Vulture article: Johnny Marr on the Best of the Smiths, His Solo Career, and Fever Dreams Pts 1–4 (February 2, 2022)


Excerpt:

Something about making The Queen Is Dead you’ve never shared publicly

The Smiths have been pretty much done to death really by everyone who was involved, and plenty of people who weren’t. It’s a shame that so much was said without the benefit of maturity and hindsight and that there were so many agendas going around for so many years. But I guess it’s all part of the band’s kind of complicated story [annotation].

The truth was that there was loads of love in it. So maybe that’s the story that everybody is missing. Maybe that’s a surprise that everybody who is still interested needs to be reminded of: One of the reasons why they liked the sound of it and why it sounds the way it does is because there’s so much love in it. And there was love in the making of it. There was love in the writing of it. And sure, there was drama, but what you hear was a result of stone-cold love.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Morrissey's left nut

HA HA HAHA HAHA
Your point is false on its face, I feel. There are so many singable smiths songs. The guitar parts are also often singable. Sometimes it’s like two melodies. Or complex harmony. It worked somehow. They navigated each other. Then post-smiths morrissey continues to be inventive with melody, rhythm and lyric in a way that can’t be taught. Marr is not a natural lyricist or melodicist. And Morrissey cannot play an instrument or approximate Marr’s sound in any way, so he doesn’t try to.
Try whistling your average Smiths vocal melody. You'll find you won't need that many notes.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Completely agree. Like all solo artists after a time, though, the ego has landed.
ego? or lack of hunger? lack of a muse?
He is definitely capable of far, far more than the "long done do does did" approach in his current work.

You mean Marr’s version of the Burroughs cut-up technique?

I know it’s all subjective. But for me, it’s really not his lyrics that are the problem, it’s his voice. It’s a voice that I don’t believe. It does nothing to move me, comfort me, or draw me in. But most importantly, it does nothing to make me believe in what he’s singing.

Of course one can learn techniques, improve pitch, etc. But I don’t believe this is something a singer can learn. You’re either blessed with it or not, some more than others.
 

Redacted

I think I must be, absolutely, a total sex object.
I do think Marr's voice is a real problem, but there are so many.
His new song does not make any sense at all, the video does not make any sense, like what is he trying to say? He has never written even decent or passing lyrics.
Heis just strutting around and posting and looking at the camera, and he is not an interesting person. He isn't interesting live either. He does not have charisma. He doesn't seem to have a real personality, he just says whatever is convenient at the moment or some nonsensical thing, like his tweet to Morrissey.
I think putting him front and center in videos is a big mistake, it does nothing to help the song. Morrissey is always interesting in videos, imo and esp the older ones like Stop Me, or the boy acting like him with the flowers in Ask. November Spawned a Monster is a crazy video but it grabs my attention every time.
There is nothing like this from Johnny. Not everyone is meant to lead a band or be a lead singer or have a solo career.
There is nothing there to grab my attention and hold it.
I think he lacks intelligence, and I also think he lacks the kind if intellectual curiousity to self educate through reading good literature. I think Morrissey has a great base of knowledge from that, along with his natural talent.
Another songwriter I really love is Paul Westerberg, he can tell these great little 3 minute stories and say so much without saying a lot, and he said he got inspiration for some of that through reading, plus I also think he is very intelligent.
With or without The Replacements, Paul is a great frontman and interesting enough to put in videos. Paul also puts out massive amounts of music that he records in his basement and releases anonymously on the internet, he isn't even selling it, he is giving it away, because he he is a true creative and that is what he loves to do. You either have it or you don't.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I do think Marr's voice is a real problem, but there are so many.
His new song does not make any sense at all, the video does not make any sense, like what is he trying to say? He has never written even decent or passing lyrics.
Heis just strutting around and posting and looking at the camera, and he is not an interesting person. He isn't interesting live either. He does not have charisma. He doesn't seem to have a real personality, he just says whatever is convenient at the moment or some nonsensical thing, like his tweet to Morrissey.
I think putting him front and center in videos is a big mistake, it does nothing to help the song. Morrissey is always interesting in videos, imo and esp the older ones like Stop Me, or the boy acting like him with the flowers in Ask. November Spawned a Monster is a crazy video but it grabs my attention every time.
There is nothing like this from Johnny. Not everyone is meant to lead a band or be a lead singer or have a solo career.
There is nothing there to grab my attention and hold it.
I think he lacks intelligence, and I also think he lacks the kind if intellectual curiousity to self educate through reading good literature. I think Morrissey has a great base of knowledge from that, along with his natural talent.
Another songwriter I really love is Paul Westerberg, he can tell these great little 3 minute stories and say so much without saying a lot, and he said he got inspiration for some of that through reading, plus I also think he is very intelligent.
With or without The Replacements, Paul is a great frontman and interesting enough to put in videos. Paul also puts out massive amounts of music that he records in his basement and releases anonymously on the internet, he isn't even selling it, he is giving it away, because he he is a true creative and that is what he loves to do. You either have it or you don't.


