Here’s a rarity for fans of the Smiths: former drummer Mike Joyce has tweeted a link to a very early demo tape recorded by the post-punk luminaries sometime in 1983, before they recorded their self-titled debut the following year.
Dubbed The Pablo Cuckoo Tape – according to the video’s uploader, who said the recording came from an anonymous source with that nickname – the 39-minute demo is thick with fuzz, but Johnny Marr’s guitar winds and worms its way into your ear, while the melodrama in Morrissey’s voice remains as palpable as ever.
Answering a few questions on Twitter about the recording, Joyce said he had no idea who found the recording, and when asked about the demo’s sound quality wrote, “It was recorded on a cassette player lying on the floor in the rehearsal room.” And as for the reason his drums are so in the foreground? “Oi! I’m just closer to the mic’s than everyone else!”
The video’s uploader did link to a message board post on a Smiths fan site that explained the tape’s origins: Recorded in May 1983 at manager Joe Moss’ jeans warehouse, the band had yet to sign to Rough Trade, but were about to record The Smiths. The demo was for producer Troy Tate so that he’d have something to work with before the band entered the studio.
You can take a listen above and check out the demo’s full tracklist below:
“You’ve Got Everything Now”
“What Difference Does It Make?”
“Reel Around the Fountain”
“These Things Take Time”
“I Don’t Owe You Anything”
“Hand in Glove”