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(Credit: Andy Cotterill)

Music

Johnny Marr defends his response to Morrisey's open letter

@SamWKemp

In a new interview, Johnny Marr opened up about his recent Twitter spat with former Smiths bandmate Morrisey, arguing that he felt he needed to “defend himself.” The feud kicked off back in January when the frontman asked Marr to stop mentioning him during interviews, citing Marr’s recent interview with Uncut Magazine, in which he’d mentioned a Morrisey’s name in passing.

After the interview came out, Morrisey posted an open letter in which he told Marr to “discuss your own career, your own unstoppable solo achievements and your own music? If you can, would you please just leave me out of it?” Taken aback, Marr responded with an Instagram post, in which he teased Morrisey: “An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953,” be wrote, “It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business… a bit 2021 yeah?”

In a new interview with The Times, Marr was asked why he responded the way he did. We all know that the pair are somewhat estranged these days, but Marr’s response seemed especially vicious: “When you’re attacked out of the blue, particularly in public, you have to defend yourself,” the guitarist began. “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 with ridicule.”

Marr went on to add: “Look, it was about [his wanting] attention…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.” Morrisey and Marr performed together as The Smiths for six years before calling it quits in 1987. In that time, they released four studio albums, including their self-titled debut in 1984, Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986), and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987).

In his open letter, Morrisey referenced their past work together, writing: “You found me inspirational enough to make music with me for six years,” he began. “If I was, as you claim, such an eyesore monster, where exactly did this leave you? Kidnapped? Mute? Chained? Abducted by cross-eyed extraterrestrials? It was YOU who played guitar on ‘Golden Lights’ – not me.”

Morrissey then went on to make the point that “the British press will print anything you say about me as long as it’s cruel and savage. But you’ve done all that. Move on. It’s as if you can’t uncross your own legs without mentioning me. Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then. There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy. Just stop using my name as click-bait.”