Oh Shit – Punk Wars: Morrissey, McDonalds and The Buzzcocks.
Above Photo: Morrissey in The Smiths after serving his apprenticeship as a Punk in Manchester.
I always enjoy seeing Punk controversies in news items, such as when the use of the Buzzcocks’ track ‘What Do I Get’ for a McDonalds advert led to a punch-up between former Smiths frontman, Morrissey, and Punk band icons, The Buzzcocks.
Morrisseys Punk credentials are impeccable. Previously an early fan of The New York Dolls and The Ramones, not only was he in the audience for the legendary Sex Pistols gigs in Manchester in 1976, but he was also briefly the singer in Manchester Punk Band Slaughter and The Dogs.
He was a regular at Punk and New Wave gigs in Manchester and Liverpool, a music correspondent and prolific letter-writer about the bands he’d seen, so his opinion on Punk and New Wave matters is certainly to be respected, whatever else you might think of him (I’m a fan of his earlier stuff, musically-speaking).
He’s also a committed Vegetarian and longtime animal rights campaigner.
The Buzzcocks too are steeped in distinguished Punk history, having supported the Sex Pistols on their infamous Anarchy tour in Manchester back in 1976 (a gig that Morrissey attended), and with some superb music produced in the late 1970s.
So when McDonalds rolled out a recent advert in the UK featuring the Buzzcocks’ 1977 single, What Do I Get? as a jingle, Morrissey was clearly irked.
Referring to the B side of the same single (a track called ‘Oh Shit’), he commented:
“Please, somebody, tell me it’s just a bad dream … Pete Shelley has allowed McDonald’s to use Buzzcocks’ ‘What do I get?’ to TV advertise McDonald’s new Big Flavour (the flavour being sawdust) Chicken Wraps?! In the words of another Buzzcocks song: oh shit…”
I don’t know whether it’s the case here or not, but as I’ve previously pointed out, legally, when musicians sell the rights to their music somewhere along the line of their career in order to make some money, they lose control over how their music is used in the future.
Alternatively, they could just be McDonalds food fans…
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
I’ve added both (excellent) Buzzcocks’ tracks below, as well as a link to the offending McDonalds advert which uses the track.