Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An Icon on the Road; What's on Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Johnny Marr Ahead of His Gig at the O2 Academy in Newcastle Tonight

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

An Icon on the Road; What's on Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Johnny Marr Ahead of His Gig at the O2 Academy in Newcastle Tonight

Article excerpt

JOHNNY Marr would probably hate me for saying it, but he is something of an icon.

More than three decades since he first started making music, his sound is as fresh and relevant as it has ever been.

When he hits the O2 Academy in Newcastle on the penultimate date of his current tour, fans will hear not just the oldies but also tracks from his latest top 10 album Playland - his second solo album in the space of a year.

I catch up with Johnny on a rare day off from the tour, and do wonder if I have interrupted some new masterpiece being laid down.

After all, Playland was written during his last tour, following the release of the former The Smiths man's debut solo album, The Messenger.

He's in great form, enjoying being back on the road again and is genuinely look-look ing forward to returning to Newcastle.

"The band have pretty much come out of the gate, up and running. It's nice to be back on tour. It doesn't feel like very long since we were out playing last time," he tells me.

"Most musicians who go to Newcastle would say that they are always looking forward to it. There's just a vibe in that city that is friendly and cool and rock and roll too. The gig we played there last time was a real stormer and I've always liked visiting Newcastle.

"I don't know if it's because I am Mancunian and there is a similar provincial mentality there. I don't think it is a coincidence that a lot of musicians come out of Manchester and Newcastle too. It's to do with the working-class thing essentially. Whether that still exists or not is a different matter, but it's in the culture anyway.

"Newcastle is a good advertisement for the industrial aesthetic. The first time I went with The Smiths, I was about 18 or 19, and I was just struck by how pretty it was, but I like industrial anyway. …

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