Jealous Haters Since 1998!
Home | News | Reviews | Day In Rock | RockNewsWire | Singled Out | Feeds

Birthday Tribute to Johnny Marr

10/31/2013
.
(Gibson) Johnny Marr turns 50 today, October 31. Indie rock doesn't birth many "guitar heroes," but Marr is certainly one. Though Marr is not really "indie," to be honest: yes, his time in The Smiths, Modest Mouse and The Cribs loom large. But he's also collaborated with Pet Shop Boys, Girls Aloud, Bryan Ferry, Talking Heads, The The, Bert Jansch and many more. He's simply a very versatile guitarist.

Eyes down for an appreciation of the man Noel Gallagher calls "a wizard" of guitar. Johnny Marr's Guitar Style. There isn't just one. In the Smiths, he was known for a chiming/arpeggio-based style so much so that he eventually resented the "jingle-jangle" words that were written about him. But he's definitely more chord/riff-based than a soloist in the whole Smiths catalog there are only two or three "guitar solos."

On many Smiths recordings, Marr employed a capo at the 2nd fret to meet Morrissey's high tenor voice. And open strings have always been a big part blasted barre chords are not part of his usual style. When he does play big chords, there's usually a twist The Smiths' "Bigmouth Strikes Again" and "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" have a capo on the fourth fret.

Alt tunings also play a part. "The Headmaster Ritual," a baffling piece of Marr guitarism inspired by Joni Mitchell, is in open D but then with a capo on the second fret. So it's Open E, really, but has more tension because of the capo making the strings "shorter." He's an adept fingerpicker. Listen to The Smiths' Hatful of Hollow acoustic version of "Back to the Old House."

Nashville tuning also turns up: 'It's a good tuning for coming up with new stuff 'cos you kind of feel like you're playing backwards," he told me. "I used that on loads of Smiths stuff "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" and "Half a Person" for starters."

The Smiths were incredibly prolific over 70 songs in a recording career of just four years, and Marr also acted as co-producer and de facto manager in later days Morrissey seemed to have trouble with third-party managers. When Marr left he was still only 23 years old.

To outsiders, "How Soon is Now?" is probably The Smiths' defining track.

"I wanted to write a track with an intro that you couldn't forget, something that you knew straight away was The Smiths," Marr says. "In that regard it was very 'worked on.' I arrived at the studio with a demo of the whole thing, apart from the tremolo effect - though that was bound to surface on a Smiths track sooner or later, because at that time I was playing Bo Diddley stuff everywhere I went. I wanted it to be really tense and swampy.

"Layering the slide part was what gave it the real tension. As soon as I played that bit on the second and third strings, [producer] John Porter put an AMS harmoniser on it. Then we recorded each individual string with the harmoniser, then we tuned the B string down a half step and harmonised the whole thing.

"The tremolo effect came from laying down a regular rhythm part - with a capo at the 2nd fret - on a Les Paul, then sending that out in to the live room to four Fender Twin amps. John was controlling the tremolo on two of them and I was controlling the other two, and whenever they went out of sync we just had to stop the track and start all over again. It took an eternity. God bless the sampler, because it would have been so much easier!" The clanging harmonics on "How Soon is Now?" are Marr hitting his guitar with a knife, as Sonic Youth did.

Post-Smiths, his funkier influences came to the fore on his some tracks with Electronic, The The and Modest Mouse. Marr is a huge fan of Nile Rodgers (he even named his son Nile), so he wasn't always about emotionally-fraught indie "the rhythm lick on "The Boy with the Thorn in his Side" is pure Nile Rodgers," he says.

His own Healers band (circa 2000) where he first sang lead vocals - were a swampier rock set-up, but still boasting a highly-melodic streak.

Marr's 2013 solo album, The Messenger, stylistically draws on his first post-punk guitar influences of U.K. bands such as Wire and Magazine. more.

Gibson.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

Johnny Marr Tour Dates/Tickets

Johnny Marr CDs, DVDs and MP3s

Johnny Marr T-shirts and Posters

Johnny Marr CDs, vinyl and rarities


Share this article


.