Yes, yes, but have you considered this: Johnny's britches are extremely erotic
 

Redacted

I think I must be, absolutely, a total sex object.

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
ego? or lack of hunger? lack of a muse?


You mean Marr’s version of the Burroughs cut-up technique?

I know it’s all subjective. But for me, it’s really not his lyrics that are the problem, it’s his voice. It’s a voice that I don’t believe. It does nothing to move me, comfort me, or draw me in. But most importantly, it does nothing to make me believe in what he’s singing.

Of course one can learn techniques, improve pitch, etc. But I don’t believe this is something a singer can learn. You’re either blessed with it or not, some more than others.
I would say ego, yes. There was a time when Johnny recognised he couldn't sing or write lyrics and went looking for someone who had what he lacked. He was also taught a hard lesson with Boomslang / the first Healers incarnation, because it bombed.

Now, he has been so heavily praised, he seems to have lost sight of his shortcomings. Johnny's lyrics have not improved since Boomslang (the day's too bright/try all you might/take what we find, blah blah) and I don't think he cares - he just wants to lead, to be at the front now. He puts no effort in to write something that fans could connect with because he knows everyone is turning up for the guitar anyway. If he's questioned about lyrics, he says "Hey, I don't want to write that confessional stuff, I don't want to write about my feelings" - which is fine, but he doesn't write about anything else either.

In a live setting, even when you love Johnny (and I do), it's practically impossible to sing those lyrics back to him because they make no sense. Even the front row diehards at a JM gig are bopping soundlessly during the solo songs because nobody has a clue what he's singing, it's a random jumble of words. I've listened plenty of times to 'Call the Comet' and I couldn't sing anything back to him except the chorus of The Tracers, so where does that leave casual fans? What does it say about how memorable those songs are?

It's arrogant to know, deep down, that you've only got 'half the package' as an artist but still sell yourself as the full thing.
 
Last edited:

CrazyFaceGenes

Active Member
I do think Marr's voice is a real problem, but there are so many.
His new song does not make any sense at all, the video does not make any sense, like what is he trying to say? He has never written even decent or passing lyrics.
Heis just strutting around and posting and looking at the camera, and he is not an interesting person. He isn't interesting live either. He does not have charisma. He doesn't seem to have a real personality, he just says whatever is convenient at the moment or some nonsensical thing, like his tweet to Morrissey.
I think putting him front and center in videos is a big mistake, it does nothing to help the song. Morrissey is always interesting in videos, imo and esp the older ones like Stop Me, or the boy acting like him with the flowers in Ask. November Spawned a Monster is a crazy video but it grabs my attention every time.
There is nothing like this from Johnny. Not everyone is meant to lead a band or be a lead singer or have a solo career.
There is nothing there to grab my attention and hold it.
I think he lacks intelligence, and I also think he lacks the kind if intellectual curiousity to self educate through reading good literature. I think Morrissey has a great base of knowledge from that, along with his natural talent.
Another songwriter I really love is Paul Westerberg, he can tell these great little 3 minute stories and say so much without saying a lot, and he said he got inspiration for some of that through reading, plus I also think he is very intelligent.
With or without The Replacements, Paul is a great frontman and interesting enough to put in videos. Paul also puts out massive amounts of music that he records in his basement and releases anonymously on the internet, he isn't even selling it, he is giving it away, because he he is a true creative and that is what he loves to do. You either have it or you don't.

