For Morrissey fans looking forward to hearing his forthcoming album, Bonfire of Teenagers, it looks like they might end up having to wait a little longer than they expected.
Having previously announced that the follow-up to 2020's I Am Not A Dog On A Chain was slated to arrive February 2023 via Capitol Records, The Smiths' frontman has announced that he has "voluntarily withdrawn from any association" with the major record label and parted ways from Maverick/Quest management ahead of the record's planned release. As a result, Capitol still technically owns Bonfire of Teenagers, leaving the fate of whether or not it will ever see the light of day hanging in the balance.
As an added wrinkle, Miley Cyrus, who was set to feature on the record, has since asked for her vocals to be removed. “Miley Cyrus now wants to be taken off the song ‘I Am Veronica’ for which she volunteered backing vocals almost two years ago,” Morrissey wrote in a post announcing the news. “This comes at a time when Morrissey has disassociated himself with Capitol Records (Los Angeles), who control the hidden album ‘Bonfire of Teenagers’.”
A characteristically mercurial artist, it isn't too surprising that Morrissey would end up changing his mind at the eleventh hour. Morrissey's previous label, BMG, dropped him a year after releasing I Am Not A Dog On A Chainwhich he blamed on their “new plans for ‘diversity.'” This ended up triggering a bidding war over Bonfire of Teenagers which was slated to feature contributions from Miley Cyrus, Iggy Pop, Jesse Tobias, Andrew Watt, Josh Klinghoffer, Chad Smith and Flea.
The first sign that trouble might be brewing came in November when Morrissey abruptly ended his LA show half an hour into his performance without explanation, but some speculated it might have been because it was cold. He would go on to cancel five more shows citing "band illness," and later complained about the "absence of any promotion" for the record's first single "Rebels Without Applause" which was released on November 25.
"It’s devastating how no one can ever get this right," Morrissey wrote in a post on December 22. "But they can’t, or they won’t. Radio stations, as far as I can tell, will play just about anything they’re asked to. But as I’ve always said, true artists must always look after themselves whereas non-artists are encouraged and advanced beyond reason. When you walk through a storm hold your head up high … as the song goes!”
Scott Rodgers of Morrissey's now-former management company Maverick/Quest seemed to suggest that the reason for the delay was less to do with Capitol and more with "another artist who didn’t want to be credited," implicating Cyrus in the holdup, thus causing her label to block the release. "The artist who did backing vocals will be taken off and replaced," Rodgers said in a tweet replying to a fan. "That takes time especially as you hit Christmas. When you say fight, sadly it doesn’t work that way. The other label, Columbia, legally blocked it. They’re within their rights to do so.”
Suffice to say, it looks like we definitely won't be seeing Morrissey making an appearance at Miley's upcoming New Year's Eve shindig.
Photo via Getty/Jim Dyson
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