AceShowbiz - Former The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce has defended his old bandmate Morrissey against accusations of racism. The "Panic" singer caused outrage last week (ends April 22) when he published an interview on his website in which he linked halal meat to the terrorist group ISIS, claimed London's Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan "cannot talk properly," and backed For Britain, a U.K. far-right political party.
The veteran musician has denied he is racist and has threatened to sue the editors of Spin magazine who described a previous statement he made about the terrorist attack on Ariana Grande's concert in Manchester, England last year as "borderline fascist."
Mike, who played with Morrissey, full name Steven Patrick Morrissey, in The Smiths from 1982 until their 1987 demise, has now stated that he never witnessed his bandmate make racist remarks, and put his controversial comments down to misplaced nostalgia.
"I've never seen him have any kind of racism towards anybody ever," Mike said in an interview with U.K. TV show Sam Delaney's "News Thing". "I've not spoken to him for quite some time. As people get older, they change their opinions about things. I honestly think he's yearning for a Britain that was 30 or 40 years ago."
However, he does admit to being troubled by Morrissey's comments, adding, "His mum and dad were immigrants (from Ireland) themselves. It was difficult reading, because when I read it I thought, 'Hang on a minute, is this borderline? What is it exactly?' He's taken Spin magazine to court for calling him a racist. It'll be interesting to see how that pans out."
After The Smiths disbanded, Mike and bassist Andy Rourke fell out with Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr over royalties, a feud that was later settled in court in the drummer's favor. Andy settled out of court.
When contacted by WENN about Morrissey's interview, Johnny declined to comment.