Rock & Pop, Seasonal Special Happenings

Johnny Marr/Alamar

When: Wed., Nov. 13, 8:30 p.m. 2013

Dating back to the music he made with the Smiths, Johnny Marr has always had a very distinctive way of playing the guitar. To hear him tell it, he developed his approach by accident. “Growing up in the ’70s, that was a time when my friends were into rock music and I was more interested in pop music which back then was made by people who played guitar,” he says. “I was obsessed with 45s and 7-inch singles. It’s like a religion. I was in love with guitar culture too. I would hang out in guitar shops like anybody else. I would draw guitars in my school books and the whole bit. When new wave and punk came around, that was my rock 'n’ roll. I tried to play these pop 45s and make as big a noise as I could. I didn’t want to use blues scales or do solos. All the records I liked were shorter than the solos Deep Purple were playing. When I was with the Smiths, I wanted to write songs in some weird ways that sounded like the girl groups or maybe some Supremes B-sides. That was what I was trying to do when I started out.” Marr hasn’t taken that approach so explicitly since he left the Smiths and had moonlighting gigs with The The, Modest Mouse and the Cribs. But he does infuse his new solo album, The Messenger, with a retro vibe; it sounds like he’s having on a blast on the disc as he rips through tunes such as the punchy "Upstarts" and the shimmering "Lockdown." “You listen to so many records late at night with a glass of wine and a joint. My record isn’t that. It’s the opposite. I wanted to make a record that sounds good on the bus or the way to work or on your way to school or on your headphones walking to the bus. It was really natural. I didn’t worry about how it would measure up against my old stuff or what critics would make of it or how it measured up against other bands. I cross my fingers and hope that I got it right. I didn’t expect it to get the attention it has gotten. You put as much work into it as you can and hope for the best.” (Niesel)

Price: $25 ADV, $27 DOS

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