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Still Ill: Morrissey Really Wants Johnny Marr to Stop Talking About Him

“Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything … from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin,” former Smiths singer declares

Johnny Marr (left) and Morrissey (right) in happier times, 1983.

Clare Muller/Redferns/Getty

Morrissey told his former Smiths bandmate Johnny Marr to stop mentioning him in interviews and “using my name as clickbait,” in an open letter published on his website.

While Morrissey insists the letter, published Tuesday, Jan. 25, isn’t a “rant or a hysterical bombast,” some of his more grandiose tendencies do flourish as he tells off Marr. “We haven’t known each other for 35 years — which is many lifetimes ago,” Moz writes. “When we met you and I were not successful. We both helped each other become what it is we are today. Can you not just leave it at that? Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything … from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin?”

It’s unclear what exactly Marr did that piqued Morrissey’s ire. Marr is obviously asked regularly about his time with Morrissey and the Smiths because it’s only natural people remain intrigued by such a beloved, generation-defining group. The Guardian, however, did cite one potential recent source, a new interview with Uncut magazine, in which Marr noted he’s close with everyone he’s ever collaborated with — except Morrissey.

Whatever Marr said, though, Morrissey was adamant he wanted no more of it and that Marr henceforth “leave me out of it. The fact is: you don’t know me. You know nothing of my life, my intentions, my thoughts, my feelings… Yet you talk as if you were my personal psychiatrist with consistent and uninterrupted access to my instincts.”

And of the six years they spent making music together, Morrissey added, “If I was, as you claim, such an eyesore monster, where exactly did this leave you Kidnapped? Mute? Chained? Abducted by cross-eyed extraterrestrials? It was YOU who played guitar on ‘Golden Lights’ — not me.”

Morrissey closed his letter, writing, “Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then. There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy. Just stop using my name as clickbait. I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life, and I have openly applauded your genius during the days of Louder than Bombs and Strangeways, Here We Come, yet you have positioned yourself ever-ready as rent-a-quote whenever the press requires an ugly slant on something I half-said during the last glacial period as the Colorado River began to carve out the Grand Canyon. Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982.”

Marr, in turn, supplied a rather succinct response on Twitter, quipping:  “An ‘open letter’ hasn’t really been a thing since 1953, It’s all ‘social media’ now. Even Donald J. Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business…a bit 2021 yeah?” (A rep for Marr did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for additional comment.)

From Rolling Stone US