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How a three-man indie band from Glasgow caused a Morrissey meltdown

Morrissey almost cancelled a sold-out performance in a bizarre saga that played out over social media.


Ramon Ramirez


Posted on May 10, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 8:19 am CDT

Morrissey nearly cancelled a sold-out performance Thursday night in California in a strange saga that played out over social media.

Glasgow’s Paws was reportedly notified early Thursday that its performance in support of We Are Scientists at Santa Ana, Calif. venue, the Constellation Room, would be shelved because Morrissey would simultaneously perform that night at the Observatory.

Both venues share a building, and Morrissey allegedly did not want Paws’ music to bleed into his set.

Paws—despite being promised double the payout for its troubles—was indignant by the prickly behavior from Morrissey’s camp and complained via Facebook. Its since-deleted post went viral.

“It didn’t sit right with us that we were essentially, very much literally, being silenced; being bought out, and for reasons that, when explained to us as above, not only seemed trivial but seemed to fit the unfortunate egotistical stereotypes that Morrissey has come to embody in recent years,” the band wrote Friday morning on Facebook.

“The fact that this would not only need to be considered by anyone but in fact enforced, suggests a mentality surrounding performance and production that is selfish and unreasonable.”

Sensing public relations backlash and tangible consequences, management got involved.

“After hours of calls back and forth in a McDonalds car park at a service station – free wifi – we realised that news sites had picked up on the story and the whole thing went apeshit.

 “[The promoter for Morrissey’s show] informed us that – in light of the exponentially-increasing web traffic, there was a possibility that this could shine badly on the entire operation and that if anyone from the Morrissey camp was to see this, there was a very high chance that he could threaten to cancel . . . The promoter, genuinely upset, told us that there had already been a sizeable six figure sum deposited to Morrissey and if he cancels the show, that will be completely gone and that would be disastrous for the venue, which we were told could potentially go under.”

The promoter explained that the request to cancel Paws’ set came from Morrissey’s security, not the singer. The band was told to apologize. Paws deleted the original post, its show was given a late green light post-media storm, and both concerts went off without a hitch—almost.  

Morrissey’s tour manager confronted Paws in its dressing room right before the band was about to go on.

”After thinking that everything was FINALLY sorted, this man started screaming at them both, practically squaring up to them and trying his hardest to tear us apart for how big this story was getting, doling out blood-curdling screams to the effect of ‘I AM THE BOSS OF YOU!’ Frankly, beyond being insulting, unreasonable, and to be honest a little hilarious, we simply couldn’t believe that this situation had escalated to this point. Far from a reasonable conversation or settling of differences, this seemed like a ‘telling off’ and to be honest put pretty much everything in context. To feel like you’re being demeaned, disrespected and almost bullied by ANYONE feels terrible but to feel like this is happening and that are hands are tied purely because of the perceived stature of a celebrity, seems utterly ridiculous and frankly, unacceptable.”

We Are Scientists, however, took to Twitter to attack Morrissey afterward.

The @itsmorrissey show was the laziest, most milquetoast piece of shit I’ve ever had the misfortune of suffering through ten minutes of.

— We Are Scientists (@wearescientists) May 9, 2014

Turns out the reason @itsmorrissey doesn’t want competing noise is that it might clue people into what singing in tune sounds like.

— We Are Scientists (@wearescientists) May 9, 2014

Morrissey has yet to comment publicly.

Photo by Man Alive!/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: May 10, 2014, 10:14 am CDT