David IskraIsn't it amazing how good music finds an audience?. No airplay, no videos on MTV yet everyone that hears Twisted Tenderness on my car stereo goes out and buys a copy. There has to be a good company out there somewhere getting good music to people.
Isn't it amazing that The Smiths have such a smart fanbase, literary, music loving fans yet they keep asking the same dumb question: When are you gonna...are you ever gonna...would you ever...God, it almost embarrasses me. On behalf of the people that just truly appreciate your music (which is the POINT) I apologize.
I think during one of your live gigs you should have a fan with a broken leg come up onstage and "be healed" ala a TV evangelist. Johnny Marr ROCK GOD heals with the power of music. AMEN!! I am kidding of course but its almost funny.
Johnny :" I agree that good music finds it's audience, one way or another. I've always sort of relied on it. I don't think I could pull the healing thing off myself .
Brett Hi Johnny. I'm a big fan of yours from Dallas-Fort Worth. Are there any hopes of doing another Electronic album? There were a lot of positive things going on with "Twisted Tenderness" and I am hoping that Barney and yourself are interested in doing another album. Thank you for bringing me Haze, Out of my League, and Late at Night.
Johnny :" I'm glad you like the Electronic stuff. We had a good time making it. I don't see us doing anything in the future somehow. I think Bernard and I did everything we were gonna do. If we were to do an instrumental - cinematic- soundtrack thing that would be good as it was something we never got round to but had an affinity with. Gotta move on though.
Mike SpendloveWow! Johnny Marr... :) That's for making the new album, it's brilliant - album of the year by far. Anyway, I was just wondering if there are any Smiths/Electronic songs that you really hate and can't bare to be reminded of, other than the obvious like Golden Lights? Cheers John - you're the man!
Johnny :" There are one or two that missed the mark one way or other but thankfully not too badly or too many. I couldn't really ruin it for someone by naming specific songs. It's not a secret that as good as This Charming Man might be, I wouldn't bring it with me on my desert Island. "Heaven Knows" stands even less chance, and "Barbarism"...ooops!
Ericha FabayDear Johnny,
Thank you for creating such moving music throughout the years. I don't know how I would have survived my teenage years as well as life today without your
music. Thank you very much, Sir.
How did you enjoy playing San Francisco's The Fillmore last year? You really rocked that night! When performing, do you mind if your fans take photos?
Johnny :" Hi Ericha. I really liked playing The Fillmore and I don't mind some fans taking photos too much. I did have to ask a guy to cool it at the Mercury Lounge as he spent the whole show clicking and flashing and didn't really hear a note. It gets a bit much when all someone is doing is snapping all night, especially if they're right up at the front. Digital cameras mean that you can keep on going and going. Also, while I think of it, can people who post up pics on the net try and put up just the good ones ! ? ( laughs), it's nasty seeing bad ones of yourself all the time.
I really enjoy your take on "The Windows of the World" with the Pretenders. Since Burt Bacharach is another idol, I adore--apart from yourself, I can curious,
what is your favorite Burt Bacharach song?
Johnny :" I used to love "Don't Make Me Over", it's hard to pick one. Believe it or not, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" is one of my favourites, it's great on an acoustic guitar. Did he write "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" ?, if so that would be the one.
I find that you have great sense of style that goes well with your tunes. Who cuts your fabulous hair, and what are your favorite type of shoes,and who makes them? Peace and Love, Ericha
Johnny :" My friend Bruce Masefield at Sasoon's in Manchester will be pleased. I've always had mates who were hairdressers for some reason. Can you tell? It's a noble profession. Bruce cuts David Becham's hair too...ah well. I wear Birkenstock desert boots, but they tell me that they've stopped making them. I'm trying to get them to make some for me though. I wear Clarks Moccasins a lot as well.
Jon GrimshawHi Johnny,
Good luck with the album, only two stars in Q but wadda they know?
Johnny :" I expect it...."I asked you this once before but then the site went down and I can't be arsed going through 8 pages of Q&A's to see if you posted a reply cos every other question seems to be about whether you'll ever work with Moz again and I get bored easy. I think you have remarkable patience.
