Johnny Marr has unveiled details of his autobiography, entitled Set the Boy Free. The guitarist says his aim in his debut book is to channel the experience of “transcendence”, writing in a statement: “I wanted to convey a feeling of breaking free, that has been a constant throughout my life.”
It is, he wrote, “a feeling that expresses itself as escape and discovery … I found it through rock’n’roll and art, and a journey living both in the modern world.”
Born in 1963 in Manchester to Irish parents, Marr set up his first band aged 13 while living on a council estate in Wythenshawe. In the early 80s, he met and formed a band with Morrissey. Their inimitable song-writing partnership defined the Smiths until Marr left the group in 1987.
Marr’s first foray into prose writing may cover his time in the Smiths and his relationship with Morrissey. It might also delve into his work in Electronic, his group with Bernard Sumner, his experience as a solo artist and his collaborations with the Pretenders, Hans Zimmer, the The, Modest Mouse and the Cribs.
“For the last few years, as I’ve been out on tour promoting my solo work, fans and journalists have been asking me when I’ll write my book,” the guitarist said of in 2015. “I’m happy to say that the time has come to tell my story.”
Set the Boy Free will be published three years after his former bandmate Morrissey’s bestselling autobiography – entitled Autobiography. Asked after its releasewhy he hadn’t read it, Marr said : “I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of books to get through.”
Set the Boy Free will be published in hardback, eBook and as an audiobook on 3 November.