As a clumsy and shy teenager, a pre-Smiths Morrissey began his first of many pilgrimages to the U.S. in 1976, visiting his sister in New York. "I manage three more trips to America before 1980," Morrissey said in his recent memoir, Autobiography
. "But by now Mary has moved to the less interesting Denver...The knee-high Arvada snow makes everything look bright and clean, and I rashly place a fruitless ad in the Rocky Mountain News
in search of musicians as despair mounts upon despair."
Had this ad bore fruit, Mozzer might have fronted an American band of square-jawed Coloradans. It did not, of course, but despite "crying myself back to intolerant Manchester," Morrissey has spent a surprising amount of time in Denver in the intervening years (including this Saturday, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House), leaving a mark so indelible it inspired one resident to literally take up arms against a local radio station, demanding Smiths music be played.