The Smiths' Mike Joyce Drops Out of Controversial 'Classically Smiths' Shows

Drummer departs gig after bassist Andy Rourke falsely listed as participant

The Smiths' Mike Joyce has dropped out of a series of orchestral concerts after bassist Andy Rourke was falsely listed as a participant. Credit: Will Ireland/Rhthym Magazine/Getty

UPDATE: The planned "Classically Smiths" shows have been canceled. "In response to recent comments in the press, the planned Classically Smiths events will now no longer be taking place," Bad Productions' Joel Perry said in a statement.

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Former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce has dropped out of a series of orchestral concerts after the production company falsely listed his bandmate, Andy Rourke, as a participant. "It is with much regret that I have to announce that I will not be taking part in the show(s) 'Classically Smiths,'" Joyce said in a statement. "I entered into agreement in good faith to perform these shows with Andy Rourke and [former Smiths guitarist] Craig Gannon. Andy was asked originally but I wasn't informed that he had passed on this project. Unfortunately it became apparent that Andy would not be taking part and was never a part of this."

The "Classically Smiths" concerts were billed as a gig featuring Joyce, Rourke, temporary "Fifth Smith" Craig Gannon and an array of guest vocalists performing classic Smiths songs with the Manchester Camerata Orchestra. Shows were scheduled in Manchester, London and Edinburgh, with a full-scale U.K. tour to follow.

However, hours after the shows were announced, Rourke denied his involvement, claiming nothing was ever "confirmed, approved or contracted by me or my team." A rep for Rourke told Rolling Stone that the bassist never signed on for the gigs, even though a press release for "Classically Smiths" included a statement attributed to him. Rourke later said that he neither said nor submitted any quote for the event.

In his statement, Joyce suggested that he was misled about Rourke's involvement. After discovering the mistake, he says he was told to keep quiet about the subject during a press conference promoting "Classically Smiths." When he learned that Rourke was not participating, Joyce said, "I agreed with Andy that I would take part in the press conference and inform people that he would not be taking part. Unfortunately on the morning of the press conference I was informed I would not be able to say this. I therefore agreed to take part in the press interviews but did so without discussing Andy's participation in the venture at any point during all tv, radio and print interviews."

Joyce continued, "After much deliberation and soul-searching I have decided that without Andy, an integral part of why I agreed to take part in the first place, I have come to this difficult decision. I still believe the shows and concept to be a fantastic idea and wish them all the success they deserve."

Tickets for "Classically Smiths" were supposed to go on sale Friday, though as of press time, ticket information was unavailable via TicketMaster. As of Tuesday morning, the website for "Classically Smiths" was taken down. However, the production company behind the show, Bad Productions, has yet to officially announce the status of the concert. Multiple calls and e-mails to Bad Productions were not returned.