Morrissey gives Billboard updates on his latest projects, plus unfiltered opinions on everyone from Kirk Douglas to Sarah Palin
Morrissey hasn't released an album in three years -- in fact, he's not even signed to a label, and has no home for his latest crop of songs. Yet the 53-year-old Britpop godfather has continued to make international headlines this year, often just for being himself.
Whether he's denying bogus reports of his early retirement, rescuing damsels in distress at New York bookstores, or swatting away another round of Smiths reunion rumors, Morrissey still spellbinds his die-hard fans with every witty word. On Friday night (Oct. 5), he'll return to setting those words to music when he kicks off a 33-date U.S. tour in Boston.
Before he begins belting out his melancholy classics (and dodging swooning stage jumpers) across the country, Morrissey allowed Billboard to pick his brain via email, and he revealed his unfiltered opinion on everyone from the Ramones to Hillary Clinton. Read the entire transcript below, and watch his performance from last night's episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."
Billboard: We're still awaiting the follow-up to 2009's 'Years of Refusal,' which you've said won't be released without label support. Are you holding fast to that, or have you started to consider alternate methods of distribution?
Morrissey: I've held fast, but I now accept that the newer songs - which actually aren't that new anymore - will only ever exist in the YouTube domain. Do I see myself receiving a grown-up recording offer from a label of stature and power? No. I have a better chance of being hit by lightning.
This is one of the few times in your career that you've embarked on a tour without a new album to promote. Why hit the road now?
Because a lot of people like me.
With each new tour, you dust off a few more gems from your catalog. Are there any songs from back in your day that are completely untouchable?
Yes, because those ideas developed whilst I was still a teenager, and ... nobody wants to be a nightmare 53-year old teenager ... oddly enough.
Your fans are known for running on stage and hugging you during your concerts. Which living artist, if any, would you rush the stage to embrace?
Kirk Douglas. And if you think I'm joking, I'm not.
Erroneous reports of your retirement surfaced earlier this year. Was your reaction to these rumors one of amusement or insult?
I'm no stranger to insults, so I'm unlikely to fall back in a tizzy. Thankfully, I often have no idea what people are prattling on about.
One piece of recent fact that was widely reported was that you helped an elderly woman who collapsed in New York's Strand bookstore in September. Will you make a habit out of being a good Samaritan?
The woman had a mild stroke. That was obvious. I held her hand and spoke to her very gently. No one else seemed interested in helping her. I'd do the same for anyone ... except Sarah Palin, of course.