Dennis Herring (producer) / Twitter - Extraordinary story about the Smiths' songwriting and recording

This is something I've never heard before. The story is told on Twitter by Dennis Herring, who produced Modest Mouse.

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MrShoes

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Eh, just another opportunity to add their slander to the "bash-Morrissey" chorus. Is this revelatory to many here?

When I read this, as much as an any instrumentalist musician may take issue with a partner vocalist/lyricist, all is see is part of what the magic was that made the Smiths. I was never concerned with *how* of their efforts; it was *what* they produced that made them especially great.
 
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Deleted member 29235

Guest
Fascinating story but it goes against everything we've ever been told about how the Smiths' writing and recording process worked. If you consider the Porter-era songs, there aren't that many songs that do have instrumental sections. ('Girl Afraid' comes to mind as perhaps the only exception to that.) The story would make more sense if it were Stephen Street doing the editing because the later songs do have more instrumental sections in them.
 

Dingoatemybabby

Well-Known Member
Fascinating story but it goes against everything we've ever been told about how the Smiths' writing and recording process worked. If you consider the Porter-era songs, there aren't that many songs that do have instrumental sections. ('Girl Afraid' comes to mind as perhaps the only exception to that.) The story would make more sense if it were Stephen Street doing the editing because the later songs do have more instrumental sections in them.

I have a feeling that this applies more to Meat Is Murder and probably only happened a few times, as it seems very time-consuming. I've always felt that Still Ill, for instance, needed more space in it - Morrissey sings throughout without a break. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore has more instrumental space in the song and that long instrumental coda - that might have been a candidate for this technique.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
"All the glory of the Smiths except lyric n melody". :rolleyes:

I have made the point many times on this site, and will continue to do so, that Morrissey created the songs of The Smiths, whilst Marr, Rourke and sometimes Porter or Street created the backing music and should have been credited as such - 'Songs by Morrissey, music by Marr/Rourke(/Porter)'.

'Panic', for example, wasn't 'Panic' until Morrissey put down his vocal.

This chum of Marr's, despite his efforts to run down Morrissey, confirms in detail how that process worked.

I'm not sure Marr will really be thanking him for that.
 
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Trans

Guest
Maybe this was just some early bump of Morrisseys writing. Plenty of smiths songs and morrissey song have intros and breaks solos etc. both these guys seem pretty lame
 

stux

Loyal fan
Wouldn’t this have been close to impossible in the old analog tape days? I can see how you might do this with today’s technology but I just can’t see this happening in the 80’s.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
What I find interesting about this anecdote is how 'uncensored' it is. This guy (I think?) actually worked with Marr. Marr has been generally diplomatic and circumspect over the years in regards to Morrissey, but I can imagine he's had discussions like this with the likes of Bernard Sumner and Neil Tennant. How does he feel, I wonder, about this guy coming out and relating what was presumably intended to be a private conversation?
It has the grain of truth - early Smiths records do seem to have more of an improvised, cluttered feel, but as has been pointed out above, there aren't many actual instrumental breaks even in later Smiths records, so I guess what we're mainly talking about is intros/outros.

I think the more fundamental truth it points to is a battle of wills between Morrissey and Marr for creative control of the final arrangements and essentially therefore, a battle for control of the band. Marr is always at pains to talk about The Smiths as 'his' band that he formed, and I think in the beginning that would have been the vibe, but by 1987 it must have been patently obvious to everyone (including him) that it was now Morrissey's band, and that Morrissey was the de facto leader. There's that anecdote about how during the studio sessions for 'Strangeways', a studio recording was sent over to Morrissey's room for his approval, and he rejected is, and when word came back to the studio, Marr hit the roof and said "well, get him to f***ing come up with something better then". I think it was Stephen Street that told that story. And the video shoot that Morrissey refused to turn up for, with Marr knocking on his door trying to get him to come out. And 'Work is a Four-Letter Word'.

All these things are symptomatic not just of the fact that they were no longer working in harmony, but of the fact that Morrissey was now decisively calling the shots (although in truth, I think he always had been, it was just that Marr was now beginning to chafe at the musical and aesthetic restrictions he felt Morrissey was imposing).
 
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A Barnett

Guest
What's that smell........?
Is it horses , pigs ......? No it's [email protected]@t

The songs and their genesis have been discussed at length over the years.
Someone trying to make a name for themselves on the back of Morrissey - what a surprise!
 
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Trans

Guest
Did he hide the intro to this charming man or something as i find it hard to see him presenting that song for morrissey to sing over without the intro attached. Shankly has a nice instrumental part to it. Even in Morrisseys solo work there are plenty of songs with instrumental bits. Wasn’t morrisseys insistence the reason the song well let you know has the long strumming section in the middle. I don’t know, I could see how morrissey would early on struggle to find his place in the music as he was a new self taught vocalist but this story doesn’t hold up completely unless it’s only about a very specific moment. I think marr has told many a shifting embellished story over the years
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
This story doesn't seem to make any sense as others have commented.

From the very beginning of the group there are numerous songs that have instrumental stretches at some point.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Moz said this to GQ in 2012:

GQ: You used a word earlier in talking about music and the bands you loved—commitment. Is that why you were so devastated by John Marr leaving?

Yes, it is commitment, because for me it was a huge emotional investment, and then Johnny simply said, It's over. And I don't think he understood the investment I had made in it. He replaced it with what?

GQ: An empty career of crap. A few good licks on a The The record. [Morrissey nods.] I'm sure you think too much has been made of that—of the Johnny Marr-Morrissey thing, that it was like some divorce, but it sounds like it felt like that.

Yes. And I felt the music really had its place. And it shouldn't be destroyed or curtailed. I thought the Smiths would still exist and would be on our thirtieth album. I think with time he realized he had made an awful decision. So the only way that he could substantiate that decision was to maintain that I was a monster. So that became depressing, and the aftermath of the group's existence became enormously depressing.
 
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Kev1000

Guest
I am 100% convinced Johnny would have been thrilled to work with someone that said ’k’ and ‘fuk’ what utter nonsense - guy trying to get a name for himself. Utter twat.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
It seems I'm part of an exceedingly rare group of fans, but for me, the glory of the Smiths is the "lyric n melody".
 

terrancestamp

Active Member
This is a silly third-party story that is ridiculous. It even makes it sound like Morrissey was doing it by mistake. There is nothing here to suggest that Morrissey was doing anything out of harm. Then some twat (based on the MONSTER scenario Moz now lives with) implies it was. This is typical bull$&@* we are having to endure these days. Why do I come here???????
 

terrancestamp

Active Member
If I were Johnny I would not tell these stories to people like this (even if you did) who betray your trust, twist your words and stab you in the back. This guy wants the notoriety and for people to think he is cool on the back of your fame. Nobody knows who Dave Nobody is. Yes, and every song after The Smiths Morrissey has sung every word on top of every note. This is a dumb story that is certainly not being presented correctly. Johnny is a saint and a lovely man. I hate to see him betrayed like this. Shame on Dave the Backstabber! Assassinating someone's character for notoriety. Reminds me of a Beck song......how does it go?
 
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Siris

Guest
This is hearsay, of course. It sounds like the guy heavily embellished something that Johnny Marr may have told him in private. So in his desperation to appear cool on Twitter by sharing a story that attempts to portray Morrissey as a ridiculous prima donna, he throws Johnny Marr under the bus.

I sometimes wonder, don't these people smearing Morrissey on the internet in the most basic and unoriginal ways realize how lame and boring they sound?
 
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