...end


advertisement


advertisement

.
News Reports
.
Day in Rock:
Scott Weiland and Bumblefoot Supergroup Release Video- Ozzy Fires Back At Original Black Sabbath Drummer- AC/DC Told By Malcolm Young To Make New Album For Him- more

Day in Pop: Lady Antebellum Star Hillary Scott's Bus Catches Fire- Miley Cyrus Reacts To Report Justin Bieber Got Her Pregnant- New Star Wars: Episode VII Trailer Goes Online- Rihanna- more

Bill Ward Demands Ozzy Apologize Before Black Sabbath Reunion- Foo Fighters Plan Special Record Store Day Concert- Def Leppard Members Sharing Lead Vocals On New Album- more

 Subscribe To Day in Rock

advertisement
.
 
Reviews
.

Trauma Interview

Album of the Week: Bad Brains Self-Titled Debut Album

December in Red - The Way Out

Battleaxe - Power From the Universe Reissue

SOKO Interview

Road Trip: Historic Savannah

The Compulsions - Dirty Fun

Rock Reads: Morbid Tales! A Tribute to Celtic Frost

Death Penalty - Death Penalty

On The Record: The Wild Beyond

Album of the Week: Pink Floyd's The Wall

RockPile: Minutian- Odin's Court- THEO

Michael Ubaldini Interview

Root 66: Cameron Mitchell- Stacy Jones- Greg Shirley

RockPile: Subversion- Jimmy Barnes- Danko Jones

Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly


. .
.
Today's Rock News
.

Scott Weiland and Bumblefoot Supergroup Art of Anarchy Release Video

Ozzy Fires Back At Original Black Sabbath Drummer

AC/DC Told By Malcolm Young To Make New Album For Him

Slayer Streaming New Song 'When the Stillness Comes'

Incubus and Deftones Announce Summer Tour

Nick Menza Reveals More Details About Failed Megadeth Reunion

Eddie Van Halen Talks New Van Halen Live Album

Def Leppard Kick Off Spring Tour

Metallica's Lars Ulrich Jams With Royal Blood

Queensryche Frontman Says New Album Is A 'Raging Animal'

Megadeth Reveal New Studio Video

Don Henley Reveals Solo Album Plans

Brian May Kicking Off Stereoscopic Series With Queen In 3D

Gov't Mule Premiere Cover Of Rolling Stones Classic

The Polyphonic Spree To Play Debut Album On 15th Anniversary Tour

Four Versions Of Steve Hackett Classic Set For Charity Release

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Records New Album In Space

KISS Releasing Love Gun And Monster Era Replica Costumes

Apocalyptica Streaming New Album 'Shadowmaker' Online

David Byrne Has Written A New Stage Musical

Puppet Drummer Nails Rush's Tom Sawyer In New Video

King King Release 'Hurricane' Lyric Video

Moon Duo Release 'Slow Down Low' Video

Singled Out: Ginger V's The Fake and The Fabuless





Subscribe to Day in Rock Report by Email

.
.
Today's Pop News
.

Lady Antebellum Star Hillary Scott's Bus Catches Fire

Miley Cyrus Reacts To Report Justin Bieber Got Her Pregnant

New Star Wars: Episode VII Trailer Goes Online

Rihanna Releases 'American Oxygen' Video

Marcus Mumford Working On Hip-Hop Project

Diplo Reveals Story Behind Robert Plant Collaboration Selfie

James Taylor Announces U.S. Tour Dates

Nicki Minaj And Meek Mill Engagement Speculation Sparked Online

Avril Lavigne Releases New Video 'Fly' In Support of Special Olympics

Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, Steven Tyler To Be ACM Presenters

Jason Isbell Announces New Album 'Something More Than Free'

The Weeknd, Deadmau5 and Bassnectar Lead Summer Set Music Festival

Ed Sheeran Was Asked To Guest Star On 'Game of Thrones'

August Alsina Recruits Meek Mill For 'Right There' Remix

Easton Corbin Announces New Album, Releases New Video

'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice' Trailer Teaser Goes Online

More News

.
 
anti Worthy Links
.
AudioNationRadio.com Rock Show Radio (4 streaming stations) The Screen Door A Journal of Musical Things Lloyd Zeffler blog Demolish Mag Nightwatcher's House of Rock CJ Chilvers Deja Voodoo The 1st Five thecopycat.biz Hard Rock Memorabilia Day in Rock @twitter

.
  .
.

Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!
Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!



 

Tell a Friend about this page - Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2015 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved. antiMusic works on a free link policy for reprinting of our original articles, click here for details. Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.