Submitted by: Becky d'Ugo
Does this magazine print deliberate lies?
Well actually no, we don't
IN THE GENERAL SCHEME OF THINGS, it's not that important. Whether Suede's Brett Anderson ever met Morrissey is hardly a burning issue of our time. But for interested parties, here is the story so far:
In our March issue, we carried a profile of Suede written by our features editor, Amy Raphael. While working on the story, Amy travelled with the band by train from Paris to Nantes, and during the journey she recorded an interview with Brett Anderson. On the tape, the two can be heard laughing together in a way that suggests they got on reasonally well, and the conversation turned to one of Brett's acknowledged heros, David Bowie.
While talking about meeting Bowie, Brett without prompting mentioned meeting another Great Man Of British Rock, Morrissey. This meeting had not been so satisfying, and he talked about Morrissey in extremely unflattering terms. These remarks formed part of our Suede article, and when, after publication, we received a letter from Morrissey's press representative stating that the two had actually never met, we published that too (on the letters' page last issue). And that, we thought, was that. Rock star badmouths rock star: what's new?
But Brett returned to the subject in the April issue of Vox Referring to the Morrissey section of Amy Raphael's article, he said: "THE FACE completely misconstrued what I said. The girl was doing the interview on a train. Maybe she heard the wheels rumbling. She got that wrong. I expect he (Morrissey) is pissed off, and I don't blame him. I would be too."
Not content with trying to brand our features editor a silly girl who couldn't tell the sound of a train from a human voice, Brett then launched into an attack on the magazine in general: "There are a section of people who work for THE FACE who may be amongst the most stupid people who ever lived. Really. They're absolute idiots."
Vox then has bassist Mat Osman telling an anecdote about the photo session for our feature. According to this, we sent along a John Inman-like camp stereotype of a fashion stylist (supplying stylists is fairly standard practice among publications striving for high-quality pictures: in fact, many of those photographed actually demand it). The stylist in this case was in fact Dodi Greganti, a woman with a strong Italian accent.
Brett then continued his theme. "The only good thing you can say about
THE FACE is that nobody actually buys that magazine to read it... apart from Morrissey I suppose. Nah, I'm sure I'd remember if I met him. It's hardly the kind of thing you forget really, is it?"
Melody Maker added their contribution in the week of April 17. Their writer Andrew Mueller wrote that Suede were "now at the stage where people aren't just stretching the truth, they're writing outright lies". In a tone of rising hysteria, he continued: "a piece in rheumatic style rag THE FACE contained a brutal, poisonous description of a chat with
Morrissey by Brett; Brett has never met him, nor claimed to".
We want to make it clear that we are not in the business of making up our stories. We have Brett's interview on tape, and despite the distant hum of train wheels, his comments on Morrissey are clearly audible and beyond dispute. Copies have been sent to Brett, Morrissey, and to the
editors of Vox and Melody Maker (who, you may think, might have felt the need to apologise in some way since they had publicly implied or stated that our journalist was a liar, or perhaps even print a correction so that their misinformed readers could learn the truth. Not a bit of it). After hearing the tape, freelance journalist Tony Parsons - a big Suede fan wrote in the Daily Telegraph on April 15 that Brett "said every word attributed to him by THE FACE".
Suede's press representatives, John Best and Phil Savidge, have sent us the following statement for publication:
"Further to the recent Brett Morrissey feud' reported in your magazine and escalated elsewhere. We understand from conversations with Brett that he has indeed met Morrissey, albeit briefly and before Brett himself became famous. It is likely that in the middle of a hectic promotional schedule in France where the FACE interview took place), Brett made more of this meeting than either Morrissey could have done or indeed Brett would have liked to have done in hindsight. As representatives of
Suede, we wholeheartedly regret any upset that this misunderstanding may
have caused to Amy Raphael, THE FACE and Morrissey,"
So did Brett ever meet Morrissey? Brett has told us twice now that he did, and Vox once that he didn't. Morrissey still insists he did not though it is of course unlikely that he would remember Brett as an unknown fan. And let's keep this in proportion. Morrissey is enjoying great success in America and still provokes fervent music press debate at home. Suede's debut album went straight to the top of the charts as expected. This month we celebrate our thirteenth year on the stands (a teenager at last!) while recording some of our highest sales figures ever. We all surely have more important subjects to discuss than whether two men did or did not meet. Which is why, now that it is completely clear to our readers at least that neither the magazine nor our features editor were in any way at fault, we hope the matter will rest here.