"Kill Uncle" at 30: Oddball album or timeless classic? - Dickie Felton

Link from Dickie:

"Kill Uncle" at 30: Oddball album or timeless classic? - Dickie Felton

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snoddywilko

Well-Known Member
I’ll always be a fan & defender of Kill Uncle, no matter what Moz & the rest of the world say. I actually wish Morrissey had done more albums with this team of Nevin as co-songwriter & Langer/Winstanley producing; they were just finding their feet as a working unit...as evidenced by the cracking singles & b-sides that followed. Pregnant for the Last Time, I’ve Changed My Plea to Guilty, My Love Life, & The Loop would’ve made Kill Uncle a much better album...or been the beginnings of an excellent follow up album along with I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday, & You’re Gonna Need Someone on Your Side.

For me, the production & variety in the musicianship & instruments used, is a real breath of fresh air & I think Moz could’ve carved out a much more unique career if he’d have explored this kind of avenue further, rather than going down the pub-guitar-band-by-numbers route followed with ‘the lads’ for much of his career.

Of course, there was plenty of great material to come, but the mostly unimaginative two guitars, bass & drums template they followed for years was mostly wholly unimaginative. In fact, it’s only the past few albums where he has started to really expand on his musical palette - mostly thanks to Gustavo, it seems - & it makes me wish he’d allowed other instruments & musical influences into his orbit a lot more over the preceding decades.

But anyway, Kill Uncle will always be a beloved Morrissey record to me. Driving Your Girlfriend Home, King Leer, & There’s A Place In Hell For Me & My Friends are my personal favourites. Our Frank & Sing Your Life were fine singles. Mute Witness & Asian Rut are quintessential Moz songs (absolutely nobody else would or could have written them) with brilliantly original musical arrangements.

The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye, (I’m) The End of the Family Line aren’t quite as good, but are still interesting & wholly Morrissey. For me, the only track I ever found to be a lumpen piece of power chord stodge, was Found, Found, Found; if these had been swapped for Pregnant, Guilty, & The Loop, I would be ranking Kill Uncle as one of the finest albums in Moz’s solo catalogue. It certainly would’ve been much better than the reshuffled version of the album that added East, West, the awful Pashernate Love, & replaced Hell with the pointless rockabilly band version.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
I just went crosscountry skiing whilst listening to Kill Uncle. Without thinking I just chose the reissue on Spotify and didn't even realize that Asian Rut was missing. I was thinking that the album was even shorter than I remembered, because I had barely walked 200 metres to the start of the tracks from my door and Sing Your Life was already playing. Only when Asian Rut came on as track 5 I of course remembered that I was listening to the silly reissue for the first time ever.

In a proper Morrissey fashion the reissue acknowledges the obvious fault of the original -- too short! -- and does little to fix them. Adding a cover version from 1989 and a throwaway Whyte/Day co-write from 1992 of course makes no sense at all. If you want to add two tracks, why not two from these far superior 1991 Nevin tracks: I've Changed My Plea/Pregnant For the Last Time/My Love Life. At least letting Asian Rut slide down the tracklist is a good call. I quite like the song, but as a second track it really kills the momentum. On the positive side, I had forgotten how lovely I'm the End of the Family Line is.
 

Mike Rourke

Active Member
Apparently there were more Nevin songs written for Your Arsenal, when he was devastated to find out that only two of his songs made the cut. He thought he was still the main collaborator, when Morreissey in his time-favoured fashion forgot to mention to him that he had been given the boot.
Oh interesting, thanks. Hadn't heard that before. Is it in Mozipedia (which I've yet to read)?
 

Mike Rourke

Active Member
I’ll always be a fan & defender of Kill Uncle, no matter what Moz & the rest of the world say. I actually wish Morrissey had done more albums with this team of Nevin as co-songwriter & Langer/Winstanley producing; they were just finding their feet as a working unit...as evidenced by the cracking singles & b-sides that followed. Pregnant for the Last Time, I’ve Changed My Plea to Guilty, My Love Life, & The Loop would’ve made Kill Uncle a much better album...or been the beginnings of an excellent follow up album along with I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday, & You’re Gonna Need Someone on Your Side.

For me, the production & variety in the musicianship & instruments used, is a real breath of fresh air & I think Moz could’ve carved out a much more unique career if he’d have explored this kind of avenue further, rather than going down the pub-guitar-band-by-numbers route followed with ‘the lads’ for much of his career.

