Morrissey To Johnny Marr: Keep My Name Out Of Your Mouth

Mike Pont/Getty; Joe Maher/Getty

Morrissey To Johnny Marr: Keep My Name Out Of Your Mouth

Mike Pont/Getty; Joe Maher/Getty

It’s inevitable that when former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr does an interview, he will, at some point, be asked about the Smiths and Morrissey. And Marr has been doing a string of interviews lately, as he is currently promoting a new double album called Fever Dreams Pt 1-4, due out in February (though he has been rolling out segments of the album as standalone EPs, the first of which came out in October). Anyway, the two men have not been on great terms for decades, and though they both play Smiths songs at individual shows, they will probably never, ever, ever reunite. This is all a long way of saying that Morrissey has posted a lengthy open letter directed at Marr asking him to please keep his name out of his mouth during interviews.

Titled “Open Letter To Johnny Marr,” the notes reads:

This is not a rant or an hysterical bombast. It is a polite and calmly measured request: Would you please stop mentioning my name in your interviews?

Would you please, instead, discuss your own career, your own unstoppable solo achievements and your own music?

If you can, would you please just leave me out of it?

The fact is: you don’t know me. You know nothing of my life, my intentions, my thoughts, my feelings. Yet you talk as if you were my personal psychiatrist with consistent and uninterrupted access to my instincts. We haven’t known each other for 35 years – which is many lifetimes ago. When we met you and I were not successful. We both helped each other become whatever it is we are today. Can you not just leave it at that? Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything … from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin ?

You found me inspirational enough to make music with me for 6 years. If I was, as you claim, such an eyesore monster, where exactly did this leave you? Kidnapped? Mute? Chained? Abducted by cross-eyed extraterrestrials? It was YOU who played guitar on “Golden Lights” – not me.

Yes, we all know that the British press will print anything you say about me as long as it’s cruel and savage. But you’ve done all that. Move on. It’s as if you can’t uncross your own legs without mentioning me. Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then. There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy. Just stop using my name as click-bait. I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life, and I have openly applauded your genius during the days of “Louder than bombs” and “Strangeways, here we come,” yet you have positioned yourself ever-ready as rent-a-quote whenever the press require an ugly slant on something I half-said during the last glacial period as the Colorado River began to carve out the Grand Canyon. Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982.

No mention of what exact interview triggered Morrissey to write this, though it could be this recent cover story Marr did for Uncut where he described himself and Morrissey as being “so different.” In any case, that’s the second artist this week to fundamentally misunderstand the true meaning of clickbait.

UPDATE: Marr responds.

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