Johnny Marr interview: ‘I had to defend myself against Morrissey’ - thetimes.co.uk

Johnny Marr interview - The Times

Johnny Marr tells his side.


Excerpt:

A month on the guitarist explains his decision to come out fighting. “When you’re attacked out of the blue, particularly in public, you have to defend yourself. The letter was designed to be insulting, wasn’t it? That has to have been the idea. If it’s something that’s not based in fact, you have to react in kind, which is just” — he curls his lip — “with ridicule.” Tellingly, he doesn’t use the M word.

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Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Full Times as gated article.

Johnny Marr interview: ‘I had to defend myself against Morrissey’

Talking for the first time since their public spat, the legendary guitarist reveals where it all went wrong.
By Dan Cairns, February 27, 2022.

476c4c6c3365f65987ab659180d17d3e139adbd8.jpg


""Fight or flight? Since Johnny Marr walked out on the Smiths in 1987 he has chosen the latter. He collaborated with countless artists, from the Pretenders to Modest Mouse and launched a successful solo career. But he has also managed to maintain a mystique — in sharp contrast to his former bandmate, the offensively outspoken Morrissey.
Sitting in his manager’s HQ in north London, Marr is clearly conscious that discussing Morrissey risks adding fuel to the fire. This is his first interview since their very public spat last month, and when the subject comes up Marr’s normally sunny demeanour changes; his expression is less amiable interlocutor and more jut-jawed pugilist.
It began when Morrissey, 62, posted an open letter to Marr on his website, and all hell broke loose — which was perhaps the intention. Morrissey’s anger was palpable. “This is not a rant or an hysterical bombast,” the singer wrote. “It is a polite and calmly measured request: Would you please stop mentioning my name in your interviews? . . . Our period together was many lifetimes ago . . . There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions . . . Just stop using my name as click-bait.”

The trigger for the letter was an interview Marr, 58, had given to the music magazine Uncut. He made a comment about his former band that was like a red rag to a bull — “Everyone I’ve worked with has been great. The only thing that turned to shit was the Smiths . . . That isn’t that much of a surprise because we’re so different, me and Morrissey.”
Marr’s response to Morrissey’s letter was withering. “Dear @officialmoz,” he tweeted, “an ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953, It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business . . . a bit 2021 yeah?”

A month on the guitarist explains his decision to come out fighting. “When you’re attacked out of the blue, particularly in public, you have to defend yourself. The letter was designed to be insulting, wasn’t it? That has to have been the idea. If it’s something that’s not based in fact, you have to react in kind, which is just” — he curls his lip — “with ridicule.” Tellingly, he doesn’t use the M word.

The brouhaha coincides with the release of Marr’s new (double) album, Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 — his fourth as a solo artist, and comfortably his best. “Look, it was about [his wanting] attention,” Marr continues, “and I’m getting a lot of it. I’ve got my new record coming out, and that’s getting attention too. All my solo records have. I just do what I do. I’ll just carry on being who I am.”
Even dressed down Marr manages to look dapper. Today, in a faded blue denim jacket and trousers and shoes whose shade matches his bottle-black hair and kohl-pencilled eyebrows, he retains the air of someone for whom image is just as important as his artistic identity.
How did it come to this? How did the paths of two men — whose intensely literate, voice-of-a-generation lyrics and audacious, game-changing guitar playing helped to soundtrack the lives of millions of Eighties adolescents and young adults — diverge so drastically?
When Marr knocked on Morrissey’s front door in Stretford, Greater Manchester, in May 1982, they bonded instantly over mutual musical passions and born-outsider mindsets, setting in motion one of British music’s greatest adventures. Over four studio albums the pair created a body of work of such visceral brilliance and originality, it couldn’t help but overshadow what they did next. It is how they have handled their post-Smiths careers, and by extension the band’s legacy, that has highlighted key differences in mentality
.

Both men are vegan (Marr is also teetotal and runs ten miles a day) and both have campaigned for causes close to their heart — Morrissey for animal rights, Marr for social and economic justice. But that is where the similarities end.
While Marr has built a reputation as a modest and fundamentally decent man, still married to his childhood sweetheart, Angie, with whom he has two children, and still living in the Manchester area, his former bandmate has steadily dismantled his own reputation. Morrissey in 2022 cuts a sorry figure: a cantankerous, Los Angeles-based king across the water, and a self-described “humasexual”, his increasingly truculent and often borderline racist comments and postings have quashed, surely for ever, any hopes of a Smiths reunion.
He and Marr met briefly in 2008 and talked about the possibility of the band re-forming, but the discussion got nowhere. Renewed speculation in 2019 drew from Marr an angry tweet: “Nigel Farage on guitar.”
The key phrase in Morrissey’s diatribe last month was, piquantly, not a nostalgia-inducing burst of linguistic dexterity but something altogether more mundane. “You don’t know me,” he wrote. To which his erstwhile colleague could be forgiven for responding: “No, but I know enough.”

