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(Credit: Andy Cotterill)

Music

Johnny Marr discusses whether Morrissey has ruined The Smiths' legacy

@josephtaysom

In a new interview, Johnny Marr has discussed whether his former bandmate Morrissey has ruined the legacy of The Smiths.

Morrissey recently published a scathing open letter through his website which addressed the guitarist, pleading with Marr to stop discussing him in interviews. His message read: “We haven’t known each other for 35 years – which is many lifetimes ago. When we met you and I were not successful,” the singer wrote.

“We both helped each other become whatever it is we are today. Can you not just leave it at that? Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything … from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin?” Morrissey added.

This comment prompted Marr to comically respond on Twitter by writing: “Dear [Morrissey], An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953, It’s all ‘social media’ now.

“Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business… a bit 2021 yeah?” Before signing his message off with the hashtag: “Making Indie Great Again”. 

In a new interview with The Observer, Marr was put on the spot by a question sent in from distraught fan Johnny Spence. He said Morrissey’s political views had “tainted” his love of The Smiths, and asked the guitarist to reveal if he feels that too.

He replied: “It hasn’t impacted how I feel about the Smiths. That’s all I can say about that. I’m certainly able to separate the past from the present. I don’t know whether you can separate the band from the man, but I can separate myself from the man and what I did, so when I do see how disappointed people are, it really does make me sad.”

Marr added: “But it’s completely out of my control. And I can only really do what is in my control. So I play Smiths songs for reasons that I think are real. And over the years I’ve tried to take care of the catalogue and the releases as much as I was able to. As I would have done anyway. So, you know, I see it the way everybody else sees it. I don’t have any answers. And I don’t want to have any answers.”

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