Let´s face it, Morrissey isn´t in the mood to do press. He´s been sick of late, canceling shows left and right, and he´s too busy to talk about his huge popularity, thanks, in no small part, to a legion of Latino fans here in the U.S. So we decided to go to the next best thing: the Sweet & Tender Hooligans, a hugely successful Morrissey tribute band based in Los Angeles and fronted by Jose Maldonado.
Outtakes: Can you talk about Morrissey´s ever-increasing popularity, which has a lot to do with the Latino community?
Maldonado: If you come to these Morrissey shows, and you look out at the audiences, you´ll see they´re 90 percent Latino. And they´re not just there. They are passionate; they know the lyrics to every song.
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But what is it about Morrissey that appeals so much to the Mexican-American experience?
I like the theory that because we´re a passionate people, and Morrissey is a passionate guy that´s why we gravitate toward him. His lyrics are so melodramatic and over the top about the feeling you´re experiencing at that very moment. ¨You could cry a million tears and I would swim through them to get to you¨ that kind of thing. Then there´s the loneliness and isolation feeling that we as Latinos can kind of identify with. Morrissey´s experience growing up Irish in northern England was probably not unlike what Latinos experience growing up in southern California.
When did you realize Morrissey knew who the Sweet & Tender Hooligans were?
In 1999, he opened his tour by saying, ¨Hello, we´re the Sweet & Tender Hooligans.¨ That´s when I realized, Oh, my god, he knows who we are.´ Later, as it turns out, at an autograph session, I was like the 127th person in line, and as soon as he made eye contact with me, he was like, ¨Oh, there you are.¨ I gave him a look and said something to the effect of, ¨Oh, you know who I am?¨ And he said, very jokingly, ¨Of course I know you. It´s as if I was looking in the mirror.¨ Right after that, his words were, ¨How was the show last week?¨ meaning he knew about a show we just did. To have him tell me that was incredible. Morrissey performs Saturday, July 14, at Mizner Park, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Kristeen Young is also on the bill. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $45. Call 561-966-3309, or visit www.miznerparkamp.com.