Last month we traveled to Brooklyn to interview Veronica Falls. They left behind these queries for Johnny Marr.



Patrick Doyle: “How did you decide who was going to join you in the line up of The Healers? And are there any original members aside from you?”

Johnny Marr: “I’ve been working on and off with Doviak, the other guitarist and keyboard player. He played with me at the Royal Festival Hall in 2005 and helped me out on the soundtrack I did for the Big Bang movie. The drummer is Andy Knowles. We met when he played keys for The Cribs at Reading and Leeds in 2008 and we struck up a friendship. I knew we could work together again. Max James on bass came in recently and he was recommended by Doviak, so I knew he would be cool, personality wise. I usually hang out with musicians and artists, not exclusively but it’s turned out that way for most of my life. I put my antennae up when I was about 13 and it’s just stayed that way.”

PD: “What made you decide it was time to start The Healers again?”

JM: “I started getting ideas for songs and gigs and records. The bands I’ve been in over the last five or six years required my guitar playing and personality but the aesthetic is a shared one; collaborative. It was time to put all my own ideas together for a group. The other thing is that my guitar is more to the front.”

Roxanne Clifford: “From what I’ve heard, you seem to be a very humble and down to earth person. Has it been hard not to let your ego run wild when you have such an important musical legacy?”

JM: “Well, I think the work, whatever that is at any point, is the most important thing. Secondly, most of the people I’ve known with gigantic egos are pretty miserable.  I also have always had good people around me who wouldn’t really put up with too much nonsense. I do have my moments though.”

RC: “What do you like to do when you’re not playing music?”

JM: “Reading (David Hockney’s A Bigger Message, Freidrich Schiller’s An Aesthetic Education Of Man). I put my hood up and run around cities listening to pop music and soundtracks as much as I can.”

RC: “I saw you do a surprise guest appearance with [cult folk singer] Bert Jansch in Manchester once. Do you have any favourite memories of playing with him?”

JM: “My best ever memory of playing with Bert was in my kitchen one Friday afternoon. It was probably on the day of the Manchester show we did, which was magic – the music just melded together. He was unique and totally definitive. Recording the tracks we did together for the Crimson Moon record was quite a thrill too.”

RC: “What is your favourite place to play in Manchester?”

JM: “What’s now very boringly called Academy 2 was called The University when I was in my teens and I saw so many great bands there; The Only Ones, Cramps, Furs, so that is my favourite. It’s also the best sounding room. The Healers just played a couple of nights at The Deaf Institute and that was cool. I picked that venue because everyone likes to go there.”

RC: “I used to play in a band with Andy Knowles who plays drums for you now. Does he still turn the drum kit upside down when you’re not looking?”

JM: “What ?…He does what ?…probably…”

PD: “In your interview with Fantastic Man you cited Brian Eno as a fellow collaborator. Have you heard the new Coldplay album? And how do you feel about his input?”

JM: “I liked Eno’s albums ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ and ‘Another Green World’, also his collaborations with Talking Heads and Bowie, of course. I don’t know about the Coldplay record. I doubt that I’d like it, unless he’s made them sound nothing like they usually do.”

PD: “Will anyone you’ve collaborated with (eg. Modest Mouse/The Cribs) be returning the favour and appearing with The Healers any time soon?”

JM: “I’m looking forward to pushing some friends onto the stage for the odd encore or two. I love Ryan’s [Jarman] guitar playing and I love Gary’s [Jarman] singing. Isaac Brock is a great performer and cool guitar player, so who knows.”

PD: “You’ve been playing in America with Best Coast, are you a fan of the band?”

JM: “Yes. I thought the Best Coast record was really good. I like their songs and it’s good that they sound like where they come from. Not everybody does.”

PD: “Are there any other bands around at the moment that you follow, or would like to tour with in the future?”

JM: “Deerhunter are very good I think. The Horrors have good things going on. There’s a new band called Box Codex who I like. All these bands keep me interested until The Marvelettes reform.”

PD: “Have you got any new tattoos? Which one/ones are your favourites and why?”

JM: “I’m designing a new one, the last one I think, which is an atomic explosion and therefore pretty tricky to draw. I usually like my “45” tattoo best, maybe because it’s so simple and has a lot of significance for me. It’s religious, believe it or not.”

RC: “Everyone seems to have an opinion on The Stone Roses reunion. How do you feel about it?”

JM: “I’m pleased for them because I think a lot of it is about friendship.”

RC: “Will you join our band?”

JM: “You never know…”

For more artist on artist interviews, check out more from our Leftovers series here.

Originally published in issue 33 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. November 2011.

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