Mojo: brief Johnny Marr interview (issue 350 "January, 2023")

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(Dated January, 2023 - published November, 2022).
Regards,
FWD.
 

Ketamine Sun

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And what would have happened to Morrissey? Sung with Durutti Column or maybe Ludus?

Would have been awesome if Morrissey became some obscure Manchester oddity, just doing occasional projects with local outsiders. Maybe an album with Vini, slow and gorgeous, think Late Night, Maudlin, but the whole album! no band no rockers, or an album of spoken word and poetry with John Cooper Clarke. Who knows?

But he wouldn’t have become a session musician that’s for sure. You’ve heard him play piano, Lol.
 

Ketamine Sun

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The songs Johnny co-wrote with Kirsty MaColl on the Kite LP (1989) were wonderful. The entire LP is great, she was a beautiful writer and singer.
One of my favorites! And his playing on The The’s Mind Bomb was a really wonderful direction he took.
 

Ketamine Sun

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You didn’t think the bit about him playing drums was funny? I thought it was.

I did. Would be great, instead of a Smiths reunion, if M and Marr finally got together and did a tour of just them two on stage jamming on drums, grooves and a drum battle to end each show! In a better world!
 
A

Anonmous

Guest
Ah, but when young and ambitious and filled with all that music? I don’t think he would have liked to have been just a session musician his whole life.
I don't think Johnny Marr reads music (I could be wrong) and he does not seem to have the versatility to be a session musician. In fact, he seems very limited as a guitar player and as a musician for that matter so it is highly doubtful he could ever have made it as a session musician. He is not a very good singer and his guitar playing has really gone down hill since he became a front man for his own band. I have really tried to like his new record, but his singing is not good, his lyrics are gibberish, and it sounds like a rehash of a not very good Britpop record.
 

Jamie

Bluff, Ardour & Assoc.
I don't think Johnny Marr reads music (I could be wrong) and he does not seem to have the versatility to be a session musician. In fact, he seems very limited as a guitar player and as a musician for that matter so it is highly doubtful he could ever have made it as a session musician. He is not a very good singer and his guitar playing has really gone down hill since he became a front man for his own band. I have really tried to like his new record, but his singing is not good, his lyrics are gibberish, and it sounds like a rehash of a not very good Britpop record.

Johnny Marr "seems very limited as a guitar player" is a bold opinion. Utterly daft, but bold.
 
J

Juan Dulces

Guest
I don't think Johnny Marr reads music (I could be wrong) and he does not seem to have the versatility to be a session musician. In fact, he seems very limited as a guitar player and as a musician for that matter so it is highly doubtful he could ever have made it as a session musician. He is not a very good singer and his guitar playing has really gone down hill since he became a front man for his own band. I have really tried to like his new record, but his singing is not good, his lyrics are gibberish, and it sounds like a rehash of a not very good Britpop record.

Hi. Please Youtube 'Marr Train Song'. He was invited to play with Bert and Jacqui (Pentangle) on one of their old songs. Marr respected and was inspired by Bert Jansch, who obviously respected Johnny as well, and that means a whole heck of a lot. Also, just for a full-circle effect Youtube 'Pentangle Train Song' - the BBC performance from very late 60s/very early 70s. If you've never heard it before, you'll be fully engrossed (no matter what your musical tastes are, the chances are still high).

All serious guitar players - give Pentangle a listen, you'll learn much more about your craft. In fact, it's going to surprise you how good the guitarists (and all of them) are. Just the way the guitar is handled and played by those guys is eye opening. Such a unique art, buried in time.

Johnny is in the 'Bert Jansch Club', don't take that lightly. Go ahead and listen to those clips I referenced above, and it should answer your questions about Marr's playing abilities.

You're right about one thing though - Johnny's lyrics are nothing that really grab you. However, comparing anyone's lyrics to Morrissey's (not that you were exactly doing it) is definitely something one should not do - Morrissey is one of the most literate people on this planet, historically (at least in the last 100 years). Truth - Morrissey fans are very spoiled lyrically, and most likely have a hard time finding good lyrics from other artists because of it.
 
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Anonmous

Guest
Johnny Marr "seems very limited as a guitar player" is a bold opinion. Utterly daft, but bold.
I also don't see anything inventive in Marr's work since The Smiths. People point out Electronic or a few guest appearances here and there but all his work is utterly forgettable and very limited especially his new work which is embarrassing. One thing though is he has kept himself reasonably viable and that is very hard for a guitarist to do. He continues to work, he has a highly successful guitar partnership with Fender, and has a high degree of respect from his peers. But, no matter what he says Morrissey brought out everything in Marr and is the single reason we still talk about him today.
 