A lifelong supporter of left-wing causes, Marr was never going to want to be associated with someone whose latter-day views have found an echo in those of far-right politicians and organisations. Morrissey can hardly complain that clear expressions of support for repellent Islamophobic figures such as Tommy Robinson and Anne Marie Waters have been misinterpreted.
In this context Marr’s 16-track Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 seems even more of an achievement — and even more of a victory. The greatest guitarist of his generation had taken a while to find his footing as a solo artist, writing his own songs but also singing them and touring them, front and centre. Fans of his former band may have flocked to his early concerts in the knowledge that he sprinkles his set lists with old Smiths favourites, but there was no guarantee that they would fully buy into the idea of him as a frontman. Slowly and patiently Marr has chipped away at any lingering doubts or prejudice.

“I’ve carved out my singing style in public,” he says, laughing. “There’s this thing that’s developed in the past 20 years, a way of singing pop music that owes a lot to shows like The X Factor; this idea that emoting equals authenticity equals quality. Plus there’s been the rise of karaoke. Put those things together and you sit in a restaurant or on a plane and you hear these atrocities being committed in the name of ‘good’ singing. Tell that to Patti Smith or Mick Jagger, Ray Davies, Pete Shelley or the young Lou Reed. I wouldn’t want to do The X Factor thing even if I could. Most of the singers I like are technically pretty limited.”
When he talks about his new track Tenement Time, on which he casts a look back over his shoulder to his youth, with an assault-and-battery guitar part that recalls the Sex Pistols, you get a sense of where and how that duality embedded itself.
“It’s a celebration of running around as an inner-city child, aged eight, nine, ten, breaking into factories, being chased. There’s that idyllic image of childhood, playing in a stream and messing around with tadpoles. My experience was falling through the roof of a warehouse, getting pursued by security guards and skinheads, being obsessed with great-looking working-class girls and copying great-looking working-class boys. All the shops would shut down at 5pm and, aside from cinemas and bars, that was it. Manchester city centre, deserted, was where I roamed.”

Clocking just how many bands and singers he has played with since leaving his first band only strengthens the impression that Marr, a tireless touring artist, views his career as a series of intense interactions, only one of which involved being the guitarist and sonic architect in the Smiths. Another notable addition to his CV is his work with the film composer Hans Zimmer, a longtime collaborator, most recently on the score for the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, and the Oscar-nominated title track performed by Billie Eilish.
Sweetly, if (forgivably) bombastically, Marr describes his Bond experience with unabashed pride. When he went to the recording studio to perform Monty Norman’s iconic ascending guitar line, he says, “The first thing I did was phone my parents after I’d played the theme. As soon as the orchestra had finished I called them.” But he doesn’t think it’s surprising he was the obvious candidate. “If you’re bringing the guitar back into Bond music, well, it probably should be me.”

As that remark suggests, Marr isn’t one to downplay his achievements. There’s a carefully concealed steeliness beneath the bonhomie and that immaculately turned-out exterior. Lovely to chew the cud with, but you wouldn’t want to cross swords with him. After all, look where that got Morrissey.
Fever Dreams
Pts 1-4 is out now."

Regards,
FWD.
 

Ketamine Sun

WATCH IT SUCKA! ; )

Redacted

I think I must be, absolutely, a total sex object.
Marr is an absolute shameless douchebag. He is utter trash, no class, no intelligence and no pride. No one who is secure and who has any self esteem would act like this, he is just such an ugly nasty person, inside and out.
First of all, he was not attacked, he is being a total :drama:. He had been provoking Morrissey for years and now because he could not come up with a clever tweet in response, he plunges the knife in and twists it some more.

Of particular interest:

“Look, it was about [his wanting] attention,” Marr continues, “and I’m getting a lot of it. I’ve got my new record coming out, and that’s getting attention too. All my solo records have. I just do what I do. I’ll just carry on being who I am.”

No, you repulsive miserable midget, this is what you do and what you have been doing to Morrissey for years and continue to do now; you use Morrissey to get attention. Obviously all the attention he claims he is getting now is not enough; it will never be enough for him, or his mentally challenged son, for that matter.
 
