Seymour Stein on Morrissey and Johnny Marr in Times interview

[originally posted in the thread Seymour Stein book "Siren Song" includes The Smiths]

An interview with Stein from the Times of London -

Seymour Stein: the man who signed Madonna (and the rest) - The Times (paywall)
The US pop mogul used Concorde to see English bands and Elton John used his spare room. Sarfraz Manzoor meets the king of Eighties pop

Excerpt:

Two years after signing Depeche Mode, Stein received a phone call from Geoff Travis, who founded the Rough Trade record store and ran a record label of the same name. "He said, 'I have just seen this band and I am so in love with them,' " Stein says. "He then said, 'The only thing I can tell you is that I believe you will love them even more than I do.' " The band were playing in two days' time, so Stein again hopped on Concorde, this time to London, and went to the ICA in London to see the Smiths. Stein describes Morrissey, the band's singer, as "one of the greatest artists I have ever worked with", but he also writes that he "wondered if maybe Morrissey harboured a deep unrequited love for Johnny Marr". What made you write that, I ask. "I do have that feeling," he says. "I could tell. I am pretty sure of it. I could see it and to tell you the truth I felt sorry for both of them because I didn't think Johnny was gay - and he wasn't - and I could feel for Morrissey."

Here's the text for those who can't access the article:

Seymour Stein, the man who signed Madonna (and the rest);
The US music mogul helped to launch the career of Talking Heads, while Elton John stayed in his spare room.

Sarfraz Manzoor meets the king of Eighties pop


It was the summer of 1982 and Seymour Stein was in a New York hospital recovering from an infection. The 40-year-old boss of Sire Records was listening to a demo sent by a friend. Mark Kamins was a New York DJ who had been badgering Stein to let him produce a record. "I thought he had great potential," Stein says, "so I gave him $18,000 to do six demos."

It was the third of those demos that Stein listened to in hospital - a track called Everybody by a young woman who called herself Madonna. "This girl knocked me off my feet," he says (presumably he wasn't lying down at this stage). He rang Kamins and said he wanted to meet Madonna that evening. "I was worried that someone else would sign her," he says. When Madonna arrived at the hospital they agreed on a record deal there and then. "Whoever got Madonna would have success with her," Stein says, "but I was the first to spot her and appreciate her."

It is early evening in Rough Trade East, a record store in east London, and I am talking to Stein before an appearance at the store to promote his memoir, Siren Song. He is 76 and somewhat unsure on his feet - he walks with a stick and is helped to his seat by his daughter, Mandy - but his reputation as one of the greatest music men in history is assured. This is the man who not only launched the careers of Madonna, the Ramones, Talking Heads, the Pretenders, Ice-T and Seal, but also introduced the Cure, Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Smiths to American audiences.

Stein's career spans the history of pop music, from working for Billboard magazine and clubbing in Studio 54 to being inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and he charts it in Siren Song. It begins in Forties Brooklyn when, as a small boy, he would write down the names of the songs he heard in the weekly chart countdown. Aged 14 he was hired by Billboard to work after school and during the holidays. Later he was headhunted by the record label boss Syd Nathan, who asked Stein, then barely 20, to go on the road with James Brown. "Syd wanted me to keep James out of trouble," he says. "James really liked me. He was very smart, but he was very tough with his band."

Stein co-founded Sire Records in 1966 and by then had started visiting Britain. One night in February 1967 he was in a London club called Middle Earth with Linda Keith, who was dating Keith Richards. Linda Keith told him that a friend of hers was playing - he turned out to be Jimi Hendrix. "What I most remember about that night was that Jimi took his guitar, which I knew belonged to Keith Richards, and broke it into smithereens," Stein says. The guitar did not survive the concert and nor, when she later told her boyfriend, did Linda Keith's relationship with Keith Richards.

On another trip to London Stein met a young EMI staffer, John Reid, who introduced him to his new lover, a musician named Reg Dwight.

