Morrissey claims Capitol Records are proud to promote Sam Smith’s “satanism” but view his unreleased album as “their biggest threat”

Morrisssey and Sam Smith
(Image credit: Morrissey - Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Morrissey / Sam Smith - Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Morrissey has reignited his war of words with his former label, Capitol Records, accusing the American label of proudly promoting English pop star Sam Smith's "satanism" while viewing his own unreleased Bonfire of Teenagers album as "their biggest threat."

The former frontman of The Smiths, who has never been shy about making provocative statements over the course of his career, previously claimed that he was "quickly coming around" to the belief that the label signed him purely to "sabotage" the record.

On December 23, in a post on his official website titled 'Roll on 2023', the singer said that he had voluntarily withdrawn from any association with Capitol Records (Los Angeles)." Earlier this month, another website post claimed that Capitol had refused to release the master tapes of the already recorded Bonfire of Teenagers to him.

"Morrissey is ‘too diverse’ for Universal Music Group," the statement read. "Capitol Records (Los Angeles) will not, after all, release Morrissey’s 2021 album Bonfire Of Teenagers.  At the same time, Capitol Records (Los Angeles) are holding on to the album.

"Although Morrissey officially signed to Capitol Records Los Angeles, there has been no mention of Morrissey on Capitol’s website or on their Artists roster."

The latest post on the 63-year-old singer's website references the mild controversy around Capitol-signed Sam Smith's Grammy Awards performance on February 5. Conservative commentators have interpreted the singer's presentation of hit single Unholy as "satanic", one noting "Demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan": David Harris, a high-ranking member of the Church Of Satan, later dismissed Smith’s performance as “alright” and “nothing particularly special.” 

Morrissey's new website posts reads: "Capitol Records (Los Angeles) proudly promotes Sam Smith’s ‘satanism’; yet they consider the honest truth of Morrissey’s factual ‘Bonfire of Teenagers’ to be their biggest threat and they will not release it despite their contractual obligation and promise to do so."

Capitol Records has yet to comment. Satan too is keeping his own counsel. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.