Guitar World: "The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now? guitar secrets: producer John Porter reveals the exhaustive tonal sculpting behind the alt-rock anthem"

Guitar World, August 12, 2020.

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The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now? guitar secrets: producer John Porter reveals the exhaustive tonal sculpting behind the alt-rock anthem


Porter gives some interesting (very technical) details about the song's creation.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Comments

general disarray

Active Member
Although it sounds as if Moz was a little bit anxious that they might plot behind his back.

It's a shame they couldn't sort the management & paranoia situation out because Moz staying in his safe space & Marr going out & selling the band would have been ideal.
It takes two to tango so they say, and people wanted Morrissey as well out there so to speak.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
From what I’ve learned over the years Johnny had everything to do, from recording writing, to ordering transport, while moz had little to do.. other than complaining when things never got to number 1. It’s evident from autobiography that management WAS the problem from day 1 even when they did move to a major, they were condemned to death, so they couldn’t win either way...
Totally agree that Johnny was burdened with too much, but it's crazy to think that Moz did nothing whilst Marr was being worked into the ground. He did most of The Smiths publicity, interviews, etc single-handed, he had complete oversight of the artwork down to the last minute detail - he had more responsibilities outside the studio than any of the others.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Marr spent years blathering on about how he didn't want to keep repeating himself, and harking back to a cliched 'jangly' sound, when it's blatantly obvious, not only from the records he has made since purportedly being willing to re-embrace his Smiths sound (i.e. in his latter solo career) but even from the later recordings of the Smiths, after Porter was out the picture, that he simply can't make records like 'How Soon in Now?' and 'William, It Was Really Nothing'. As big as his input was to those records, they were collaborative works, and the collaboration wasn't just Morrissey/Marr, it was wider than that.

I wish he would acknowledge that.
I think it might be overstating things to say that Porter deserved any writing credits (I've never heard him ask for any), but I do think it's fair to say that he clearly had a huge role when it came to layering those intricate, but almost 'wall of sound'-style stacked guitar arrangements. Even on those later odd songs where he came back, such as 'Ask' and 'You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby', you can hear the difference. Johnny's guitar has never sounded quite so good without him, so it's a shame they haven't worked together on any of Marr's solo stuff.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Porter could do a whole book on this.

The worst thing about Moz's autobiography is that he never talks about the "making" of the songs or lyrics.
It's more like he couldn't. He doesn't know details about how the music was made and if he had written about his lyrics it would've been like exposing the mystery
 
T

Trans

Guest
Totally agree that Johnny was burdened with too much, but it's crazy to think that Moz did nothing whilst Marr was being worked into the ground. He did most of The Smiths publicity, interviews, etc single-handed, he had complete oversight of the artwork down to the last minute detail - he had more responsibilities outside the studio than any of the others.
weren’t the record contracts made with him as well. He was on the hook for another smiths album
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
It's more like he couldn't. He doesn't know details about how the music was made and if he had written about his lyrics it would've been like exposing the mystery
I love his description of I Won't Share You - Johnny grabbing "a peculiar stringed instrument from 1777" and coming up with this gorgeous sound out of nowhere.
 

The Seeker of Good Songs

Well-Known Member
Something doesn't sound right about this:
"“Morrissey came in the next day. He had this book of lyrics. We'd put a track up and he'd open it and just start singing… he hadn't written it for the tune or anything, he would just try stuff.

"Quite often, his phrasing was so unconventional anyway that it didn't really make a difference. He found some words that seemed to work and sang it and I think we only did it one time and then he said, 'OK?' at the end and then went off.”"

Morrissey would just start singing not having heard the music at all? How would he know how much to lyrics to use and for how long? Would he be singing and the music would end, or he would end and there'd be more music still playing?
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><>
Something doesn't sound right about this:
"“Morrissey came in the next day. He had this book of lyrics. We'd put a track up and he'd open it and just start singing… he hadn't written it for the tune or anything, he would just try stuff.

"Quite often, his phrasing was so unconventional anyway that it didn't really make a difference. He found some words that seemed to work and sang it and I think we only did it one time and then he said, 'OK?' at the end and then went off.”"

Morrissey would just start singing not having heard the music at all? How would he know how much to lyrics to use and for how long? Would he be singing and the music would end, or he would end and there'd be more music still playing?
If Porters statements are true and it was done in one take....

Then I imagine he stood at the mic with his notebook full of lines, complete or
incomplete, and they pushed play, the tapes started to roll, Morrissey heard the intro felt the vibe then just dived in, singing what he felt was right.

Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they played the instrumental to him in the control room before he went into a separate room to record. If that was the case, and more likely, then he wouldn’t be hearing the song for the first time. Though to do what he did in one take is still pretty amazing.

Him saying ‘OK?’ near the end, seems to imply that either he felt he sang enough, or maybe he was wondering if he sang enough because he really didn’t know the length of the song.
 
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A

Anonymouswithapologies

Guest
... he clearly had a huge role when it came to layering those intricate, but almost 'wall of sound'-style stacked guitar arrangements. Even on those later odd songs where he came back, such as 'Ask' and 'You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby', you can hear the difference. Johnny's guitar has never sounded quite so good without him, ...
this.

....

... Would he be singing and the music would end, or he would end and there'd be more music still playing?
this is oddly funny and true.
 

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