Guest Column – Viva & Hate! A message from the Mexican Morrissey

Guest Column – Viva & Hate! A message from the Mexican Morrissey

Mexrrissey-articleHaving just released a debut album No Manchester – a record of covers and translations – ahead of a UK tour next month (starting 8 April at Glasgow's SWG3), Mexrrissey explains why it ain't easy being Mexican and Moz...

My brother was a 80s new wave star. He didnt know it at that time, but his band was going to be a massive one-hit-wonder in Mexico with a song called Voy A Buscar. To give you some perspective, he wrote the Mexican Come On Eileen.

As any other decent new waver from Mexico City, he was into XTC, Bauhaus, Prefab Sprout, Suburban Lawns, The Fixx and…The Smiths! I use to listen to The Queen Is Dead through his bedroom door… it was so magical, so crazy, so diverse.

My english was horrible at that time (still is) so, I didnt know what Morrissey was singing about. That album was to me like my ultimate childhood album. Some people grew up listening to the Teletubbies, my childhood album, fortunately, was one by The Smiths. I grew up listening to The Smiths, and later to Morrissey. My very first CD was Viva Hate.

Later I became a musician and started releasing music under the name Mexican Institute of Sound. Even though my music has some sort of Cumbia-Electronic base, It is deeply influenced by those early Smiths albums. I always thought there was some mystical connection between Mexican music and Morrissey. He is so dramatic, his humor is so twisted and he is so acid, that I have a serious suspicion he has some sort of Mexican blood on him.

I started re-imagining Moz's songs and soon I discovered that they where almost Mariachi songs. Most of popular music in Mexico (Cumbia, Mariachi, Son) is quite festive, but if you take a closer look at the lyrics, most of them are devastating dramas about broken hearts and deception. Moz has this unique talent to talk about universal issues through small day-to-day things. I worked on changing British names and references, to Mexican ones. Why talk about Reggie Kray when we have so many notable drug lords of our own? Johnny Marr's guitars can be translated into perfect horn lines. The hypnotic melodies are suitable for a good Ranchero song.

Funnily enough, Mexican Moz fans got pissed off with us. They felt it was disrespectful to reimagine those beautiful tunes in a Mexican style. Even the biggest Mexican rockstar Leon Larregui – who is a sort of less sophisticated Liam Gallagher – attacked us on twitter. We became national tabloid news without a single show in Mexico! Bananas.

My thoughts? Popular music exist to be used, manipulated played and reincarnated as everyone wants. This is how we know the fantastic music of Cole Porter, Bob Dylan or Consuelo Velazquez. Doing Mexrrissey is a way to giving back Morrissey part of the love he has given to thousands of Mexicans in Mexico and the United States. VIVA and HATE Camilo Lara – Mexrrissey. @Mexrrissey

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