Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr plays 'Messenger' on a solo tour

A singer by choice, or necessity

“The Messenger” is actually not Marr’s first outing as a frontman. He sang in bands before the Smiths, “sometimes out of want, and sometimes out of necessity,” he quipped.

He also released an album in 2003 as Johnny Marr & the Healers, featuring Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey, on drums, but it went relatively unnoticed.

“In the case of the Smiths, we just didn’t have a place for other vocals, and I was more than happy to be who I was in that band,” he said. “When I was playing with Modest Mouse, there were some parts that worked with me singing, and some parts in The The, too. It just depends on the place and time.”

He’s not averse to singing, in other words. He was just in no hurry to do it again, mainly because he liked “the chance to continue working with some other exciting bands.

“I’ve loved the diverse musical life that I’ve lived,” he summed up with noticeable glee.

He was equally cheery about Howler, the Minneapolis band that graced the cover of England’s NME magazine last year. Marr’s daughter, Sonny, wound up dating Howler’s 21-year-old frontman, Jordan Gatesmith — though that’s not how he first came to the elder rocker’s attention.

“I got a copy of his record before it came out, and that was quite a while before I even met him,” Marr recalled. “It was recommended by a friend, and I really liked it, and I liked it when I saw them live. Jordan’s very interesting, and straight away I could hear he’s someone who puts a lot of effort into what he’s doing.”

Of course, it warranted asking Marr how he feels about his daughter dating a musician. That’s the only other time he clammed up — but in this case he laughed.

“That’s none of my business,” he said, “and it is certainly none of yours.”

We’ll give him that one.


Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Twitter: @ChrisRstrib


  • related content

  • Johnny Marr performs during the Coachella Music & Arts Festival on Friday, April 12, 2013, in Indio, California. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1137466 ORG XMIT: MIN1304121944091949


    With: Alamar.

    When: 8 p.m. Tue.

    Where: Varsity Theater, 1308 SE. 4th St., Mpls.

    Tickets: $22-$35. 612-604-0222 or

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters