Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake unveil powerful new track and video ‘The Priest’

The pair take on homelessness

Johnny Marr has unveiled a new collaborative track and video with acclaimed actress Maxine Peake. Check out ‘The Priest’ below.

The former Smiths, Cribs, Modest Mouse and The The guitarist turned solo star has teamed up with the award-winning ‘Shameless’, ‘The Village’ and ‘Silk’ actress Peake to deliver a hard-hitting commentary on homelessness.

Based on the experiences of former Big Issue salesman Joe Gallagher from his first the first few weeks of being homeless in Edinburgh (which he would later publish in The Big Issue under the name James Campbell), ‘The Priest’ sees Peake reading out Gallagher’s poetry, backed by a cinematic soundscape provided by Marr.


“I wanted to do something different and I thought of asking Maxine to collaborate having been a fan of her work,” said Marr of the song. “We started a creative process that clicked and culminated in ‘The Priest’, a song and short film inspired by a facet of modern life as we see it and feel it.”

“It’s about asking questions,” Peake The Guardian of the track and video – which stars her ‘Three Girls’ co-star Molly Windsor on the streets of Manchester. “Everybody’s in a situation, everybody has a story. It’s about finding out why. We take things at face value, don’t we?

“You form an opinion about something immediately, but you ought to step back a bit. Take in the vista first.”

Speaking of Gallagher’s work, Big Issue editor Paul McNamee said: “Over time, Joe started to work up and out of his place. He got shortlisted for a journalism award. He started looking for a place to live, and apply for work. He gained confidence. He worked his way from the street, using The Big Issue and his incredible writing skill, and is now in permanent work. I’m proud to have played a small part. It’s what The Big Issue is for, really.

“Then, when we heard Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake had come across his work and wanted to use it, that was the cherry on top. We arranged for Joe to go and see Maxine and Johnny a few weeks ago. We’re running the piece in Monday’s big Christmas special. It’s a terrific story. Everybody at The Big Issue is incredibly proud of what Joe has achieved. Who knows where it will end!”



Meanwhile, Marr’s upcoming third solo album is expected for release in Spring 2018 – which is he says remains untouched by recent political events.

“Because of what had happened with Brexit and Trump and everything, I came into this record really determined to not let those fuckwits impede on my creative life”, said Marr. “But you’re living in this world and you can’t do anything about it. So much of the record is about dislocation.

“Whether it’s being forced by the political system or because of personal demons. I was trying to imagine an alternative society.”