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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.