What can I say Morrissey is like, genuinely? I’ve never been asked to sum him up. Because there was so much emphasis placed on the differences between Morrissey and myself, most people haven’t stopped to wonder what it was that made us so close. The thing that brought us really close together is the essence of why he lives his life and why I live my life. And that is that without what we consider to be the art of pop music and pop culture, life doesn’t make any sense. And that understanding: He needed it like I needed it. It was a pretty serious, deep need. It wasn’t just the need to escape our social situation, because underneath it all, one of the things that makes us the same is that we’re both incredibly sensitive. There was this serious burden with serious mental problems that were taken care of by records.
In the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll equation, rock ‘n’ roll has always eclipsed the other two for you. And that applies to Morrissey as well.
I guess I’m being flowery about it, but as kids we both felt absolutely crazy until we discovered pop music, and we’re not alone in it. And I guess that’s why people can relate to us. People think that I’m the antithesis of Morrissey. If that’s the thing they relate to me for, well, they’re wrong. Maybe it’s just my aesthetic that they don’t truck with; and I’m cool with that, ‘cause I don’t truck with theirs, either. The thing that they get from him, he got from me as well, and I get from him. As people, I was probably as dysfunctional in my own way as he was until I immersed myself in pop culture. The thing about the two of us is we heard and saw things in records that weren’t even there.
What kinds of things did you imagine or find in records?
Worlds. When he met me, he knew we were different in the way we expressed ourselves, but the most important thing to him spiritually was the most important thing to me spiritually. You can’t be that close with someone for that length of time and go through what we went through on a minute-by-minute basis without having the ultimate connection. I know it sounds very poetic, but that’s what kept us together. Only he and I know that something like a fight or a difference in lifestyles or court cases or who said what in the press about who, or what fans might say, is pretty small change compared to the connection we have. It’s very deep. In short, there’s a very big part of him that I understand. And he knows it.
To condense all that flowery shit and get to the point—it’s not your point, but whatever, right?—he’s got a great voice. He invented things in pop music. Brought things into pop music after 25 years of all kinds of stuff being there. Aesthetically, he’s a true innovator. What an innovator is, to me, is someone who can bring together what on the face of things seem like totally disparate elements, put them through their own funnel and then present the thing that is identifiably his in a new genre. And the Smiths sleeves are the perfect example. You see something that looks like a Smiths sleeve? It’s a Morrissey sleeve. You try to tell someone who can’t see what those elements are and they would think you were nuts. You’ve got film stars, sports stars, some kind of graphic. Those things should never work together, but they did. That’s what Miles Davis did.