How Soon is Now? Wise words from Mr Johnny Marr.


From roaming the streets of Manchester to constantly pushing musical boundaries Johnny Marr’s new autobiography, Set the Boy Free, tells the story of one the most influential guitarists and artists of all time. We're excited to hear his story live and in person as Johnny is interviewed by fellow muso, John Robb at Town Hall this December (ticket link at the bottom of the page!) and so in celebration, we've compiled some of our favourite quotes to live by, from the original boy with the thorn in his side.

On being creative and its importance...

I think it's the function of any artist to question and make observations and comments about a society, because if those creative people don't, who will?"

Johnny Marr | City Life 2013

On the Guitar...

Johnny Marr Guitar

Guitars have been the obsession of my life. I first picked one up at the age of four and I've been a guitar junkie ever since. Other boys would carry around Swiss Army knives and strings of conkers. I used to collect little plastic guitars and I'd wear these guitar badges on my lapel. I had this toy Hawaiian guitar for a couple of years, and I stuck beer-bottle tops on it so it looked like the real thing. I'd then stand in front of the telly when Top of the Pops was on and pretend to play along

Johnny Marr | Live 2009

On working hard...

I'm not into brow-beating others, I'm quite good at being in teams but I'm glad that I'm driven. I get guilty if I'm just hanging about, I like working holidays, I like to feel I'm getting ideas, even if it's just for clothes. Some clever **** like Freud said all there is is work and love. I'll go along with that.

Johnny Marr | The Word 2007


On 'Madchester'...

Some great music came out of [Madchester] and inspired other great music. But it depresses me to walk through Manchester on a Saturday night these days to see young monsters puking in the gutter. Maybe they imagine they're furthering the spirit of the city in 1987, but they're way off the mark. Madchester wasn't about being a yob.

Johnny Marr | Uncut 2007

On The Smiths...

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The Smiths were like a life-support system for me. It was the same for Morrissey as well. The band was something that just had to happen. He would talk about the Smiths as his revenge on the world. He would say that being in the Smiths was like smashing people's windows. Maybe I didn't feel quite as angry, but in my own way I was equally driven to pursue this pop vision. When I first turned up on his doorstep in 1982, it was inevitable that we'd click, simply because we had to. He opened the door, invited me inside, and the connection was instant, even though we were complete opposites. There could be no turning back. We were on a mission to become the only important band of the Eighties. If we hadn't made it, we'd have been the biggest hasn't-beens in Manchester.

Johnny Marr | Live 2009

The Magic Of Marr

Click here to check out our 'magic of Marr' playlist over on YouTube for more!