So, do you think you'll ever...No, seriously we're from Baguley and when my cousin had his wedding do at The Sacred Heart club (we're dead posh we are) another cousin told me you and your dad used to call the bingo there or do a disco or something. The reason I can't remember the precise details is because this has become something of a family myth, much embellished and Chinese whispered over the years until now to my shame I tell people I meet who can't possibly know the area or the history that you were at my cousins wedding. This is tame compared with my cousin who carries on like he was the fifth Smith.
This may seem trivial but I'm just interested to know if there ever was a grain of truth in this.
Johnny :" There may be something there you know, but there are grains. I don't think I was at a wedding but my dad did put bands on in the seventies and I went there a few times."
Harry Evansmr marr.... love yer stuff..down on the corner is an amazing single....im going to be seeing you at the black cat in washington dc. i noticed you mentioned the line 6 pod in yer gear list. did it make the new album ? if so do you remember what songs ?
Johnny :" I used the green delay on a couple of things and the pod for the sick bendy solo on "The Last Ride", the one with lots of modulation on.
AVFCHi Johnny saw one of your 1st Healers a few years ago in Coventry and though you were very nervous but cracking night all the same,Any plans to play Birmingham in 2003 and if so you'll have to have a few pints ON me.Massive fan of pretty much all of your work with Smiths,The The etc etc and wish you all the best.
Johnny :" Don't know about any plans for Birmingham yet"Do you rate CP Company??I have a CP goggle jacket and me and my mates laugh and say its a Johnny Marr style jacket ;-)
Johnny :" I have got a CP goggle jacket actually, it's a good one. I've got a nice black parka from a couple of years ago too"Have you ever been tempted to smash a Smiths/Morrissey fans head in???I know some Morrissey fans for some deranged reason seem to be bitter towards you???
Johnny : (laughs) "Nah, not my style. I'm a peacenik ?"Just wondered if anyone was ever rude towards you and you have to give it to them???
Johnny :"You know, nearly every stranger I've met has been really, really cool. If someone's a dick then that just makes them look bad, I guess, no matter what t-shirt or hairstyle they've got! " (laughs)
ChrisHi Johnny Marr,
my name is Chris im 16 years ols and im from Germany.
I always liked 80's music and so im a big fan of the pet shop boys. From the pet shop boys i went to AHA, New Order, Electronic and The Smith. I Like your guitar stuff very much! I especially like Electronic and i think that Electronic was the perfect mix of synth pop (and rock!!) and guitar! And I like Bernard's voice-its somehow cool to hear it. Well im really looking forward to your new stuff-i heard it'll be more rock and guitar. I read in a magazine that it'll be fantastic. Well, to be honest ill ask you a question which has to do with Electronic now. Could you imagine to work again with Bernard sumner for another Electronic Project or will there be a Best Of sometime?? Hope you'll answer, looking forward to your new album and the band.
Johnny :" There's another answer somewhere here about Electronic Chris. Parlophone are putting out a "Best Of" when I can get it together. It'll be good I think.
Grey RevellHey Johnny,
I've already ordered BOOMSLANG, and on the strength of the two mp3's, I'm crazy excited to hear the rest. My wife loves "Down On The Corner", and I really dug the little nod you threw out to "Gimme Shelter" at the beginning of "Bangin' On". On the small chance that your show at the Bowery Ballroom isn't already sold out, maybe I can check that out as well.
Your innovative approach to overdubbing multiple guitars is such classic rock'n'roll now. I used to describe it as "sonic origami" to friends. Every time I listen to an old track (Children of the Revolution is a great one) you can hear the guitars from so many different angles.
Johnny :" I like Sonic Origami..."
Seems like Manchester is one of those cities that seems to have a strangely distinct musical sound ala early 60's Detroit, mid 60's Los Angeles, and Late 70's New York. When I hear Healers alongside Doves, Stone Roses, Charlatans, Oasis, New Order, and others, I can almost sense a common approach that your city seems to take alot of pride in. Do you ever acknowledge the presence of a "communal sound" of sorts?
What's your take on "24 Hour Party People" (the movie)?
Thanks so much for the music, and best of everything
to you and yours!
