Johnny Marr: ‘Underground culture was co-opted by politicians listening to decent pop bands’

Singer hits out at 'straight world' co-opting 'interesting culture'

Johnny Marr has hit out at members of Parliament for “co-opting” underground culture by “listening to fucking decent pop bands”.

In 2010, the guitarist famously hit out at British Prime Minister David Cameron for repeatedly professing his love for The Smiths and “forbid” him from liking his former band. He later jokingly told NME that he would reform The Smiths when the current Conservative-led government stepped down – scroll down to the bottom of the page and click to watch.

In this week’s NME, the singer claimed that the “straight world” had damaged interesting cultural movements by trying to co-opt them. Talking about the lyrics to his song ‘Upstarts’, which features the line “The underground is overground/ The underground will pull you down“, he said: “I don’t usually give a fuck about this, but I had a couple of digs because of the ‘Upstarts’ lyric, like it was some lazy, trite lyric. And I’m not pretending that it’s profound, but that was cited a couple of times in some lazy, lazy articles as criticism of some banal lyricism.”


He then added: “Well, I actually do believe that the underground was completely co-opted by members of Parliament listening to fucking decent pop bands. And that interesting culture always just gets co-opted by the straight world.”

Marr, who was the recipient of the Godlike Genius award at the NME Awards 2013 and released his debut solo album ‘The Messenger’ earlier this year, is set to play a series of festivals this summer, including T In The Park and BenicĂ ssim, and will also provide support for The Stone Roses’ shows in Finsbury Park, London in June.

To read the full interview with Johnny Marr as well as exclusive interviews with Daft Punk, Savages and Noah And The Whale, pick up this week’s NME, which is on newsstands now or availably digitally

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