The ex-Smiths star is finally set to release his long mooted Healers album...

Former Smiths guitarist JOHNNY MARR has signed a new label deal and is set to finally release his long mooted, as yet untitled, debut album from his band the HEALERS in January 2003.

Marr has signed to web-based label iMusic, who will release the album in the US. The record will appear through his own imprint in the UK.

At present Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr is the Healers’ drummer while former Kula Shaker man Alonsa Bevan plays bass.

The album will contain 11 new songs, each written by Marr, and reportedly move off in a heavier direction than Smiths fans might expect.

“I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with people I respect and have really enjoyed all the records I’ve done,” said Marr. “But there’s things I want to do and a sound I want that I can only get with my own band.”