Johnny Marr goes from side player to a lead ‘Messenger’

Johnny Marr plays The Trocadero in Philly on April 30th, at Irving Plaza in NYC on May 2nd, on May 3rd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn and on May 4th at The Paradise in Boston. (Photo Credit: Jon Shard)
Johnny Marr plays The Trocadero in Philly on April 30th, at Irving Plaza in NYC on May 2nd, on May 3rd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn and on May 4th at The Paradise in Boston.
(Photo Credit: Jon Shard)

Unlike Johnny Marr’s 2003 album, which was credited to the former Smiths guitarist and The Healers, his new record, “The Messenger,” bears just his name, marking a bona fide solo debut in more ways than title. From the opening power chord, through wiry garage rock, pretty jangle pop, and a touch of terse psychedelia, Marr is the guy at the front, not to the side, because his singing is equally expressive.

“There’s got to be some benefits to getting older and one of them is knowing yourself better and being OK with that. Not that I ever had a problem with who I was, except if I acted like a dick,” Marr laughs. “Where that’s affected the new record is that I know what I’m interested in singing about and that’s very handy when you’re fronting a group.”

Before he set about making “The Messenger,” Marr knew he had to take his song ideas “home” and record in his native Manchester, England; not Portland, Oregon where he’s lived since 2005.

“I had an intuition that it would be good for the music. I didn’t have a solid concept about representing Blighty. It’s in no way nostalgic, god forbid,” he scoffs. “But in the back of my mind there was an attitude that I wanted to reconnect with – I guess, I always carried it with me. But I wanted to be where I first developed that attitude.”

Even since the demise of The Smiths in the late 1980s, Marr’s role was as producer or band member and, over the last decade, he joined both Modest Mouse and The Cribs.

“I was firmly committed to being in both; I don’t know any other way of doing it properly. But, I’ve gone into doing this record with a sense of my audience. That wasn’t the case when I made The Healers record. Now, it’s more about the relationship not between me and the guys in the band, but me and my audience.”

So, that elephant in the room…
Last year, the ever-present Smiths reunion rumors pinned hopes on a reformation at Coachella 2013. Given that Marr has made such a strong solo album, it’s rude to even broach the subject. But, duty bound, we ask whether a reunion is a possibility. His feathers obviously ruffled by the subject, Marr answers tersely: “Impossible!”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

In third year, Occupy Wall Street a "leaner,…

Three years after thousands took to the streets and camped out in lower Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street members were out in Zuccotti Park on Wednesday…

National

PHOTO: Photographer comes face-to-face with deadly crocodile

A deadly crocodile comes face-to-face with a courageous photographer, who manages to take a set of jaw-dropping pictures of the teeth-baring reptile.

Local

Brooklyn packed for annual West Indian Day Parade

Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway was packed Monday with an estimated one million people showing up on Labor Day to celebrate West Indian culture.

Local

James Michael Tyler on Gunther, Central Perk and…

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Movies

Review: Kevin Smith's 'Tusk' is insane even for…

Kevin Smith returns to the horror genre, only with more jokes this time, with "Tusk," in which Michael Parks wants to turn Justin Long into a walrus.

Movies

Fall Arts Guide: NYC's repertory film scene boasts…

Among the best repertory film series in NYC this fall include old subway movies at BAM, Capra at Film Forum and actual celluloid at the IFC Center.

Music

Needtobreathe's revival: From broken up to resurrected

Needtobreathe talks about breaking up and reuniting while recording their latest album, "Rivers in the Wastelands."

The Word

The Word: John Travolta stands by 'Battlefield Earth'

John Travolta doesn't seem too bothered about the pending lawsuit from his former pilot, Doug Gotterba, who claims he also had a six-year romantic relationship…

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL

Fantasy football: Run with Knile Davis, Khiry Robinson,…

Fantasy football: Run with Knile Davis, Khiry Robinson, Donald Brown

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…

Career

Here's why the newly-crowned Miss America deleted her…

Miss America pageant winner Kira Kazantsev quietly deleted her LinkedIn profile this week after her work history came under attack by conservative critics. Many of the…

Career

Zosia Mamet explains why leaning in is not…

Zosia Mamet is living proof that even if you don't think you can get a job you're going for, you should still try. Along with…