Johnny Marr Says the Smiths Almost Reunited in 2008
The Smiths are likely high on any alternative rock fan’s list of bands that they would love to see reunite. Now, the band’s guitarist, Johnny Marr, revealed how he and singer Morrissey discussed it back in 2008.
Today (Oct. 29), The Guardian printed an excerpt from Marr’s upcoming memoir, Set the Boy Free, that described a rare spell where he and Morrissey were communicating due to Marr’s involvement in re-mastering the Smiths’ catalog on CD. Marr and Morrissey agreed to meet up in a south Manchester pub — the first time they had seen each other in at least 10 years. After some ice-breaking small talk, “Morrissey started to talk about how our relationship had become owned by the outside world, usually in a negative way,” Marr wrote. “We had been defined by each other in most areas of our professional life. I appreciated him mentioning it, because it was true.”
The bonding continued, talking about music as the drinks flowed, and then it moved onto “that subject,” as Marr put it. “Suddenly we were talking about the possibility of the band re-forming,” he continued, “and in that moment it seemed that with the right intention it could actually be done and might even be great. I would still work with the Cribs on our album, and Morrissey also had an album due out. We hung out for a while longer, and after even more orange juice (for me) and even more beer (for him) we hugged and said our goodbyes.”
There was one stumbling block — they would need to get a new drummer, likely the upshot of Mike Joyce’s successful lawsuit against Morrissey and Marr, but what was most important to Marr was that the group’s creative partnership were on speaking terms again. “For four days it was a very real prospect,” he wrote. “We would have to get someone new on drums, but if the Smiths wanted to re-form it would make a hell of a lot of people very happy, and with all our experience we might even be better than before.
But just as quickly as it happened, it disappeared. “Morrissey and I continued our dialogue and planned to meet up again,” he added. “I went to Mexico with the Cribs, and then suddenly there was radio silence. Our communication ended, and things went back to how they were and how I expect they always will be.”
Speaking to The Guardian in the interview that accompanied the excerpt, Marr believes that they will never get closer than those four days eight years ago. “I think it’s run its course,” he said. “I don’t feel unfriendly in any way towards Morrissey – there’s just no need for it. One of the things we had in common was that we lived for work, and we’re too busy doing what we’re doing now.”
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