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bhops

Last of the famous international screw ups.
To be fair to Morrissey i think the only time he has ever commented on Johnny's post-Smiths work is to say that he didn't really like the Electronic record much and that he didn't expect Johnny would like him to.

Other than that he really hasn't said much, Marr on the other hand...............I get Morrissey's exasperation.
 

The Seeker of Good Songs

Well-Known Member
"...shoes whose shade matches his bottle-black hair and kohl-pencilled eyebrows,..." Is that intended to be flattering?
 
F

F*ck j. Marr

Guest
john f***ing shithead marr can't stop talking about Morrissey, right? Because he's nothing without M. Poor guy, he's doomed
 
F

F*ck j. Marr

Guest
"Successful solo career" hahahahaha
"Attacked out of the blue" hahahahaha

That john is really really small, can't get anything without the M figure
 
A

Ansel Atoms

Guest
"Successful solo career" hahahahaha
"Attacked out of the blue" hahahahaha

That john is really really small, can't get anything without the M figure
Yes, but where is Morrissey’s record? When is he going to sign to a label? Moz is at a disadvantage right now, Marr certainly does not need to be associated with Moz at this point. This is a vindictive article by a journalist who is using an interview with Marr to as an excuse to spew vitriol about Moz.
 
J

j*e*t

Guest
I think this must be a Sunday Times article? I buy the printed version of The Times (but only on Saturdays). I never read or buy The Sunday Times any more - its journalism is not of a high standard.
 
F

F*ck j. Marr

Guest
Yes, but where is Morrissey’s record? When is he going to sign to a label? Moz is at a disadvantage right now, Marr certainly does not need to be associated with Moz at this point. This is a vindictive article by a journalist who is using an interview with Marr to as an excuse to spew vitriol about Moz.
Morrissey doesn't NEED to prove anything to anyone. Even if never release an album again his career speaks for itself, world tours, sold out shows, albums on number 1 worldwide, etcetera etcetera etcetera
While the Little john is praying to get attention thanx to M
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
One things for sure: after all this public fighting, the make-up sex is going to be incredible. :sweet:
 

Redacted

I think I must be, absolutely, a total sex object.
Yes, but where is Morrissey’s record? When is he going to sign to a label? Moz is at a disadvantage right now, Marr certainly does not need to be associated with Moz at this point. This is a vindictive article by a journalist who is using an interview with Marr to as an excuse to spew vitriol about Moz.
Is this going to be the go to? Where is Morrissey's label? He's released 13 solo albums, all on labels. When Johnny catches up, we can start asking 'where is Morrissey's label'.
Morrissey is not at a disadvantage at all, he has had a long, iconic career and if he never put out another album or did another tour, he could comfortably rest on his laurels; Johnny has not and will not ever have any of this.
Johnny is being used? Is he stupid? Dense? Are you saying the interviewer is just using Johnny and is not really interested in him except to use him as a way to get at Morrissey? So doesn't that give credence to the notion that Marr talks about Morrissey because he needs to, to even get interviewed?
If the article had not turned out as intended, dripping in vitriol about a range of things, including Morrissey's sexual orientation (sadly, not a new low for Johnny), then Johnny should man up and get on twitter and disavow the article.
 

Johnny

Active Member
Whatever your thoughts on the Morrissey / Marr fall out that is a really poorly written article.
Calling Morrissey 'offensively outspoken' in the first paragraph set the tone for a grovelling hatchet job.
 
G

GraveMaurice

Guest
The article also has a box/sidebar contrasting the two saying whereas JM is married to his childhood sweetheart Morrissey lives in LA and is a long term celibate who aligns himself with Tommy Robinson. These things show just no basic research.


Marr is out of order. I don't see how anyone could read Ms letter as anything but a cry of pain from someone feeling very very low. The correct response would be compassion( maybe with some irritation, or exasperation) and to keep his own counsel. Instead his ego reacted.
 
J

Johnsonb

Guest
'I had to defend myself from Morrissey'
Says a super prick flogging his album.
Applying his fake eyebrows.
Faking his grey hair.
Juxtaposed against war in Europe.
In focus, on display, being sold ££££€€€$$$¥¥¥¥-the essence of everything that is bad, that is wrong, that is idiotic.
Stuff your pathetic boasts and egotistical words up your arse little man.
Right now, historically Johnny Marr is playing out as a very little man,for all the world to see.
A 100% vacuous egotistical fake clown
I denounce.
 
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