Beefs — January 25, 2022 at 9:00 pm

Morrissey to Marr: “It was YOU who played guitar on ‘Golden Lights’ — not me.”

Morrissey, for some reason, posted an open letter to Johnny Marr on his website today, using the 377-word screed to implore his former Smiths bandmate to stop mentioning his name in interviews. It’s all a bit weird, and seemingly unprompted. (Marr responded overnight with a tweet.)

Read Morrissey’s open letter, and see Marr’s response, below:


January 25, 2022

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?

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? 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? It was YOU who played guitar on ‘Golden Lights’ – not me.

Yes, we all know that the British press will print anything you say about me as long as it’s cruel and savage. But you’ve done all that. Move on. It’s as if you can’t uncross your own legs without mentioning me. Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then. There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy. Just stop using my name as click-bait. I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life, and I have openly applauded your genius during the days of ‘Louder than bombs’ and ‘Strangeways, here we come’, yet you have positioned yourself ever-ready as rent-a-quote whenever the press require an ugly slant on something I half-said during the last glacial period as the Colorado River began to carve out the Grand Canyon. Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982.

Morrissey. January 2022.






  1. Yes but, Morrissey, tells us what yo really think

  2. The weird thing is who would ever read an interview with Johnny Marr? Nevertheless I agree with Moz: Johnny needs to shut his mouth

    • They both need to move on… Divorced couples need to move on and not speak about one another in any light. Marrs clearly can’t let go. I love Johnny Marrs, but seeing him without Morrissey is a massive void and vice versa.

      • November Spawn

        That’s Morrissey’s point, he has moved on, decades ago. He has had a thriving career since The Smiths, a greatest Hits album to boot. Marr behaves like an obsessed ex boyfriend, he should spend more time trying to write something listenable and leave Morrissey alone in the big league.

  3. Yeah, nobody is interested in reading an interview with the guitarist and songwriter from one of the most influential bands of all time. A man who spawned a huge number of imitators, many of whom went on to be successful themselves. Maybe if Morrissey hadn’t betrayed his former self and millions of fans by becoming a racist he wouldn’t be quite such an easy target. He, and anyone who apologises for him, should be ashamed.

    • OMG… Move on… It’s no different than a couple getting divorced and the spouse (35 years later) still rants about the soiled relationship. At some point, it’s weird. Imagine some old Hollywood has been ranting about a person they were married to almost 4 decades ago to bitching about them. Anyone arguing for Marr is the exact problem and why we even deal with click bait.

      I’m a huge fan of Johnny Marr, but the dude needs to leave Morrissey out of it.

  4. At last – at last – Mozza finally responds to years of being dragged through the mud by Johnny in a polite, scathing, hilarious and concise way. We wouldn’t have expected any less.

  5. Every Johnny interview rarely mentions the fact that it was Marr who left The Smiths. This unquestionably broke up the band – and forced Morrissey into a solo career. This also was thirty five years ago! Like Moz says at some point one must take responsibility for your own actions and own career.

  6. Felix Ungar

    What a narcissistic baby.

  7. It needed saying. Why doesn’t marr just talk about his own achievements.
    He may be a good guitarist and have been a driver in setting up The Smiths BUT Morrissey is on an altogether different level.
    Original and a genius.
    AND he doesn’t dis Marr.
    Move on Marr

  8. Good enough. One would hope a simple handshake, and kind words could spark a reunion of what is left of the smiths for a tune or two, to the delight of millions before it is too late.. Nevertheless.. both seem to be doing well, and Marr should let it to rest.

  9. Well done, Morrissey! I like it and think he is well in his right to take this position.

  10. I don’t like Morissey as a person from what I have seen. In this case, he’s right. Marr does mention the Smiths and Morissey most of the time. Mind you, half the interviewers seems to pester him with Smiths questions. It’s weird how a small portion of your career can dominate the rest of your life. And we’re partly to blame for that with our obsession.

  11. ‘The End’. Finally, closure. Phew

  12. DLOC
    Depends on which version you believe.
    According to Johnny he just wanted a break after recording and touring for 4 solid years…… he went on that break and the NME broke the story that The Smiths had split……

  13. Dan
    Ridiculous comment. Lots of people read interviews with Johnny.

  14. Scott Stalcup

    Welp. I guess Morrissey is able to finish SOMETHING after all. #smh

  15. Mat O'Connell

    And Johnny’s book was better. Not hard though. Mozza’s was just an endless stream of vitriol, written in the style of an over-educated, limelight-seeking teenager. At least Johnny’s was about the bands and the music.

