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Johnny Marr - Warsaw (Brooklyn) - October 23, 2023

Johnny Marr in Conversation
24 October 2023

At the recently renovated Warsaw, legendary guitarist Johnny Marr of The Smiths and one-time member of The Pretenders, The The, Modest Mouse, and The Cribs spent over two hours discussing his new Harper Collins photo/memoir book Marr’s Guitars with Variety music editor Jem Aswad (who saw The Smiths live in Brixton), in an amazing conversation that brought forth memories of writing some of his greatest songs on some of the 130+ guitars he has amassed over a spectacular and restless musical journey from a scrappy working-class Manchester upbringing to winning an Oscar for his collaboration with Hans Zimmer, Billie Eilish, and Finneas on the theme song for the 2021 James Bond film No Time To Die.

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Marr was candid, funny, reflective, incredibly adept at spinning off guitar riffs on his signature Fender Jaguar when prompted, and very generous with the dozens of admiring fans who waited outside the venue afterward to get autographs, photos, and share a few words with this charming Marr, including my chance to reminisce with him about the “cosmic” 2003 Big Takeover interview I conducted with him during his Healers era (that LP will possibly re-released next year).

“Setlist” included:

The Smiths riffs

1. “This Charming Man”
2. “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”
3. “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now written on the Gibson ES-335 that Seymour Stein bought him in honor of The Smiths signing to Sire Records
4. “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” and the influence of Nile Rodgers and Chic

Other riffs

5. Writing “Dashboard” with Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse the night they first met
6. Lending a red Gibson Les Paul to Bernard Sumner who wrote New Order’s “Regret” with it
7. Remembering writing “You and Me Baby” with his “Electric Landlady” Kirsty MacColl
8. “No Time To Die”
9. Remembering the late Smiths bassist Andy Rourke