Reporting Scott T. Sterling
Avant-garde art-rockers Deerhunter are still garnering buzz for their bizarre performance this week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, featuring lead singer Bradford Cox sporting lipstick, a black wig and what appeared to be two severed fingers (he later revealed he was playing a new onstage character known as “Connie Lungpin”). Performing the title track from their upcoming album, Monomania, Cox ended the performance by strolling offstage and out of the studio, ending up at the elevators next to a large sign of the show’s logo.
In a freewheeling new interview with Buzzfeed, Cox took every opportunity to bash Morrissey and the Smiths, citing a letter a young Morrissey wrote to British music magazine Melody Maker back in 1976 bashing the Ramones as evidence.
“If I ever meet that guy… whatever!” Cox seethed in the interview. “He makes me want to wear fur [referencing Moz's very strict vegetarian lifestyle]. There are Smiths tunes that I find more acceptable than others, but I’d rather just not hear any of them. Frankly, all it took was that one criticism of The Ramones to permanently… you know, if you want to be on that side of the fence, cool.
“This is not an article about Morrissey, as much as he’d like it to be,” he continued, “as much as I’m allowing him to permeate the air with his foul and fey musk. His weird, lethargic perfumes.”
Even as the interviewer attempted to shift his questions towards the band’s Fallon performance and stage shows, Cox took the opportunity to light into the former Smiths frontman yet again.
“So many people try to look so cool, like Morrissey, for example. Or he even refuses to go on TV because he can’t control the world, like that Kimmel thing. Because he doesn’t agree with someone else, everybody else has to accommodate him,” he ranted, referencing the “Meat is Murder” singer recently cancelling a scheduled performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in protest of the show featuring the cast of Duck Dynasty on the same night. “God, Morrissey, honestly! The idea that you’re so entitled.”
“The Smiths wrote complaint slips that nobody read. Morrissey’s influence is so crippling that it could even deteriorate the flower of modern creative thought,” Cox added later in the interview. “It’s like a pungent death shroud over the future and the past.”
While discussing the new Deerhunter album, Cox again lit into Morrissey and the Smiths, saying, “It’s definitely better than anything The Smiths ever did. It might not be as good as Vauxhall & I, or whatever the f*** that s*** is. I like Johnny Marr’s guitar playing occasionally. I like the rhythm section of The Smiths better than any other part of that band.”
Cox would later admit that Smiths single “This Charming Man” is “pretty good,” except for Morrissey’s “terrible vocals.”
He ends the interview by wondering, “Can you just imagine The Smiths fronted by Darby Crash [of The Germs]? It might sound a little bit like Deerhunter. I mean, not to say I sound like Darby Crash,” Cox said in reference to the late lead singer of the notorious ’70s L.A. punk band.
“It’s such a good idea,” chimed in drummer Moses Archuleta, “I’m texting Goldenvoice right now, next year’s Coachella has got it,” with Cox joining in on the joke: “A Darby Crash hologram fronting the rhythm section of the Smiths.”