Johnny Marr says Morrissey's open letter was for "attention"

28 February 2022, 17:27 | Updated: 28 February 2022, 17:39

Johnny Marr and Morrissey
Johnny Marr and Morrissey. Picture: 1. Andy Cotterill/Press 2. Jo Hale/Redferns/Getty

By Jenny Mensah

The former Smiths guitarist has talked about the recent spat between himself and his ex-bandmate.

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Johnny Marr has suggested Morrissey was looking for attention when they had their public row last month.

The former Smiths frontman wrote an "open letter" asking his ex-bandmate to stop talking about him in interviews, prompting Marr to hit back on Twitter.

Though he insisted it was important to "defend" himself, the former Smiths guitarist isn't interested in a war of words with the Panic singer.

“When you’re attacked out of the blue, particularly in public, you have to defend yourself," he told The Sunday Times' Culture magazine. The letter was designed to be insulting, wasn’t it? That has to have been the idea. If it’s something that’s not based in fact, you have to react in kind, which is just... with ridicule.

“Look, it was about [his wanting] attention, and I’m getting a lot of it. I’ve got my new record coming out, and that’s getting attention too. All my solo records have. I just do what I do. I’ll just carry on being who I am.”

READ MORE: Johnny Marr hits back after Morrissey asks him to stop mentioning him in interviews

The drama all began with an interview with Uncut magazine in which Marr talked fondly of his relationships with his previous bands and collaborators.

He explained: "It’s a simplistic way of putting it, but 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.”

Morrissey issued his "open letter" soon after, which began: "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?"

He added: "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 - which is many lifetimes ago.  When we met you and I were not successful.  We both helped each other become whatever it is we are today.  Can you not just leave it at that?"

Taking to Twitter Marr hit back: "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".

READ MORE: How Johnny Marr came up to the riff to How Soon Is Now?

Meanwhile, Johnny Marr's new album Fever Dreams Pt. 1 is out now.

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