Johnny Marr opens up about recent Morrissey spat: “You have to defend yourself”

"When you’re attacked out of the blue, particularly in public, you have to defend yourself"

Johnny Marr has opened up about his recent spat with Morrissey, saying that he felt he had to “defend [himself].”

Back in January, the former Smiths frontman asked Marr to stop mentioning him when giving interviews, in reference to an interview that Marr did with Uncut magazine where he mentioned Morrissey.

Morrissey posted a lengthy open letter in which he asked Marr: “Would you please, instead, discuss your own career, your own unstoppable solo achievements and your own music? If you can, would you please just leave me out of it?”


Marr responded at the time with his own Instagram post, writing: “An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953, It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business… a bit 2021 yeah?”

Now, in a new interview with The Times, Marr was asked about his response to Morrissey to which he replied: “When you’re attacked out of the blue, particularly in public, you have to defend yourself.

“The letter was designed to be insulting, wasn’t it? That has to have been the idea. If it’s something that’s not based in fact, you have to react in kind, which is just with ridicule.”

He added: “Look, it was about [his wanting] attention…and I’m getting a lot of it. I’ve got my new record coming out, and that’s getting attention too. All my solo records have. I just do what I do. I’ll just carry on being who I am.”

The Smiths: Johnny Marr and Morrissey
Johnny Marr and Morrissey from The Smiths in London, 1983 by Clare Muller/Redferns)

The two, who were bandmates in The Smiths for six years, released four albums together: ‘The Smiths’ (1984), ‘Meat Is Murder’ (1985), ‘The Queen Is Dead’ (1986), and ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’ (1987). Morrissey brought up their work together in his open letter.


“You found me inspirational enough to make music with me for 6 years,” he said. “If I was, as you claim, such an eyesore monster, where exactly did this leave you? Kidnapped? Mute? Chained? Abducted by cross-eyed extraterrestrials? It was YOU who played guitar on ‘Golden Lights’ – not me.”

Morrissey went on: “Yes, we all know that the British press will print anything you say about me as long as it’s cruel and savage. But you’ve done all that. Move on. It’s as if you can’t uncross your own legs without mentioning me. Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then. There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy. Just stop using my name as click-bait.”

Morrissey signed off: “Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982.”

Marr shared the reason why he’s not “close” with Morrissey in a cover story for Uncut Magazine recently, claiming that it’s because they’re “so different”.

“It’s a simplistic way of putting it, but one of the reasons I’ve been in so many bands was because I wanted to be loyal to them,” said Marr.

“It won’t come as any surprise when I say that I’m really close with everyone I’ve worked with – except for the obvious one. And that isn’t that much of a surprise because we’re so different, me and Morrissey.”

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