Well, this is technically a Smiths reunion even if Morrissey and Johnny Marr, the two creative linchpins of the band, aren’t involved. After The Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce teased a collaboration between his former bandmate, bassist Andy Rourke, and Craig Gannon, the second guitarist who joined the band for a hot minute in 1986, the trio announced the “Classically Smiths” tour on Monday morning. The three former Smiths will be joined by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, who played on New Order’s Music Complete album
Classically Smiths shows will feature Smiths songs, but without Morrissey waving gladioli in the air or Marr’s inventive guitar playing.
“There’ll be Smiths classics in the set, but I can’t wait to play the songs that have never been heard live before,” Joyce told Manchester Evening News. “With the addition of an orchestra, it will sound as totally unique as it will immense. I’m really looking forward to fans being able to hear the songs in a way they’ve never been heard before, either on record or live. On the stage, or out front, this is going to be quite an experience for us all.”
“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” “Oscillate Wildy,” “Shoplifters Of The World Unite,” and “Girlfriend in a Coma” are just some of the old classics that will be reimagined. Although listening to Smiths songs without the people mostly responsible for their aesthetic is a hard sell, perhaps this is the preferred way to take in the old classics as Morrissey has become more comfortable voicing his hard right views in his old age.
Marr and Morrissey haven’t commented yet, but given the extensive space Moz devoted to roasting Joyce and his lawsuit in his Autobiography, we can be certain he’s crafting a particularly scathing statement.
Classically Smiths will play the following three dates before announcing a full UK tour later in 2018. There’s no word on if the collaboration will cross the pond and play in the U.S:
JUNE 28 – Manchester, O2 Apollo
JUNE 29 – London, O2 Academy, Brixton
JULY 2 – Edinburgh, Usher
UPDATE: Shortly after this post went live, Andy Rourke’s rep reached out to Spin and said that his client had not yet signed on to the shows.
“The production company Bad Projections had HOPED Andy Rourke would be a part of the project,” Rourke’s rep said, “but was at no time confirmed and nothing was ever approved by Andy Rourke or team.”
This conflicts with a quote in the Manchester Evening News that reads as follows:
Andy Rourke said: “To have been there the first time round and seen it first hand, and to still be such a big fan of The Smiths today, I am both thrilled and excited to be involved in Classically Smiths.
According to Rourke’s rep, “that’s a manufactured quote. He actually never said that.”
UPDATE: Andy Rourke has released a more detailed statement distancing himself from the Classically Smiths shows:
“At no point in time did Andy Rourke agree to participate or otherwise license or authorize the use of his name, likeness or any personal quotes in any manner in connection with this Classically Smiths project. The parties involved were advised of this on multiple occasions prior to them going to press. A press conference and press release were scheduled and serviced to the media without Andy Rourke’s or his team’s knowledge or approval. Any quotes by Andy Rourke that were attributed in any press materials in regards to the Classically Smiths project were not provided, authorized or otherwise approved by him or his representatives.”
“I am deeply saddened that during the week of the death of my dear friend Dolores O’Riordan, that false statements are made on my behalf. At no time did I give my consent for anyone in connection with this Classically Smiths project to act on my behalf or my name and nothing was ever confirmed, approved or contracted by me or my team.” Andy Rourke
We’ve reached out to Mike Joyce and Bad Production Ltd, the production company orchestrating the shows, for comment.