  16. Morrissey is a dick. Johnny is a class act. Morrissey, grow up and stop with your bitterness. Your snotty, coy demeanor was cool in 1982, but as you said, it’s been 35 years, and you’re still a cranky baby. I met you, Morrissey, when I was obsessed with The Smiths (1990) and you were such an asshole. I met Johnny 3 years ago, and it was the most amazing experience I had. He is kind, giving, genuine, hard working, and loyal to his fans. The Smiths will forever be my favorite band, but it’s Johnny, I admire. Your fans are devoted to you and you shit on them, your past musical partner, and on immigrants. You’re quite shit, Morrissey. You have a lot to learn about kindness. “It takes guts to be gentle and kind” Where are your guts? Your narcissism will ruin you. Your lyrics are profound and tattoed on my arms. Shame on you, Morrissey.

  17. PS. He doesn’t need your name as clickbait. He’s accomplished and adored by his own!

  18. For some reason? You don’t even know ? He’s responding to Johnny interview not long ago.

    • Yes. If I remember correctly, Marr says he doesn’t know Morrissey. He says he can call any other past collaborator and just chat. That’s not the case with Morrissey.

  19. “I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life” – I distinctly remember a very hilarious Moz quip in response to Marr’s then new venture Electronic. When asked what he thought of the hit single “Getting away with it” he replied “Aptly titled, isn’t it?”

  20. Morrissey would be a nobody if it wasn’t for Marr, period.

  21. Kinda gross at all of the Morrissey stans that comment here. Do I think he was a cool lyricist back in the day? HELL YEAH. Do I think he’s become morally repugnant? HELL YEAH. He must be feeling lonely and stirring up the pot for that festival in Pasadena later in spring, that he will probably cancel on.

    Marr’s scope of contribution to indie music since The Smiths and continuing through today, and the fact people still enjoy working with him. Shoot he’s even worked on Bond movies at this point.

    • Who cares… MARR is an unbelievable artist and so is Morrissey and together they were on fire. When they broke up the fire went out. Morrissy music went to meh… and Marrs wen to Meh…

  22. For crying out loud. Every interviewer lobs 12 Smiths questions at Johnny which he answers reasonably respectfully and with brevity concerning Morrissey. The fact Marr can’t entirely conceal his disappointment makes him well— human. More typical ‘free speech for me, not for thee’ nonsense from a pampered narcissist who can only perceive himself as a victim. On that level— it’s Moz who hasn’t moved on since 1982.

  23. Not that any of our opinions really matter but to our collective concept of what went down, but I’m going to defend Marr here. From what I’ve read he never brings Morrissey up, the press does. So Morrissey is misdirecting his ire because he can’t get the press to stop asking for Marr’s opinion about the PAST. I have not read one instance where Marr has opined about some current opinion or action Morrissey has taken. Sadly this feels like Morrissey is looking around for someone to blame for his seeming inability to connect with the press in any positive way, it’s HIS mouth that did that.

  24. Scott Stalcup

    Oh and as far as Johnny’s guitar playing goes, that’s nothing. You should hear him play piano.

  25. Okay, I have to chime in because there’s some really great comments here, really good discussion, and this bitter and aggressive PR move from Morrissey kind of surprised me today.

