Today the Times Online published the tale of Andrew Winters’s short-lived stint as assistant road manager for Moz, and it serves as the definitive guide on how to curry Morrissey’s favor in such a situation — its lesson distilled to this shining pearl of wisdom: No matter what you do, you probably don’t stand a chance of currying Morrissey’s favor in such a situation.
But in case you were wondering, here’s what the interview process and duties entailed:
Andrew applied for the position (having experience in the field), answered some questions via email (“Smoking or not? Married? Was I a vegetarian and/or would I be willing to be one for the duration of the tour. Lastly, would I e-mail a picture of myself?”), and was informed he got the job. Not why he got the job, just that he got it.
For said position, the new hire was informed he’d have to perform duties of varying degrees of eccentricity, such as as fragrance spraying the area between the stage and the house, preparing Moz’s facial water spray, and setting up a record player in the band’s dressing room. He received a couple few warnings along the way:
Then I am asked: “What was the first record you ever bought? Moz asks everyone that, I’m told. What would your answer be?”
Being involved in music I have often been asked this question and my policy recently has been honesty. It wasn’t the Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols or the Jesus and Mary Chain, it was Rocket Man, by Elton John. “F*** me, Andrew,” he says. “Don’t tell Moz that, you’ll be right out the door. T. Rex is always good.”
“Be careful Andrew,” someone warns me. “Moz hates people who are boring . . . but then, he also hates people being too pushy around him. Establishing common ground quickly is important.”
As mentioned, though, he didn’t get around to establishing much ground of any sort. Here’s the thrust of the new employee’s entire tenure:
Then, at about 5.30pm there is the bleep of simultaneous texts arriving and the band drop instruments and set about a bit of grooming. We have been summoned to the pub, a well-known Morrissey hang-out. I arrive with the band and crew. We have tables reserved in the beer garden.
An hour later and the A team arrives – Morrissey, his PA, the road manager and security team. This is something of a reunion as Morrissey, the band and crew haven’t been together for a few weeks, so there is a lot of rebonding going on.
It is at this point that Morrissey and I have our only line of dialogue – Moz asks his bandmate how his day has been. He replies a bit boring because a lot of it was spent sorting out some business and adds: “But it was good to have Andrew around as company.”
Morrissey looks at me with what seems like a slight smirk and shakes my hand. “Don’t worry, Andrew, it can only get better than this,” he says – and then proceeds to grab his guitarist and rub his fingers through his hair.
All this time I am weighing up quite how not to be boring but to impose myself on the situation. I admit I do give up slightly and just decide to be normal with the band and Moz’s PA and to get to know people.
While this is going on everyone is drinking. Morrissey instructs his PA to order him a large vodka concoction. Then something bizarre happens. A drinking game ensues, where one of the musicians is encouraged to knock back his pint to a chorus of “Down in one, down in one, down in one,” a chant to which Morrissey himself adds flamenco claps, skipping in front of his employee. He immediately beckons for another pint for the same musician and the process is repeated.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been in LA barely 24 hours.
The next morning Andrew was told he was fired. Not why he was fired, just that he was. Like you’re surprised. Anyway, the post and post-title were intentionally kept Smiths/Moz pun free. But we won’t stop you from suggesting ‘em.
Also, feel better Moz.