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Morrissey Talks Label Drama, Lady Gaga and Disses Madonna

morrissey publicity 2009
Travis Shinn

In a new interview, after calling Madonna "McDonna," the famously dour singer says of his cult-like following: "The paradox is that I have no love for myself as a human being."

Morrissey has lost his faith in record companies.

In a new interview with Billboard, the endearingly dour British singer and frontman of seminal 80s band The Smiths blames his label for "bad judgment" in how it went about releasing his last solo album, 2009's Years of Refusal.

"Universal and my then manager [Irving Azoff] decided to release my last album during Brit Awards weeks, an unwinnable situation for someone like me who is the exact opposite of Brit Awards wretchedness," he says. "So, I suffered badly against the usual sandblast of Brit Awards publicity, and my relationship with Universal and my management collapsed due to their bad judgment. Everything matters."

Asked if he'd consider going indie, Morrissey snaps, "The word 'indie' is meaningless now. It's so over-used that people think it simply means green hair." As for the prospect of staying with Universal (Nashville imprint Lost Highway released Years in the U.S.; Decca in the U.K.), he says they've shown interest, "but their communications have gaps of eight weeks, so they obviously aren't that serious." 

Endlessly quotable, Morrissey goes on to describe his cult-like following as paradoxical. "I have no love for myself as a human being, but I have immense pride in the music I make." 

Even a compliment by Lady Gaga leaves him perplexed. "Lady Gaga said to me, 'You showed me how it's done.' I have no idea what she meant by 'it,'" he tells Billboard.

But he shows no hesitation in dissing Madonna, calling the pop icon "McDonna" and insisting she can't compare to a singer like the late Edith Piaf. Read the rest of the Q&A here.