A whole bunch of Morrissey fans were happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows they're miserable now. On Nov. 5, the former Smiths frontman, born Stephen Patrick Morrissey, was scheduled to play Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles.
The crowd was gathered. The drinks were flowing. The excitement was palpable.
"Moz! Moz! Moz! Moz!"
About an hour after Morrissey was scheduled to take the stage, someone announced over the PA that it was cold, the stage heaters weren't working, and Moz was going to reschedule the concert.
Um ... what? The dude's from Manchester, England, which isn't exactly balmy. The 58-year-old isn't the low-body-fat kid of his youth, so he has some "personal insulation." He knew he was performing at an outdoor venue in November. What kind of rock star bullshittery is this?
It was in the high '40s and his audience wasn't sitting under stage lights, yet they were willing to suffer to hear his songs of suffering. Does the gloom rocker not own a freakin' sweater?
Hey, I get it. Rock stars like to work with unbuttoned shirts or no shirts at all, but he's already there—right there at the venue!—and he has a big crowd gathered to see him, people who drove to get there, people who parked, walked to the amphitheater, bought some drinks, settled into their $55 to $85 seats, and were waiting for Morrissey to perform. And waiting. And waiting.
Social media lit up with disappointment. Expletives flew. One of my favorite postings was from Jen Blatz, who wrote on Twitter, "Fuck that drama queen. Never again. Rot in hell," and posted a gif that showed her mouthing "fuck you" with the stage in the background while she flipped-off the camera as the videographer "heh-hehed" in the background. I'd be pissed too. Blatz, a designer from Dallas, had travelled from Texas to see Moz.
At least one local man, Manuel Barba, a marriage and family therapist with SLO County and part time KCBX DJ, had some mocking fun with the cancelation, starting an online fundraising campaign—gofundme.com/help-buy-morrissey-a-sweater—that as of Nov. 8 had only $5 towards its $200 goal.
"Are you truly disappointed with Morrissey's lack of regard?" Barba asked. "Well you're not alone, because we also hate it when our friends become successful and disregard their fans. If you have ever been duped by this charlatan performer then you know what we feel. Funds raised at this campaign will be in an effort to thwart any attempts by Moz to cancel a show due to low temperatures, by purchasing an organic, cotton, cruelty free, frankly vulgar, red pullover sweater, shipped to any address we can confirm may actually reach him. I'm so sorry and so very sickened by your lack of wardrobe, Stephen, but don't panic as this will never happen again on our watch."
The page goes on to say 100 percent of excess proceeds will be donated to Woods Humane Animal Shelter and Cal Poly's Cat/Feline Rescue.
"Let's channel this negative experience together and do something good for humanity," Barba continued. "All you get is a sweater this time, Moz, lest we forget the amount of money, time, and resources your fans exhausted to see you [not] perform."
According to Consequence of Sound, which apparently tracks these things, Morrissey has canceled or postponed 123 concerts since 2012. Everyone from NPR to Billboard Magazine covered his Paso cancellation.
His tour bus is traveling next to the Hollywood Bowl for a couple of dates. Maybe his ex-fans can collectively mutter the lyrics to his song "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" and it will manifest: "And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die, and if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side, well the pleasure—the privilege is mine," and then remind themselves that Morrissey was alone because they've abandoned the thin-blooded prima donna.
And in other slight "is-this-really-news?" news, how about that rock painted like a watermelon slice on the Bishop Peak trail? According to SLO City Natural Resource Manager Robert Hill, this is a serious case of vandalism! The watermelon rock must be repaired or removed! If it costs more than $1,000 to do either, it's felony vandalism!
"What are you in for, kid?"
"Felony vandalism for painting a rock like a watermelon slice."
"You monster! Don't be surprised if you find a shiv in you guts."
Hey, city of SLO, unclench your cheeks a sec, OK? It's a rock. It's charming. It's not like some punk scrawled his squiggly tag on the side of a boulder. Think of it as a grander gesture to a SLO Parks and Recreation Department program that we wrote about earlier this year ("A little pick me up: Rock art project comes to city parks," March 15).
The city was encouraging people to take a rock from one of the city's 19 parks, bring it home, paint it, and return it for others to find. Yes, the rocks were supposed to be no bigger than your hand, but maybe a person with really big hands painted the watermelon rock. You did this to yourself, SLO! Δ
The Shredder prefers rocks over rock stars. Send ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.