Johnny :" Thank's Grey. I think there is a bit of a feeling of a certain approach or vibe that some of the bands share in Manchester. We do know each other and I think we feel we've done it cooler than through a big London scene or corporate scene or something. Everyone feels they have they're own thing though, it's just there's maybe a common sensibility or ethic. I thought the Factory Film would suck but when I eventually saw it a few months after it's release I was pleasantly surprised. The feeling I was left with at the end of it was one of sweetness almost. It was sweet in that it correctly portrayed the genuine friendship and loyalty at the heart of factory between Tony Wilson, the great Rob Gretton and Alan Arasmus. That loyalty to each other and the ideals was a true part of Factory and one of the things that made it what it was. Also Tony Wilson's ridiculousness which, had to be, or else none of it could've happened. Thank God he was riciulous. And on the subject of God, he spoke to me and told me not to sign to Factory,"
Fabio D'AntonioMy name is Fabio D'Antonio, I'm a huge SMITHS fan and collector... for years I run the italian Smiths & Morrissey fanzine called Speedway, in late 1990 I produced an italian cd tribute to The Smiths, have you listen it? I gave a copy to one of your roadies in Milan 2000 when you're supporting OASIS...
Can you tell me something about my 4 years of work on that cd?
I'd more than pleased to send you more copies...
I hope you come VERY SOON in Italy to play live...
ALL THE BEST WISHES ABOUT THIS GREAT PROJECT.
Love Peace And Harmony
Johnny :" I heard a couple of things that sounded good on it. I'll give it another listen sometime"
PS: Will you ever record in some future (just one single) with that old man called S-T-E-V-E-N P-A-T-R-I-C-K ?
Johnny :"... and you were doing so well..." (laughs)
Kris BrechinHi Johnny
I was wandering what you thought of John Squire's solo stuff if you have heard any of it. Also will you be coming to Scotland when you tour?
Johnny :" I've heard some of John's stuff and I like it. I hope he does well. Obviously, some people try to compare us but that's silly. We do different things and for different reasons. We're playing in Glasgow soon I think.
I would like to inquire about what kind of guitars, and gear you are using these days. Cheers
Johnny :" On tour I'm using my 1963 S.G, a '57 Les Paul Gold Top and a Custom Rickenbacker 12 String through a Vintage Tubescreamer, a Roland GT5 Effects processor and a Voodoo Vibe. My amps are Orange AD 30''s and 50's or Matchless DC 30s and Fender Deluxe Reverbs
Liam Manton1 main question really mate, the rest im not to fussed if you answer
but are you gonna be playing manchester anytime soon? im sure i saw you support oasis when they did reebok - but i was to fucking gone to remember, i only remember half the mondays' set!
Johnny :" We are playing Manchester soon. Either the University or The Ritz I think.also - what guitar do you prefer playing? i play the gibson sg and the epiphone supernova - i've seen you play a ton of the big heavy duty gibsons, but also the sg etc - which do you prefer?
Johnny :" I'm still playing the '63 S.G at the moment but in the studio I use a '63 Gibson 355 a lot. I also like my '57 Les Paul for some things."
John McAuliffeAs you and the other Smiths all were of Irish heritage, do you think that had anything bearing on the fact that you might have gelled spiritually and hence musically?. Did the traditional Irish music played in your house inspire your guitar work in any way?. What is it with great musicians from Manchester/Liverpool with Irish parents anyway?! Sorry, but we Celts need to be backslapped to be reminded of how great we are every once in a while. It's part of our psyche...
Johnny :" Well, there's got to be something in it I suppose. All I know is that I had a lot of young adults around me when I was a kid and they were my introduction to making music. They all played and sang and, because they were young, a lot of the stuff they were into was the pop music of the day. I inherited the music, and the passion. A long p.s.
I saw you in Cork with Smiths when I was 13 & after that I was hooked - took up guitar and you were the guy that taught me, so I was pretty lucky. Through my teenage years any J.Marr guitar work ( about 50 songs ) I tried to master I did....eventually after maybe 7 years ( with the help of every bootleg concert video & tape I could get my hands on and experimentation with tuning the strings around a different way a la Headmaster Ritual) I felt I had reached the zenith. I looked down and I saw I had a new understanding of a lot of things, not just guitar. The impossbile is possible if you believe it is. It was hard work, but the results were worth & I committed them to tape which I still listen to. I found the extreme speed of plucking in "William, it was..." hardest to repeat consistenly. But it's a nice feeling making one guitar sound like two, 'cos that's what you and all the other great musicians are able to do.
