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Broken Social Scene’s Ariel Engle on contributing to Morrissey album: “I feel like I’ve been had”

Ariel Engle with Broken Social Scene at Wellmont Theatre 2018
Ariel Engle with Broken Social Scene @ Wellmont Theatre, April 2018 (more by Amanda Hatfield)

Morrissey announced details of his new covers album California Son earlier this week, including that there were a lot of guest contributors on the album including Ed Droste, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Sameer Gadhia (Young the Giant), Petra Haden (That Dog), Lydia Night (The Regrettes) and more. This was surprising news for many, that these liberal-oriented artists would work with someone whose views have grown increasingly conservative and who continually says a lot of dumb stuff, especially on the subject of immigration. The Guardian attempted to get comments from the album’s guests: Droste declined comment and Armstrong was “unreachable,” but Ariel Engle who plays in Broken Social Scene and records as La Force said she was unaware of Morrissey’s political views at the time. “It’s a very weak argument to claim ignorance,” she says, “but it is my argument. It’s not an excuse but it happens to be the truth.” Engle, who was paid $500 for her work on the album, also told The Guardian, “the inflammatory things he says are not my politics. I think he’s completely out of line. I grew up around multiculturalism and I am the product of multiculturalism and immigration. I feel like I’ve been had, but it’s my fault.”

Lydia Night, who sings on the cover of The Fifth Dimension’s “Wedding Bell Blues” (with Billie Joe Armstrong), also did not comment to The Guardian but told Kerrang! “I’ve grown up loving the Smiths – my cat’s name is Morrissey!” She also tells Kerrang! that she didn’t know Billie Joe was on the song until the album announcement this week. “I went in and sang background vocals on the song, and then left. And then I found out on the day it was announced that Billie Joe was on it too, which is crazy. I haven’t heard it yet, so I have no idea what it’s going to be like (laughs), but it’s a great song!”

Meanwhile, Broken Social Scene play Webster Hall this spring.

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