The Smiths' 'Classically Smiths' concerts have been axed after bassist Andy Rourke denied his involvement and drummer Mike Joyce pulled out.

The Smiths

The Smiths

The legendary punk rock group were set to reunite without frontman Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr for a series of orchestral shows with occasional guitarist Craig Gannon.

However, Rourke profusely denied anything was set in stone and that he'd not given his "consent" to the performances.

He said: "At no time did I give my consent for anyone in connection with this 'Classically Smiths' project to act on my behalf or my name, and nothing was ever confirmed, approved or contracted by me or my team."

Joyce said that he was gutted the gigs are no longer going ahead, as he enjoyed rehearsing for it and said it was a "fantastic" concept.

However, despite promoting it with a press conference, the sticksman says it could not go ahead due to Rourke not taking part.

In a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, he said: "It is with much regret that I have to announce that I will not be taking part in the show(s) Classically Smiths. I entered into agreement in good faith to perform these shows with Andy Rourke and Craig Gannon.

"Unfortunately it became apparent very late that Andy would not be taking part. 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.

"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. (sic)"

Bad Productions have confirmed the three planned performances in Manchester, London and Edinburgh have been cancelled.

It would have been the first time in 31 years members of the 'Panic' group would perform together.

The concert was to feature the classic band's songs re-imagined with Manchester's award-winning Camerata Orchestra.

Different singers were going to be recruited to take on Morrissey's signature baritone-style vocals on renditions of hits including 1986's 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' and 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' from their seminal studio album, 'The Queen Is Dead'.

Joyce had said: "I'm massively excited to be playing with Andy and Craig again, but introducing a full orchestra into the mix takes this to another level.

"There'll be Smiths classics in the set, but I can't wait to play the songs that have never been heard live before. With the addition of an orchestra, it will sound as totally unique as it will immense."

The punk rockers last played together at their final show in 1986, at London's Brixton Academy.

The closest Morrissey and guitarist Marr came to reforming the 'How Soon Is Now' group was in 2008.