It was hardly anyone's finest hour, but 1987's South Bank Show on The Smiths - broadcast just after the band had messily imploded - was as memorable for New Musical Express journalist Nick Kent's hipster description of it's guitarist-lynchpin Johnny Marr as a "Kiddie" as for anything else. Marr of course at that point was both hero and villain, the man who'd split Britain's most lauded group since The Beatles; Kent's description still rankled though, portraying him as more calculating and self aware than a musician drained by the errant foursome's whims as was the received wisdom of the time.
As much of Set The Boy Free proves however, Kent's glib characterisation was in hindsight naggingly perceptive. Born John Maher in a working class Irish-emigre family, a childhood spent in sixties and seventies Manchester primed the diminutive subject of the title with a single minded vision of pop stardom, a quest as were so many of his generation inspired by the likes of Bowie and The Sex Pistols.
Through post-adolescent scrapes (A pre-Smiths Johnny narrowly avoids a career limiting spell in prison for handling stolen goods) and the process of becoming a well-recognised local scenester, the casual impression is that of a life of benevolent fate and ruthless destiny: our hero both consciously chooses greatness and in turn is chosen by it. Typical of this is the chance encounter by which he meets wife Angie at a party and vows to a friend that he's found the one - before even speaking to her. In Set The Boy Free, this sort of thing just happens.
Continue reading: Johnny Marr - Set The Boy Free Book Review
'Strangers To Ourselves' marks the band's first album in eight years.
Modest Mouse are set to make a very welcome return with their first album in eight years 'Strangers To Ourselves'. It's been a long time coming for this Washington quartet but fans can now breathe a sigh of relief for their comeback.
Modest Mouse to release their new album 'Strangers To Ourselves'
After that nautical fun that was 2007's US number one album 'We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank', fans were no doubt eager to see what they brought up next. When Johnny Marr (formerly of The Smiths) was replaced by Grandaddy's Jim Fairchild a little before the album's release to join The Cribs, recording took a backseat for a while. While they continued to tour, play festivals and release 2009 EP 'No One's First and You're Next', it's only now that album seven has finally come to fruition.
Steel guitar strings are available once again to British prison inmates
Musical campaigners have successfully reversed a ban that had prevented inmates of British prisons from being able to use steel strings on guitars.
Billy Bragg had led the campaign to reverse the steel guitar string ban in British prisons
The ban had meant that the only strings available to inmates were nylon ones, used primarily for classical and Spanish styles and largely unsuitable for steel-strung acoustic guitars due to the way that they’re attached. But now steel strings will be available again, to be paid for out of prisoners’ wages and earned on a privileges basis at the discretion of individual governors.
Continue reading: Musicians Succeed In Reversing Prison Guitar String Ban
Morrissey is the author of a Penguin Classic.
Morrissey appears to have ended his dispute with publisher Penguin and will finally release his memoir, titled Autobiography, as part of the Penguin Classics range on October 17, 2013.
According to a statement from the publisher, the book will come out in the UK, Europe and the British Commonwealth, though there are no plans to release Autobiography in the US or any other territory.
This could have been the stumbling block that resulted in an initial delay in publication, with the fan-site True To You claiming that "a last-minute content disagreement . caused the [Penguin] venture to collapse," however it most likely hinged on Morrissey's desire for the book to be published as a classic.
Albums Of Note... Get Up! pairs modern blues idol and expert slide guitarist Ben Harper with harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite. Aiming for blues authenticity, that’s exactly what Ben and Charlie achieve here. The pair of talented blues musicians fly in the face of modernity and instead strive to recreate the dusky glamour of a Chicago blues club.
“In general, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite have delivered a strong, yet candid and fun blues album. This album really does not care that it is 2013, and why should it? Each of the ten songs contains something of merit. Both musicians involved are fairly prolific but this collection will doubtlessly shoot to the high end of the fans favourites in no time at all.”
Continue reading: A Week In Music - Classic Blues From Ben Harper And Charlie Musselwhite, Raunchy Videos From The Weeknd, Jay Z And Justin Timberlake, Get Up Close And Personal With Rihanna In 'Stay'
Good news for former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr! He’s a God-like genius! That must be reassuring to know.
The axe-wielder, who also has an exhaustive list of other bands and collaborations, including working with The Cribs, Modest Mouse, Nile Rodgers from Chic, The Pretenders and New Order’s Bernard Sumner, among others, has won the NME God Like Genius award for 2013. The gong is basically a life achievement sort of thing, recognising the talent of an artist over many years of work.
"The NME seems to be good at giving this award to people I like so I'm in good company. I guess it means that some things are alright with the world," Marr said in a statement. He’s in good company indeed; The Clash, Paul Weller, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers, New Order & Joy Division and Dave Grohl have all won the award in the past. Last year’s winner was Noel Gallagher. NME editor Mike Williams said that it was Marr’s continuing evolution that had led to the award. "He's continued to push boundaries and evolve throughout his career, working with some of the best and most exciting artists on the planet," said Williams, reports Reuters. Of the other awards, Haim, Tame Impala, M.I.A and The Rolling Stones are all up for four categories each.
Continue reading: Still Brill! NME God Like Genius Award For The Smiths Johnny Marr
Date of birth
31st October, 1963
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