Johnny Marr says he’s not “close” with Morrissey because they’re “so different”

"I’m really close with everyone I’ve worked with – except for the obvious one"

Johnny Marr has opened up about his history of artistic relationships and collaborations, and said that the reason he’s not “close” with his former Smiths bandmate Morrissey is because they’re “so different”.

The legendary guitarist and singer-songwriter was speaking to Uncut Magazine for the cover story of their latest issue, where he discussed the making of his new solo album ‘Fever Dreams Pt 1-4’ as well as his colourful history of working with the likes of The Cribs, Modest Mouse, Nile Rodgers, Chrissie Hynde, New Order‘s Bernard Sumner, Billie Eilish, Hans Zimmer and many more.

Describing being in a band as “a bit like army buddies or being in a submarine” with “a lot of pressure and a lot of weirdness and stress,” Marr said that loyalty was crucial to maintaining an artistic relationship – something that he famously hasn’t managed with former Smiths frontman Morrissey.

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“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. But all of these different musicians, I can pick up the phone to any one, and just pick up from where we left off.

He continued: “So yeah, loyalty. But it’s not because I’m so virtuous. Everyone I’ve worked with has been great. The only thing that turned to shit was The Smiths. Which is a shame, but shit happens. I hate talking about the group I formed in those terms, the group I loved. But, you know, let’s get some perspective.”

The new March issue of Uncut is out on newsstands and available to buy online now.

Back in 2019, Marr spoke to NME about whether or not he was worried about people viewing the music and legacy of The Smiths differently given the controversy surrounding Morrissey’s political beliefs and statements.

“I don’t think you can change history,” he said. “I’ve said that before. I’m not worried. It’s got nothing to do with my world or my life. The songs are out there for people to judge, relate to and hear. I think that’s all going to be forgotten in a few weeks, as these things inevitably are – for better or worse. It’s always been that way. I understand the issue, but I’m used to stuff coming and going.

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“I don’t worry about people missing out on the culture. That would be like saying to a teenage me ‘Are you worried about you and your mates missing out on The Velvet Underground?’ That was never going to happen. I know the way things go. Things come and go.”

As well as the creation of his forthcoming record and his dreams of reuniting with Modest Mouse, Marr also recently spoke to NME about his work on the No Time To Die soundtrack and the “honour” of working with Billie Eilish and Finneas on the title track single, as well as putting to bed the row with Blossoms and Rick Astley over their Smiths tribute shows.

Having recently shared the single ‘Night And Day‘, Marr will release ‘Fever Dreams Pts 1-4’ on February 25 via BMG. He will then tour with Blondie as a special guest on the latter’s ‘Against The Odds’ tour in the UK in April. The guitarist recently previewed his new music during a run of intimate gigs across the UK.

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