Michael Imperioli (Christopher from The Sopranos) waxes lyrical about The Smiths Rubber Ring and Morrissey

From The Quietus imperious Baker's Dozen regular column where various celebs and the like choose their 13 favourite/ important/ influential songs. (Some great choices btw)


The Smiths – 'Rubber Ring'
That's the first song I heard of theirs. It was, I guess, 1985 and I was at a friend's apartment New York and he had the big 12” 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side', but he played the B-side first, which was 'Rubber Ring' and it ran right into 'Asleep'. I had never heard of The Smiths, and it was one of those experiences where that was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment in my life. Like, there couldn't have been another song that would have been programmed to my brain waves better. I didn't know what it was, but it just blew my mind. The sound, the guitar, and Morrissey's voice and his lyrics, then it went into 'Asleep', which really shocked me and surprised me. That just began my love for the band. Shortly after that, they released The Queen Is Dead. I started just getting all their records, their first album, and Meat Is Murder.

Then they came to New York in '86 on The Queen Is Dead tour. It was an outdoor concert. They used to have concerts on the West Side Pier around 42nd Street, 50th Street, and that was a really big deal, seeing them live. It was their last tour, and I'll never forget it. I mean, I've seen Morrissey many times and loved it every time, but there was something very special about seeing seeing The Smiths play together.

But that song is so reflective of this, today, what we're doing: "Don't forget the songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life/Yes, you're older now and you're a clever swine, but they were the only ones who ever stood by you..." In many ways that's very true and I think Morrissey's been very loyal to that, in reuniting the New York Dolls, and he wrote a book about them before he was even in a band. Having that kind of allegiance and loyalty and respect towards the artists that really were there for you. Especially because a lot of people really get into music in adolescence, which is always such a difficult time. People try to figure out what it means to be an adult, and all those challenges of feeling awkward and feeling inadequate, and music is often the one friend you have. The most loyal friend you have. 'Rubber Ring' really expresses that. It's got something in common with the dynamic in the Carpenters and Velvet Underground songs, and then you go to 'Paint A Vulgar Picture', which is another I should have had on this list, but I only wanted to do one for each artist.

What have you made of his political stance in recent years?

Well, I know several of the guys in his band, especially Gustavo Manzur, his keyboardist who writes some of the songs now with Morrissey. I've never met Morrissey, I don't know him, but they're some of the greatest guys and smartest guys and lovely guys, Gustavo especially, and they told me Morrissey is not a racist. First of all, he's just too smart to be a racist. Racism comes with ignorance. I think a lot of what he says gets taken out of context. A lot of what he says is about hypocrisy, and religious hypocrisy of talking about kindness everything being sacred, and then slaughtering animals, and that's always been a cause of his. The party that he was affiliating himself with in England (For Britain), I don't know a lot about it, but seems there's some dodgy stuff there, although I don't know the extent or the details. I would love to hear more just from him, because he definitely is a contrarian and has always been, but he hates Donald Trump. He's not Anti-Semitic; he wrote a song about Israel. I can't imagine him being a racist. But there's been a lot of reaction from people, that's for sure. I'd love to have a conversation with him some day, just to see, but I really trust his bandmates, because they're great human beings and I think they understand where he's coming from. I think there's more to the story than what's been headlined and put into bullet points and taken out of context. I'm withholding my judgement until there's more evidence.

But The Smiths, if you were young, as I was at the age when I heard them, felt very important. I always felt like an outsider, feeling that kind of alienation, in a place where anything like that is considered different, that's often a difficult path. I couldn't wait to get away from the place I grew up in to be in the city and to be around artists. The Smiths were a real beacon of hope during those times. I just loved the music, and I still do.
 

Comments

F

Fat Tony

Guest
This is lovely to read. He's a great actor and The Sopranos is just one of the best TV shows ever. Glad to hear him defend Morrissey and take a much more sensible position, as opposed to the reactionary pile-on.

It's disappointing that any mention of Morrissey in the music press immediately goes to politics and can we get somebody to condemn him. It would be nice if somebody actually discussed his music, there's so much to contradict and complicate his statements & rantings within the songs.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><>
I've never met Morrissey, I don't know him, but they're some of the greatest guys and smartest guys and lovely guys, Gustavo especially, and they told me Morrissey is not a racist. First of all, he's just too smart to be a racist. Racism comes with ignorance. I think a lot of what he says gets taken out of context. A lot of what he says is about hypocrisy, and religious hypocrisy of talking about kindness everything being sacred, and then slaughtering animals, and that's always been a cause of his.”

“....but I really trust his bandmates, because they're great human beings and I think they understand where he's coming from. I think there's more to the story than what's been headlined and put into bullet points and taken out of context.”



Michael sounds like a very intelligent person.

:cool:



for all the clever swines .....

 
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joe frady

Vile Refusenik
That was wonderful. What a dude. Can we get this on a T-shirt? ;)

Pretty great 'How í popped my Smiths cherry' story. And first time í've heard them compared with The Carpenters & The Velvet Underground. Sweet.

Almost as enjoyable as the reading, is the knowledge that the Quietus crowd must have hated it, especially Simon Price doing the interview; this is the guy who quite seriously stated that Morrissey's usage of an Old English font variant meant that he was categorically a Skrewdriver headbanger neo-nazi...

