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Friday, 13 April 2012

Following The Mozziah Day 212 Friday 13th April 2012

Well, nobody bothered joining me at yesterday's cricket match, and I can't say I blame them, it was freezing, but the cricket season is BACK, so all is good with the world.

What I wanted to write about yesterday was the Johnny Marr interview in 'Rolling Stone' magazine. Here's the interview in full, with my observations after:
hnny Marr on Breaking Up the Smiths, Remastering Their Catalog

'I had the foresight to see disaster looming' 

Johnny Marr performs with The Healers in New York.
Roger Kisby/WireImage for Ray-Ban
April 11, 2012 9:00 AM ET
The Smiths were only a band from 1982 to 1987, but during that time they produced a cache of British indie-rock classics that remain highly influential. During their abbreviated lifespan, the band released just four proper studio albums, augmented by a few non-LP track compilations and a live recording – eight full-lengths in all. Guitarist Johnny Marr was never really happy with how the CDs sounded compared with their vinyl counterparts. So, 25 years after the band's final studio release, Marr went back into the studio with the original master tapes and made things right again.
"It was more of a restoration rather than remastering, as such," Marr tells Rolling Stone, explaining that he didn't add anything that didn't already exist  – he just brought it all out. "I knew there was a lot of music hiding in there," says Marr. All eight remastered Smiths CDs have just been released by Rhino Records, including the first U.S. CD release of the band's 1987 U.K. compilation, The World Won't Listen.
Marr accepts responsibility for disbanding the Smiths, but – perhaps surprisingly – it appears he's not entirely opposed to reuniting with his former bandmates, including lead singer Morrissey. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the guitarist looks back fondly on the Smiths' celebrated career.
Before working on the remasters, how long had it been since you actually listened to these albums?
I never actually sit down and play a record myself. That goes for everything. Once a record is released, I kind of just feel like it belongs to everybody else who wants it, and it takes on a life of its own and a different kind of story.
I kind of went out of my way not to [hear them] until, I guess, around 1995 or 1996 – so that would've been 10 years later – when I came in from a session one night and I'd been talking about one of the Smiths records, and I put on Strangeways, Here We Come. That was the first and only time that I played a record in its entirety and just kicked back and listened to it. And what happened was, a split second before every note or every cymbal crash or every word – I knew it was coming. Every bit of information. It was like muscle memory or instinct. It was kind of cool.
And then I didn't need to do that again, of course. You hear stuff when you're in stores, or at a show and it comes on the PA, or if you're in a club, and usually it's a surprise. I'm usually like, "Wow! How cool is that bass line?"
As you listened to the catalog for this project, did any new favorite songs emerge? Did any particular album surprise you in any way?
Since I've worked in the United States, in the last six or seven years, I've picked up on the fact that Meat is Murder was the record that was the introduction to the Smiths for a lot of people. Living in Portland meant that I would meet people who heard that record first. I know now that that record is more important to a lot of people than I realized. So I guess I kind of listened to it differently because a lot of my friends know that record best. I always have really liked "The Headmaster Ritual" off that record, and "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore."
I think that overall, during the mastering of it, I kind of connected with the songs that were the most emotional rather than necessarily the ones that are the most well known. So "Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me" and "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" and those things – "I Know It's Over" – yeah, they sounded quite powerful. When you hear anything in passing, you tend to hear just the radio ones, of course. So maybe there's that aspect to it, too.
Did working so closely with the recordings after all these years bring back strong memories of being in the Smiths?
Well, sure, yeah. But I've got a really good memory, so nothing really came to me as too much of a surprise. The strongest thing that caught me off guard was the realization of just how young we all were. That came as something of a surprise, perhaps – the memory of what it felt like to be that young and on such a mission. That, I think, was the thing that came across that wouldn't have happened had I not been in those sessions. We really, really were young and we were filled with a very powerful kind of drive and passion. It was good to be reminded of that.
I'm sure that not one interview has gone by in 25 years where you haven't been asked the inevitable reunion question. But your answer has changed slightly over time. there any possibility of a Smiths' reunion, in any way, shape or form?
I don't know about the possibility, but what I do know is that I understand how great it would be to make so many people happy. And the other thing I know is that Morrissey and I are so very different. Those are the only things I know.
Morrissey has said in interviews that he actually wanted the Smiths to continue and that you were the one – and the only one – to break up the band. Is that a fair assessment?
Yes, but...I was the lookout saying, "Rocks ahead! Rocks ahead!" I had the foresight to see disaster looming – both for the individuals, personally, and the band, professionally. I had a lot of insight and wisdom for a 23-year-old.
At the time of the breakup, you blamed it on a lack of good management and a number of business problems. Do you still stand by those reasons?
Yeah, that's really it. I've said it before, but anybody that thinks that it was a good idea for the 23-year-old guitar player of a really big rock band to go back to being a manager of that band...
It was reported that you and Morrissey declined a $75 million offer to reunite for a 50-date world tour in 2008, as the Smiths. Is that true?
I have heard that – a few times. No official offer was ever made to me...But I did hear that, yeah. Nothing really gets off the ground just purely because of money. Certainly, as I see it, so many other things would have to be fixed and we're just too different to get them fixed, it appears.

