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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D

Dimslow

Guest
Dennis and Tom sound like a pair of pontificating prats. Without mentioning the M word they would remain that, lol. Give it 2 years and Marr will take a gig on Men’s L’Oreal adverts. It’s sad to see such bitterness. JM, show some gratitude 🙏
 
C

Cleanyascreen

Guest
Dennis and Tom sound like a pair of pontificating prats. Without mentioning the M word they would remain that, lol. Give it 2 years and Marr will take a gig on Men’s L’Oreal adverts. It’s sad to see such bitterness. JM, show some gratitude 🙏
Someone tell Dennis, dark 👓 and titfer 🎩 doth not make him cool or talented. As for Tom, I’ll hold 🔥 😔
 

nairng

Member
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.
More of a faff, but not that hard. Joe Meek was making hit records out of multiple takes of one song in the 50s, so totally possible
 

nairng

Member
I'm not sure I believe this was a way of working for the Smiths; maybe one or two songs, but Moz often leaves instrumental sections in odd places in his solo work - Suedehead being a prime example. Then again, maybe his way of working changed over the years too. I just don't think this applies to wide swathes of Smiths tunes, if any
 

DavidA

Junior Member
Good find! Seems quite plausible to me, although it probably only applies to a few songs. I'd love to know what songs he's referring to. My favourite part of Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now is after the fourth chorus when Morrissey stops singing and I can lose myself in the guitar overdubs. Although that was Stephen Street, not John Porter.

I recall Johnny talking about Morrissey singing choruses over what he thought would be verses and vice versa, which I'd like to think makes a more interesting song.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I can see there might be some validity in this in a couple of songs, maybe Johnny was dead set on having that guitar break in 'Nowhere Fast', so presented an edited version for Moz to record the lyrics so he wouldn't sing all over it, but it's tough to imagine this as being standard recording procedure.

This has a slight whiff of what was intended as private studio banter that has slightly grown in the telling.
 

gonzax

Junior Member
I find this story hard to believe, to be honest. Never in decades has anything like this been mentioned by anyone.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I find this story hard to believe, to be honest. Never in decades has anything like this been mentioned by anyone.

I think it was supposed to be secret. That's why it's so interesting. Presumably, Morrissey himself didn't realise it.
 
V

Vegan Cro Spirit .888

Guest
🤨
why didnt the annoying little twat :handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft:
save all this 'groovy':circustent:
for his suco solo albums. lets
plug the twit and find the truth:handpointdown:
tenor.gif
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
🤨
why didnt the annoying little twat :handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft:
save all this 'groovy':circustent:
for his suco solo albums. lets
plug the twit and find the truth:handpointdown:
tenor.gif

I think that's a being a little harsh on Morrissey. I think that's the only way he knows how to be. Uncompromising to some, annoying to others.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Be amusing if this carried on into the solo years. Boz and Lillywhite presenting Morrissey with what he thinks is a tight, punchy 3 minute track, only to discover 'The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils' sprawling in at 11 minutes of the finished record. :p
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
"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.

I think that would be entirely incorrect considering a "song" isn't generally viewed as such without music. So crediting the "song" to Morrissey as though it exists without Marr's music is inaccurate. I'm not going to get into the tired and pointless argument of whose contributions were more valuable Morrissey's or Marr's... but if you want to say something like "Lyrics & Vocals by Morrissey, Music by Marr," then maybe.
 

countthree

Well-Known Member
This is kind of cruel. Morrissey doesn't deserve it more than 30 years later. You never get rid of bad partners.
 

DrStatham

Active Member
Seems a little odd to call him a prima donna simply because he liked to write lyrics over all of the music.

Anyway that is quite hilarious, and a really great insight.
 
M

Morrissey1959-2021

Guest
Beyond this year, Marr will continue to live and create great music while Morrissey leaves this physical world at the end of his final run of shows in Vegas. While Moz suffers in Hell, we’ll continue to enjoy the brilliance of Marr here on Earth.
 
V

Vegan Cro Spirit .888

Guest
🤒
you would need a nuclear BS detector if you plan on plugging the 3
lawnmowers at the same time:hammer:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Seems a little odd to call him a prima donna simply because he liked to write lyrics over all of the music.

Anyway that is quite hilarious, and a really great insight.
I think he's referring to him as a prima donna due to the fact that the guy is saying that Morrissey was trying to control every aspect of the recording process, not just writing lyrics over music. Reading between the lines, he's saying Morrissey is a complete control freak, which wouldn't be a shocking notion really.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I think that would be entirely incorrect considering a "song" isn't generally viewed as such without music.

But it is viewed as such. That's why songs can be sung a cappella. It's why cover versions generally only have the lyrics and vocal melody in common with the original rendition of the song - because the backing music isn't actually the song. And it's why the same backing music can produce completely different songs, when different vocal melodies/lyrics are overlaid.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This totally speaks to the dysfunction in the band as far back as John Porter days. We’re lucky we got all the music that we did before they broke up! And agreed this was a private conversation- not put out there for any gain, I mean who cares really? It’s only interesting to rabid Smiths fans and scholars.
 
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