In a new interview, Johnny Marr has revealed the biggest influence on him as a guitarist.
The Observer asked fans of Marr to send in questions, and one of those accepted was from Lottie Pendlebury from Goat Girl. The singer was complimentary about how influential his work with The Smiths was on developing her style as a guitarist, and she wanted to know who had a similar effect on him growing up.
Marr, at first, responded by saying how pleased he was to hear such kind words from Pendlebury, and he revealed he was a Goat Girl fan. “Wow. Well, first off, it’s great to get a question from Lottie because she’s one of my favourite musicians to come out over the last few years,” he said, adding: “Whenever I hear a Goat Girl track and I don’t know it’s them, I’ll say to whoever I’m with: ‘I really like this, who’s this?’ And it’s always Goat Girl; I should know by now. So I’m chuffed about that”/
Marr then went on to say: “The biggest influence on me would have to be Bert Jansch. When I was about 14, a friend of mine told me he’d got into this folk group called Pentangle. And I immediately thought: ‘Well, OK, I don’t need to know any more about that'”.
Marr continued: “Anyway, when I was round at his house, he played me Basket of Light by Pentangle. And I couldn’t believe what I heard, especially from the guitar: it was jazzy, it was bluesy and kind of funky, it went off all over the place. I could see straight away that there are people who are influenced by Bert Jansch that don’t even know it.”
The guitarist further added: “Anyone who got into Nick Drake – totally into Bert. Anyone who got into Led Zeppelin’s acoustic stuff, Neil Young, Donovan, therefore the Beatles. No Bert Jansch, no Back to the Old House, no Unhappy Birthday, even my electric stuff. So it runs all the way through what I was doing in the Smiths. All roads lead back to Bert Jansch.”
Meanwhile, Marr is set to release his new double album, Fever Dreams, on February 25th, and he will also be the special guest on Blondie’s UK tour in April.