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Johnny Marr Almost Joined Paul McCartney’s Band

February 13, 2013 | Posted by Joseph Lee

In an interview with The Auto Jubilator, Johnny Marr revealed that he almost joined Paul McCartney’s band. Here are highlights:

On almost joining Paul McCartney’s band: “I didn’t do a recording session with him as such, but we did get together for a good long eight-or-nine-hour day, and just played and played and played very intensely, really loudly. Which was pretty great, obviously. He was pretty good! He can play that bass and sing pretty well, I must say. That was a fun time. That was pretty much the first thing I did when The Smiths stopped being together. I’ve seen him a couple of times since. We’ve not played together, but he’s always very friendly and very gracious.

On if he was a Beatles fan growing up: “You can’t really avoid The Beatles if you’re breathing air and you’re a musician, I don’t think. The interesting thing was that, understandably, he likes to play the music that inspired him when he was a kid, when he was starting out. So there was a lot of Eddie Cochran – ‘Twenty Flight Rock’, ‘Come On Everybody’ – and I think he was surprised that I knew that stuff, because obviously it was made before my time, but I’d checked out a fair bit of rockabilly before The Smiths had formed. It was quite a popular movement, so I knew a bit of Scotty Moore and Chet Atkins – that kind of stuff. I think he was using a lot of the songs that were touchstones for him when he started out.”

On adapting to being a singer: “Yeah, well I seem to be all right with it. When I’m playing Smiths songs live, if there are any bits that compromise the vocal then the guy who plays second guitar with me will take over at that point. I’ve got really into using pedals. I don’t use tons of pedals, but I change them from verse to chorus to bridge, and I’m always doing what I call ‘producing with my feet’. The technology has now caught up with me, in a very, very good way. You know, some of the devices you can get now, for someone like me, are heaven sent. I can switch from tremolo, to a certain kind of delay, to a backward sound. I mean… wow! I can really sound like the way I do on records.”


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Joseph Lee

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