What did Johnny Marr tell his fellow Smiths at the fish restaurant?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by butley, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. butley

    butley Active Member

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    Did he tell the band he wanted a break or want to leave? It seems he didn't leave until the NME story was leaked saying he had left.
     
  2. Peppermint

    Peppermint Well-Known Member

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    That's my understanding. But from what I've read, relations were so strained by then that it was probably inevitable.
     
  3. AztecCamera

    AztecCamera Well-Known Member

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    John Maher wants to live in Portland, Oregon and Steve wants to live in L.A. The two cities are just too far away from each other, except for the annual Nike, Starbucks, and Rosarita Refried Beans corporate gigs.
     
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    According to the Tony Fletcher biography (which is the only one Johnny has effectively given his approval to), he explained he had been asked to work with Talking Heads and Bryan Ferry, and as he felt Morrissey was putting roadblocks in the Smiths' career path, he was planning on accepting both offers. But first, he wanted a holiday.

    So, it sounds like it could have just been a temporary break while he worked on stuff outside the band, but the others interpreted it as a resignation speech. Clearly nothing was fully decided here - that decision was made once Morrissey put out the NME story that he'd left the band.
     
  5. Flibberty

    Flibberty Well-Known Member

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    Nope.
     
  6. butley

    butley Active Member

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    As someone said a few weeks ago on here, there is an interview with Johnny recorded in the US mid-1987 where he sounds very enthusiastic about getting back to work with The Smiths.
     
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  7. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian Moderator

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    Perhaps the best info as to what took place:

    From Set The Boy Free:
    (apologies - long quote).

    “We had reached an impasse; a chasm had opened up between us and there was no way to bridge it. I knew it would mean the end of the band, but I wasn’t able to face it. Our conversation moved on to something else and it was very awkward, so I left and called a meeting with the band the next day.
    I needed to discuss things and tell everyone what was on my mind before Angie and I went to Los Angeles on holiday for two weeks.
    The two of us had never had a holiday and we hadn’t had a honeymoon, so with the new album finished it was the perfect time to go away. I’d put the management situation aside for the moment, and thought that clearing the air would be a good thing for us all. The band met in an upmarket fish-and-chip restaurant in Kensington. Andy and I sat on one side, and Morrissey and Mike sat on the other. I told the band that we needed to have a rethink and get some perspective. I was trying to shake off the malaise that was taking over us, and I talked vaguely about reinventing the music, although I wasn’t sure what that meant. I knew that the others no longer considered Ken Friedman to be the manager and I didn’t have a solution to that. I expressed my frustrations as well as I could without trying to sound too negative, but inside I felt like I was drowning.
    The band’s response was unenthusiastic and unfriendly, and again it looked as though I was in a minority of one. They’d already been discussing what they wanted to do, and now Mike appeared to be the new spokesman. He informed me that the band intended to go back into the studio to record new songs, which I thought was a bizarre suggestion. We’d only just completed a new album that wasn’t due out for months. I was about to go on holiday, and now I was being told to go back into the studio, and with no songs. It was like a weird test, and I was guilty of some kind of violation. The mood stayed frozen. They obviously had a problem but I didn’t know what it was. I loved the others and I wanted everything to be all right, but I was aware of a new dynamic that had developed in the band, and I felt like I was being made to submit.
    I agreed to go back into the studio to please everyone, and we chose the home studio of our friend James Hood in Streatham, as it was informal and wouldn’t cost very much. I had no idea what we were going to do, but I set up the studio with Grant, who would be with me behind the mixing desk, and waited for the band. There was an uneasy atmosphere from the moment we got together, and then Mike came up to me and said, ‘We’re doing a cover version. It’s a Cilla Black song.’ I thought he was joking, but I looked at the others and realised he was serious. I didn’t want to do a cover of a Cilla Black song, and I didn’t want to be told I was doing one by Mike either. That was not going to be the new way. I was becoming angry. My dedication to the band was being tested, which was hard to take as I’d formed the band in the first place. I relented and listened to the Cilla Black song. It was a silly bit of Merseybeat called ‘Work Is a Four-Letter Word’, with lyrics that said, you were born lazy and change your life.
    We recorded it, and when it was finished I thought it wasn’t even worthy of being associated with The Smiths.
    The oppressive feeling affected the sessions every day. We all needed to take a break from one another, and the stress was being expressed in desperation and mistrust. The more weird everything got, the more I wanted to get out, and the more I wanted to get out, the more tense the feeling became between everyone.
    In spite of all the weirdness, Morrissey and I managed to write a new song called ‘I Keep Mine Hidden’, and then we attempted another cover version, an Elvis Presley song called ‘A Fool Such As I’. It sounded as desperate as it felt, and we abandoned it after a couple of takes. I was determined to finish the two songs we’d recorded, and I spent the next two nights sleeping under the mixing desk so I could go away knowing that everything was done. The day after the sessions ended I went to the airport in a daze after working all through the night. Angie and I got on the plane, and as we took off I felt an incredible sense of relief.
    Getting out into the sunshine was exactly what I needed. I hung around for a couple of days doing very little; it was nice not having to be anywhere for a while. I was still shell-shocked from the events of the previous few weeks. Things had reached breaking point and I thought a lot about the new divisions in the band. I waited for one of the others to call but there was nothing, and the more days that went by without hearing anything, the more it pissed me off and the more I started to think that The Smiths might actually be over."