    The Smiths are one of my most all-time favorite bands, I got “hatfull of hollow” I when I was nine, spent a million hours in my bedroom with my guitar as a teenager learning back to the old house and This Charming Man and stuff like that, blah blah, just like many of you here. I now play guitar for a living and Johnny, he’s definitely been one of my most favorite guitarists to study, completely unique and just the stuff he came up with when he was young blows my mind to this day.
    I’ve been watching some interviews with Johnny recently and I even watched most of a live show he did recently.
    And of course, I follow Morrissey and have followed his solo career too, one of the few artists I still make sure I get their new album whenever it comes out.
    I have to say this: While Johnny Marr is definitely more, I guess, “classy” inthe way he comes off, and he seems more cool and humble and definitely like he would be nicer to the fans, etc etc. He just doesn’t rock the boat. at all, comes off very postured, and i get the feeling he’s not honest a lot, either with himself or with the world. I know that’s usually presumptuous, but I just can’t escape this overwhelming feeling . His live show and the way he kind of conducts himself, I don’t know what to say about it. Something feels empty or put-on about it all. I understand why he sings the old Smith songs with his band, and he has a decent voice for it, but honestly, there’s just something weird about it. And watching them cover I fought the law, I just don’t know what to say. I don’t think I would take acid at that concert, I would walk out feeling kind of weird about it all. But Morrissey on the other hand, yes he comes off like an a**hole. Yes he has super controversial views, he always has. But, love him or hate him, he wears that stuff on his sleeve and he bleeds himself everywhere, and honestly, that’s what you want in an artist. It’s nasty, maybe you hate him, but it’s honestly way more compelling and it’s way more real to me. And as far as his solo career, it’s not even a comparison between him and Johnny. I mean, I like Johnny’s new music when he kind of makes it sound like the Smiths. But Morrissey went on to do stuff with Alain and Boz that rivals Smiths stuff. No question. Your Arsenal is great, and also one of the greatest albums ever made has to be Vauxhall and I. That album is simply a masterpiece of music and vocals and guitars and overdubs, it’s just unreal how good that album is. I’ll take that album over strangeways here we come any day! So yeah, Johnny Marr wins in the class department but Morrissey wins in the who is the more valid artist the more interesting musician to follow etcetera. My main complaint with Morrissey is that I’ve not been a big fan of his recent musical collaborators. The glam-rock mannerisms with the guitars and the music oh, just doesn’t come across with the same level of cool taste as his other collaborations. The jesters in the mannerisms in the music seemed forced as hell to me. Years of refusal absolutely kicked ass and I think low in high school is probably pretty good but honestly since years of refusal I don’t think I’ve been completely blown away. But still, quite an impressive catalogue from Morrissey. Oh, and his singing later in his career really became quite technically amazing, considering the weird monotone Melody type singing he used to do in the beginning. I have a few of Johnny’s albums from the last few years and I had some moments of liking things here and there but overall it just doesn’t seem to keep up with the quality of what he did but this mess, I’m not sure why that is. Maybe he’s just not around the right people. I don’t know if it’s really admitted to how important Andy’s bass playing was to making that whole thing work… I know Morrissey said something in the last ten or so years about “those glorious bass lines”

    Anyways, definitely two of my favorite artists and always thought it was a shame that even though the entire Smiths probably couldn’t get together the four of them, always thought Morrissey and Marr should just get together and do an album called Morrissey and Marr and they wouldn’t have to worry about reliving that Smith Legacy, we could just hear that guitar and that voice together again. I thought that would have been awesome. But I hear this news today and I realize that is definitely never going to happen.

  26. I agree with Matt. This is a case of Morrissey saying terrible, racist things and the press running to Marr. He isn’t going out of his way to talk about Morrissey. Morrissey is driving this by constantly being part of the news cycle. If he could be less terrible this would not happen.

  27. Does Marr not realize he is also a ridiculously wealthy rockstar?!
    And us plebs don’t need his useless opinions on ANYTHING anymore than Morrissey’s.

    It seems between these two ladies, Marr “protests a bit more.”
    And tries too hard to seem on our level while Moz remains above us. ;-)

  28. Funny…. everyone ran to Morrissey (and John Lydon, also) to be their artistic moral compass for decades. But when the truth started to hurt and was uncomfortable… then many turned on them. Neither of these men fear the the truth… or your opinion of the truth. Never have. Never will. Time will prove them both correct… again.

  29. Eppy-
    I wouldn’t consider you and 6 other people
    “a lot”

  30. At least Johnny has a contract which makes it possible to create and release new music. Morrissey tends to be a karaoke act these days, where a big bulk of the songs was composed and written by…eh, Marr. Any bets he’ll open with “Golden Lights” on the next tour?

  31. Agree with Matt here. I think Morrissey doesn’t like the past brought up because the facts around the breakup of The Smiths don’t paint him or the other two members of the band in a great light. If that bothers him, that’s his own problem, not Johnny’s. It seems hypocritical to accuse Johnny of not moving on yet still include Smiths songs in his own setlists.

  32. Marr doesn’t randomly call up journalists to bitch about morrissey. Marr merely answers the questions he’s asked and does it politely.

    morrissey knows this but pretends he doesn’t, prompting his sad sycophants to behave the same way.

    Perpetual victimhood. Its pathetic.

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