RIP Rogan Versus The Smiths
The passing of brilliant Smiths biographer Johnny Rogan in February 2021, ends one of the most famous feuds in music publishing history. The Severed Alliance (about Morrissey and Marr) subjected Johnny Rogan to more than one deadly curse by Morrissey. It never came to pass, but now that Rogan is no longer here, nor is the war of words. Rogan versus The Smiths has come to an end.
Who Was Johnny Rogan?
The jacket blurb for the hardback edition of The Severed Alliance proclaimed “Rogan lives alone, usually works through the night until 7am, sometimes fasts for days, doesn’t possess a fridge, television, video or any form of credit card or insurance, changes his address every ten weeks and uses tape-recorded interviews as his primary method of social communication. This is his tenth book. It may be his last.”
The Morrissey Curse
Initially Morrissey hoped (as he told the media) that Johnny Rogan would end his days in a pile up on the M3 motorway. He then told Q magazine that “more than anything I hope he dies in a hotel fire.”
Morrissey then hung up a banner at Madison Square Garden which read “Johnny Rogan Is Dead.” Later, he told a magazine in France “If God exists then Johnny ‘the Rat’ Rogan will be devoured by a pack of German Shepherd dogs.”
The Sausage Appliance
Again, in the NME, Morrissey started calling The Severed Alliance, ‘The Sausage Appliance’. He accused Johnny Rogan of being a female impersonator and said he couldn’t get a gig at the gay pub, Vauxhall Tavern. And all of this comes from Johnny Rogan himself, talking to Cathy Dillon at Hot Press in a rare interview.
Six Long Years
Johnny Rogan spent six long years on The Smiths’ trail and interviewed Morrissey himself, Marr, Morrissey’s father and people in and around the rest of the band. Many Smiths fans still insist it’s the best book ever written about the group – even though Johnny Marr and Morrissey have of course, produced their own autobiographies.
The Johnny Marr Autobiography
Johnny Marr’s career of collaboration and solo work, has now far outlasted his brief time with The Smiths, and his book reflects that. Yet – the importance of Marr’s life in Manchester and the North is something Rogan understood too.
The Morrissey Autobiography
The Morrissey autobiography was fought over (at this book signing) by women and lampooned by comedians. It gave PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) a massive charity auction fundraiser when its author signed a rare, limited edition copy from 2013.
Johnny Rogan – Definitive Rock Biographer
Admired by The Byrds for his biography of them, Rogan is still the definitive rock biographer after departure, having revised his earlier account of the financial and personal fall-out of The Smiths after the now (collectable) first edition. With Rogan, goes a saga of severance – and some of history’s most severe Morrissey fatwahs.