Despite Morrissey being open about his anxiety and depression (and, since 2009, health battles that include ulcers, fevers, and cancer scares), people are angry that he sometimes cancels a show.
With some artists, interviews are easy. You book a time, turn up, switch on the tape recorder, and they give you the same old sales pitch that they’ve just doled out to a hundred other reporters. With Morrissey, it doesn’t work that way… Every so often, we’d bump into one another, but the interview that I’d been promised was like some sort of mirage… Meanwhile, a string of magazine and TV journalists were left angry and empty-handed as all their appointments were canceled… Morrissey can drive people nuts: He just doesn’t play the media and business game. (David Thomas, Spin, November 1992)
… it’s not surprising considering the number of hospitals I’ve been rushed into in the last 18 months. It all seems to have hit me at once, which I expect is just the way it goes. Acute fever, a bleeding ulcer, food poisoning, Barrretts Oesophagus… it’s hardly believable. The worst was in June in Boston when I was hospitalised with acute fever. I was delirious for six hours… talking absolute nonsense and unable to stop. I’ve never been so frightened in my life. Then of course you get bitchy comments for having to cancel shows. The hospital actually gave me a heroin-based medication to calm me down. But, so what? I’ve been in so many hospitals lately that there’s hardly any point in me leaving. (Morrissey, Hot Press, 20 August 2014)
It was one of the reasons that journalists chose to smear him as a racist after he was attacked by a homophobic crowd at Finsbury Park in 1992.
… disquiet had set in. He’d pulled out of Glastonbury, after his fans had bought their 49 quid tickets, and he pulled out of the second day of Madstock (another 20 quid down the pan). (Andrew Collins, his blog, 27 November 2007)
It was a bout of depression that led to him leaving a 1995 tour with David Bowie.
Although reportedly hospitalised for depression only a week ago in England, he was well up for the show… Morrissey certainly has his share of detractors. Many accuse him of whining, of being frivolous, or being a prima donna. These things may be true, but then again there’s no one quite like him. (Wayne Karrfalt, Japan Times, 16 December 1995)
Depression is such a misunderstood condition that its impact on his career & earning capacity gets ignored, and his ability to play smaller gigs shortly afterwards was deemed questionable.
In 1995, Morrissey agreed to open up for his hero on the European leg of Bowie’s Outside tour, but after getting a poor reception from crowds and critics, quit early on, citing an “illness”that didn’t stop him from touring Japan on his own a couple weeks later. (Steve Pafford, his blog, 4 July 2020)
The time for Morrissey to cash in on his association with David Bowie would have been the immediate aftermath of Bowie’s death when every man and his dog did a tribute show/book/blog/tweet/song/album/artwork… Morrissey, who has never joined in with anything getting blanket coverage, got flack for not saying anything…
Famously, during the notorious celebrity holocaust of 2016, Morrissey was filmed at the Manchester Arena at his only concert of the year not-so-subtly snubbing Bowie from the stage to the grave. Prior to ending the homecoming show with a run through of Oboe Concerto (a recent track off his World Peace Is None of Your Business album memorable mainly for its key line “All the best ones are dead”), the contrary one paused to reflect on the “year of the reaper,” name-checking several public figures who had passed that year, because he wanted “to remember” Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, Muhammad Ali, and Prince, with the singer claiming they left the world “too soon, too soon, too soon.” However, when it became evident the malignant Mozfather was refusing to pay tribute a fallen artist who, just a few miles away back in the day, just happened to be one of his biggest idols in the ’70s, a few fans responded with jeers. In an audience filmed video seemingly removed from cyberspace, as one dude shouted, “Bowie?
” another notices the slight and jumps in with a “You cunt!” directed at the curmudgeon. (Steve Pafford, his blog, 4 July 2020)
Then got accused of only caring about money when he released a duet with David, Cosmic Dancer, four years later.
“MORRISSEY LOVES DAVID” apparently. Well, he does if there’s money to be made and more eyebrows to be raised. Oh, and there’s nowt as queer as folk, obviously. (Steve Pafford, his blog, 4 July 2020) https://www.stevepafford.com/mozbowie/