Morrissey Yes, that Morrissey. As in, Steven Patrick Morrissey, the exceptionally literate, coolly asexual indie rock icon who, in the ’80s heyday of the Smiths, the superlatively influential English band he once fronted, saved thousands of pale, depressed, sexually confused teenagers and college students from hanging themselves with their neckties. As in, the guy who made getting run over by a double-decker bus while standing side by side with your significant other seem devastatingly romantic. As in, the man who, after splitting from songwriting cohort Johnny Marr, continued to inspire the masses with his poetry and vaguely Kermit-sounding voice with his solo work, some of it nearly as iconic as the incomparably brilliant stuff he created with his Manchester mates. Yeah, that Morrissey. As in, the one who is performing at the Ventura Theater on June 5. (Sold out).
The Smithereens Sometime in the late ’70s, New Jersey songwriter Pat DiNizio placed a newspaper ad looking for fellow musicians influenced by Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello and the Clash. Through that advertisement, the Smithereens were born. Fusing British pop sensibilities with a powerful rhythmic backbone, the group stood out among the ’80s college rock pack — although it took a while for them to get noticed. The band spent its formative years supporting old schoolers like the Beau Brummels and Otis Blackwell while absorbing numerous label rejections of their own material. Finally, in 1986, they signed to Enigma and released Especially For You. Its lead single, “Blood & Roses,” became an MTV staple. And all of a sudden, the Smithereens were off and running. While they never quite transcended their cult status, the band remains active; their latest disc, this year’s Meet The Smithereens!, is a tribute to the early Beatles, whose melodic sense clearly inspired DiNizio when he placed that ad more than 20 years ago. The Smithereens perform at the Canyon on June 1.