Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: Why Morrissey Matters and Other Riot Fest Ponderings

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Why Morrissey Matters and Other Riot Fest Ponderings

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Morrissey is all over the social medias. The post-Riot Fest meat is murder fallout has everyone's panties in a bunch but they should be talking about his message not his method. 

I can sum up my feelings about Moz in one simple statement - Morrissey puts his money where his mouth is. And for that, and so many other reasons, I am thankful that I grew up with Morrissey and not (insert any modern-day pop artist's name here). 

The Smiths - Shakespeare's Sister
My first Smith's album was a 12"
Photo courtesy of

You may disagree with what Morrissey stands for, but imagine if everyone with voice stood up for something they believed in vs. flaunting their new butt job. I will take one million Morrissey's over one Kim K! 

It all started innocently enough 
Before I get into it, I want to give you some background. I was a curious and resourceful child. I listened to the college radio station in Chicago, WLUW, and from time-to-time, I would call-into the station to win records. Afterwards, my mom would drive me to Roger's Park (where the record store was located) and I would sift through records for a while until I found one that spoke to me.

Back then you didn't have internet radio (or even the internet), you didn't even have listening stations. You simply went into a record store and started thumbing through the records that were located with the other records of the genre you liked. And you would talk to the record store workers, get a feel for their likes / dislikes, and then you'd have to trust their judgment and make the purchase - cold, blind, without ever hearing a note. 

I picked up this record because I liked the name - "Shakespeare's Sister" (it became the name of a band later on and I bought their record too). I also liked the image of the strong female in boots. The words "Barbarism Begins At Home" most certainly resonated. Then there was the hauntingly beautiful face of the front man, Morrissey. I was sold. 

The story I relay, and the image you see above, is how I got into The Smiths. I won a gift certificate to a record store near Loyola University and picked out this random 12" record - The Smiths Shakespeare's Sister. I was a kid who stumbled upon a lucky find in a record store and 30 years later I'm still talking about it. 

Let's talk about Riot Fest and Morrissey 
Many at Riot Fest was a little surprised with Morrissey's "antics", except the people who were actually there to see Morrissey. The place was FLYING with Morrissey rumors all day. Rumors about his bus and crew, rumors that he made the all of security change their shirts because he hates the color blue, and the NO MEAT after 7PM, that one really did it. And when he was late... the Twitter went a little nutso!  

Yeah, the guy eating a turkey leg is "clearly" the winner. He got 48 likes on his tweet AND a turkey leg. 

I was quite torn on Saturday night because I love Social Distortion and I love Morrissey -- they're more alike than you might think. I've seen them both play about a half a dozen times, maybe more, but Morrissey is a legend. I am fairly confident Mike Ness takes no offense to this statement. I watched about 15 minutes of Social D before working my way to the front of whatever Riot Fest stage name Morrissey was on.

Here's what some of you probably don't know about Morrissey...
  • Morrissey has been playing / touring with the same band for a while 
  • Morrissey is usually on stage for about 45 minutes (the whole show is about 1:15 mins) 
  • Morrissey loves the stage and he gives it his all - each and every single time
  • Morrissey is very respectful of his audience and always grateful for their attendance 
  • And... yes, Morrissey is EXTREMELY political and has always been this way

Plus, he played my song! You're The One For Me Fatty was the song my college boyfriend dedicated to me... and it still makes me laugh. 

What Morrissey means to me - a lesson in conviction
It's really simple. I am grateful for Morrissey's angst-filled-riddles because without them, I may have turned out ordinary. What if I had stumbled into the record store that day and picked up a Taylor Swift album? God forgive me for even saying that.

I am not an Irish-born vegan, I don't hate the royals, I am not an animal activist, I don't even know what Morrissey is talking about 1/2 the time.... But I am thankful that he, and many of the artists of his time, have chosen and continue to choose to write songs about what they believe in. AND live up to it.

I may not hold the same values as Morrissey, but maybe his dedication to his beliefs helped shape the way I hold onto my own? And for that, I love Morrissey.

No meat from 8PM to 10PM - or whatever it was. Well... it sure got you talking, didn't it?

If nothing else, he is a PR machine.

Here is a post from when I saw Morrissey in 2009 (for my birthday). 

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