"You have to live amongst the emotional world of the people as well, not just the idea of something"
The former Smiths turned solo star made headlines earlier this year when he was seen sporting a For Britain badge while on tour in the US, before also wearing one while performing on Jimmy Fallon on US TV. He later attracted controversy for an interview in which he denied being racist but claimed “the word is meaningless now. Everyone ultimately prefers their own race … does this make everyone racist?”
“Steven is a complicated soul,” started Albarn, before bandmate and former Clash bassist Paul Simonon asked, “But does he live in England?”
“No, he lives in California,” replied Albarn. “He doesn’t care. He’s just doing it to wind people up.”
Simonon then argued that Morrissey’s time living abroad gave him a warped perception of how life really is in the UK.
“Sometimes if you are away and you don’t live in the country, then you’ve got a misconception of what the reality is from the ground up,” he said. “It’s the same as John Lydon – he’s sort of got to a certain level and he’s [entitled] to his views, but if you don’t live here, your vision of it is in a bubble.”
Albarn then added: “Yeah, I totally agree. You shouldn’t even have an opinion. If you don’t live in the country, then you shouldn’t be dabbling in its politics because to have the sensitivity to understand, you have to live amongst the emotional world of the people as well, not just the idea of something. That’s a long way from reality.
“So I think if you wanna be miserable and English, you’ve gotta be miserable and English. You know – really be it.”
For Britain was founded by the anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters after she was defeated in the 2017 UKIP leadership election. The controversy and association for Morrissey began when he discussed accusations of racism and alleged connections between Halal meat and ISIS. He also referred to Hitler as ‘left wing’ and said that London Mayor Sadiq Khan “can not talk properly”. He later issued a new statement in which he said he “despised racism and fascism” and voiced his support for Muslims, while also advocating For Britain.
Over recent months, Waters thanked Morrissey for his support – as well as for “giving them so much publicity”.
Billy Bragg has been highly critical of Morrissey’s actions, as well as accusing him of posting a “white supremacist” video on his website relating to Stormzy’s recent Glastonbury headline set.
Interpol’s Paul Banks spoke out to disctance himself from Morrissey’s political views ahead of their upcoming joint tour, stating that he “abhors racism” and “does not always hold the same beliefs of the artists that he works with”.
Meanwhile, The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers said that Morrissey was “still a king“, Nick Cave argued that one should “challenge Morrissey’s views but allow his music to live on“, and former bandmate Johnny Marr said he wasn’t worried about his political views having an impact on the legacy of The Smiths.
“I don’t think you can change history,” Marr told NME earlier this summer. “I’ve said that before. I’m not worried. It’s got nothing to do with my world or my life. The songs are out there for people to judge, relate to and hear. I think that’s all going to be forgotten in a few weeks, as these things inevitably are – for better or worse. It’s always been that way. I understand the issue, but I’m used to stuff coming and going.”
- Read more – BLOG: Morrissey embodied a more sensitive form of masculinity for the young me – but was I just kidding myself?
“I don’t worry about people missing out on the culture. That would be like saying to a teenage me ‘Are you worried about you and your mates missing out on The Velvet Underground?’ That was never going to happen. I know the way things go. Things come and go.”
Morrissey released the covers album ‘California Son‘ back in May.