You may dislike him but lot's of people find him charismatic, a natural born guitar legend, confident and entertaining in person, an inspiration for thousands of musicians around the world.

I don't think he's a great lyricist either but he seems well read, loves art, architecture and design, i'm not sure about he "lacks the kind if intellectual curiousity to self educate" to be honest.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I would say ego, yes. There was a time when Johnny recognised he couldn't sing or write lyrics and went looking for someone who had what he lacked. He was also taught a hard lesson with Boomslang / the first Healers incarnation, because it bombed.

Now, he has been so heavily praised, he seems to have lost sight of his shortcomings. Johnny's lyrics have not improved since Boomslang (the day's too bright/try all you might/take what we find, blah blah) and I don't think he cares - he just wants to lead, to be at the front now. He puts no effort in to write something that fans could connect with because he knows everyone is turning up for the guitar anyway. If he's questioned about lyrics, he says "Hey, I don't want to write that confessional stuff, I don't want to write about my feelings" - which is fine, but he doesn't write about anything else either.

In a live setting, even when you love Johnny (and I do), it's practically impossible to sing those lyrics back to him because they make no sense. Even the front row diehards at a JM gig are bopping soundlessly during the solo songs because nobody has a clue what he's singing, it's a random jumble of words. I've listened plenty of times to 'Call the Comet' and I couldn't sing anything back to him except the chorus of The Tracers, so where does that leave casual fans? What does it say about how memorable those songs are?

It's arrogant to know, deep down, that you've only got 'half the package' as an artist but still sell yourself as the full thing.

Excellent post - you've absolutely nailed it.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
You may dislike him
but lot's of people find him

And lots of people don’t.


Sorry. But his current chart/media ‘success’ seems to be just a flash in the pan. I think he overplays the ‘nice guy’ image, but it looks as though it pays off to do so in these times.

charismatic, a natural born guitar legend, confident and entertaining in person,
Would be great if you would share with us your exchange with Marr when you met him in person?
an inspiration for thousands of musicians around the world.

I don't think he's a great lyricist either

Maybe there are thousands that love his lyrics.
 

Surface

Chilling in Cheshire.
And lots of people don’t.


Sorry. But his current chart/media ‘success’ seems to be just a flash in the pan. I think he overplays the ‘nice guy’ image, but it looks as though it pays off to do so in these times.


Would be great if you would share with us your exchange with Marr when you met him in person?


Maybe there are thousands that love his lyrics.

Crikey, you really struggle hiding your bitterness towards him. You actually come across as being obsessed with Johnny, seeing as you comment on him 30 times per day!
 
Last edited:

CrazyFaceGenes

Active Member
And lots of people don’t.


Sorry. But his current chart/media ‘success’ seems to be just a flash in the pan. I think he overplays the ‘nice guy’ image, but it looks as though it pays off to do so in these times.


Would be great if you would share with us your exchange with Marr when you met him in person?


Maybe there are thousands that love his lyrics.

I find it funny that Marr gets held under suspicion for not being as super nice as he appears, but the genius Morrissey is just innocently getting taken in by bigots and nutjobs and it's all a plot by the guardian.

I don't think Marr is close to a saint, he probably has bad days and moments like everyone else, i took slight issue with idea that he's uncharismatic or an uncultured idiot, he just seems to read different books to Morrissey, has different interests. i'm not even saying Redacted is wrong for disliking Marr, i can see why people would want more than he offers lyrically etc.

