Johnny Marr opens up about Smiths split, full interview on YouTube - Radio X

Pleased to see that Radio X released a full 1hr 25 recording of the In Conversation... with Johnny Marr:


They also posted the specific part where
Johnny talks about the split and subsequent help from other artists:


Worth a watch just for the Smiths tunes (and the story of how Hand In Glove came about).
Thanks to Radio X for the full event.
Regards,
FWD.
 
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Charlie Cheswick

Well-Known Member
Johnny IS a songwriter now, just not a good one. He can't write good songs, period, because he can't write decent lyrics or come up with interesting and strong vocal melodies. But pre-solo albums, he wasn't even a songwriter anyway - he composed backing music and others turned that into songs (usually not very good ones, with the exception of Morrissey's). Marr's own discussion and demonstrations in this video perfectly illustrate this. What was 'How Soon is Now?' for example before Morrissey recorded his vocal? A Bo Diddley beat that could, and would, have turned into ANY song - good, bad or mediocre - depending who added the words and vocal. 'Hand in Glove' was just a catchy riff. And it's when he sings Smiths songs that it becomes most apparent that he's singing someone else's songs, not his own (i.e. Morrissey's). Whereas when Morrissey sings them, he's clearly singing his own songs (albeit usually with a band that doesn't play them as well as the Smiths did).

Obviously if Johnny wasn't so good at the music then it wouldn't be widely recognised that The Smiths had an almost flawless output with him being one half of that. Dismissing his input is just plain old retarded.

I agree on the word front though. I never understood why he didn't just find a decent singer to front his band who's half decent with words because autotune vocals with words that don't really mean anything isn't a winner.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Marr has indeed said that Strangeways is his favourite, but he also lamented the fact that Morrissey's tastes were so conservative, because he would have wanted to go into a more electronic direction next. If I remember correctly, he thought that The Smiths had one more album in them, or perhaps two, but no more than that. Whereas Morrissey thought that The Smiths were for life.

I think The Smiths meant a lot more to Morrissey than Marr. After all it was him and his life, mostly, that he was singing about for all to listen. I can only imagine that Marr wanted to leap to change whilst Morrissey would have probably preferred to do it much slower. I mean, look where he is now with his direction of music.
 
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Sheila Smith

Guest
Yes, I agree Marr has done very well all the way and he's a winner up to now. So I think Morrissey has done well too and was a winner, until he started to screw it up about ten years ago. Let's see how he manages from now. I will still buy his records, but no merchandising as I did before. I've got friends and fans of him since The Smiths times that had enough of him. I wonder how many fans are getting tired of him to the point of not supporting his music-life anymore. Even so, I'm sure he won't finish eating bake beans on toasts.
 
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Sheila Smith

Guest
Why do you keep mentioning that guy (I say guy, not singer) in your posts? Definitely not in my collection. I don't listen the radio, I don't need to do so to find the ones I like. In fact the ones I like are rarely played on the radio. You have very bad taste even to try to go against someone's opinion. If you know that artist's name...Who knows what's in your collection apart from M!!
 

Gejo

I don't have time for stupidity
It has been said and I think it is true, that the new album has many reminiscent sound from The Smiths times. I like that as it is a sound that it is so familiar to hear and so him.
 

669

Active Member
Where are the choice bits to listen to? Not sure I want to sit through it all. Johnny didn't like what The Smiths were doing but thinks Electronic stuff was good if not better? They had a few okay songs though the sound has dated dreadfully as has the Pet Shop Boys stuff. That's the trouble with trying to sound modern all the time.

Morrissey is difficult but I believe it's a coping mechanism for his slight personality disorders (which we all have) and it's a way to survive in a difficult business and retain some integrity. I'm not sure I'd like to have to deal with it though either.

Boz Boorer has handled working with Morrissey longterm just fine, and does his own music and various other fulfilling pursuits on top of it. Maybe it's Marr who has the mental disorders?
 
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669

Active Member
Marr claims he's a better songwriter today. Is he keeping all the good songs in a vault for his family to release after his death?
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Actually I think that Morrissey's dabblings with bossanova, chanson, Latin music and other pre-rock'n'roll styles is more adventurous than going electronic, because basically every rock band has done that in the last two decades -- and very few have gone Girl From Tel Aviv... It might not always work, but I think we've heard enough chug rock from Morrissey, so it's good he has spiced up the formula recently.
Moz should do a song with Pixies. Something like 'Gouge Away' but with Moz going nuts on vocals.
 

669

Active Member
Marr's always giving different stories because breaking up The Smiths was the biggest mistake of his life. But it turned out okay for Morrissey, as he gave birth to a long line of great albums ever since.
Moz should do a song with Pixies. Something like 'Gouge Away' but with Moz going nuts on vocals.

Black Francis/Frank Black once stated he'd love to write music for Morrissey. Morrissey's one of his favorite singers! (He stated this in an old recorded conversation with the singer of Pere Ubu that appears on the Pere Ubu promo CD single "Kathleen".)
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH #FBPB
Time to end the disastrous democratic experiment
 

celibate

Forever Ill
what I heard about the Smiths what Johnny said, no underlines, not from the UK, so difficult to follow, was about PSB Neil Tennant, so indeed he wanted to do more with synth pop, that's why His Electronic time.

