Johnny Marr’s autobiography Set The Boy Free is coming out in a couple of weeks, and the former Smiths guitarist just shared an excerpt from the book on The Guardian today and revealed that a Smiths reunion was “a very real prospect” in 2008.
While working on remastering the Smiths’ catalog in 2008, Marr says he “was struck by how good the band were, and how young. I recalled the exact intention and emotion that went into every note and word, and I texted Morrissey and Andy Rourke and said, ‘You can really hear the love in it.'” Soon afterwards, in September, he met up with Morrissey for the first time in 10 years at a Manchester pub. They drank and talked for hours, and “suddenly we were talking about the possibility of the band re-forming,” Marr writes. “And that moment it seemed that with the right intention it could actually be done and might even be great.”
Marr says he was “genuinely pleased to be back in touch with Morrissey,” and he talked to his band the Cribs about “the possibility of me playing some shows with the Smiths. For four days it was a very real prospect. We would have to get someone new on drums, but if the Smiths wanted to re-form it would make a hell of a lot of people very happy, and with all our experience we might even be better than before.”
But obviously, that didn’t happen. “Morrissey and I continued our dialogue and planned to meet up again,” Marr continues. “I went to Mexico with the Cribs, and then suddenly there was radio silence. Our communication ended, and things went back to how they were and how I expect they always will be.” Thanks Morrissey!
Marr also said that of all the bands he’s been in (including the Smiths, the Cribs, The The, Electronic) he enjoyed being in Modest Mouse the most: “People don’t believe it when I say that. I love Modest Mouse so much because the chemistry of those guys was a real brotherhood. They were a great American band, and I really wanted to be in a great American band.”