Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Press)

Music

Johnny Marr says he feels "elation" whenever he plays The Smiths songs

Johnny Marr has performed with many outfits, from the lo-fi Modest Mouse to more stadium oriented fodder like Chrissie Hynde and Bryan Ferry, but he will always be best remembered as the guitarist, musical director and songwriter for The Smiths.

Unlike many bands, The Smiths were formed on the pretence that Marr and Morrissey would act as its songwriters from day one. Although Marr never actually sang on Smiths recording, barring the odd backing vocal, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in singing them now as a solo artist. 

“When I play Smiths songs I experience this huge wave of elation,” he told The Guardianduring a Q&A session that included questions from interested readers. He discussed the band that made him famous, but he was also eager to talk about newer projects. Journey, he implied, is everything. 

“When you get older, you learn that no matter whether your work is in or out of fashion, it’s all about whether you can stand behind it,” he said, “Because you can’t do anything about the trends and fashions and the way you are perceived too much – that’s a really secondary load of baggage that just gets in the way. So there are definitely some advantages to the mentality of being older: you don’t really care too much about being liked, certainly not as much as how much you like the work.”

Marr is about to release an album, his fourth as a solo artist. He’s taken to singing by himself and nominally plays the lead guitar parts. And in other Smiths related news, Morrissey asked Marr to stop “mentioning” him in promotional interviews, considering that they stopped working together in 1987. Marr responded to this allegation by querying the singer’s choice of “open letter” when he could have written to him on “social media”. 

Unlike many other bands from that era, The Smiths have yet to reform, and neither Morrissey nor Marr have shown any indication in recent times to suggest that the Manchester quartet that issued Meat is Murder and The Queen Is Dead will reunite for a full band reunion.