Dwight would change his name to Elton John and became a global superstar; he and Stein remained friends. "Elton found staying in hotels annoying," Stein says, "so when he came to New York he would stay in my spare room." On Thanksgiving Day in 1974, before they were due to play Madison Square Garden, Elton and his band visited Stein's apartment with John Lennon, who was to be their special guest at the concert. "Elton was so excited because he idolised John Lennon," Stein says. Everyone ate turkey and pumpkin pie before Lennon asked for silence as he handed Elton a present - it was a gleaming cock ring.

By the mid-Seventies Sire was on its way to becoming one of the music industry's most influential record labels and gaining a reputation for championing punk and new wave - a term that Stein popularised - with acts such as the Ramones and Talking Heads.

Stein's love of British music kept him involved with the music scene across the Atlantic. In the early hours of April 28, 1981, he was flicking through the NME when he came across an article profiling a new English pop group. They seemed worth checking out, but there was a problem: they were playing in Basildon that night and Stein was in New York. "I called up at 6.30 in the morning and asked how much was the Concorde to London for that day," he says. "It was $8,000." Stein flew into Heathrow and was driven to a Basildon nightclub called Sweeneys where he saw the band play. He signed them. Depeche Mode went on to sell more than 100 million records and still fill stadiums around the world.

Two years after signing Depeche Mode, Stein received a phone call from Geoff Travis, who founded the Rough Trade record store and ran a record label of the same name. "He said, 'I have just seen this band and I am so in love with them,' " Stein says. "He then said, 'The only thing I can tell you is that I believe you will love them even more than I do.' " The band were playing in two days' time, so Stein again hopped on Concorde, this time to London, and went to the ICA in London to see the Smiths. Stein describes Morrissey, the band's singer, as "one of the greatest artists I have ever worked with", but he also writes that he "wondered if maybe Morrissey harboured a deep unrequited love for Johnny Marr". What made you write that, I ask. "I do have that feeling," he says. "I could tell. I am pretty sure of it. I could see it and to tell you the truth I felt sorry for both of them because I didn't think Johnny was gay - and he wasn't - and I could feel for Morrissey."

Stein knew he was gay since he was a teenager, but the cultural pressures of his Jewish background - which stressed the importance of marriage and children - led him to date women while also secretly having gay encounters. On his first date with Linda Adler, in early 1971, they ended up sleeping together. He later opened up to her about his sexuality and in Siren Song he describes how, on learning that her boyfriend was gay, Adler "fell into silent shock for about ten minutes ... then erupted into wails of 'No! No! No!', while punching her own head with two clenched fists". All of which makes it surprising that, later that year, the couple married and went on to have two daughters.

Stein also relates a story about a time he met a man with whom he had "the most powerful sex I'd ever experienced". His wife found out, lured the man to a hotel and told him that unless he had sex with her she would tell all of New York that he was gay. The man did what he was told and later she returned to Stein and said, "Do you know who I f***ed, Seymour? I'll give you one guess."

"Linda knew how to get back at me," Stein says. "She did it to hurt me."

Linda was murdered in 2007, bludgeoned to death by her personal assistant. In 2013 Stein's daughter, Samantha, died of brain cancer, aged 40. In his book Stein refers to himself as "the world's most absent father". Do you regret that, I ask. "I have guilt about that," he says. "I could have been a better father. I could have been a better husband, but I had no choice. The main thing in my life was music and this came first."

Stein has been in the music business for more than six decades and still travels the globe in search of the next Morrissey and the next Madonna. Madonna turns 60 next month and when I ask Stein the secret of her longevity, he looks at me as if I have lost my mind. "Isn't it obvious? She is one of the smartest and most talented people. She is very, very, very special."

Many of the artists Stein has signed are rightly recognised as very special, even geniuses, but it takes a certain gift to be able to consistently identify and champion talent. If Stein is a genius, then he is a modest one. "I don't have easily definable skills or talents," he says. "I have ears. I am a fan, I love music and always have."