Of course, there was plenty of great material to come, but the mostly unimaginative two guitars, bass & drums template they followed for years was mostly wholly unimaginative. In fact, it’s only the past few albums where he has started to really expand on his musical palette - mostly thanks to Gustavo, it seems - & it makes me wish he’d allowed other instruments & musical influences into his orbit a lot more over the preceding decades.

But anyway, Kill Uncle will always be a beloved Morrissey record to me. Driving Your Girlfriend Home, King Leer, & There’s A Place In Hell For Me & My Friends are my personal favourites. Our Frank & Sing Your Life were fine singles. Mute Witness & Asian Rut are quintessential Moz songs (absolutely nobody else would or could have written them) with brilliantly original musical arrangements.

The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye, (I’m) The End of the Family Line aren’t quite as good, but are still interesting & wholly Morrissey. For me, the only track I ever found to be a lumpen piece of power chord stodge, was Found, Found, Found; if these had been swapped for Pregnant, Guilty, & The Loop, I would be ranking Kill Uncle as one of the finest albums in Moz’s solo catalogue. It certainly would’ve been much better than the reshuffled version of the album that added East, West, the awful Pashernate Love, & replaced Hell with the pointless rockabilly band version.
Good post. I'd forgotten that Nevin wrote The Loop, too, which is a brilliant song. Was great to hear it live again a few years ago. So much energy. Agree completely about the 'pub guitar band by numbers' problems of the 1992-2009 years although, of course, there were a few great songs along the way. The only Nevin co-writes I don't really like are Harsh Truth and Pregnant.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
Oh interesting, thanks. Hadn't heard that before. Is it in Mozipedia (which I've yet to read)?
Yup. I don't have the copy right here, but it does state that Nevin found out the tracklisting only after been given the advance cassette. He phoned Morrissey right away -- and he actually answered the call which was rare -- but when Nevin asked about the state of things, he was just all awkward. Well, that teaches him to answer the phone. Apparently the compositions ended up on the next Kirsty MacCall album.
 

snoddywilko

Well-Known Member
Good post. I'd forgotten that Nevin wrote The Loop, too, which is a brilliant song. Was great to hear it live again a few years ago. So much energy. Agree completely about the 'pub guitar band by numbers' problems of the 1992-2009 years although, of course, there were a few great songs along the way. The only Nevin co-writes I don't really like are Harsh Truth and Pregnant.

Pregnant is my favourite Morrissey single, but comes in second place behind I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty in my ranking of his Nevin co-writes.
 

Life_Is_A_Pigsty

Gear Changer
After getting into Morrissey in 1989, Kill Uncle was the first new studio album released that I could rush out and buy, the Kill Uncle tour was also my first experience of a Morrissey gig so that album will always be a little bit special to me.

Unfortunately, it isn't anywhere near his best work, something I felt then as I still do today, but it is an interesting and curious listen and quite different from his other albums - as one review said at the time, the songs are about people other than Morrissey himself for once.

King Leer was the first Morrissey or Smiths track I had heard where the music was great, but the lyrics let the song down somewhat. Found Found Found never really did much for me either. But there are still some great highlights - Driving Your Girlfriend Home, Mute Witness and There Is Place In Hell - I must be one of the few who prefer the studio version over the KROQ version. Four or five of the Mark E Nevin songs that followed this album would be better than anything here, particularly I've Changed My Plea, I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday and You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side, although Mick Ronson played quite a part in 2 of those.
 

Ketamine Sun

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Four or five of the Mark E Nevin songs that followed this album would be better than anything here, particularly I've Changed My Plea, I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday and You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side, although Mick Ronson played quite a part in 2 of those.


It’s interesting. We know Nevin gave Morrissey demos/instrumentals of those songs, but do we know if the lyrics of ‘I know it’s gonna’ and ‘You’re gonna need’ were even written yet at this time?


If they were written around the time of Guilty and Pregnant, Then it seems Morrissey didn’t think they
worked as a single yet, a B-side or maybe he was already thinking and saving those for the next album. Or again, the lyrics were not yet written.


Love Found Found Found and always liked that Tony was tagged onto the end of the US cd release.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
Yup. I don't have the copy right here, but it does state that Nevin found out the tracklisting only after been given the advance cassette. He phoned Morrissey right away -- and he actually answered the call which was rare -- but when Nevin asked about the state of things, he was just all awkward. Well, that teaches him to answer the phone. Apparently the compositions ended up on the next Kirsty MacCall album.

I think Morrissey might have continued working with Nevin and even used more of his compositions for Arsenal if Nevin joined the band and did the KUncle tour. Morrissey was really set on having a band again, and Nevin I think decided to stay a family man.


