Three former members the Smiths will reunite later this year for a series orchestral concerts, putting a classical spin on the band’s catalogue.
Drummer Mike Joyce, bassist Andy Rourke and secondary guitarist Craig Gannon (who began playing with the band in 1986) have teamed up to create a new live show dubbed Classically Smiths, which will see them perform alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra.
They have announced shows in Manchester (June 28), London (June 29) and Edinburgh (July 2), with a full UK tour expected to follow later this year.
Smiths frontman Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr are not involved in the project.
UPDATE (1/22, 2:30 p.m. EST): Andy Rourke’s team now says that the former bassist is not ficially involved in the project in any way, shape or form. A press release from Rourke reads as follows:
At no point in time did Andy Rourke agree to participate or otherwise license or authorize the use his name, likeness or any personal quotes in any manner in connection with this Classically Smiths project. The parties involved were advised this on multiple occasions prior to them going to press. A press conference and press release were scheduled and serviced to the media without Andy Rourke’s or his team’s knowledge or approval. Any quotes by Andy Rourke that were attributed in any press materials in regards to the Classically Smiths project were not provided, authorized or otherwise approved by him or his representatives.
In a statement, Rourke himself said, “I am deeply saddened that during the week the death my dear friend Dolores O’Riordan, that false statements are made on my behalf. At no time did I give my consent for anyone in connection with this Classically Smiths project to act on my behalf or my name and nothing was ever confirmed, approved or contracted by me or my team.”
“There’ll be Smiths classics in the set, but I can’t wait to play the songs that have never been heard live before,” Joyce told the Manchester Evening News. “With the addition an orchestra, it will sound as totally unique as it will immense. I’m really looking forward to fans being able to hear the songs in a way they’ve never been heard before, either on record or live.”
He also revealed some the tracks that will be getting the orchestral treatment, including “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side,” “A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours,” “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” “Oscillate Wildly,” ” Shoplifters the World Unite,” “Girlfriend in a Coma” and “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.”
The Manchester Camerata Orchestra have previously performed live reworkings ’90s Madchester tunes with the Hacienda Classical concerts. They also collaborated with New Order on their 2015 album Music Complete.