The Smiths were one of the most important and influential forces in British music back in the eighties. Releasing four albums during their six-year tenure, a number of which are among the most critically acclaimed of all time, you’d hope its members had as good a relationship with one another as the public does with their music. Sadly, it’s not to be.
Having been apart for 35 years, tensions still remain unresolved between the band’s two lead songwriters, Morrissey and Johnny Marr. Morrissey published an open letter on his website yesterday, pleading Marr to stop mentioning him in interviews.
Called “a polite and calmly measured request“, throughout the 380 words Morrissey criticises Marr for talking as if he were “my personal psychiatrist with consistent and uninterrupted access to my instincts“. He says Marr blames him “for everything … from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin“. He notes how their days together were “many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then“, and that Marr should “take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy“. The message ends with “Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982“.
Despite the harsh words, Marr doesn’t seem that put off, replying briefly with a tweet saying “Dear @officialmoz. An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953, It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business…a bit 2021 yeah ?“
Dear @officialmoz . An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953, It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business…a bit 2021 yeah ?#makingindiegreatagain
— Johnny Marr (@Johnny_Marr) January 26, 2022
Seeming determined not to appear rankled by it all, he also posted a picture on Instagram of himself lying in a hammock for good measure.
View this post on Instagram
Marr had recently talked in an interview about how Morrissey was the only ex-bandmate with whom he wasn’t close to, citing their tensions as being due to them being “so different“. He likened being in a band to “a bit like army buddies or being in a submarine“, saying that loyalty was paramount for dealing with the stress and tensions that often come up.
Looking back on it all, Marr said “Everyone I’ve worked with has been great. The only thing that turned to shit was The Smiths. Which is a shame, but shit happens. I hate talking about the group I formed in those terms, the group I loved. But, you know, let’s get some perspective.“
Despite Morrissey and Marr seeming unlikely to be on stage together any time soon, you can still enjoy their solo work. Marr has a new album out February 25th, titled Fever Dreams Pts 1-4, having already released the single “Night and Day“. He’ll also be going on tour with Blondie this April. Morrissey also has some dates coming up in America this May, but his album Bonfire of Teenagers (which was announced last year) is still in the works for a proper release.