Saturday, 21 April 2007

Haircuts and Action Men

Over the next couple of weeks, we discussed the bands image.

Although I used the term “we”, It was made clear that The Smiths were S&J only. That any contracts would reflect this, and I would assume the role of a more traditional bass player.

It was odd to suddenly be a "band member", and not leader, but I took into consideration the fact that I'd had no success with any of my bands, so maybe it wouldnt be a bad idea to let someone else have a go.

S&J told me to buy some bowling shirts, turn up at a house near Fridays nightclub to get my hair cut, and that there was a strong possibility the band would project a gay image, more pretty boy than activist AKA Tom Robinson.

This last statement seems to have caused more hostility from Smiths fans, than anything else Ive recollected. For the life of me I cant understand why:

Im not judging or commenting on Stephens sexuality, Johny obviously isn’t gay, and Mike wasn’t on the scene yet. This has to be viewed in the context of a new band formation, where all sorts of ideas are placed on the table. At that time, the first single was going to be “boy for birthday”, and the band was going to have a gay identity. Weeks later it was never mentioned again.

I don’t really want to state arguments and counter arguments that have been voiced both by the Smiths and their fans at this point, as I really just want to narrate the first 3-4 months.
I will present my viewpoints as a closing piece.

I went to buy my shirts from the old Army surplus store on London Rd. They had huge boxfuls of 60’s bowling shirts, I made my choice and I had my shirts. This store has long since gone, replaced by the Malmaison hotel.

Above this shop was The Dolls Hospital, an amazing place lined with plastic body parts, a place where my Action Men turned up, when their injuries were beyond domestic repair, at a time when toys weren’t disposable.

The next event was getting my hair cut, I picked Stephen up, and he directed me through various gestures to an old house on Paletine Rd, fairly close to Fridays. Johny was already there.
The three of us had our hair cut in the flat top style, that stayed with the band for quite a while.
I’ve been told John Moss was there, I cant remember him, Ive seen him on TV, but he doesn’t look familiar. I do remember a guy with heavy makeup, maybe this was him. There was a photographer who took shots of us outside and inside the house, he later turned up at rehearsals for more shots, the last I saw of him was at the Ritz.

I only visited this location once, and we had stopped rehearsing in Bowden and had moved on to Decibelle.


celibate said...

Hi Dale

1 questin

the man with heavy make up, could that have been James Maker?

and what's his part in the early Smiths days?
Or was it just an impulsive idea of Morrissey
[btw his name is steven, not stephen, mr Street first name is]
to put some extra stagepresentation
with James on the tambourine at
yer first gig?

thanks in advance,also for writing
down your story concerning the Smiths

greetings from the Netherlands

Steven said...

Hello there Dale. I have discovered this site through my old copy of Mojo magazine, a Smiths special from a few years back.

I have actually seen you being interviewed on some documentary or other about The Smiths.

Like many I suspect out there, even though there are hundreds of bands for us to fall in love with, The Smiths are THE group! End of discussion! Ha ha.

So since you were actually there and part of it, we can only carry the utmost respect for you. However, I am sure I am right when I say it is JohnNy (with two N's) and SteVen Patrick Morrissey. I should know for I am also Steven with a V. Neither Moz nor I are Step Hen's (as I refer to them).

I suppose if I was a somewhat cliched Morrissey fan, I would suggest you should be 'severely spanked with a wet plimpsole';
but I'm I won't.