Johnny :" Wow, that sounds like it was a bit of a mission. I'm honoured to have been of service. You must be pretty good in your own way yourself now. All the best.
Mr MawdsleyJohnny what sort of stuff do you play on your guitar?
do you play any zeppelin?
do you ever like to play mega fast shredding or have you never been in to this style?
Johnny :" I just play till I get into a feeling. I did work out Rain Song once, I don't usually bother learning songs as such but it was intriguing. I never sit around playing my own stuff, and "shredding" always seemed more like athletics than music to me. I don't see technique as being intrinsically good or bad, it's just vocabulary. You can have an extensive knowledge of words and still be boring and say very little. It's all about what you say and not how you say it, if you see what I mean.
Tony HealyHello, Johnny, from Chicago.
I will be at your Chicago show and cannot wait. I know everybody's already blown a good deal of smoke up your ass, but I would be remiss if I did not tell you that you alone are responsible for me a) learning how to play guitar interestingly and b) learning how to write songs. Your music and playing will always have a special place in my heart.
Here's the question: back in the mid-80's, when I was first old enough to start clubbing, there was a 12" making the rounds that instantly became my favorite song. I remember going into Gramaphone records (the premiere DJ store in Chicago) and humming it to the clerk, who then sold it to me. It was called "Atomic Rock." I loved it because the guitar riff just KILLED. Flash ahead a few years: I discover you and the Smiths and grow to love your guitar playing during and after ("Get the Message" is brilliant). Lo and behold, I read somewhere that it was YOU playing guitar on this record-which wouldn't surprise me! Is that true? That's your riff? If so, what was the name of the band, and: any idea where I can get this? (12" singles from those days are hard to find on CD).
Cheers, and I'll be cheering you at the Double Door.
Johnny :" Thanks for you words. The track you're after is called "Atom Rock" by Quando Quango and it came out on Factory in the U.K in 1983 I think. There are some copies of it around, in fact I signed a few on the tour so I know it's out there. The album it came from might be caled just "2" by Quando Quango.
Rhys MasonHi Johnny! I was just wondering what is your favourite wah? I like Colosound, because of the large sweep.
Johnny: " I've always liked the Jim Dunlop Cry Baby's because of their sound and also the sweep. I just got used to them as a kid and that was that. They are a bit unreliable though, and noisy sometimes, but they sound great. I'm using the one on my GT5 at the moment , it's reliable and quiet too."
Joshua HawksworthHi Johnny,
Thanks for repling to this message.
Two questions, do you think 'early' Suede were the closest a band has come to the spirit and sheer quality of The Smiths?
Johnny: " I did notice a similarity in their aesthetic and energy. They became their own thing very quickly though I think and I liked the second album for that reason.And 2, Do you think that they should of split after Bernard left?
Johnny : "No I don't because they changed and still did some good things.Had they just copied Bernard's sound and style and chased the ghost then that would have been crappy but they did some good new things.
Oscar Zapata SanchezI´m a mexican fan i have 15 years old and i have a single question
why you left The Smiths?
I try to learn all of your songs on my guitar
you will come to mexico anytime?
Johnny : " I would like to go to Mexico to play sometime. You're other question might take a long time to answer Oscar, believe me...."
I hope you haven't had to answer these questions a million times before, but here it goes. Is there going to be an Electronic Best of out any time soon?
I know you helped out on Oasis' Heathen Chemistry, but is anything else done with Noel going to be released? Do you like any American metal bands? I read on some website once that you appeared in Bryan Ferry's Kiss and Tell video, is this true?
I'm a pretty young fan, I only started listening to you a few years ago, but I think you're one of the greatest, most talented musicians I've ever listened to (I know you probably hear that a lot). So, if you ever decide to do a gig anywhere near the Twin Cities in Minnestoa, USA, I'll definately be there.
Thanks so much.
Johnny: " Yes to the Best Of Electronic sometime. Who knows ? to anything more with Noel Gallagher. I don't really know any American metal bands and I doubt that I'd like it very much. I play on Bryan Ferry's Kiss and Tell song but I'm not in that video. I am in the video for "The Right Stuff" with Bryan Ferry though.
