For fans of Johnny Marr, which is most of us, let’s be honest, the infamous guitarist is finally set to release a solo album, The Messenger, on February 26, 2013. This is long overdue, for a musician who has, according to a quote from Mojo interview, has “been leading groups since I was 14 years old.”
Now at 49, the ex-Smiths guitarist’s musical career has been on a steady, even frantic pace for decades, with collaborations and contributions to numerous group’s successes, including Modest Mouse, The Cribs, The The, Electronic and Pet Shop Boys.
Since 2005 Marr has been living here in the states, Portland to be exact, but decided to take his family back to his homeland earlier this year. The work on The Messenger has been done within his studio in Manchester, along with some time spent in Berlin. The mastering is being accomplished at the legendary Abbey Road studios by Frank Artwright (who also worked with Marr on the remastering for The Smiths’ box set Complete).
When it comes to the songwriting, singing, guitar pieces, mixing and producing, it’s all Marr. He couldn’t find the group and sound he had in his mind, so when all else fails, just do it yourself. As far as the concept of the album goes, he reveals to Mojo that his inspirations came from the time he was on the road with other bands such as The Cribs and Modest Mouse, writing as he went and longing for his home city, “Growing up in the city influences you, and as I’ve grown older I’ve continued to see the beauty, energy and stories in it.”
Aside from what he has on his plate in the songwriting and record making sense, Marr has been busy over the past five years, working with Fender to design his own signature guitar. The same year, in 2007, he also began his role as a visiting professor at University of Salford, delivering lectures and a series of workshops around the Popular Music and Recording degree program, receiving an honorary doctorate from Salford in July of this year.
The Messenger will be release on February 26 on Sire/ADA records.