Matt Johnson debuted his first new The The single in a decade today on Steve Lamacq’s BBC 6 Music show, calling in to the program to introduce “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming,” a tribute to his late brother that will be released as a 7-inch single for Record Store Day in the U.K.
Listen: Pull up Lamacq’s archived 6 Music show and scroll to about 1:21 to hear the full song (and, before that, the host’s complete interview with Johnson).
The new single finds Johnson backed by several former The The members, including Zeke Manyika (Soul Mining/Infected era) on percussion and James Eller on bass (Mind Bomb/Dusk era) — plus Smiths guitar legend Johnny Marr, who also played on Mind Bomb and Dusk.
The song is about, and dedicated to, Johnson’s brother Andrew Johnson, aka Andy Dog, who designed much of The The’s artwork over the years, and who died in January 2016.
Johnson discussed the nature of the song with Lamacq:
“It’s difficult for me in a way because this is the third time I’ve written a song about a close family member that’s died. I wrote ‘Love is Stronger Than Death’ for my brother Eugene and I wrote ‘Phantom Walls’ for my mum, and now ‘We Can’t Stop What’s Coming’ for Andrew. The wonderful thing about songs is you create almost a living memorial because the songs go out into the world and hopefully become an intimate part of people’s lives, so it helps keep their memories alive.”
In the BBC interview, Johnson says there are no immediate plans for a digital release of “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming,” but said it will be part of “a larger project” later in the year. He did not elaborate.
Record Store Day is Saturday.
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- ‘120 Minutes’ Rewind: The The’s Matt Johnson earns an MTV disclaimer while hosting in 1986
- The The re-enlists Johnny Marr on first new single in 10 years for Record Store Day
- Matt Johnson recording first proper The The album in 15 years: ‘A new start for my career’
- The The’s 1983 debut ‘Soul Mining’ to be reissued in deluxe 2LP 180-gram vinyl set