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Johnny Marr On The Smiths' Black Roots
Laurie Tuffrey , February 19th, 2013 08:48

Johnny Marr tells Quietus ed John Doran about the influence Chic and Lovebug Starski had on The Smiths and deciding to say "fuck it" and put a heavy metal solo on Shoplifters Of The World

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Noisey have just released the fourth chapter in their British Masters film series, which sees the Quietus' John Doran talking to Johnny Marr.

In the video, they discuss Marr's first solo album The Messenger, released yesterday, and the sonic imprint of the Manchester new wave on the record, as well as talking about his place as an atypical rock star, how he aimed to make 'How Soon Is Now' sound "paranoid... intense and druggy" and the lingering possibility of a reunion with Matt Johnson for The The.

Significantly, Marr talks about the primary influence black music had on The Smiths: "'Boy With The Thorn In His Side', from the second verse onwards, if you listen to it, it's just Nile Rodgers playing guitar - 'How Soon Is Now' has got a hip hop thing in it from Lovebug Starski."

He also says that he shares an unanticipated similarity to highlife guitarists, a comparison he can't fully explain: "The first time anybody said I was influenced by or sounded like highlife, I was very surprised and I completely disagreed with it. The truth of it is that I do disagree with it, but it's been mentioned so many times that I understand, but purely I obviously have the same mentality as some of the highlife guitarists, because I'd never heard highlife music in my life."

Finally, he talks about how the metal solo in 'Shoplifters Of The World' came about: "I think what I did there was I just went 'fuck it', to be honest. I thought 'if someone wants to give me stick for it, let them give me stick for it, they won't'. Well, within about a week I was getting shit for it" (but not from a certain bunch of in-car rocking Waynes World-alike metal fans - watch above).

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Feb 19, 2013 8:41pm

A fine interview Mr. Doran, thank you (props for a mention of the Chameleons). And Johnny's just the coolest f*ckin' man on the planet.

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Johnny Nothing
Feb 20, 2013 12:13am

Oh that was wonderful. I could have suffered an entire afternoon of that. Top drawer, sir.

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Tooth Ache
Feb 20, 2013 9:08am

Got to say... I think that's one of the best interviews I've ever seen. Great style Mr.Doran, perfect interviewee with every question and answer making me want to dig into the records again.

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John Doran
Feb 20, 2013 10:03am

Thanks! Very kind of you all to say so. You can't go far wrong with a man of JM's calibre though.

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St Helens Lad
Feb 20, 2013 9:01pm

The best one so far, I think, but these are all great. You're an excellent interviewer, it's got to be said. The Aphex Twin seems an obvious choice for the British Masters series - I'd love to see you interview him.

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Feb 21, 2013 4:33pm

JM is one fine man. It's a pity that he was interviewed by this insecure man who used Johnny only to boost his ego.

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Asda Man
Feb 21, 2013 8:12pm

In reply to Serena:

Fuck you, Serena.

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Ted G
Feb 23, 2013 2:27pm

When Johnny was talking about How Soon is Now and the short clip came on with the guitar I got proper, massive goosebumps. You always sort of know it but it's at times like that you realise cliches about bands changing your life are actually true. Loved The Smiths and love Johnny Marr. Great, great work John. Many thanks.

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