.
 

dotmatrix522

Hey, how’s it going?
That’s a really good and nuanced answer. (Michael thanks “Steven P. Morrissey” in the acknowledgments page of his 2018 novel, The Perfume Burned His Eyes.)
 

SweetnTenderYorkshireman

Well-Known Member
Lovely piece, really respect and like Michael, his work in The Sopranos was incredible, and he’s a music nerd too, think he wrote a novel involving Lou Reed recently actually.

interesting to note, he mentions how he trusts Morrissey’s band mates judgement, And none of previous band mates have really brought it up something many people have ignored,perhaps they are scared of being sued, but I think that overall speaks positively on Morrissey
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This thread is a classic example of how utterly brainwashed a lot of people on this site are. You just know if Imperioli had slagged Moz off for his politics the very same people would be saying he's a useless actor and the Sopranos was a shit show.

And then throwing in the classic "And who care what he thinks anyway?" Utterly brainwashed.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
This thread is a classic example of how utterly brainwashed a lot of people on this site are. You just know if Imperioli had slagged Moz off for his politics the very same people would be saying he's a useless actor and the Sopranos was a shit show.

And then throwing in the classic "And who care what he thinks anyway?" Utterly brainwashed.
It's a classic example of something else, surely: of fans, on a fan site, reading something positive about the artist they are fans of, for a change - from someone who appears to have the intelligence to have thought his position through, whether you agree with it or not.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I've never met Morrissey, I don't know him, but they're some of the greatest guys and smartest guys and lovely guys, Gustavo especially, and they told me Morrissey is not a racist. First of all, he's just too smart to be a racist. Racism comes with ignorance. I think a lot of what he says gets taken out of context. A lot of what he says is about hypocrisy, and religious hypocrisy of talking about kindness everything being sacred, and then slaughtering animals, and that's always been a cause of his.”

“....but I really trust his bandmates, because they're great human beings and I think they understand where he's coming from. I think there's more to the story than what's been headlined and put into bullet points and taken out of context.”



Michael sounds like a very intelligent person.

:cool:



for all the clever swines .....

Fabulous.

He's definitely been taken out of context & editorialised to hell. Plus managing to like the single most ridiculous politician in British history.

What I really don't understand is why Moz has let his image slide to this extent? He does absolutely nothing to rescue himself & Central makes it worse.

Anyone else would have hired an army of prs by now.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
What a fabulous actor and director. Nice to read a well considered literate interview. Michael sounds like a great guy. Moz should write a song called 'Christopher! You sat on Cosette!'.
p.s. the Sopranos episode where his friends confront him about his drug addiction was priceless.

 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
This thread is a classic example of how utterly brainwashed a lot of people on this site are. You just know if Imperioli had slagged Moz off for his politics the very same people would be saying he's a useless actor and the Sopranos was a shit show.

And then throwing in the classic "And who care what he thinks anyway?" Utterly brainwashed.
You are wrong. Nothing changes the fact that Michael is a great actor and the fact that The Sopranos was excellent and changed TV forever. Same as nothing Moz says now can change the fact that all The Smiths and most of the Moz Solo albums were brilliant.
I'm glad he likes The Smiths/Moz but it's not a factor in liking/respecting him or his work.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Fabulous.

He's definitely been taken out of context & editorialised to hell. Plus managing to like the single most ridiculous politician in British history.

What I really don't understand is why Moz has let his image slide to this extent? He does absolutely nothing to rescue himself & Central makes it worse.

Anyone else would have hired an army of prs by now.
Moz doesn't care what anyone thinks. I wonder if secretly/subconsciously he wants to derail himself. But ultimately he can't as the music is still great.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><>
What I really don't understand is why Moz has let his image slide to this extent? He does absolutely nothing to rescue himself
& Central makes it worse.

Anyone else would have hired an army of prs by now.

This feeling inside me could never deny me
The right to be wrong if I choose
And this pleasure I get
From say winning a bet
Is to lose ‘


:cool:
 

docinwestchester

Well-Known Member
His complete baker's dozen list:
Chuck Berry – 'Carol'
Rosie And The Originals – 'Angel Baby'
The Velvet Underground – 'New Age'
The Partridge Family – 'I Think I Love You'
The Carpenters – 'Superstar'
Janis Ian – 'Stars' ("I saw this song on a list of Morrissey's favourite songs, which is interesting because he's one of my favourites.")
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – 'Danger Bird'
New York Dolls – 'Jet Boy'
The Smiths – 'Rubber Ring'
Miracle Legion – 'Giant Transatlantic Trunk Call'
Cat Power – 'Nude As The News'
Big Thief – 'Not'
My Bloody Valentine – 'Sometimes'

I really liked this part about leaving a show after the opening act blew him away:

"Now, Dinosaur Jr is a band I've always loved, and still value, and will go to see them every chance I can, and I get all the records. But when My Bloody Valentine was finished, I had to leave because it had taken everything out of me. I don't go to see live bands to be passive. It's a very active experience. I don't like to sit during rock shows. I like to be on the floor, shoulder-to-shoulder with people. I think it's that's how it's meant to be heard, rock. But it takes energy, especially a band like Dinosaur Jr. I was just sapped of every ounce of energy after seeing My Bloody Valentine that I had to leave - I left in an amazing state. I was very ecstatic. But I couldn't experience any more music, or anything at that point. I had to just digest, and sit with what just happened."
 

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