

T:  Johnny Rogan’s was a really important book when it came out.  When he wrote that book people didn’t really know about The Smiths.  I think that’s partly why his book was so successful.

J:  It had a controversial title too.

T:  Oh, yes. It was an important book.  I am also very clear in my book for praise of Simon Goddard’s ‘Songs that saved your life’.  A great book for the real Smiths fanatics.  It’s quite possible you can’t jump into my book unless you’re a real Smiths fanatic too. 

J:  To me, ‘A Light’ suggests a serious, authoritative and heavy read, but in fact the joy of reading it was in the many colourful demonstrations and glimpses into character.

T:  I think details are important.  Morrissey drops details into his lyrics for example - a rented room in Whalley Range – it’s all truth that adds colour.  My favourite stories in there are the ones that I could identify with.  I’m the same school year as Johnny and Andy and I went to a grammar school that became a comprehensive the same year as theirs did so I felt I could identify with a lot of what they went through. Ivor Perry telling me that Morrissey was stopped for his lunch money on Kings Road intrigued me.  They wouldn’t beat him up; it was more of a tax really.  I was a weaker kid when I was younger and in those days it was accepted.  It is what it is:  ‘Give us your lunch money, yep, fifty pee, now walk on.’  I don’t take any delight in reporting that but I think a lot of us who grew up in England at that time will identify with this.

J:  Please tell me what these symbols are at the start of some of the chapters, and what they signify – the first one is on p. 20.

T:  Ah!  Well spotted.  It’s a spindle, the centre of a record.

J:  Ah!  Of course it is! 

T:  Do you want an exclusive?

J: Always!

T:  That record, that says ‘A Light that never goes out’ (p. 19).  The idea was to have a 7” single.  It’s a tribute to what The Smiths always wanted when they started - an indie record with a classic punch out label.  It’s there partly to remind you that The Smiths were maybe one of the last great vinyl bands.  They made 45s, and that’s what this band is about.  We scanned an actual rare Smiths record, that’s the Rough Trade label, and we just put in ‘A Light That Never Goes Out’.  It’s important to me that it was a Smiths record.  That’s the first time I’ve ever told anybody that.

J:  Thank you.  Is it your favourite Smiths record?

T:  Those change day by day.

J:  Every author/biographer/Smiths fan thinks that the story began when Johnny knocked on Morrissey’s door.  Do you think that is when the story began?  Johnny and Andy were messing about and swapping guitars for years before that happened, developing sounds together.

T:  Johnny developed The Smiths riffs after that though.  And Morrissey had the poems ready just waiting for someone to come along and accompany them.  I think the answer is that it started at that door on Kings Road, when Johnny knocked on the door with Stephen Pomfret.  It’s that Patti Smith line - Morrissey looked at Johnny -  ‘the boy looked at Johnny’ and said you’re the one I’ve been waiting for.

J:  I love that Morrissey was just waiting for something to happen, rather than going out and looking for it, almost as if he just knew there would be a knock on the door.

T:  I think that’s a very existential conversation, there’s just no answer to this… Morrissey is sitting indoors, waiting, just waiting… and it happens.  And it shouldn’t!  Because everything says ‘Morrissey!  You’re wasting your life away, running out of opportunities…’

J:  He just knows it’s going to happen.

T:  There are no explanations for this.  What would have happened if Johnny hadn’t knocked on his door?  Well that’s hypothetical, and he did, it happened, if you want to get conceptual and spiritual about it you could say that Johnny was always going to knock on his door.

J:  One of my favourite chapters in the book is when Morrissey goes round to Johnny’s house for the first time, and again there are connections and commonalities, the landlady with the Corrie pictures…

T: I took the description of the attic room from what Johnny and other people said, because everybody has always talked about when Johnny went to Morrissey’s door, so I thought I’d flip it round.  Johnny is four years younger, a real jack the lad, room full of records, I can imagine Morrissey might be intimidated the first time he walks into Johnny’s room. 

J:  Were there any really challenging areas when you were writing the book, where you just thought, I need to persevere and get through this…

T:  I think sometimes… there’s a certain formula you try to avoid when writing about an album.  I tried to make sure I wrote about each album in a different way.  Trying to find a way to write about an album… do you talk about it song by song, or about the making of the album, or review the finished album as a complete entity?  That’s hard for a biographer.

J:  Your opinions creep into the book quite a lot, particularly in the Strangeways chapter.  I’m not sure you share the opinion with Morrissey and Johnny that it’s their finest album…

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T:  No I don’t.  Do you?

J:  I’m all about The Smiths first album.  I like the discovery.  It’s unpolished, fast, exciting, slightly harsh and wild in parts, gentle in others.

T: Some songs came out better than others… The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is one.

J:  So if it’s not Strangeways or The Smiths, what is your favourite Smiths album?

T:  I think Meat Is Murder and The Queen Is Dead really stand up as albums, and will continue to do so.  The Queen Is Dead is the stronger political statement. It’s classic great lyricism - but it’s not as much Queen Elizabeth as I had thought in 1986 - it could be any queen, including a drag Queen.  Meat Is Murder is a great album, and knocked Born In The USA off number one.  That was a massive achievement, and it stands up as Northern, indie.  The Queen Is Dead is the conventional masterpiece that sounds better on American radio.  Strangeways tarnishes the view because you listen to it knowing that the band have broken up.  REM were so smart, they knew they were breaking up but the album came out six months before they did, so people were able to form their own opinions.  Now the fact is: it’s obvious that’s their last album in retrospect.  But people should be allowed to form their own opinion before knowing it’s the last album.  From my personal point of view there are great songs, but with the greatest of respect you have to be wary that just because somebody said Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me is the best production that it’s the best song.  If you asked somebody out in the street they’d say This Charming Man over Last Night.  It also reflects a band that’s very much in the studio.  Incredible production but does it have the same impact as This Charming Man or William?  I don’t think so.  I think it’s a transitional album.  I would have loved to know what they would have done next. 