He, Johnny can play the Smiths riffs so exellent, Jesse and Boz should buy a Johnny Marr Fender guitar as
for playing Smiths songs in Morrissey's gigs...well Johnny is Johnny, and not Boz or Jesse, saying they're good guitarist, but Johnny composed them,
 
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SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
Marr's always giving different stories because breaking up The Smiths was the biggest mistake of his life. But it turned out okay for Morrissey, as he gave birth to a long line of great albums ever since.

Are you really not getting that working with and being nursemaid for Morrissey eventually became too toxic and dysfunctional for Johnny to stomach? Good on him that he had enough self-worth to walk away from what apparently became a destructive relationship.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Obviously if Johnny wasn't so good at the music then it wouldn't be widely recognised that The Smiths had an almost flawless output with him being one half of that. Dismissing his input is just plain old retarded.

You don't seem to understand the post you're replying to - it wasn't dismissing Marr's input, it was pointing out that his input wasn't 'songwriting', it was composing music. Now he's a songwriter, but not a very good one. And to say that he was one half The Smiths output is too simplistic - for a start, there's Rourke's significant contribution, Porter's and later Street's input on many of the records, and then you have to consider the extent of Morrissey's input (lyrics, vocal melody, frontman, general aesthetic) - so trying to boil it down arithmetically to a 50/50 split is just wishful thinking on yours (and probably Marr's) part.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Are you really not getting that working with and being nursemaid for Morrissey eventually became too toxic and dysfunctional for Johnny to stomach? Good on him that he had enough self-worth to walk away from what apparently became a destructive relationship.

I think this is what it boils down to. It was a classic power struggle imo - Morrissey wanted to call the shots and lead the band/shape his career, while Marr saw it as a partnership of equals and didn't want to lose that status and end up being Morrissey's 'bitch' (has anyone seen that footage of Morrissey swanning through some airport in South America, with his 'personal aide/boyfriend/whatever' tagging along behind him carrying his bag? It's a perfect visual metaphor for how Marr saw his future in The Smiths). So Marr was frozen out. I think Morrissey had possibly kind of twigged by this stage that he could work with other musicians/producers to create songs - it's always seemed a bit too convenient to me that Stephen Street just happened to be waiting in the wings with some demos that enable a solo album to be rushed out mere months after the split. I'm not saying they'd planned it all before the Smiths even split, but there might have been casual conversations that planted the seed in Morrissey's mind that he didn't need to be wholly reliant on Marr. That said, Morrissey clearly didn't want The Smiths to split up, but he only wanted them to stay together on his terms ('I Won't Share You').

It's understandable that Marr's leaving could be viewed as a 'mistake' but I really don't think he had much choice at the time. I think it's Morrissey who has always effectively closed the door to any reunion because he's never been willing to agree to whatever terms Marr was proposing - but perhaps rightly so.
 

Charlie Cheswick

Well-Known Member
You don't seem to understand the post you're replying to - it wasn't dismissing Marr's input, it was pointing out that his input wasn't 'songwriting', it was composing music. Now he's a songwriter, but not a very good one. And to say that he was one half The Smiths output is too simplistic - for a start, there's Rourke's significant contribution, Porter's and later Street's input on many of the records, and then you have to consider the extent of Morrissey's input (lyrics, vocal melody, frontman, general aesthetic) - so trying to boil it down arithmetically to a 50/50 split is just wishful thinking on yours (and probably Marr's) part.

If you're going to put it like that Marr being mostly in control of studio affairs plus half of the time management while Moz just rocked up and did his part in two takes I think you're understimating Marr's part. When it came to input into the records his time most likely is around 1000/1 of Morrissey's given that Marr was co-producing too.

Before you put the vocals on The Smiths still don't sound like anyone else.

As for Rourke, I agree he had a great input too.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
If you're going to put it like that Marr being mostly in control of studio affairs plus half of the time management while Moz just rocked up and did his part in two takes I think you're understimating Marr's part. When it came to input into the records his time most likely is around 1000/1 of Morrissey's given that Marr was co-producing too.

Before you put the vocals on The Smiths still don't sound like anyone else.

As for Rourke, I agree he had a great input too.

It's not a question of underestimating Marr's part. I think this input to The Smiths was huge, and hugely significant (and, despite that, I don't think he could reasonably claim to have been a 'songwriter' whilst in The Smiths). But what we've got into disputing here is your notion that the output of The Smiths was a case of being attributable to 50% Marr, 50% Morrissey and, as I say, that's arithmetically too simplistic.
 
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vegan.cro spirit# 442

Guest
Ok:crazy:

The real creative force behind the Smiths were Drama J and Andy. They had talent bursting out of their eyeballs, while Moz sulked and did twenty minutes in the studios... LOL OK
Now skip to
post Smiths:

Talented Andy and Drama J : sucky socko third rate material, Comet :drama:already back in the past and forgotten. No demand for Andy services, he must to good, outshine everybody around him.:sleeping:

Switch to sulking Moz: a string OF CLASSIC albums showing no signs of abetting.:bow:
 

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