“I would rather not go / Back to the old house”. So go the opening lines to a typically lugubrious song by The Smiths. And yet “back to the old house” is one of many places the band’s guitarist and co-songwriter, Johnny Marr, will be taking us in the third instalment of Dazed’s new podcast series, Open House. In collaboration with Sonos and following on from episodes featuring Neneh Cherry and GAIKA, the series continues its exploration of the lives of musicians through their memories of the places they used to live and the sounds of their houses today.
In this episode presented by Dazed’s digital editor, Thomas Gorton, Marr explains how the songs he has listened to at home have always informed the directions his own music has taken. He also discusses how living with his wife and two musical children has affected his recent solo albums, as well as the importance of his home jukebox and collection of ’45s.
“I pathologically almost always try to listen to music that inspires where I want to go” – Johnny Marr
The episode begins with the guitarist recalling the classic rock and roll songs that his parents would listen to whilst he was growing up in inner city Manchester. “I was, I’m very proud to say, what’s known as a teenybopper,” Marr explains as he professes his love for the popular chart music of his early childhood. Reminiscing about when his family later moved out to the city’s suburbs, Marr then talks about the influence that his “first all-out hero” Marc Bolan had on him while he was learning to play guitar.
Since disbanding The Smiths in 1987, Johnny Marr has drawn from an increasingly diverse wellspring of musical genres, a fact reflected in his work with bands as diverse as Modest Mouse, The Cribs, and The The. Talking about the music he listens to at home today, Marr discusses his enthusiasm for artists including post-punk band Magazine, fusion guitarist John McLaughlin, post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and film composer Ennio Morricone.
Listen to Open House below, along with a Spotify playlist of all the tracks mentioned.