Smiths 'reunion' cancelled after bassist Andy Rourke denies involvement in classical concerts

Andy Rourke, Johnny Marr, Morrissey and Mike Joyce in 1987 - REX/Shutterstock
Andy Rourke, Johnny Marr, Morrissey and Mike Joyce in 1987 - REX/Shutterstock

Mere hours after news broke of the Smiths Classical concerts, which were set to take place later this year with former members of the Manchester band and the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, one of the billed line-up has denied any involvement in the project. 

Bassist Andy Rourke issued a statement on Monday claiming that he hadn't given permission to be involved in the event, and wouldn't be taking part.

Rourke's representative told Rolling Stone: "In no point in time did Andy Rourke agree to participate or otherwise license or authorise the use of his name, likeness or any personal quotes in any manner in connection with this Classically Smiths project.

He continued: "The parties involved were advised of 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, authorised or otherwise approved by him or his representatives."

Manchester Evening News reports that the concerts have now been cancelled.


The acrimonious split between Johnny Marr and Morrissey in 1987 made a Smiths reunion all but impossible, but this summer the rest of the band will reunite for a series of concerts – without the warring duo.

Former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, bassist Andy Rourke and second guitarist Craig Gannon will be teaming up with the Manchester Camerata Orchestra to deliver classic Smiths songs "as you have never heard [them] before." The music will be accompanied by an "epic production", which may or may not compensate for the absence of the band's frontman and lead guitarist.

The gigs will give those Smiths fans who never witnessed the band playing during the Eighties the chance to hear classic songs such as There is a Light That Never Goes Out, How Soon is Now and This Charming Man live – and backed by an orchestra. 

Manchester Camerata Orchestra is no stranger to pop collaborations. In recent years, they have toured with their Hacienda Classical concerts and performed with New Order. The guest vocalists for the Classically Smiths shows are yet to be announced.

Gannon said: “When using an orchestra with a band, there are so many different approaches you can take. But rather than us bending something out of shape or forcing a completely different musical angle on it, we’re doing this with the greatest respect and admiration for the songs we all love.

“I played most of these songs live (and on some of the original recordings) when I was in The Smiths in 1986 and I’m really looking forward to revisiting them again.”

Morrissey: his best quotes
Morrissey: his best quotes

Tickets for Classically Smiths will go on sale on Friday, January 26. The current confirmed dates are:

  • June 28 – Manchester, O2 Apollo

  • June 29 – London, O2 Academy, Brixton

  • July 2 – Edinburgh, Usher Hall