Q. Boring question to start with......what have you
been up to recently? Any exclusives you can give us about your new
A. I did some gigs last summer with my band Healers
which was good fun. I've also been writing some stuff with Beth
Orton and I did some recording with Liam Gallagher. I got pneumonia
which I'm sort of getting over at the moment.
Q. In spite of being labelled, "the decade that
taste forgot", many music lovers cite bands and artists from
the 80's as favourites who still grace their turntables today. Do
you think this is simply a case of inevitable nostalgia or an example
of how much the current music scene isn't hitting the spot? I mean,
was the 80's really as cheesy and embarrassing as the trendy pop
media would have us believe?
A. The early eighties were actually pretty good
for me. I was 16 / 17 in 1980 and I liked a lot of new stuff at
the time - for example Matt Johnson's first album, 'Burning Blue
Soul', Gang Of Four, some Cabaret Voltaire, Joy Division and Joseph
K were good;. I also saw a lot of bands when the Hacienda first
opened. It was open six nights a week and there were only ever about
twenty people in there. The Gun Club were really good live, so were
The Birthday Party. The media loves to take cultural snapshots of
time and serve them up as fact. They just look at the mainstream,
which is generally pretty naff in any decade.
Q. What are your thoughts on current technology and
the internet in general?
A. I do like computers and technology a lot. I think
it's exciting although things tend to get overused a bit until people
calm down. There was a time when every image used in advertising
was so obviously photoshopped to death and you'd hear the same new
plug-ins on peoples music. I personally like to use the best aspects
of technology past and present - valves, amplifiers and some analog
synths - and fuse them with new technology to their strengths. I
started off using the net as a virtual library, researching things
I was into like philosophy, theology, musicians and esoteric stuff
but I don't get into chat rooms or anything. I think it's weird
that some people refer to their correspondence via computers as
Q. You have a Q + A section on your website similar
to Shunt. How do you find answering all the questions - is it getting
to you yet ;-)? Are some subjects absolutely off-limits or are you
prepared to reveal all?
A. I pretty much like answering all the questions.
Some of them are interesting and it's good to hear what people think
and want to know. I've been really knocked out at times by the affection
that some people genuinely feel towards me and the music.......it's
beautiful. The only questions that haven't been answered are the
ones that have already been asked before and if someone is a bit
rude, or a knob, I try to deal with them as anyone else would.
Q. How many guitars do you own? Do you have a home
studio set-up and if so, how computer-based do you get these days?
A. I do own quite a lot of guitars - about a hundred
or so. I got rid of some a couple of years ago and swapped some
I didn't use for others I was after. I've got a studio in a different
building from my house with a big live room with lots of windows.
It's full of amps and pedals and things. I record onto a Mac and
use Logic and Pro Tools.
Q. Favourite 3 LP's of all time?
A. 'Raw Power' by Iggy and The Stooges, 'Electric
Ladyland' by Jimi Hendrix and a toss-up between a Rolling Stones
or Bowie 'Best Of...'
Q. Should musicians nearing 40 give up the ghost
and leave the business to the younger generation?
A. Nah,that's nonsense. As long as someone feels
they've got something to communicate and have a passion then they
should be heard. The idea of music belonging exclusively to the
under thirties is naive to say the least and a bit corny. I mean,
is it art or what? I think it can be.
Q. Any thoughts on Recoil?
A. I like Recoil a lot. Especially 'Strange Hours'
and 'Electro Blues For Bukka White'.
To find out more about Johnny Marr visit