There was something a bit suspect about this from the very beginning:
The former bassist of the iconic Manchester band has said he was "deeply saddened" that "false statements" had been made on his behalf
Andy Rourke has denied being involved in the newly-announced ‘Classically Smiths’ concert series.
The series, which is set to showcase a classical re-imagining of the music of The Smiths, had initially been billed as featuring former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, bassist Rourke and second guitarist Craig Gannon. The three were set to be joined by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra for shows in London, Manchester, and Edinburgh before setting out on a full UK tour.
However, Rourke has now denied his involvement in the ‘Classically Smiths’ series. In a statement provided to NME, Rourke said that he was “deeply saddened” that “false statements” had been made on his behalf.
No one is interested in such a thing, and if they are, oh well. I don't see any scenario where Andy Rourke goes against anything that Johnny Marr does not wish to be a part of. I get that there is almost zero expectation of anything resembling a Smiths reunion, but this struck me as something weird and out of left field.
It was announced on 22 January that Rourke, along with Smiths drummer Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon – who briefly replaced Rourke on bass in 1986, before playing rhythm guitar for a spell – would perform classical versions of Smiths songs with the Manchester Camerata orchestra. Joyce said he was “massively excited to be playing with Andy and Craig again”, and Rourke said he was “thrilled and excited to be involved in Classically Smiths”.
But Rourke called the announcement “false statements”, adding: “At no time did I give my consent for anyone in connection with this Classically Smiths project to act on my behalf or my name, and nothing was ever confirmed, approved or contracted by me or my team.” His representative called the quotes “100% fabricated and without approval”. Lead singer Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr are not due to appear at the concerts, and have not released their own statements about them.
Joyce then announced he was no longer involved in the project. “I entered into agreement in good faith to perform these shows with Andy Rourke and Craig Gannon,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately it became apparent very late that Andy would not be taking part... After much deliberation and soul searching I have decided that without Andy, an integral part of why I agreed to take part in the first place, I have come to this difficult decision. I still believe the shows and concept to be a fantastic idea and wish them all the success they deserve.”