THE NEW MOJO magazine (MOJO 273 / August 2016) is a Smiths extravaganza, with the stories behind their 50 Greatest Songs plus brand new insights into their art from the likes of Richard Hawley, Hans Zimmer and Elbow’s Guy Garvey.
The Mancunian quartet, who redeemed ’80s rock in the UK with their funny-sad vignettes, literate, complex hinterland and sophisticated musical constructions, were also a force of nature, delivering five years of relentless quality 1982-1987, and establishing a fearsome reputation as a live group.
Guy Garvey sums up the group’s importance in the feature’s foreword. “It kind of let you know that someone was OK if they were wearing a Smiths T-shirt or had a Morrissey quiff. Despite living in a rough place, The Smiths let you know you were in the company of thinkers.”
Meanwhile, exclusive access to the set and star of the Morrissey biopic due next year brings new perspectives on The Smiths and their singer, including more on the influence of Morrissey’s friend Anji Hardy, who died of leukaemia in 1977.
“Everybody knows about Morrissey’s fixation with the Moors Murders,” says the film’s writer and director Mark Gill, “and, of course, the first song he writes with Johnny Marr is Suffer Little Children. Anji’s sister said that Anji was fascinated by the Moors Murders and true crime, and you wonder if that influenced Morrissey. They met at a concert where she was wearing a New York Dolls T-shirt, and they connected over music.”
“I write a few thousand words and then swan around like Noël Coward in a smoking jacket…” Johnny Marr on his memoir
Elsewhere, Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr reveals the motivations behind his memoir, publishing in the autumn: from the example of his friends Nile Rodgers and Andrew Loog Oldham to the fact that “every single one of [the existing books on The Smiths] except one is a total load of shit.”
In a dispatch from the Marr study, he insists that “I’m not short of material,” before offering a vivid image of the scribe at work. “I tend to write a few thousand words and then use that as an excuse to swan around for a few weeks like Noël Coward in a smoking jacket…”
This month, MOJO magazine’s covermount CD – entitled How Soon Is Now? – is also Smiths-inspired, bringing you the best new independent music from Ezra Furman, Beach House, Julianna Barwick, The Fall and more.
Also in the new issue: Joe Strummer’s post-Clash trauma; inside the mysteries of Can with Holger Czukay; Terry Reid nearly shoots Bob Dylan; Tiny Tim gets married; Guy Clark gets eulogized; DJ Shadow blows our minds, Rival Sons rock the world and Amanda Palmer embraces chaos.
Panic? Not while there are issues available online!