Ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr recently revealed that he is working on the follow-up to his impressive 2013 solo debut, The Messenger. Marr says his new album, as yet untitled, will be released in September.
‘I’ve got a new record coming out in the end of September, the follow-up to last year’s,’ he told the NME. ‘I wanted to do the second one really quick. For me, it was just about being on tour and wanting to capture the spirit of the band and the audience before it wears off. I’d been touring for eleven months so I wanted to keep that same energy. I didn’t want to overthink it.’
It was a novel idea that, after twenty-five years in the music business, Johnny Marr should finally release an album under his own name. After leaving the Smiths in 1987, the influential guitarist went on to form Electronic, but continued his quest to collaborate with fresh and exciting partners. Some of his most notable ventures have included work with Chrissie Hynde, the Talking Heads, and The The. Unbelievably, he even managed to sneak into the lineups of younger groups such as Modest Mouse and The Cribs.
The Messenger was a welcome return for the guitar legend. As expected, it was a confident rock album that harkened back to the glory days of British guitar bands. Marr’s musical compositions were as tight as one would hope, and he surprised with his self-assured songwriting and vocals. At the time of its release, Marr promised as many as two follow-ups, and, if the debut is any indication, they will be welcomed editions to his catalogue.
Hot on the heels of Morrissey’s 2013 best-selling Autobiography, Marr announced that he will begin work on his own memoirs in the near future. In an interview with Brooklyn Vegan, he confirmed that he has had offers for his story. ‘There is gonna be one, yeah,’ he told the website. ‘I’ve had so many offers and so many people advising me that my story is worth it, but I understand it’s something that I have to do. I’ll do it in the next couple of years. I’m into from the stance that I want it to be so thorough that I don’t make a record or tour whilst I was doing it. It is gonna happen, and I’ve already made an agreement with a publisher for it, so I will get it done.’
Marr has finally admitted that he has not read his former bandmate’s book, Morrissey’s mythic Autobiography published last year. Asked why he hasn’t picked up the book yet, Marr told the NME that he’s been too busy. ‘I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of books to get through.’ Marr does promise that his own book will focus more on the Smiths.
Perhaps Marr fears Morrissey’s stinging assessment of him and does not wish to dredge up bitter memories. The 460 page Autobiography set the record straight on Morrissey’s life, from his dreary Manchester childhood, through his tenure with the Smiths, and on to his solo career. Marr might be surprised by the tenderness with which Morrissey treats his time with the band, his effusive descriptions of Marr’s talent, and his continued pride at being part of the group. Morrissey’s portrayal of his former bandmates only turns sour at the mention of the notorious 1996 court case between Morrissey/Marr and Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, who swindled the band out of a large amount of undeserved royalties. The narration of this hefty midsection of the book seems more than plausible and particularly damning of Marr. Smiths fans should only hope that Marr will defend himself, if possible, with his side of the story when his own autobiography finds publication.