    Regards,
    FWD.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  8. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian Moderator

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    Can anyone source this?
    He left mid (June) '87 for a 'break' to then fully leave in July and almost anything I can find post-split supports him being engaged with The The, Ferry, Pretenders etc and saying how if they'd continued it wouldn't have worked out. It would be odd to leave a band and also say how much you want to get back with them in the exact same time period.
    Anyone?
    Regards,
    FWD.

    Oh, the NME split announcement (August '87) and Marr quotes in it are worth a look:
    http://www.compsoc.man.ac.uk/~moz/quotes/split.htm
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
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  9. Quando quando quando

    Quando quando quando Well-Known Member

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    I remember Moz blaming the NME by saying something like they closed the coffin in which they buried The Smiths while the corpse was still warm.

    As opposed to Johnny Marr he expressed his satisfaction with at least “I keep mine hidden” but was also pleased with “Work is a four letter word”.

    I got the impression Moz was still hopeful and estimated it would turn out right.

    These contrary views are to me prove of the already seeds of mutual distrust, in any case regarding the direction Tbe Smiths should go.

    I still can’t understand Moz and Johnny couldn’t work out their problems and reach a mutual compromise.

    As if they couldn’t communicate with each other anymore.

    Strangeways was a great new album and had so much new potential for The Smiths.
    Such a loss.
     
  10. Amy

    Amy from the Ice Age to the dole age

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    Thank you FWD, this is very interesting. Not sure how true some of it is though - how can you want a break, but at the same time want to do live dates in the new year? This comment is intriguing too - "I think the change will actually do (Morrissey) a lot of good."

    Take a look here, 4:24 - 4.56


    "My reasons for leaving the Smiths were manifold. I wasn't really very happy with my personal life, because I didn't have one (...) I felt that unless I had a break, I was going to dry up and end up not writing. We had a bit of a scrap about it and I didn't come back, that's pretty much it."
     
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  11. LIES

    LIES Guest

    "I cod take it anymore. I squid!"
     
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  12. evennow

    evennow I know I left my camel right here!

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    I think that pretty much sums it up. I found the early Solo years quite pleasing musically and lyrically and having Morrissey evolve into a solo artist seemed quite fitting as a natural progression from his growth as a performer within the band.

    Musical taste aside, I see Morrissey in the same light as Madonna. Both are very single minded and determined to get their way. Nothing wrong with that for these are qualities that are often key factors in being successful. The difference between the two is that Morrissey needed The Smiths to help become what he was destined to be, a singular voice that speaks directly to his audience.

    You can cage a bird, but its instinct will always be to fly. At first, I think that Morrissey enjoyed the security of the cage, but as he grew he found it confining and was ready to spread his wings:

    I'm Like a Bird

    You're beautiful and that's for sure
    You'll never ever fade
    Your lovely, but it's not for sure
    And I won't ever change
    And though my love is rare
    And though my love is true
    I'm like a bird
    I'll only fly away
    I don't know where my soul is (Soul is)
    I don't know where my home is...
     
  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    The interview in question is this https://www.discogs.com/The-Smiths-The-Interview/release/1005985
    It was broadcast 28th May 1987, just a few weeks before the NME 'Johnny has left the Smiths' news article, and my understanding is it was recorded in the US whilst Johnny was on his 'holiday' post the disasterous final 'I Keep Mine Hidden' recording session. I might be wrong though - I haven't listened to it in a while - but it's definately recorded post-Strangeways, and Johnny sounds upbeat and looking forward to the Smiths touring the album in the US. Then again - he's doing promotion, and he's not going to say the band is on the verge of collapse - but it indicates that even at this very late stage, Johnny had not (in his mind) 100% left the Smiths, and was looking forward to working with the band again. All indications are, that NME story was the final nail in the coffin - up till then things were definately on the rocks, but potentially could have been salvaged.
     
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  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I think he probably just said he was pretty sure vegetarians were allowed to eat fish and chips.
     
  15. gordyboy9

    gordyboy9 GAME OF DEATH.

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    I was there his exact quote was THERES SOMETHING FISHY GOING ON.
     
  16. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian Moderator

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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

  18. Famous when dead

    Famous when dead Vulgarian Moderator

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    Will do this evening when near my PC.
    FWD.
     
  19. Uncleskinny

    Uncleskinny It's all good Subscriber

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    Reminds me of the time Phil Gatenby and I gave a Smiths Calendar to Mike. On one page was Geales. I said to Mike "Where the Smiths broke up!"

    He looked a little sad and just said "Yeah. I know"
     
  20. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I'd have killed to see you two together, what a pair!

    A walking commercial for Oxfam?
     
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