Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Professor Marr

There's a lovely piece in today's education Guardian marking the start of Johnny Marr's role as visiting professor in music and recording at Salford University:

Marr hopes to be involved on all levels - from working with university bands, helping them to analyse and deconstruct their own songs, to giving talks on the processes of forming a band and making records, debunking some of rock's enduring myths. Such as? "The idea that producers are dweebs with no legs who sit and twiddle knobs," he says. "I can show bands how to produce themselves. In the same way, many bands think you can't make it without some fat cat in London or New York to manage you. That's just crap. All you need is someone a bit older than you with a bit of business nous whom you trust. The Beatles and U2 did it that way and so did The Smiths. I got to know this bloke [Joe Moss] who ran the clothes shop next door to the one I was working in and I'm proud to say we've been together ever since."

Perhaps of more interest to the Smithsheads is his reaction on returning to the site of that record sleeve shoot:
"I'd never given it a moment's thought," Marr says, "until they started taking pictures at my university inauguration last year. I looked around, saw the red brick walls and thought, 'this is familiar'."

Marr laughs it off, suggesting the brainfreeze was merely the product of a lifelong desire to forget that photo.

"I just hate it."

Because it's become so iconic and stylised?

"Nah. Because I look so crap in it. It's the one frame I'd put an X against to show that I didn't like it and then someone - who looked exactly the same in every single picture - decided to use it just to piss me off."

"Someone", eh? Wonder who that could possibly be?