Testing musicians’ memories after a lifetime of abuse. This week: Johnny Marr
Who was The Smiths’ original bassist?
“Dale Hibbert. He quit because we made him have his hair cut. I don’t know why because it was a pretty fancy haircut and much better than the one he had before that. But, wherever he is now, I hope he learned something from the experience.”
When and where was The Smiths’ first ever US gig?
“It was in New York on New Year’s Eve… 1983. It was at a venue called the Danceteria and I think we only did seven songs. I’m almost certain that Madonna was playing on the same bill that night.”
Which British Smiths single was the only one to feature a member of the band on the front cover?
“It was Morrissey on ‘What Difference Does It Make?’. We wanted to use an image of Terence Stamp originally, but he refused us permission so Morrissey recreated his pose.”
The Smiths were featured on the classic TV show The Old Grey Whistle Test playing live at which venue in 1983?
“Derby Assembly Rooms. A lot of people loved it, but I hated that gig which is why I’m scowling all the way through on the footage. It looked like it was going off, but compared to our normal gigs it was very tame. I did have a nice stripey sweater on though.”
What was Electronic’s biggest UK chart hit and what number did it reach?
“I think it was ‘Disappointed’ and I’m guessing it reached… Number Six? But I’m probably wrong.”
How many songs on Oasis’ fifth album ‘Heathen Chemistry’ did you make a guest appearance on?
“Two. One was ‘(Probably) All In The Mind’ and the other was ‘Born On A Different Cloud’.”
Incorrect. It was actually three in total, the two he mentioned and the other being ‘Better Man’.
Which singer played the part of bartender in Modest Mouse’s ‘Dashboard’ video?
“Wow! That’s completely thrown me. I want to say James [Mercer] from The Shins…”
Incorrect. It was Seasick Steve
What was the name of the Talking Heads single you guested on?
“‘(Nothing But) Flowers’ off the ‘Naked’ album. It was a lot of fun doing it – quite a collaborative effort but if you watch the video I was a little bit too stoned I think. I was also rocking a centre-parting haircut that I copied from David Bowie’s ‘Low’.”
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Complete the Cribs lyrics: “She was the glamorous type/There were times when you’d never have guessed it…”
“‘Did you see her clothes/Everyone said she looked like a mess’. The way that line was sung was like love at first hearing for me. I didn’t think there was anyone who could sing punk rock that well any more.”
Which two Beatles reissues outsold The Cribs’ ‘Ignore The Ignorant’ when they were released on the same day in 2009?
“I’m gonna guess ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and ‘Abbey Road’.”
“Maybe I haven’t done enough rock’n’rolling in my time if my memory is holding up that well. Come back in 10 years and see what I’m like then!”