Siren Song: My Life in Music by Seymour Stein is published by St Martin's Press, £22.99

43972_seymour_stein_rough_trade.jpg


Stein at Rough Trade record shop in London
JOONEY WOODWARD FOR THE TIMES
 
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gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
I see the lazytown actor who a lot of people thought was based on Morrissey,this story appeared on here a lot about ten years ago has died at 43,it was an icelandic childrens programme and was shown in the uk for years,stefan steffanson r.i.p.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
if you ask M he will say Friday mourning is about dying on a Friday.people on here look into lyrics too much and try and bend it to what they want it to be.

When songs are open to interpretation, then it is quite natural to bend the interpretation in the direction that you prefer. Interpretation is always a bit subjective.
If you prefer to think that the song is about dying on a Friday, then you will know which song to pick for your funeral ceremony in the event you happen to die on a Friday (there's 1 chance in 7). But I am certainly not wishing for this day to come soon.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
When songs are open to interpretation, then it is quite natural to bend the interpretation in the direction that you prefer. Interpretation is always a bit subjective.
If you prefer to think that the song is about dying on a Friday, then you will know which song to pick for your funeral ceremony in the event you happen to die on a Friday (there's 1 chance in 7). But I am certainly not wishing for this day to come soon.
its actually happening tomorrow,how did you know that,are you baba vanga.
 

countthree

Well-Known Member
I'm lost now. Are you suggesting that Stein was after Johnny, but Johnny rejected him? Wouldn't Marr's sexuality be presumed simply due to Angie? (Morrissey aside).

"Angel, Angel" says it all.

Who knows. Presumptions led innocents to the gallows. I'm not suggesting anything. I wonder.
 
V

vegan cro spirit 55

Guest
Who knows. Presumptions led innocents to the gallows. I'm not suggesting anything. I wonder.

Did Seymour, old gay dude, buy Moz a guitar? No:nomouth:
Did he buy DJ one? YES:hearteyes:

Analyze the above and you will find your answer. Seymour didnt just buy dudes guitars for free.:dizzy:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The guy from The The already said Johnny told him that Moz was obsessed with Johnny.
Moz's hairdresser friend is also the spitting image of Johnny, facial feature-wise not stylewise.
What is the hairdresser friends name? Is it maybe Mark?
 
V

vegan cro spirit 55

Guest
DramaJ dont get all feverish about this gay thing, just "pull" out the gay guitar from the gay guitar case and let the peeps have look FFS :lbf:


images
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hand in Glove = Moz want it in Marr. The son shines out of your behind .. Moz has called himself a son many a time

This charming Man = duh

Heaven Knows = Johnny and angie make Moz sad

How soon is Now =Moz trawls the gay clubs of Gay Manchester fearing AIDS. he feels lonely. He tries to explain it to Johnny who doesn't understand.

There is a Light = Johnny drive Moz around

Some girls = angie flat chested, spite

I won't share you = Johnny

That joke isn't funny any more = love for Johnny

The boy with the = Moz sorry for his jealously eating him up

Bigmouth = moz snapped at angie

Miserable Lie =Johnny's love for angie is a miserable lie

Panic = gay panic / aids, people know moz wants Johnny

Ask = very obvious

Girlfriend in coma =moz being mean

I know it's over = when angie married Johnny
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hand in Glove = Moz want it in Marr. The son shines out of your behind .. Moz has called himself a son many a time

This charming Man = duh

Heaven Knows = Johnny and angie make Moz sad

How soon is Now =Moz trawls the gay clubs of Gay Manchester fearing AIDS. he feels lonely. He tries to explain it to Johnny who doesn't understand.

There is a Light = Johnny drive Moz around

Some girls = angie flat chested, spite

I won't share you = Johnny

That joke isn't funny any more = love for Johnny

The boy with the = Moz sorry for his jealously eating him up

Bigmouth = moz snapped at angie

Miserable Lie =Johnny's love for angie is a miserable lie

Panic = gay panic / aids, people know moz wants Johnny

Ask = very obvious

Girlfriend in coma =moz being mean

I know it's over = when angie married Johnny

Oh brilliant, this is fun! Here are mine:

What Difference Does It Make? = Moz has penis, also Johnny too

Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want = Moz want Johnny, body and soul

Last Night I Dreamt = that Johnny Marr loved me

Well I Wonder = Does Johnny ever think of Moz in that way?

