Photo by Jennica Abrams
It's Los Angeles. It's a Morrissey headline set at FYF Festival. It has to be Mexican Morrissey fan central, right?! Enter one John Ochoa, 29, born here in LA of Mexican descent, and absolutely mental about the former Smiths frontman and cat lover, affectionately known as Moz. Despite having never visited the North of England, where the 56-year-old crooner was born, Ochoa's Morrissey dedication knows no bounds. He is definitely the most committed disciple of Steven Patrick Morrissey we meet all weekend. Not only was he carrying a bouquet of flowers, sporting a fresh 50s-style haircut (chopped that morning) and wearing a custom-made (by his MOM) denim vest with Morrissey on the back, he was willing to be stolen away from camping out at the front of the stage to come talk to us about why on earth his dedication runs so deep. “Anything for Morrissey!” he says. Bless.
Noisey: Talk me through your outfit.
John Ochoa: I have these flowers because Morrissey always performs with flowers and is a big lover of flowers.
Morrissey's a big lover of gladioli. There are roses.
I went to the grocery store last minute. They're pretty but they're not gladioli. I tried. No luck. I'm assuming there's a shortage of flowers this weekend in LA. But I'm the only one I've seen here so far with flowers.
On to your hair…
So I cut my hair today. I've had this style before. I went to go get it styled—the Pompadour look—specifically for today. I like to call it a mix between Morrissey and Mad Men's Don Draper. Modern and old school.
Do you think Morrissey would like Don Draper?
No, it's a good question but I don't think so. Maybe because he has a big ego and persona, Don Draper is like that too. But Morrissey hates everyone so I don't think so.
Who do you think is on Morrissey's shit list at the moment?
Donald Trump. Absolutely.
Do you share a shit list with Morrissey?
No. I come from the rave scene actually. I'm all about love, hope and acceptance. I'm very tolerant of opinions.
Photo by Jennica Abrams
Tell me about your custom-designed denim jacket.
I have all these pins here from Smiths and Morrissey album art work. Queen Is Dead, Meat Is Murder, etc. I bought this denim vest at a vintage shop but my mom sewed the Morrissey T-shirt onto the back. She cut it out. It's very inspired by punk rock history: Crass, The Ramones. Same thing with the pins. But it's a Morrissey take on it.
How many times have you seen Morrissey live?
Three. This is my fourth and most important because it's in Los Angeles proper. I've been going through a lot of emotional things this year with girlfriend, family and moving. Since the beginning of April, I've been listening to Morrissey and The Smiths every single day. Same songs on repeat. It's helped me. The songs are super sad but they're upbeat to me. They put me in a good mood because sometimes it's good to be sad.
Would you say you're the saddest Morrissey fan at FYF?
Yes. I've moved houses four times in the last 15 months and have suffered four tumultuous breakups in the last four months, in addition to family issues. Sadness runs deep in my veins.
Which is your all-time favorite Smiths or Morrissey song?
"This Charming Man" is my favorite song ever. Ever. It's a song I will get married and buried to.
So if a double-decker bus crashes into us right now…
The pleasure and privilege is mine. Absolutely.
Are you more of a Morrissey or Smiths fan?
Smiths. I like Morrissey solo but he got way too whiney and moany. Too much drama. I like the Smiths because of Morrissey and Johnny Marr together. This could be the last time I see him because he's sick with cancer. He might want to take time to recover or just… die. The whole Latino Morrissey culture in Los Angeles brings us all here. You can see it in our style.
Do you hang out together in your Moz gear?
Sometimes I go to get-togethers in theme bars but I don't really know anyone as big a fan as I am. I know people but they're not as hardcore as me.
What's the greatest Smiths record?
It's between The Queen Is Dead and the self-titled album. The former I listen to front-to-back every day.
What's your earliest Morrissey memory?
I was in high school and was part of a Mexican Morrissey army without even realising it was one! I had a high school party at my house. There was a mix from KROQ that was an 80s flashback. It had two Morrissey songs including the John Peel session version of "This Charming Man." I remember thinking, 'Who is this angel singing for me?' It was very touching and endearing. The word 'charming' stood out to me. It was rare. I'm a writer so I have an appreciation for language. It was so eloquent. My sister's boyfriend at the time told me who he was and one day I saw The Queen Is Dead and played it. That's when it really hit me. I started reading his lyrics and learning about who he was.
Have you read his book, Autobiography?
“I'm reading it now. I have my Morrissey library and my Johnny Marr library. It's so funny. My goal was to try and finish it before FYF so I could feel closer to him but I didn't quite get there.”
Photo by John Ochoa
Is this a religious experience for you?
It is, absolutely. Because it's in LA and we're in Downtown with all my Latino brothers and sisters, I'm gonna get as close as I can to the front and throw my flowers up. I'm a big believer in the universe. Last week, I bought these Morrissey and Kanye prayer candles on Etsy and they got to my office on Friday. FYF made the Kanye announcement [that he would be replacing Frank Ocean as Saturday night's headliner] on Thursday. [John shows me a picture he made seven weeks ago of Morrissey's face split with Kanye's] Look at this from seven weeks ago. It's trippy right? It's like the universe is repaying me for the good things I've done.
If you ever met Morrissey what would you ask him?
I'd ask him what his happiest memory is? What makes him happy? I think he is loved but he chooses to ignore a lot of it.
I think we all want to know that. What did you think of the set?
I ran into my friend Geoff, who used to manage the Crystal Method. He summarized it quite perfectly: Morrissey can be challenging. He doesn't play the hits you want to hear. He sprinkles familiar tracks here and there, but you never know what to expect. I loved that he called out the overabundance of security at the front stage barricade. I was sad there were no flowers thrown on stage. He didn't do any shirt changes or toss his clothing to the crowds. These are all rites of passage for any Morrissey fan, but lacked at FYF. He seemed a bit bothered, but I loved the adoration he showed to Los Angeles, his new home. Plus he gave major love to his Mexican/Latino fans in the crowd. It was still a very special performance for all of us. It felt like home.
Follow John Ochoa's Morrissey antics on Instagram.
Eve Barlow just wants Morrissey to chin up a bit. Follow her on Twitter.