Nick McKayHey Johnny,
After seeing the Healers at Coventry and the Scala, it's been some time comin' for the LP but I'll never shake the excitement of those gigs - plus there's been the Neil F gigs to sustain us - that heavy tremolo (?correct me?) effect in the middle of 'Secret God' was like a ruddy earthquake. I am really looking forward to the new album, some ace singles and typically high-quality B sides - and of course the shows. That said, I'll now nag about Electronic quickly:- - 'Free Will' - where is the spoken sample from? I make it out as 'Truth or lies can't kill me'. Don't answer if it's going to blow your cover and cost you sample clearance though...now you'll say it's just a mate going off on a mad one. This great track distills the essence of Electronic, it has a glorious sheen to it. - 'A New Religion' - the making of this track was captured by 'that Prozac program' (groan, groan, I know you think it was cobblers) and it did reveal another version, with a gorgeous acoustic guitar rhythm track, which was of course ditched for the more direct electric riff. Is there a chance for such quality stuff to see the light of day and have you 'clear'ed (ho ho) out the Electronic cupboard completely now? I'll bet you and Bernard are sitting on a very fine instrumental album
(that could be entitled,you guessed it, "Free Will'). Maybe a few years down the line? Or put it online somehow? Don't worry, I won't hold you to it, just had to ask for some reason (though I rather worryingly feel like a rabid Genesis fan in heat with all this anorak inquiry). Thanks, have a top 2003 mate, Nick
Johnny: " There are some interesting points here. I can't remember off the top of my head what that sample is but I'll try and work it out if I get a chance. I don't know whether we ever put down a real version of "A New Religion" with that rhythm track except for "that program". Funnily enough, the Best Of Electronic album was always going to be called "Light Of Day". We'll look out for some ways to make it a bit interesting if the label let us.
Nick CarterNice site and nice job on Boomslang.
1. Do you use plectrum, or finger picking, or teeth, etc. to play the cool
jangling style on tracks like Charming Man?
Johnny: " Pick on that track, sometimes fingers, sometimes fingers and pick together, sometimes thumbpick.2. Are you a firm believer in learning scales to use in improvisation over chord progressions?
Johnny: "Not "firm" but a certain vocabulary helps of course. The trick is what you actually say when you get a vocabulary. Sometimes it's better to have your own magic speak.3. Do you memorise all the guitar parts to all your songs or do you play from the heart when gigging?
Johnny: " Both. I like the main parts that are on the record's, that's why they're there, but I don't mind playing them a little differently sometimes. Even if they're the same, they can be from the heart I think.thanks for any advice and help you can give.
Johnny: " Try and love it as much as you can, otherwise it doesn't work"
RichardHi Johnny hope your well.
I would imagine that most of your fans here are guitar players who get a wee bit frustrated trying to work out your guitar parts note for note. You would do us all a great favour by posting a tab or two on this great site, instead of hinting "I think it was in open G or C" please johnny.
Johnny: " I'll think about it, I promise. I thought I'd done pretty well remembering the song in the first place ".
"Cindy of a thousand lives" is a fantastic song, your production sound's Phil Spector"ish" Billy Bragg must have been more than delighted with the outcome.
Johnny: " I really liked that track. I think Billy does"What the chance of selling me your Double cutaway 60's Les Paul Special, i'll trade in my 59 for it, infact i'll take any one of your guitars, even an old ukulele that you might be using for an ashtray ! I am being 100 % serious too !! Ah well worth a try.
Johnny: " I'll let everyone know via the site if I want to get rid of any, it's unlikely"Thanks for the music & all the best for the future Johnny.
Johnny : "No problem and thanks"
KevinI hope this finds you well.My question surrounds the early Smiths sound. There seems to be a real similarity to your guitar sound and the sound of your contemporaries The Pretenders. Was this coincidental and if not was this your idea or John Porters?
PS- I've done a splicing of Shoplifters with Children of the Revolution which sounds great. Take care.
Johnny: " The Pretenders sound and my sound was somewhat of a coincidence, I was influenced by their guitar player Jimmy Scott and also I think we both liked some of the same things. There wasn't any conscious decision, they came out quite a long time before me. I didn't change my style when I played in The Pretenders though. Funny how things turn out.