‘Move on’: Morrissey tells Johnny Marr to stop talking about him in interviews

‘Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything?’ former Smiths frontman asked of his old bandmate

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 26 January 2022 11:03
Morrissey performs song while wearing For Britain party badge

Morrissey has written an open letter to his former bandmate in The Smiths, Johnny Marr, asking him to stop mentioning him in interviews.

In a post on his Morrissey Central website published on 25 January, the musician wrote: “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?”

Morrissey continued: “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.

He added that the pair hadn’t known each other for 35 years, something he describes as “many lifetimes ago”.

“When we met you and I were not successful,” he wrote. “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?”

He added that the British press will print “anything” Marr says about him as long as it’s “cruel and savage”.

Morrissey and Johnny Marr were bandmates in the Eighties

“Move on,” he said. “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.

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“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 clickbait.”

Marr responded with a tweet: “Dear [Morrissey]. 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.”

Morrissey and Marr were in The Smiths together from 1982 to 1987 and released four albums during that time. Marr quit the band aged 23 after Morrissey fired several successive managers and Marr was given the responsibility of managing the group.

Tensions had also been worsened by a premature “Smiths to Split” story that ran in the NME that summer, which Marr believed had been planted by Morrissey.

The open letter comes after Marr discussed Morrissey in a recent interview with Uncut magazine.

The guitarist had said: “One of the reasons I’ve been in so many bands was because I wanted to be loyal to them. It won’t come as any surprise when I say that I’m really close with everyone I’ve worked with – except for the obvious one. And that isn’t that much of a surprise because we’re so different, me and Morrissey.

“But all of these different musicians, I can pick up the phone to any one, and just pick up from where we left off. So yeah, loyalty. But it’s not because I’m so virtuous. Everyone I’ve worked with has been great.

“The only thing that turned to s*** was The Smiths. Which is a shame, but s*** happens. I hate talking about the group I formed in those terms, the group I loved. But, you know, let’s get some perspective.”

In an interview with The Independent in 2018, Marr was asked about the controversial views that had been espoused by the ex-Smiths frontman, including encouraging fans to vote for far-right party For Britain and expressing sympathy with jailed EDL founder Tommy Robinson. He said he opposed Morrissey’s views and clarified that the pair are “not mates”.

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