30 years. Yes, it’s been 30 years since The Smiths released “The Queen is Dead” on the 16th of June 1986, through Rough Trade Records, an album that many of us claim to be their best, although Johnny Marr and Morrissey were noted as saying that Strangeways, Here We Come was preferred. Either way, in lead up to celebrations that are taking place in Melbourne this Friday evening at the Corner Hotel, we asked Jesse Locke, JMS Harrison and Gordan Holland from The Naysayers, who will be playing some of their favourite The Smiths songs, a few questions and their responses had us all The Smiths wiser.
3 words to describe “The Queen is Dead”?
Jesse Locke: England, Cheeky, Sincere.
J M S Harrison: Smart. Silly. Sarcastic.
(Gordan Holland) The Naysayers: Pathos, Loneliness, Celebration
Share with us an interesting fact you have about the album?
Jess Locke: I don’t know any interesting facts… I could google it now but then I would be cheating.
J M S Harrison: Johnny Marr apparently hated Morrissey’s lyrics to Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others.
(Gordan Holland) The Naysayers: The intro to the album is a sample from the 1962 Movie “The L Shaped Room”. One of those British “kitchen sink” dramas Morrissey is so fond of.
In your opinion, why do you think “The Queen is Dead” topped the NME Best Albums of all time”?
Jess Locke: Probably because it’s cheeky and has lots of good guitar bits.
J M S Harrison: It’s no surprise. It has pop and sadness combined to perfection. It’s also the perfect tracklisting
(Gordan Holland) The Naysayers: It was everything The Smiths always threatened to be. The high, the low, the experience. It was all there and the songs were second to none.
If there was one song by The Smiths to sum you/band up, what would it be and why?
J M S Harrison: At the moment probably “This Night Has Opened My Eyes”. Because it’s been floating around my head almost non stop for a couple of weeks.
Jess Locke: Heaven knows I’m miserable now… Because I was looking for a job and then I found a job and it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
(Gordan Holland) The Naysayers: It’s hard to choose but I think “This Charming Man” sums up what we do pretty well, at least musically. We like to write songs with several layers to them, not just straightforward chord progressions. The Smiths didn’t have vocal harmonies very often (if it all?) but they did layer instruments and and melodies over the top of one another really well, which is something we’re always trying to do.
What is the best cover of The Smiths song you have heard?
Jess Locke: We watched a bunch on YouTube and this one is pretty good.
J M S Harrison: Probably Deftones cover of Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.
The Naysayers: I’ve always liked Noel Gallagher’s version of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. The cover pairs the song back to a vocal, acoustic guitars, brushed drums and a string section really shows it for the piece of genius it is, his voice manages to sound both defeated and triumphant at the same time which is something he does pretty well actually.
On a side note I’ve also been listening to the album Mexrrissey which is a tribute to Morrissey by a variety of Mexican musicians done in their own style. Pretty awesome stuff, check out Suedehead.
THE SMITHS TRIBUTE – “The Queen Is Dead” 30th Anniversary Show, @ Corner Hotel
ft. ASH NAYLOR, CRIMSONETTES, JESS LOCKE, PLAGIARISM, SEAN WHELAN, J M S HARRISON, JULES SHEDDON, PHIA, THE NAYSAYERS, JAMIE HAY, ANNA CORDELL, HOLLIE JOYCE, HOSPITAL, LUKE SEYMOUR+ JAY PENAFLOR