J:  If they had continued, which direction do you think they would have gone in?

T:  Well, again, in a way it’s irrelevant because it’s back to existentialism.  Having said that, there are lots of comparisons between The Smiths and R.E.M.  The fifth album R.E.M. made was transitional, then they came off the road, and wrote ‘Out Of Time’ (which was phenomenally successful).  I think that’s what The Smiths could have done.

J:  Do you think that people listen to Strangeways differently, perhaps with a tinge of sadness because they know it’s a break up album, so as they’re listening to it they have already formed their opinion sad, romantic, bittersweet…

T:  Yes.  It’s very hard to listen to I won’t share you and pretending you didn’t know the band were going to break up.  I can’t listen to that song without thinking, surely there’s a message going out there, surely… very hard to listen.

J:  I have a question here from @vivahate72.  He wants to know if your next book is going to be a Blur book because you reference Blur at the end.

T:  No, sorry!  [Laughs].  It will be the memoir, ‘Boy About Town’.  It’s fifty short stories that really recount being at school in the 1970s, dreaming of being a rock star, wrapped in a complete musical and social history of the era.

J:  I can’t wait.

T:  It all weaves together even though each story could be read on its own.  I’m really excited about it.

J:  Before we finish, is there anything else that you wanted to say about your current book that you haven’t said so far?

T:  Yes there is.  It’s important to note that it’s an international book.  In the past biographers have written about The Smiths as the Manchester band, everyone else cut off.  The Smiths don’t just belong to Britain.  The Smiths were massive in America.  It lays out the American story too, the modern rock scene, so the Brits get their chapter a little earlier, then the Americans get their scene too.  It’s a big part of the story.

J:  I notice that the American edition has a very bright and lively cover too!  Is that reflective of the moods of each nation?

T: [Laughs] I don’t know about covers.  I do know that my British editor said:  ‘I don’t really like that American cover’ and the American editor said: ‘I don’t really like that British cover’.  So you draw your own conclusions…

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American cover - Dec 4 release

J:  If Morrissey was to walk in here right now and say ‘Alright Tony’ what would you say?

T:  I’d say ‘Hi Morrissey, how are you?’

J:  If he was coming to your house, what snacks would you put out? 

T:  Oh well, I’m vegan.  I’m going to back up.  I would say:  ‘Hi Morrissey.  Sit down’. He looked really good in Albany; he’s lost weight.  And the Meat Is Murder video is showing factory farming of hens. I read that he had finally given up eggs. Which is great, but long overdue. So I’d sit him down and replicate all his dairy habits with vegan food, give him vegan cup cakes. So I’d like to talk to him about where his line is on vegetarianism is, and why he’s always been such a strong proponent for vegetarianism, but continued to eat so much dairy and wear animal products. Because it makes sense to go the whole nine yards.

J:  When was the last time you last spoke to Morrissey?

T:  Back in The Smiths days the last time we spoke.

J:  At the Hacienda?

T:  [Laughs] we did a phone interview after that but I won’t pretend that I’m his personal friend.

J:  What is your favourite record of all time?

T:  Ocean Rain is a perfect album.  Echo and the Bunnymen.

J:  What’s your favourite Johnny record or period since he left The Smiths?

T:  The first Electronic record. They really caught that post-Madchester vibe. Johnny’s input is quietly stated but it’s there alright.

J:  What’s your favourite drink?

T:  I only drink beer and wine these days.  It would have to be a good American IPA.  I’m a runner.  I strongly suspect that runners run so that they can have a pint at the end.

J:  What’s your favourite biscuit?

T:  I don’t really eat biscuits.

J:  What’s your favourite sandwich filling?

T:  Peanut butter and banana.

J:  Favourite movie?

T:  ‘The Kids Are Alright’ – The Who movie from 1979.

J:  Favourite actor?

T:  Albert Finney in ‘Saturday Night Sunday Morning’ and Phil Daniels in ‘Quadrophenia’.

J:  Favourite thing your mum says?

T:  ‘It’s your beloved mother…’ 

J:  Favourite Morrissey song.

T:  I can’t.  There’s not one.  Changes all the time. 

J:  Favourite fruit?

T:  Bananas

J:  Favourite discovery in your book, that you didn’t know.

T:  Physical discoveries: the original Rough Trade contract and a number of personal letters from Morrissey to Tony Wilson, which I didn’t reprint in full. Emotional discoveries, I think it was the importance of all four personalities in the Smiths. It wasn’t just Morrissey, it wasn’t just Marr, and it would not have been the same without Andy and Johnny.  Especially Andy who I think in many ways was the soul of the band and who’s musical input has been under-rated. Hopefully I got all of that across.

J:  Can you write a note for my mum?

T: Yes!  Do you have everybody that you interview write a note to your mum?

J:  Yes.  She loves it. She keeps a folder.

image 

You can follow Tony on twitter @tonyfletcher.  His next book ‘Boy About Town’ is out in 2013.  (I hope it’s a big fat fatty).

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