Sunday, January 13, 2013

Johnny Marr.

It seems the phenomenon of conservative politicians painfully unaware of the lyrical content in songs they promote is not reserved to America.

The Smiths and anti-Thatcherism are so closely intertwined that even this Hoosier hick knows about it. On the other hand, I imagine few of today's know-nothing Republicans remember Maggie, anyway. They were too busy drooling over the staged blather of a trained actor, Ronnie Raygun.

By the time of my introduction to the Smiths in 1988 by way of the British periodicals I was abstracting at UNI-Data Courier in Louisville, the band was finished, but the music press wasn't through with them. So it has remained.

As a latecomer, there would be no Smiths live performance for me, although I caught Johnny Marr + the Healers at a WFPK indie radio showcase at Headliners circa 2003, and Morrissey a couple years after that at the Palace. As the interview makes clear, don't look for a reunion any time soon; just invest in "The Smiths Complete" for hours of rewarding listening.

Johnny Marr on the Smiths, Morrissey and putting politics back in pop, By Dave Simpson (The Guardian)

... "We invented indie as we still know it," says Marr, the debt ceremoniously acknowledged in the 90s when Oasis's Noel Gallagher played Marr's guitar.

But the guitarist was equally taken aback by the reach of the Smiths' non-musical impact: the amount of people that turned vegetarian because of Meat is Murder, or became politically motivated through Margaret on the Guillotine. "We were of that generation that came after punk and post-punk," he explains. "We're grateful for the revolution, but there was a bit of homophobia there, and sexism. There wasn't in indie. People don't talk about it now, but it was non-macho. If you were an alternative musician, you were political, because of the times [Thatcherism and the Falklands war]. It was taken for granted that the bands you shared a stage with had the same politics. I'm not sure you could say that now."

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