The Truth About Morrissey And Robert Smith's Feud

When two of indie music's gobbiest stars take a disliking to each other, you know you're going to get fireworks. And back in the '80s, you didn't get people more outspoken and opinionated than The Cure's Robert Smith and The Smiths' Morrissey, whose comments about each other would come to light up the music press for years.

In many ways, their animosity was based on a highly competitive rivalry. The two were made some of the best music of their generation, with a similar blend of gushing romanticism and caustic social comment that meant they were always bound to find themselves compared to one another.

According to Far Out magazine, the source of the feud can be traced to a rather edgy question posed to Morrissey in an interview with The Face, whose journalist asked him: "If I put you in a room with Robert Smith, Mark E. Smith [lead singer of The Fall], and a loaded Smith & Wesson, who would bite the bullet first?"

Morrissey claimed he would attempt to dispatch them both simultaneously, and stated: "Robert Smith is a whingebag. It's rather curious that he began wearing beads at the emergence of the Smiths and had been photographed with flowers. I expect he's quite supportive of what we do, but I've never liked the Cure... not even 'The Caterpillar.'"

The Cure frontman later responded: "Morrissey's so depressing if he doesn't [kill] himself soon, I probably will."

A war of words and a reconciliation

The two continued to snipe at each other throughout the eighties, disparaging the music of each other's bands at a time when both were darlings of the music press. Looking back now, it all seems quite childish, but also done for the sake of entertainment and to get headlines. As they say, even bad press is good press at the end of the day.

According to Clash, during the intervening years the two have mellowed out, and the animosity has waned to the point at which they now seem to regret their slanging match, or at least don't take it so seriously as they once did. Age does that to you.

Smith, who at one time claimed "If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I'm going to eat meat; that's how much I hate Morrissey," more recently admitted: "It was slightly odd as I haven't really had it at the forefront of my consciousness over the last 20 or 30 years. I don't know. Even at the time I never quite understood what the problem was. It's far from important now."

Morrissey has also addressed his earlier comments about his fellow songwriter, telling the fan website Morrissey Central: "Robert Smith. I said some terrible things about him 35 years ago ... but I didn't mean them ... It's great when you can blame everything on Tourette's syndrome."

Apparently, the two are now friends.