My only interaction with Marr was getting an album signed, and i'm no good in those situations so it was just the usual everyday pleasantries.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
Crikey, you really struggle hiding your bitterness towards him. You actually come across as being obsessed with Johnny, seeing as you comment on him 30 times per day!

So you’ve been counting. Who’s obsessed now?

:sleeping:

nope. Both Johnny, Redacted and Vegan Cro live rent free in your drafty skull.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
I find it funny that Marr gets held under suspicion for not being as super nice as he appears,

I didn’t say he only appears to be ‘nice’ he may very well be nice.
but the genius Morrissey is just innocently getting taken in by bigots and nutjobs and it's all a plot by the guardian.

but what does that opinion have to do with being nice?

I don't think Marr is close to a saint, he probably has bad days and moments like everyone else,
sure
i took slight issue with idea that he's uncharismatic or an uncultured idiot, he just seems to read different books to Morrissey, has different interests. i'm not even saying Redacted is wrong for disliking Marr, i can see why people would want more than he offers lyrically etc.
Yeah, I saw that you were just reacting to Redacted’s post. So I didn’t feel the need to address those things.
My only interaction with Marr was getting an album signed, and i'm no good in those situations so it was just the usual everyday pleasantries.

So, Marr didn’t really come off as
‘confident and entertaining in person’ was just wondering how you came to that conclusion in your other post? Was there a certain sense of bravado that you could feel? and did he do card tricks or ?
 

CrazyFaceGenes

Active Member
I didn’t say he only appears to be ‘nice’ he may very well be nice.


but what does that opinion have to do with being nice?


sure

Yeah, I saw that you were just reacting to Redacted’s post. So I didn’t feel the need to address those things.


So, Marr didn’t really come off as
‘confident and entertaining in person’ was just wondering how you came to that conclusion then? Was there a certain sense of bravado that you could feel? and did he do card tricks or ?

I brought up Morrissey's personality because essentially there's something meaty to debate there, Marr being really nice or just a normal human being is funny in comparison. Nothing more than that.

I dunno, this seems weird to me, there's definitely something cool and assured about him in person, he isn't the Fonz though if that's what you're after. I'm mostly going by what i've seen of him in media, seeing him be himself adressing the Oxford Union society*, interacting with fans, stories told by other musicians etc.

*nice little story about "my best mate Morrissey" in there, changing up songs like Some Girls etc.
 

Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
I brought up Morrissey's personality because essentially there's something meaty to debate there,
Why doesn’t Marr have anything ‘meaty’ to debate?

Marr being really nice or just a normal human being is funny in comparison. Nothing more than that.

yes it’s unfortunate. ;)

I dunno, this seems weird to me, there's definitely something cool and assured about him in person,
could be just fan projection
he isn't the Fonz though if that's what you're after.
I’m not after anything. You said that
he was ‘confident and entertaining in person’ and I was wondering if you could give examples of how you came to those conclusions when you met him.
I'm mostly going by what i've seen of him in media, seeing him be himself adressing the Oxford Union society*, interacting with fans, stories told by other musicians etc.

Fine, I wrongly assumed when you said ‘in person’ that you meant a face to face meeting. Others second hand stories wouldn’t be your own personal experience though.

*nice little story about "my best mate Morrissey" in there, changing up songs like Some Girls etc.

:unsure:
 

CrazyFaceGenes

Active Member
Why doesn’t Marr have anything ‘meaty’ to debate?
Because he's got a really stable personal and family life, has come back into the spotlight at a relatively late age after just cracking on with being a musician for years. His politics are the mild and mushy with a sprinkling of spirituality type, he's just happy and a workaholic with a load of energy.

If he had ended up as a professional footballer then he would be bloody dull to listen to, but he's a great musician from one of the best bands ever, and has worked with some talented and also some slightly crazy people.
 
Tags
johnny marr

Trending Threads

Top Bottom