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We’ve got 15 minutes on the phone with Johnny.” Tose were the words that changed everything; this was arguably the biggest


interview Outline had ever done. I was trying to argue that point to my mother-in-law, and I put forward two things: one, the number of bands I’ve interviewed over the years that have referenced Johnny as their biggest guitar influence; and two, how much popular culture has adopted from the five active years of Te Smiths – Panic! at the Disco owe their name, as do Shakespeare’s Sister; Coupland’s book, ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ and Spitz’s ‘How Soon Is Never?’ and more owe their titles to Smiths- penned songs. Te more cynical would say they were Morrissey’s words to borrow, but Marr wrote the music that was the vehicle to get those songs out there. I listened to ‘How Soon is Now’, an instrumental version, in prep for my interview with Johnny about his new solo album, ‘Te Messenger’ and it was remarkable. It was just as expressive, emotional and resonant as the words would ever have you remember. So, just 15 minutes to ask the man about all that…


Tere’s not too many towns in the UK that can boast that many record shops, so well done.


Yeah, my Dad came to visit me here once and we literally did a record shop crawl. Record shop crawl! [LAUGHS] I can believe it, yes, well that’s good news.


Now Johnny, there’s so much I could ask you obviously, but I’m gonna focus on ‘Te Messenger’ because I’m one of the lucky buggers who’s been able to listen to it. It comes out a week on Monday, doesn’t it? Yeah, it


seems like a long time coming; the first single came out in December, and that was the title track and I’m getting a lot of love for it. It’s exciting; people seem to like it, which is always nice! [LAUGHS]


I’m aware that you’ve probably got loads of these interviews today, so I’m gonna apologise for possibly repeating something you’ve been asked all day. Oh, it’s alright; I haven’t spoken to anyone yet today, so you got in under the wire.


Really? Tat’s great. It’s a big honour to talk to you today Johnny. Aw, that’s OK.


At the moment I’m sat pressed against my radiator at home, ‘cause my heating’s shit. What’s your environment like right now? Yeah, I know that one, I know that one. Erm, I’m in a really big, huge old room at the top of an old church in Salford,


12 /March 2013/ outlineonline.co.uk


outside of Manchester rehearsing for the tour. I’ll be in Norwich really very soon.


I know, not long at all – - Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I was there a couple of years ago, 2010 maybe and it was a fun time. Tere’s a good record shop in Norwich too, isn’t there?


Yeah, there are some brilliant ones actually – the demise of HMV worries us not. Tat’s true, yeah. Actually, it was the university that I played when I went there last time but I went record shopping and I visited all the places.


I think it’s fair to say you’ve released a fair few records, Johnny – do you still get the same kind of excitement, or apprehension before a release? You always do, yeah. I think in the case of, say, Modest Mouse, or Te Te or Te Cribs or something, or Te Smiths, there’s a shared responsibility and right now, a lot seems to be focused on me, because it’s my record. It’s a little bit different in


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