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Mark E. Nevin

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Name Mark E. Nevin
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Nevin shared the following via his Facebook page (2011):

"Here is an old picture from my kitchen in 1991 (around the time we did Kill Uncle) with Peter Hogg, Kirsty MacColl, me and Morrissey - we went out to see Suede doing one of their first gigs after this - I think it was a the White Horse in Camden (maybe not??) - not sure of the name of the pub - it might be flats now - it was in Camden anyway.​"

Speaking to The Strange Brew in 2012, Nevin answered:

Moving onto your work with Morrissey I understand you sent tapes over to him. Was it difficult handing over the reigns for someone else to flesh the songs out with lyrics?

We were making a Morrissey record so it was for him. The songs that I have written with Morrissey and Kirsty I felt very different about compared to the songs I have written the lyrics to. The songs I’ve written lyrics for I feel as my songs. The others I co-wrote. When someone says “I love “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Some Day” ” I think “Yeah, he’s great, isn’t he Morrissey!”. I feel weird in a way taking praise for it whereas songs I written myself I feel “That’s my song there.” I don’t have the same emotional connection to them. I’m very proud, particularly the Kirsty ones that we did, but I feel like I am the co-writer and they’re the boss, you know?

“Kill Uncle” is one of the oldest cds I’ve got and although critically it’s not seen as one of the best Morrissey records I’ve always had a particular fondest for it. It’s quite a short album and great songs that are very Morrissey, like “There’s A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends” and “Sing Your Life”.

It’s funny that people knocked that album and were really vicious about it. The Melody Maker review said it was “so bad that it could only be an act of spite.” I felt “Well, that’s a bit strong, isn’t it?!” But it’s the same as Sweetmouth, that people have a real fondness for it. I really like it. It’s got pathos that some of the records Morrissey made after didn’t have. They feel a little one dimensional in comparison. One of the things that I feel about Johnny Marr’s songs that he wrote with Morrissey is that they had that pathos, something really heartwrenching about the guitar chords and the harmony that complimented the lyrics so prefectly. To me that’s the last record, “Kill Uncle”, that he did that had that quality. After that it became obvious or something.

Yes, he has his sound now and sticks with it.

The other thing is that the demos that we did were much more guitar based. When Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley produced them they took a lot of the guts out of the tracks. The guitars are thin and they put pianos in, that Madness type piano thing. When we did the songs that are not on that album “Pregnant for the last Time” and “My Love Life” they were much more like the demos. We did them very quickly; we had a day or two in the studio. They sound much more like what I wanted “Kill Uncle” to sound like. Those are the ones that people like more. But strangely enough I’m not credited on those records. They got the credits wrong. “Pregnant For The Last Time” and “My Love Life” lists guitars by Boz Boorer and Alan Whyte. Alan wasn’t on either and I was on both. But that was why we got Mick Ronson in. It was my suggestion. I wanted a guitar player to produce it, to crank up the guitars. Mick Ronson came in and did the “Your Arsenal” album and featured the guitars more. Everybody went “Oh, it’s much better. They’ve got rid of Mark Nevin.” I though “That’s unfair!” (Laughs) I finally get it the way I want it and I got criticised. I loved those Mick Ronson records and the tours in the mid-70s when he came to Bristol which was where I was living at the time. There was a little red flexi disc that came with the programme. It had little clips of the album and him talking between them. I always remember at the end he goes: (adopts Northern accent) “It’s like when you’re a teenager and you’re in love and it goes wrong and breaks up. It’s like the end of the world!” The riff from “Slaughter on10th Avenue” comes in. When I worked with him on the Morrissey record I said to him “I loved that red flexi disc that you gave away on that tour.” Every now and then someone would go “It’s the end of the world! End of the world!” (Laughs)

“Your Arsenal” still has a couple of your songs on it.

Originally I was going to do the whole album. I was going through these old cassettes I have yesterday that has Morrissey’s handwriting “Kill Auntie” which was what he were calling the next album. “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” and “You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side” are on there but what happened was that I didn’t go on tour with him and he went off. I was sending tapes to him and he was sending letters back saying “Great, we’ve nearly got the whole album now.” So he was working on the songs in hotel rooms around the world. One day Boz came round and said can I go through the songs because Morrissey wanted to use the live band on the record. Boz had a cassette, with those two tracks on it and loads of others. He’d changed his mind and decided to ask them to write some tracks. That’s how that started. I felt “Aw god, he could have said something.” I rang him up. Usually when you ring Morrissey up he doesn’t answer the phone or in those days it would go to a fax line. But for some strange reason he picked up. I said “I don’t understand. Boz has come round and it’s only got two of my songs on.” He didn’t really like it. He doesn’t really do confrontation or know what to say.

David Bowie covered “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” for “Black Tie, White Noise”. It must have been one hell of a moment.

Yes, it was. It was just unbelievable. I remember how I found out about it. It was with Kirsty in Los Angeles. We were out there doing a gig. We were staying at Dave Stewart’s studio because Steve Lillywhite was producing Seal there. We were hanging out, it was all very LA! I remember Wendy and Lisa from Prince’s band came round for breakfast one day. I thought “This is it. I’m living the dream!” (Laughs) Morrissey was in town playing a gig. We went over to the hotel where they were and were hanging out with them. Alan Whyte turned to me “Oh, I’ve got some news for you. David Bowie’s going to do your song.” I went “This a wind-up.” He said “No. He’s going to do “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday.” He’s already recorded it. I couldn’t believe it, as you can imagine I was very excited.

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