Read more:

Morrissey's response to the interview, came via a tweet from '@Morrisseysmum', which seems to be accepted as the 'official' Morrissey twitter account. He tweeted, "Different. But no longer too different I fear. Time to talk of gathering moss." The "gathering moss" is presumably a reference to Joe Moss, the former manager of The Smiths, who I believe is re-managing Johnny. If this tweet is to be believed, it sounds like not only is Johnny up for a reunion, but Mozzer might be too! 

So, could it possibly happen? Despite all the words over the years from various parties, could The Smiths really ever find enough common ground to reunite? I think there is only one reason to do it, desire! As I said yesterday, a reunion would never occur for just money, and nostalgia isn't a good enough reason either. From Johnny's interview, it is obvious that he has the desire to reunite, he says to bring pleasure to a lot of people, but I don't think that's necessarily the whole truth, I think that Johnny, having recently worked on remastering The Smiths albums, remembered 'just' how brilliant he and Morrissey were together, and he wants that feeling back.

Would Morrissey have the desire? He may not need to! I think, more than anything else, and despite everything he's ever said, I believe Morrissey would agree to a full reunion for one reason only......for Johnny. Having read that interview, I wouldn't be surprised if Morrissey sat and cried, it certainly made me cry. It is as close to Johnny coming and knocking on his door, asking to form a band, as it will ever get. Johnny can't simply 'ask' Morrissey to reform The Smiths, the fear of rejection would be far too great. Likewise, would Morrissey dare take the next step to actually ask Johnny? Well, yes, I think he would, because if Johnny said no, Morrissey could simply put it to bed. Hold on, I've written this before *Checks back through the 'Mozziah' archives* Yes, I wrote all this on Johnny's birthday, October 31st 2011 (go and re-read it if you can be bothered). I said then, if Morrissey wants it to happen, then why not just pick up the phone? Well maybe now, having read the Johnny interview, he will, but for a different reason, not because 'HE' wants it, but because Johnny 'NEEDS' it! Perhaps he'll phone Joe Moss instead. HEY MOZ, let me do it, I'd love to and it's what I've spent the past 25 years doing for a living. I'll even do it for free, Christ (crosses self), I'll even fly out to Japan and discuss it with you. You know how to get hold of me.....or there is always Joey Barton! remains down, but many, many people have sent Stephane emails of support (me included) and he has made a statement about it taking over his life, but he has also added on so-low, "The site will resurface, perhaps under a different form, under the supervision of new parents. I can't let all those years of hard work just disappear. I want to let the dust settle before taking the next step." He'll soon have it back up, I know all about addictions to these things, and ultimately, however much any of us fight it, we just bloody love that bastard Morrissey!

Right, I'm off to wait for the call.


  1. Fine Rat! Now I'm thinking that it's not wasting time waiting for the biggest surprise!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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