After a 5,000-mile trip from LA to Copenhagen, a Morrissey fansite owner was looking forward to seeing his favourite artist in concert. Instead he was refused entry and given a lifetime ban
As bad gig experiences go, you'll have a tough time beating David Tseng ? who, earlier this week, flew more than 5,000 miles from Los Angeles to Copenhagen only to be surrounded by security, kicked out without refund and later told (via a public statement) that the artist he had devoted his life to had banned him from his concerts. "You know what you did," he was told as security marched him out. "Er, I don't," he replied.
He might have had an inkling, though. Tseng is the owner of Morrissey-Solo.com (or "so low", as the singer calls it) ? a popular fansite he has been running for nearly 15 years and whose extremities of love and loathing have earned it a contentious reputation. As one fan recently put it: "Moz once sang that it takes strength to be gentle and kind, but that's not the mentality of the trolls who comment on Solo." It's safe to say Morrissey isn't a member.
The singer recently took to the stage with a "FUCK MORRISSEY-SOLO.COM" T-shirt, while his spokesman declared war this week: "Mr Tseng, via his poisonous website, has caused so much intentional distress to Morrissey and Morrissey's band over the years that Mr Tseng is not welcome at any Morrissey shows."
Tseng told the Guardian he was shocked: "I've never intended to cause distress to Morrissey or his band. I post little commentary on the site, preferring to leave the discussion to site users ? he seems to blame me for his fans' opinions. I don't agree with every post on there but I believe in free speech ? I don't like to censor, which is something he is supposedly against.
"It's a control thing. If he doesn't have control of the site then he doesn't like it ? he wants to knock it down. I think it's because he's having trouble getting a record deal so he's looking for someone to blame. He's frustrated."
The main issue, Tseng says, seems to be vitriolic criticism of Morrissey's "stagnant" new material and a backing band that some fans think needs desperately to be changed. The recent move to ban Tseng, however, has been seen as an attack not only on him, but on fans in general. It marks a turning point in what has been a weird time for Morrissey, when he doesn't have a record deal yet never seems to be out of the press (a cynic would say the two are related).
Producers, support acts, record labels, managers, session musicians, former band members, politicians, celebrity chefs ? 30 years into his career, Morrissey has fallen out with them all. Yet fans have remained fervent followers whose devotion is beyond measure. They not only buy the lacklustre reissues he insists never chart, go to the gigs he cancels at a whim and stick with him after questionable comments, they're also the same fans who kept posting on websites such as Morrissey-Solo.com during his "wilderness years" between 1997 and 2003 when no record label would touch him ? a prospect he may face now. To fall out with them is not only ? as a certain dog did recently ? biting the hand that feeds but possibly the moment where Morrissey has finally lost it.