Decades After "Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse," Moz Is "Way Worse"

Morrissey performing at the Paramount Theatre in 2017.
Morrissey performing at the Paramount Theatre in 2017. Brandon Marshall
Two years after forming in Boulder in 1987, the Warlock Pinchers released "Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse," a tirade against the former frontman of The Smiths.

In the song, singers Dan Wanush (King Scratchie) and Andrew Novick (KC KSum) didn't pull any punches in their hatred of Moz, as they sang: "That crybaby son of bitch, no-talent motherfucker/Bastard-ass dickhead, ball-flapping dicksucker/Baggy-shirted depressed Dean-loving bonehead/Making lots of money with boring songs like 'Suedehead.'"

You get the idea.

In honor of Morrissey's show at the Mission Ballroom on Thursday, September 26 (assuming it happens and he doesn't cancel like he often does), we reached out to Novick via email to learn more about why the Pinchers chose to pick on the Smiths singer, how Moz has changed over the years, and Novick's recent stab at the president, "Donald Trump Rides a Cockhorse."

Westword: What initially prompted you to write the song back in the late ‘80s? Why pick on Morrissey?

Andrew Novick: King Scratchie brought the idea to band practice one day, and the lyrics were mostly written already. We honed it and completed the song. The telltale drums and guitars make it instantly recognizable. We were all teens when the Smiths released How Soon Is Now, and I can't deny that hearing Johnny Marr’s guitar from that song even now takes me back to that time in history.

I think what prompted the song was that Morrissey was becoming more and more popular and getting even whinier and more depressed; it seemed calculated and pompous. He was an easy target, and we also hoped it would catch the eyes and ears of Tipper Gore, who had started the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) to label albums containing explicit lyrics with Parental Advisory stickers. We thought, “You have not even seen explicit lyrics yet until you see these!”

Ironically, a lot of Morrissey fans like the song, because they saw the humor in it, and it is still referenced all the time, so as long as Morrissey is still around, the song remains relevant.

And why does he ride a cockhorse? Is your definition of a cockhorse different from the actual one — a toy horse?

It's a nonsensical phrase. The original nursery rhyme "Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross" is bizarre and confusing and seemed to be related to a stick pony, but we had also seen a “self-serving” sex device called a cockhorse. Morrissey proclaimed to be celibate, but was self-serving in every other way, so I’ll go with triple entendre if anyone wants to ascribe an actual meaning to it.

As social mores have shifted, does the band have any regrets about the song? Or do you guys embrace it even more these days?

I don’t think we have any regrets, but it’s pretty obvious that vernacular has changed. Looking at the lyrics today, calling someone a “dicksucker” seems homophobic, but things were not so literal back then. Even now, “son of a bitch” and “motherfucker” haven’t yet reached “literal” status, but someday they might.

Do you still hate Morrissey?

There are actually many more things to hate Morrissey about now — aside from canceling shows and disrespecting fans. Not allowing meat to be cooked or served during his performances at Riot Fest seems like the ultimate animal-rights gimmick. Way worse, however, is his anti-Muslim/anti-immigrant rhetoric, along with sexual-assault victim-blaming, and let’s not forget comparing carnivorous eating to the Holocaust.

Can you think of a line from a Morrissey song that makes you want to stab yourself in the eye?

Hearing his voice makes me want to stab myself in the eyes and ears!

You also wrote "Donald Trump Rides a Cockhorse"? Who’s worse: Morrissey or Trump? And do they have anything in common?

To be clear, "Donald Trump Rides a Cockhorse" is a KC KSum song, not a Warlock Pinchers song. The lyrics for it practically wrote themselves. There were three times as many verses, and I could write another few verses every week! Trump and Morrissey are each self-serving assholes, but Morrissey is rather inconsequential, whereas Trump is a pied piper for the lowest common denominator of our country, which apparently is almost half! They continue to double down on every ridiculous statement, and fact-checking is meaningless.
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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon