Johnny Marr (The Smiths) is coming to 53 Degrees

Share |

marr Tickets on sale: 06/02/13 9am

Having worked with a who’s who of contemporary music’s biggest names, most notably as one half of Britain’s most iconic songwriting partnerships in The Smiths, hugely influential guitarist Johnny Marr is finally stepping up to the mic for his first ever solo venture…  30 years into his career!

One of the key iconic figures in Manchester’s rich musical history, Marr’s career almost took a very different turn. Although he originally aspired to be a professional footballer, he even had a trial for Manchester City, but later said “they didn’t follow up, probably because I was the only player wearing eyeliner”. It seemed that Marr was destined to be a rock ‘n’ roll star before he even knew it himself! Playing in bands throughout college, the guitarist’s diverse influences were already in evidence, from his Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy inspired first project, to a funk-influenced act with future Smiths’ bassist Andy Rourke. It may sound disparate, but it was this eclectic make-up that made The Smiths such an interesting proposition, and which now comes to the fore on new solo record ‘The Messenger’.

Marr was introduced to Morrissey in 1982 and things really took off from there. After a fraught year of gigging, including a string of landmark sets at Manchester’s Hacienda, The Smiths released ‘Hand in Glove’ in 1983, and became one of the 1980s most prolific and defining acts. Along with frontman Morrissey’s bittersweet delivery, Marr’s contrastingly jangly guitar style became the defining sound of The Smiths (and, in many ways, the defining sound of British indie music right up until the present day). Marr is responsible for some of the 80s finest moments with The Smiths, unleashing 4 celebrated albums and just as much b-side material in the space of a few short years, and influencing a whole wave of guitarists… All by the time he was just 24! No indie DJ set is complete without at least one of The Smiths’ many classics, including – to name but a few – ‘This Charming Man’, ‘How Soon Is Now?’, ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ and ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ – whilst long players like ‘The Queen Is Dead’ and ‘Strangeways Here We Come’ have graced many ‘greatest albums of all time’ lists.

Following The Smiths’ demise, Marr went on to play with some of the world’s biggest acts, including The Pretenders, experimental post-punks The The,  American alternative rockers Modest Mouse, Electronic (alongside New Order’s Bernard Sumner) and Yorkshire indie group The Cribs (who come to 53 Degrees themselves on Thursday 21st February). He has also guested on stage with fellow Mancunian icons Oasis, remixed the Pet Shop Boys, and co-written some of Crowded House’s best-loved work.

And yet, according to ex-band mates The Cribs, whilst he’s often been content to let others shine, there’s always been a frontman in Johnny Marr waiting to take centre stage. That it’s taken him 30 years to do so is probably why new album ‘The Messenger’ bursts with so much energy. Listen to riffing, rocking new single ‘Upstarts’ and you’ll hear all the hallmarks of a varied and exciting career, condensed into a foot-stomping 4 minutes of contemporary rock ‘n’ roll. With “sleek rushes of guitars, echo-laden drums and an instantly catchy, terrace-made chorus” (The Guardian), ‘The Messenger’ features many of the ingredients that made The Smiths’ so exciting and crucial, and an infectious 60s influenced songwriting sensibility, but finds Marr very much a man on his own mission. Be sure not to miss a stomping live show at Preston’s 53 Degrees – with 30 years’ worth of prestigious, singalong hits, tickets are sure to sell out fast.


Back to news listings