Johnny Marr scotches Smiths reunion rumours: 'Nigel Farage on guitar'

Marr alluded to his political differences with Morrissey, after a fan asked about rumours of a 2020 tour spread by ‘a trusted source’

Johnny Marr has dismissed rumours of a Smiths reunion after a fan asked for clarification about a rumoured 2020 tour. The rumour, posted on the forum Morrissey Solo, came from a “trusted source” who claimed that concert promoter Live Nation had won the rights to the band’s reunion.

In response to the fan, who said they needed to know the truth “pretty sharpish so I can get a loan and sell everything I own to go to every date”, Marr replied: “Nigel Farage on guitar,” appearing to rubbish the gossip by alluding to the incompatibility of his and Morrissey’s political beliefs. The Guardian has contacted representatives of Marr for comment.

Nigel Farage on guitar

— Johnny Marr (@Johnny_Marr) November 6, 2019

In recent years, Morrissey has made explicit his support for the rightwing, anti-Islam For Britain political party. In June, he reposted a video from a rightwing YouTube channel to Morrissey Solo, which argued that the British establishment was using Stormzy to promote multiculturalism at the expense of white culture.

He has expressed his approval of the Brexit referendum result, and blamed immigration for the loss of British identity. He recently performed in Los Angeles wearing a T-shirt that read: “Fuck the Guardian.” Billy Bragg has said it is “beyond doubt” that Morrissey is spreading far-right ideas.

Marr is leftwing. On his most recent album, Call the Comet, he imagines an alternative society that “resets the ridiculousness of the last few years”, he told the Independent in 2018. Last year, he joined musicians including Ed Sheeran, Jarvis Cocker and Neil Tennant in signing an open letter to then prime minister Theresa May railing against the effects of Brexit on the creative industries.

He is generally tactful on the topic of his former bandmate. In May, he told NME that he wasn’t worried about the impact of Morrissey’s political views on the Smiths’ legacy. “It’s got nothing to do with my world or my life. The songs are out there for people to judge, relate to and hear,” he said. In June 2018, he told the Independent: “All anyone needs to know is that I oppose those views from Morrissey or anybody else.”

The Smiths split in 1987. Morrissey and Marr have consistently said that they do not want a reunion, and have allegedly turned down million-pound offers to do so. They contemplated the matter during a rare meeting in 2008, though nothing came of it.

In addition to the incompatible beliefs of the group’s two best-known members, the animosity stemming from a 1989 court case in which drummer Mike Joyce sued his bandmates for a greater share of profits would also appear to impede a reconciliation.

• This article was amended on 7 November 2019 because an earlier version said that bassist Andy Rourke also sued Morrissey and Marr; he started legal proceedings alongside Joyce, but accepted a settlement. This has been corrected.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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