The band signed to London’s Rough Trade records and in a new interview with NME, which is on newsstands from today (February 19) and available digitally, Marr has said that the band were never refused a deal by Tony Wilson’s famous Manchester label. “If you were a musician in Manchester at that time, it was almost the law that you went on your hands and knees and begged Tony Wilson for his papal blessing to stick you in the studio, and I wasn’t about to do that,” said Marr.
The guitarist added that he didn’t want The Smiths to be “assimilated” into the label’s distinct aesthetic, saying: “So much has been made of Factory apparently turning The Smiths down, but that’s a crock of shit. The Smiths would have signed to Factory over my dead body… I didn’t want to be assimilated into the Factory aesthetic. Before we knew it, we would’ve had side-partings and khaki shorts, with bongos round our necks… No disrespect to A Certain Ratio.”
Johnny Marr was interviewed as part of NME’s 30th anniversary special to celebrate the release of The Smiths’ debut album, ‘The Smiths’, which came out in February 1984. The issue also includes rare photos of the band from 1983-84 and interviews with famous fans of the group.