Bizarro

Spotlight. It's time the tale were told !
I'm not sure Johnny would see a career as a session player as a bad thing.
Yes he would.
He wants the fame, the limelight the adulation...nothing wrong with that, Marr was content with Morrissey doing all the early Smiths' interviews then started getting pissed off that he was getting very little attention.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I don't think Johnny Marr reads music (I could be wrong) and he does not seem to have the versatility to be a session musician. In fact, he seems very limited as a guitar player and as a musician for that matter so it is highly doubtful he could ever have made it as a session musician. He is not a very good singer and his guitar playing has really gone down hill since he became a front man for his own band. I have really tried to like his new record, but his singing is not good, his lyrics are gibberish, and it sounds like a rehash of a not very good Britpop record.
Johnny being 'limited' as a guitar player is truly ridiculous. What he has been since the Smiths - as far as I can see - is just uninspired and unmotivated. For years he was content to turn up, do his thing and go home - he was a session musician and seemed happy with his lot. Then he hit 50 and decided that he wanted another shot, and here we are.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Say what you will about Johnny Marr, he's still a HOT TOPIC at Morrissey-Solo. Top of the page, headline news, people can't seem to shut up about him, so controversial! I don't know why everyone has to have an opinion on him, he hasn't worked with Morrissey in 35 years!
 
A

Anonmous

Guest
Johnny being 'limited' as a guitar player is truly ridiculous. What he has been since the Smiths - as far as I can see - is just uninspired and unmotivated. For years he was content to turn up, do his thing and go home - he was a session musician and seemed happy with his lot. Then he hit 50 and decided that he wanted another shot, and here we are.
Limited in the sense that his most recent work is VERY limited and is a rehash of boring riffs and I am not optimistic of an Alicia Keys future collaboration. Surely you don't consider Electronic or the Cribs groundbreaking. Modest Mouse was a better band without him and The Killers are about as limited and average as you can possibly get. I don't even hear him playing guitar anymore. His music is just a wash mixed in with his dreadful singing, forgettable lyrics, boring synths, and songs that go absolutely nowhere. Does he even still play guitar?
 
U

UAT Display

Guest
Limited in the sense that his most recent work is VERY limited and is a rehash of boring riffs and I am not optimistic of an Alicia Keys future collaboration. Surely you don't consider Electronic or the Cribs groundbreaking. Modest Mouse was a better band without him and The Killers are about as limited and average as you can possibly get. I don't even hear him playing guitar anymore. His music is just a wash mixed in with his dreadful singing, forgettable lyrics, boring synths, and songs that go absolutely nowhere. Does he even still play guitar?

Obviously you've not listened to any of his recent solo stuff. Here, have a listen - melodic, emotive, sophisticated

 
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Anonymous

Guest
Limited in the sense that his most recent work is VERY limited and is a rehash of boring riffs and I am not optimistic of an Alicia Keys future collaboration. Surely you don't consider Electronic or the Cribs groundbreaking. Modest Mouse was a better band without him and The Killers are about as limited and average as you can possibly get. I don't even hear him playing guitar anymore. His music is just a wash mixed in with his dreadful singing, forgettable lyrics, boring synths, and songs that go absolutely nowhere. Does he even still play guitar?
Furthermore, this is the guy that wrote and played piano on Asleep and every note he played in the Smiths were utter brilliance, therefore he is being held to extremally high standards. I don't even hear Guitar in his work at all because it is so dreadful to hear his voice and gibberish lyrics. When people say Morrisey is not a musician he can't play an instrument they forget his voice IS the instrument and all the vocal melodies that make a song so memorable are his. Without this Marr is utterly lost and is dreadful as a solo artist. In short, anyone can learn to play guitar, but voice is a god given talent. Marr's next record should be ultra stripped down with himself on Acoustic Guitar / Piano (Reel around the fountain style), Rourke on Bass, and get Chrissie Hynde to help with the lyrics and sing all the songs for gods sake!
 
J

Juan Dulces

Guest
Limited in the sense that his most recent work is VERY limited and is a rehash of boring riffs and I am not optimistic of an Alicia Keys future collaboration. Surely you don't consider Electronic or the Cribs groundbreaking. Modest Mouse was a better band without him and The Killers are about as limited and average as you can possibly get. I don't even hear him playing guitar anymore. His music is just a wash mixed in with his dreadful singing, forgettable lyrics, boring synths, and songs that go absolutely nowhere. Does he even still play guitar?

Not trying to argue with you (again), but the songs on the Modest Mouse 'Ship Even Sank' album (featuring Marr) are literally some of their very best. I've got like 4 or 5 MM albums and that one is by far the best and most musically diverse. You can hear Marr's influence (and signature style) all over the record, and songs like Dashboard, Education, and March Into the Sea are MM classics. I don't agree that Modest Mouse is a better band without Marr, and their songs after '07 do not sound as complete - arrangement wise. They are still a great, unique and original band with a good lyricist who writes interesting and sometimes funny 'stories' about rural life, anxiety/depression, and relationships.
 
J

Juan Dulces

Guest
Let me also say that The Killers 'Hot Fuss' was PURE GOLD. For their debut, to do a concept album is pretty bold. Each song tells an unfolding tale of the narrator's unrequited love, ending with the love-interest's murder at the hands of said narrator. It's got one of their best songs on it too, 'Believe Me, Natalie'.

Since Hot Fuss, The Killers have been hit-and-miss with new material - which is a real shame, because their first album is a masterpiece.
 
4

#467&@

Guest
Well since the smiths were a casual thing ". For you. I will stop going to johnny mars concert or openings. You do not deserve my money. Also I will throw away my johnny mar's. T-shirt I have. And I do not listen to Alicia keys I'm Done with your lack smiths fan respect.
 
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