After all that, I wonder if it was through Morrissey even indirectly
that Nevin got the opportunity to work with Macoll.
 
A

Alma Matter

Guest
Good post. I'd forgotten that Nevin wrote The Loop, too, which is a brilliant song. Was great to hear it live again a few years ago. So much energy. Agree completely about the 'pub guitar band by numbers' problems of the 1992-2009 years although, of course, there were a few great songs along the way. The only Nevin co-writes I don't really like are Harsh Truth and Pregnant.
Kill Uncle the proper reissue:
1) Our Frank - Original
2) You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side - Arsenal Version
3) Sing Your Life - KROQ
4) King Leer - Dallas Live
5) Pregnant for the Last Time - Single Version
6) Driving Your Girlfriend Home - Kill Uncle Version
7) My Love Life - KROQ Version
8) The Loop - BSide
9) I know It's Going to Happen - Arsenal Version
10) Changed my Plea to Guilty - KROQ style
11) There's a Place for Me and My Friends - KROQ

That is a KILLER album. And man, it would have likely sold well and Morrissey and Nevin would likely have tried for another. But...that would not have led to Alain & Moz...so oh well.

I plan to create a playlist per above. I really like the flow of that track listing.

In a parallel universe, The production would have been more Rockabilly for Sing Your Life, Changed my Plea, Place in Hell, My Love Life and the live version of King Leer. That would have been a remarkable record. I have most of that via KROQ...may need to burn a CD of that Kill Uncle.
 
A

Alma Matter

Guest
It’s a good album, not great...I would take this album over any of the last 3-4 moz solo albums. I think the mix made the album not appealing overall.
100% this. The 3rd chapter of Morrissey Solo is a mess. The second Chapter (Quarry/ Ringleader/ Years) was pretty solid - Especially the first two. The 3rd chapter (World/ Low/ Son/ Dog) is a mess. Is there a decent album in there at all? Are the best 10 songs any good? I can think of 5 or so.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
I think Morrissey might have continued working with Nevin and even used more of his compositions for Arsenal if Nevin joined the band and did the KUncle tour. Morrissey was really set on having a band again, and Nevin I think decided to stay a family man.


After all that, I wonder if it was through Morrissey even indirectly
that Nevin got the opportunity to work with Macoll.
If I remember correctly, there was also some kind contractual obligation that prevented Nevin from touring KU. He had to tour something else, because even though Fairground Attraction was defunct, he still owed the record company something, and the company said he couldn't tour with Morrissey. That of course distanced Nevin and Morrissey from each other.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
100% this. The 3rd chapter of Morrissey Solo is a mess. The second Chapter (Quarry/ Ringleader/ Years) was pretty solid - Especially the first two. The 3rd chapter (World/ Low/ Son/ Dog) is a mess. Is there a decent album in there at all? Are the best 10 songs any good? I can think of 5 or so.
It's all down to taste, but I can compile a very strong album and a decent album from those four including deluxe editions. Or then two equally strong albums. I'm not sure I would take anything from California Son though. I just don't find it interesting at all, although some of the songs could have been strong b-sides.
 

Ketamine Sun

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If I remember correctly, there was also some kind contractual obligation that prevented Nevin from touring KU. He had to tour something else, because even though Fairground Attraction was defunct, he still owed the record company something, and the company said he couldn't tour with Morrissey. That of course distanced Nevin and Morrissey from each other.

Didn’t know that or forgot. Yes that would have thrown a wrench in the works. At least he got to work with Macoll probably through his work with Morrissey, so in a way it worked out.
 

snoddywilko

Well-Known Member
If I remember correctly, there was also some kind contractual obligation that prevented Nevin from touring KU. He had to tour something else, because even though Fairground Attraction was defunct, he still owed the record company something, and the company said he couldn't tour with Morrissey. That of course distanced Nevin and Morrissey from each other.

If I remember correctly, Nevin was playing with another, small-time band & had some dates booked to play with them. These dates clashed with the dates Morrissey’s tour began & Nevin decided he couldn’t let his band down.

Bit of a mistake, I’d say, but I do admire his loyalty.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
If I remember correctly, Nevin was playing with another, small-time band & had some dates booked to play with them. These dates clashed with the dates Morrissey’s tour began & Nevin decided he couldn’t let his band down.

Bit of a mistake, I’d say, but I do admire his loyalty.
Fairground Attraction required 1 last album.
I'm sure Boz was grateful :)
Regards,
FWD.
 

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