The Mike Joyce Interview (The Smiths)

 

This interview appears in Issue 10 of The Drummer's Journal. To open the full feature, click here.  

 
 Photo by Stephen Wright

Photo by Stephen Wright

 
 

Synthesisers, drum machines, Margaret Thatcher, The Cold War, power suits, boom, bust, New Coke, crack cocaine, The A Team, the Falklands, the Berlin Wall, Hanna Barbera, Challenger, coal, Colonel Sanders, the Yorkshire Ripper, Donkey Kong, Riots, Reaganomics, MTV, HIV, QVC, VHS, DMC-12, ET, AT-AT, AT&T, Do They Know It’s Christmas?, the ozone layer, Salman Rushdie, Mike Tyson, Mark David Chapman, Skynet, debt.

The 1980s left us a pretty sizable estate. Some inherited wealth, empowerment and prosperity. Others were left with hardship, deficit and destitution. The rising middle classes got Nintendo, white goods and Michael Jackson records.

Like everything else in the 1980s, the music was especially polarising. Synthesisers and drum machines came to the fore, defining what many today consider as the archetypal 80s sound. Duran Duran, Culture Club, Gary Numen: these are quintessentially 80s acts.

But when The Smiths released their eponymous debut album in 1984, it was the polar opposite of neon arm warmers and mascara. Instead, it spoke to a generation who had little to gain from the fact that house prices in London had risen by 300%. As one quarter of The Smiths, Mike Joyce helped to shape an alternative soundtrack to the 80s, which still resonates with people today. We visited him in Manchester to talk about legacy and lunar exploration...