The history of The Smiths is really something that is shrouded in a lot of mystery. The only real back and forth that we have is that in which was said by former bandmates of the legendary group.
Enter the drummer of The Smith’s, Mike Joyce. Mike has been fairly supportive of all of the members through all of their ups and downs and still, to this day, he stands by how everyone involved in the band were once close friends.
Via Live4Ever, ‘Strangeways, Here We Come,’ was recorded in the spring of 1987, but by the time of its release that autumn, Johnny Marr had left the band and The Smiths had, to all intents and purposes, split up.
Since then, the circumstances have dictated the narrative, with the (false) perception being that it was a tumultuous final act. Joyce remembers things differently: “There was definitely a more relaxed atmosphere in the studio while recording, I found. That comes through in the playing and the music. It’s easy to look at it in retrospect. If we’d have gone for another 10 years people would have said, ‘You can hear the relaxed atmosphere in Strangeways, you could tell it was going to go on for another 10 years’.”
He would then go on to say how something felt a bit off.
He continues: “Obviously with what happened afterwards it’s easy to say, ‘You can tell, there’s a frisson in there. It was obvious to everybody it was going to be the last album’. Not at all. It was fun for the whole album. There was a freedom, for me personally. Johnny and Andy are such great players that they can sit around and do it all day.”
Sadly, the final bricks fell and the band would start the decline when Johnny would leave.
Mike said: “When we had that meeting down in London and Johnny told us he was going to leave the band, I said – what I found out since was the wrong thing – ‘Can’t we just do one more album?’, because I was scared and I wanted to stay with that band forever. Andy and Morrissey did too. When you think about it, regardless of when the end point would have come, we would have split up at some point. Rather than making an album that wasn’t great, would it have happened? No-one will ever know.”
Joyce holds no grudges at all.
He ends: “You can’t keep somebody in a relationship that doesn’t want to be there. Obviously when it was broached, I was shocked and upset. I didn’t want it to end. I was never angry or bitter, just frustrated, upset and baffled. But Johnny wants to do what he wants to do, and he does it very well.”