Morrissey put his reputation on the line when he pledged his undying allegiance to far-right, extremist political party For Britain. (His unwavering support even earned him a personal shout-out from the group’s own founder, notorious anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters.) But not everyone is convinced that The Smiths singer’s legacy is hanging in the balance, including The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, who recently described Morrissey as “still a king” in the royal hall of music greats.
Flowers’ commentary came up during an interview over the weekend prior to The Killers’ Glastonbury set. Speaking to NME, the Las Vegas rocker listed off about 15 musicians he considered “kings.” “Liam [Gallagher] is one of them,” Flowers said, adding, “Don Henley, Peter Gabriel, Morrissey would be a king, Bono would be a king, Springsteen would be a king.”
Given the controversy surrounding Moz, NME naturally probed Flowers about his pick. And The Killers singer obliged, speaking up in defense of the now-disgraced Morrissey:
“He’s still a king. He’s unparalleled in what he’s achieved and his prowess and his lyrics and his sense of melody, it’s just incredible. I forgot he was in hot water though, so I shouldn’t have brought him up.”
Notice Flowers said he regrets bringing up Moz in conversation, but doesn’t walk back his “king” comments. His stance is interesting to say the least; he and The Killers aren’t known for being a political band, however, in recent months they’ve spoken up a bit more. Last November, around the time of the critical 2018 Midterm Elections, The Killers performed at a political rally for Vegas politician Jacky Rosen. In April, they released “Land of the Free”, an unequivocally politically-charged single advocating for freedom and equality in America.
Flowers isn’t the only prominent artist to have Morrissey’s back. Fellow Smiths member Johnny Marr said he “wasn’t worried” about Morrissey’s standing in the wake of the political hoopla. Nick Cave, too, stated that Morrissey’s political views are “irrelevant” to his legacy. Paul Banks, frontman for Morrissey’s tour mates Interpol, also declined to condemn Moz. “I do not always hold the same beliefs as artists I work with, and I do not consider that to be a requisite,” he noted in a statement.
However, Billy Bragg, noted opponent of fascism, racism, and bigotry, said that Moz had “betrayed” and “broken the hearts” of Smiths fans worldwide by standing by For Britain. “I have no sympathy for [Morrissey], no respect for him, but I have a lot of sympathy and respect for his audience.”