Bassist Guy Pratt on the time he nearly joined the Smiths - Rolling Stone

From Rolling Stone.

Right around that same time, you nearly wound up touring in the Smiths. How did that happen?
This whole five year period was just f***in’ nuts. By that time, I was working with Bryan Ferry. Myself and [guitarist] Chester Kamen were kind of like his little sorcerer’s apprentices. We were in the studio for like two years with him working on this album [Bête Noire]. One of the songs we were doing was a Smiths instrumental. It was a B side of “Bigmouth Strikes Again” called “Money Changes Everything.”

Bryan, very cleverly, came up with the idea of writing a song over it as a way of tapping into the Smiths audience. We just had trouble getting the sound of it, so Bryan said, “Why don’t we get Johnny Marr to play on it?”

And so Johnny came down to the studio. And Johnny and I kind of fell in love immediately. We had this huge bromance and went around London together, and we played on Kirsty MacColl records. All of this happened when The Queen Is Dead came out and they were having trouble with Andy [Rourke], their bass player. He’d just been busted for drugs and they didn’t know if he’d be able to get a visa for the American tour. And so it was suggested that I stand in for the tour.

I went and did a week’s rehearsal with them. I don’t know whether it was ever in the cards, and everything turned out alright with Andy anyway. I think they were kind of just humoring Johnny so he could have his mate around.

What were those rehearsals like?
Johnny was the bandleader. Everything flowed from him. And Andy was there. He taught me all of his surprisingly sophisticated bass parts. They were really complicated. They sound straightforward, but there are loads of little bits where nothing sounds the same twice. It’s brilliant stuff. I learned a lot.

We were down in the middle of the countryside in Sussex. I drive past it every time I drive from Brighton to London since I live in Brighton. It always makes me think about it. And Morrissey was only there for the last couple of days. It was a party band and Morrissey used to go to bed really early. On the last night, we were up sort of all night. I went to bed and realized I hadn’t finished. I went and banged on what I thought was Johnny’s door. I was like, “Come on, you bastard! Get up!” And it was Morrissey’s door, it turned out. He just got up in the morning, took the train to London, and I just wasn’t doing the tour. [Laughs]
 

Comments

A

Anonymous

Guest
I went and banged on what I thought was Johnny’s door. I was like, “Come on, you bastard! Get up!” And it was Morrissey’s door, it turned out. He just got up in the morning, took the train to London, and I just wasn’t doing the tour. [Laughs]
Brilliant!
Incidentally, I noticed this on Youtube where he talks about working on some songs with Johnny and Kirsty:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Why were they doing 'Money Changes Everything' before Bryan Ferry suggested turning it into a song?
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Great story. In Guy's book, Johnny passed over his phone number (to get in touch after the Ferry session) and Guy wrote, "For a second, I had a sneaking suspicion he was gay, but this turned out not to be true." :lbf:
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age

marred

Member
Brilliant!
Incidentally, I noticed this on Youtube where he talks about working on some songs with Johnny and Kirsty:
I love a lot of the music he's played with other artists but his youtube videos come across as a little creepy. That clown thing at the start? Wtf was that? He also thinks he's funny or something and has a stand up show. Sheesh!
 
G

Guy Man

Guest
Okay, now I understand how Guy Pratt & Johnny ended up on many Kirsty songs. Guy is a very different bassist from Andy. I would guess he generally plays with his fingers whereas Andy seemed to often (or mostly) use a pick which gives you a totally different tone and attack. I like both of them as players very much, but it's apples / oranges.

The Kirsty records of that era are so underrated. She just could not break through in America. I don't fault the material. I just think US audiences weren't geared towards it as she came off more 'reasonable' on record than the Smiths or James, or even Billy Bragg, who appeared more radical.
 
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