On the week, music legend Morrissey released his new studio album, California Son, manages to scoop a rare exclusive interview with the musical monolith.

A collection of cover songs, the album contains a mixture of tracks from the past that Morrissey has reimagined and made his own. From Joni Mitchell’s Don’t Interrupt The Sorrow, and Roy Orbison’s It’s Over, to Bob Dylan’s Only a Pawn in Their Game, Morrissey has traversed the landscapes of several of his favourite songs, pulling them into modern limelight and presenting them to a new generation of listeners.

Morrissey’ tells Fiona Dodwell “I’ve lived with these songs for … well, many years. There are some songs that you cannot outgrow … and there’s nothing you can do about it. You might leave them alone for ten years, but you drift back. You might turn your back on certain artists and believe that’s the end of it, but once something is triggered within you, you just can’t let go. And here they are now … providing the most proud musical achievement of my life! How very funny.”

“I am nothing but music, and it dominates every hour of my life, and I’ve been this way since I was 6 years old. I cannot change, unfortunately. So, given the length of that time, you can imagine I’ve listened very attentively to a wide range of just about everything. It would be easy for me to compile a covers album of purely folk songs, of Tamla Motown songs, of historic Manchester pop songs, and so on. I am constantly writing lists.”

On his recent residency on Broadway he continued, “I loved it, and I was surprised by how every night seemed completely different when, really, you might imagine yourself trotting out a choreographed Hamlet night after night. But, no. It was one of the most enjoyable live runs I’ve ever experienced. I like the idea of 7 nights in Paris, 7 nights in Berlin, 7 nights in Tel-Aviv. England is presently impossible because as soon as I’d announce one concert The Guardian would start chasing my mother around Marks and Spencer’s. It’s not pleasant.”

On future plans Morrissey explains “We have recorded a new studio album, but when it’s released depends upon how much breathing space is allowed California Son. So, anything could happen… and anything usually does happen. It’s an album of 12 original songs, so is, in its way, the follow-up to Low In High School. We recorded it in France once again, and it’s fantastic. I would imagine a January release, but I don’t mind if it’s later.”

Listening to California Son, it’s impossible not to be impressed by how he has managed to tackle the work of some of the most esteemed songwriters and voices of the 20th century, and made them so authentically his own. After all his years in the industry, he still somehow manages to breathe fresh air into his projects, resulting in original and engaging art that is impossible to dismiss.

The negative stories from certain presses march on. Try as they might to defeat him, Morrissey is going nowhere. He has earned his place in music history as the man who stole the hearts of an 80s generation and he has carried them with him, through the years, to new audiences across the globe.
He continues to be loved and his music is embraced by music fans to this day.