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?”