For almost a decade Morrissey has been an enthusiastic supporter of Kristeen Young, a rising American singer he hand-picked to be his support act.
But in a familiar turn of events the relationship has soured after Morrissey blamed Ms Young for giving him a cold which has forced the former Smiths frontman to cancel his US tour.
Morrissey has axed the concerts, including a keenly-anticipated New York appearance with Sir Cliff Richard, blaming a respiratory infection and “acute fever” he claims he caught from his support act, Young.
Morrissey, 55, who has suffered a number of health-related cancellations in recent years, was rushed to hospital in Boston, in the middle of a 30-day tour.
A statement on the semi-official fan site True-To-You pointed the finger at Ms Young, a New York-based singer, originally from St Louis, discovered by Morrissey in 2006 and who was the rare recipient of staunch praise in his Autobiography, published last year.
“Difficulties had arisen on May 31st following Kristeen Young’s opening set at the Miami Knight Concert Hall, after which Kristeen confessed to ‘a horrendous cold’, the symptoms of which were passed on to Morrissey resulting in the cancellation of the next show in Atlanta,” the statement read.
“For the good of all, Kristeen was asked to step down from the immediate upcoming shows, but instead she decided to leave the tour entirely.”
However the medical attention Morrissey “was not enough to shake off the virus, the recovery time for which is too lengthy to meet the final 9 shows of the tour”.
Ms Young fiercely contests Morrissey’s account. In a Facebook post, she wrote: “I did not ‘confess to a horrendous cold’. On Monday, June 2nd, I had an allergy attack that was over within 16 hours. I went to a doctor (on Monday, June 2nd), an allergy specialist, who gave me drugs for allergies…and they worked.”
She offered a doctor’s note proving her ailment to Morrissey but this was rejected and she was asked to leave the tour. “I am very sorry that Morrissey is not feeling well,” Young wrote but she would “not tolerate” stories being propagated about her health. “This is really too much and bizarre.”
Morrissey praised Young, who has worked with David Bowie and Dave Grohl, in his memoirs, writing: “The solid fixity of her presentation is as striking as having a safe drop on your head from a tenth-floor window.“
Asked about her relationship with Morrissey last month, she said: “I continue to be inspired by him and I believe it is very mutual.”
She was even given a rare second chance after offending the grudge-bearing singer. She apologised after telling audience members in 2007 “Morrissey gives good head, I mean, er, cunnilingus…” during a support slot.
Young was replaced by video footage of American writer James Baldwin and classic British comedians at the Boston show.
Morrissey cancelled 22 US concerts last year due to ill health. His ailments included pneumonia, an ulcer, the throat condition Barrett’s oesophagus and anaemia. The tour preceded the release of Morrissey’s new solo album, World Peace is None of Your Business.
Morrissey’s Facebook statement read: “It is with great sadness that the remainder of the US tour has been cancelled. The respiratory infection Morrissey contracted in Miami has worsened, and in the interest of making a full recovery, all further touring plans have been halted. Morrissey thanks his fans for their compassion, understanding, and well-wishes during this difficult period as he recuperates.”
Last month Morrissey was involved in a spat with another support act, Scottish band PAWS, who were not even playing at his concert. Morrissey allegedly demanded that PAWS be removed from a concert at the California Observatory because they were playing in a neighbouring room to his own show and he feared their loud music would drown out his own performance.
By Adam Sherwin