The Smiths are dead, long live The Smiths. Although Morrissey and Johnny Marr haven’t been bandmates since around the time Reagan met Gorbachev in Washington DC, these two rock icons remain yoked together by the music they made in their youth. Yesterday, Morrissey published an open letter to his old collaborator demanding that he “stop mentioning my name in your interviews,” and today Marr has issued a response.
Marr has been working the promotional circuit ahead of the release of his double album Fever Dreams Pts 1-4, which drops February 25th. And to the surprise of no one — well, no one except for a certain former Smiths vocalist — Marr is getting a lot of questions about the music that made him famous, and whether he agrees with Morrissey’s increasingly off-kilter political views. After all, Morrissey has been calling the pandemic a “Con-vid,” and before that he supported the far right, anti-Islam political party For Britain.
It’s unclear which of Marr’s interviews ticked Morrissey off. But as his open letter makes clear, he would like Marr to pretend that Morrissey doesn’t exist. “Would you please stop mentioning my name in your interviews?” he wrote. “Would you please, instead, discuss your own career, your own unstoppable solo achievements and your own music?”
He 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. We haven’t known each other for 35 years… 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?
“You found me inspirational enough to make music with me for 6 years. If I was, as you claim, such an eyesore monster, where exactly did this leave you? Kidnapped? Mute? Chained? Abducted by cross-eyed extraterrestrials?”
In conclusion, he wrote, “Yes, we all know that the British press will print anything you say about me as long as it’s cruel and savage. But you’ve done all that. Move on. It’s as if you can’t uncross your own legs without mentioning me… Just stop using my name as click-bait. I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life, and I have openly applauded your genius during the days of ‘Louder than bombs’ and ‘Strangeways, here we come’, yet you have positioned yourself ever-ready as rent-a-quote whenever the press require an ugly slant on something I half-said during the last glacial period as the Colorado River began to carve out the Grand Canyon. Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982.”
Poetical, funny, and more than a little self-satisfied — Morrissey in a nutshell. In contrast, Marr’s response was short and sweet. In a Wednesday post on Twitter, he wrote, “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.”
Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 arrives February 25th, and pre-orders are ongoing. So far, Marr has shared the EPs Fever Dreams Pt 1 and Fever Dreams Pt 2, and in October he spoke to Consequence and Kyle Meredith With… about the project. Last year, he said that Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse is “the greatest lyricist I ever worked with.” Presumably Morrissey is glad he wasn’t mentioned? Marr will also join The Killers on their 2022 North American tour, and tickets are available here.
As for Morrissey, last year he headlined the first night of Riot Fest, putting on one of the strangest concerts in recent memory.
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