The latest on Morrissey’s Autobiography is that it’s due out on October 17 in Britain and Europe.
Whether The Smiths’ Scottish mini-tour of 1985 is mentioned I have no idea but I’d guess he will mention at least in passing the support group at those seven shows that kicked off in Irvine.
Easterhouse, if you don’t know, were an under-rated 80s band from Manchester* who named themselves after a huge housing estate on the outskirts of Glasgow. They recorded two albums for Rough Trade, Contenders which was very good and, with a much changed line-up, Waiting for the Redbird, which wasn’t.
Morrissey was pally with the band and in particular their guitarist Ivor Perry, who had once been his neighbour in Stretford; the pair, both keen readers often swapped books with one another so it wasn’t unexpected when Easterhouse were first invited to support The Smiths at Dingwalls in Camden in 1983. Just over two years later they were asked to guest on The Smiths’ Scottish jaunt in September 1985.
According to Tony Fletcher’s book, A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths, many of those who took in the Barrowlands date, including Geoff Travis, thought it was the finest ever Smiths’ show while Easterhouse manager John Barratt spoke of Morrissey that night ‘being up there with Jagger’, a description that I’m not entirely convinced would have pleased the Smiths frontman.
During these shows, the headliners performed new single The Boy with the Thorn in His Side and renditions of songs that would soon be recorded for the album Morrissey initially wanted to call Margaret on the Guillotine before settling on The Queen is Dead. They also for the first time segued a verse of the Elvis track (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame into Rusholme Ruffians while There is a Light That Never Goes Out was rehearsed during soundchecks.
In addition to Glasgow and Irvine, where according to Tom Morton in Melody Maker, Morrissey and the boys were, ‘A little ragged in places but gutsy and generous’ – the other dates took place at the Playhouse, Edinburgh; Dundee’s Caird Hall; the Clikimin Centre in Lerwick; the Capital Theatre in Aberdeen and the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.
Post-Easterhouse, Ivor Perry, could even claim to be a Smith for a day himself, doing some recording with Morrissey, Rourke and Joyce at London’s Powerhouse studios in August 1987 after Johnny Marr had walked out on them, although the idea of The Smiths carrying on without Marr was surely an ill-conceived idea.
Another link between The Smiths and Easterhouse came with both using Jubilee director Derek Jarman as occasional video director. Here’s his promo for Nineteen Sixty Nine from Contenders (1986).
And finally, Smiths fans might also be interested in another book, Sam Knee’s A Scene In Between: Tripping Through the Fashions of UK Indie Music (1980-1988) which features hundreds of previously unpublished photographs of bands such as The Smiths, Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Pastels and many, many more.
* The only band more under-rated from that city has to be King of the Slums.