Stop Me = even though Johnny drinks a lot and has car crash, Moz still love him
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
oh come on, that all is very entertaining, but like, can we talk about suicide already

Asleep = Morrissey wants to die bexuas johnny won't asfuk him

Rubber ring = condom isn't it, moz assures Johnny he won't transmute GRID to him

Shakespeare's sister = moz is Shakespeare, this is an assault piece on angie who is always around like his little sister

Still il = moz has GRID and is ashamed / is ashamed of his gay

I started something = moz regrets coming out to Johnny (this is why the Smiths broke up, Johnny didn't want it but moz wouldn't have it)

Death of a disco dancer = moz fears GRID

TICK tock Rifke
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Last night I dreamt that Johnny Marr loved me
No light, no sound
When angies always around

Last night I felt
Johnny Marr inside me
My hope felt hid
Cause he transmit me GRID

So tell me how long
Is his big one?
And show me how long
When you're erect?
 
V

vegan cro spirit 88

Guest
1d398d2a8634c4c30003209cd7a7d1c8--the-smiths-lyrics-johnny-marr.jpg

:eyes:
:yum:
Seymours 'Private Concert' over. Macho Man DJ derparts with brand new
guitar.:lbf:
(note belt buckle:mad:)
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Hand in Glove - together we shall rule the world
What Difference...? - I like you a bit too much
I Want the One I Can't.. - - just in case it was unclear
These Things Take Time - but I'm sure you'll come round eventually
Please, Please, Please ----- - if I ask very nicely.
Boy with the Thorn ----- - I'll just have to wait a while
William, It Was ---- - trying some jealousy tactics -
Well I Wonder - - to no avail.
There is a Light --- I love you
I Know It's Over ---- though your marriage puts a spanner in the works
I Won't Share You ---- Just chuck her
I Started Something --- Oops, shit, went too far
Last Night I Dreamt ----- back to square 1.

Angel, Angel---- I'll be waiting when your tantrum is over
I Don't Mind if you Forget -- f*** off then moron
Disappointed --- f*** off some more
Break Up the Family -- It was time anyway
I Know Very Well How I. -. Come back
He Knows I'd Love to See.. - Come back
Why Don't You Find Out -- You backstabbing little shit
Billy Budd ---- Come back anyway
Speedway ---- Come back
Never-Played Symphonies -- Come back
Forgive Someone -- I know I f***ed up big time but come back
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hand in Glove - together we shall rule the world
What Difference...? - I like you a bit too much
I Want the One I Can't.. - - just in case it was unclear
These Things Take Time - but I'm sure you'll come round eventually
Please, Please, Please ----- - if I ask very nicely.
Boy with the Thorn ----- - I'll just have to wait a while
William, It Was ---- - trying some jealousy tactics -
Well I Wonder - - to no avail.
There is a Light --- I love you
I Know It's Over ---- though your marriage puts a spanner in the works
I Won't Share You ---- Just chuck her
I Started Something --- Oops, shit, went too far
Last Night I Dreamt ----- back to square 1.

Angel, Angel---- I'll be waiting when your tantrum is over
I Don't Mind if you Forget -- f*** off then moron
Disappointed --- f*** off some more
Break Up the Family -- It was time anyway
I Know Very Well How I. -. Come back
He Knows I'd Love to See.. - Come back
Why Don't You Find Out -- You backstabbing little shit
Billy Budd ---- Come back anyway
Speedway ---- Come back
Never-Played Symphonies -- Come back
Forgive Someone -- Come back

Awww, all those "Come Backs" almost made me cry! And geez, that picture VC posted - how cute was Johnny Marr??!!
 
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