les membres du groupe et leur univers

les Smiths / Johnny Marr / Steve Morrissey

The Smiths est le nom d’un groupe de rock anglais créé en 1982 et séparé en 1987. C’était un quatuor musical de Manchester fondé autour de Johnny Marr (né le 31 octobre 1963) et de Steven Patrick Morrissey (né le 22 mai 1959), chanteur et parolier.

pour plus de détails : http://shoplifters.morrissey-solo.com/ ou http://mythis.morrissey.free.fr/

Au tout début de la formation du groupe (pendant les années 80), si Thom Yorke a pris la peine de contacter Ed o’Brien pour lui demander de bien vouloir jouer avec son embryon de bande, c’est -selon la légende – parce qu’il trouvait que le beau Ed ressemblait à … Morrissey, une de ses idoles de l’époque !

Their love of Joy Division united Radiohead, along with their worship of the Smiths and R.E.M. O’Brien was recruited because he looked like Morrissey.
— Blender, septembre 2003

Ed O’Brien d’ailleurs, est très influencé lui-même par The Smiths. Il a appris à jouer de la guitare avec les disques des Pixies, et c’est à l’exemple que Johnny Marr qu’Ed s’est choisi une guitare à 6 cordes dans les années 80.

“O’Brien (…)  especially enjoys discussing U2, who appear to be Radiohead’s third-biggest musical influence (the first two being the Smiths, whom all five members love unequivocally, and the Pixies, from whose records Jonny Greenwood learned how to play guitar)”
— Spin / juillet 2003


Sam- How did you start playing the guitar? Why did you pick the guitar in the first place?

E- That’s probably because of two things that happened at the same time. I saw a poster of The Jam about 1979, a picture of the three of them: Paul Weller with his Rickenbacker was so amazing, he’s jumping and that image was really really strong. And the other thing was really The Police, Andy Summers, when I heard that it was like woah! I connect with that! And then it was listening to things like Johnny Marr.

S-That’s why you have a Rickenbacker?

E- That’s was why the first guitar I wanted after the record deal was a Rickenbacker, because of that, yeah

S- You mentioned Paul Weller of The Jam, Andy Summers of The Police, Johnny Marr, Peter Buck as being determinating to you to start to play the guitar. Is it because you wanted to be like them ?

E- I didn’t want to be like them, but I liked what they were doing, they were quite different players but I liked what they were doing. They weren’t like guitar solos, they were like space, great.

— Interview d'Ed O'Brien, Al tuntun, septembre 2011

La musique des Smiths a toujours eu un grand impact sur les membres de Radiohead qui les cite régulièrement parmi leurs influences. A leurs débuts, en particulier en 1990-1991, ils voulaient tous ressembler, même visuellement à The Smiths, jusqu’à comprendre qu’il leur faudrait trouver leur propre style :

‘We’re still in our same classes and years really,’ the elder Greenwood grimly decides. ‘The thing about having been together for such a long period is that there are some heinously embarrassing group shots from ten years ago when we were in adolescence with varying styles of haircut and demeanour which would now be openly laughed at in the street.’
During this era, of course, the quiff was king (you’d literally take a photograph of Morrissey to the barber and say, I want it like that’) and if On A Friday resembled The Smiths visually, they had yet to find a foothold musically.
— Q #129, juin 1997

Ainsi, en janvier 1995, le numéro 4 de W.A.S.T.E courrier d’informations envoyé par le groupe aux fans raconte qu’au Mexique, Jonny Greenwood a joué le DJ à la radio et qu’il a passé des titres de “Blur, Suede and the Smiths on the ‘wheels of steel’”.

En 1997, il semblerait que Morissey faisait partie du parterre VIP venu écouter le groupe à New York, au faîte de sa gloire !

En 2000, le magazine “Total Guitar” consacre un numéro spécial à Radiohead. On demande à Ed quel guitariste est son idole… et il parle de Johnny Marr : il aime son son, il aime qu’il ne se perde pas dans de longs solos (lui non plus n’aime pas ça !).

The guitarists that influenced Radiohead

“Johnny Marr is a God, he is The Man,” enthuses Ed. “I went back to my Smiths records and realised that Johnny Marr is the most ego-less guitarist you’ve ever heard. I think that The Edge and Neil Young are great as well, but Johnny Marr above all. The first time I heard The Smiths, the guitars blew me away: everything he played was so beautiful, so understated, so technically amazing. And he never played any solos and I love that. I don’t like solos. I also love the textured way he played. I’ve subconsciously been ripping off Johnny Marr all the time, and not playing as well, either. He is the Don – he influenced all of my generation.

There were four of them: there was Will Sergeant from Echo And The Bunnymen, there was Johnny Marr, Peter Buck and The Edge. They kind of gave you new hope due to their unique sounds. And out of them, Johnny Marr is the one who gets the gold medal – just.”

And is that just his opinion or the general opinion in Radiohead? “That’s the general opinion of all guitarists in England,” he laughs. “No – actually I’m speaking on behalf of all 32 rock guitarists in Oxford.”

— Total Guitar #76, novembre 2000

Et justement, qu’Ed dise ça en 2000 n’est pas sans raison. A cette époque, le groupe est  en pleine réflexion… qui l’a mené en studio pour enregistrer la suite d’OK Computer. Si le groupe expérimente plein de nouveaux sons, il a  aussi ressenti une volonté de se tourner vers les Smiths.

Ed O’Brien, dans Mojo en juin 2001 :

« My suggestion for OK Computer’s follow-up had been to say, Let’s go back top the well-crafted three-and-a-half minute song. I came from idolising The Smiths in the 80’s and I thought that would be the shocking thing to do. It was really difficult because, as a musician, I express myself more emotionally then cerebrally. »

Il semblerait que la chanson Knives out soit particulièrement un hommage aux Smiths :
« (..).But then you’ve got some quite straight-ahead songs like »Knives Out,« where we just enjoyed the fact that you’ve got five minutes of music that doesn’t really change, and it’s very…In a way it’s trying to be the Smiths or something. So, you know, we’ll try anything ; we’re shameless like that. ».
— Jonny Greenwood / Dallas Observer Online du 31 mai 2002

Thom a lui aussi revendiqué cette influence pour la chanson. Il explique par exemple qu’il s’exerce à la guitare avec des reprises, notamment de The Smiths… et que Knives out est leur hommage au groupe.

What do you play as warm-up exercises?
Covers, mostly. At one point, we were doing Stone Roses songs really fucking badly [laughs]. And we played songs by The Smiths, and Magazine, just jamming stuff. In a sense, Knives Out is our nod to The Smiths. Ed played Knives Out to Johnny Marr a while ago, and he liked it.
— Q #179, août 2001


Ed O’Brien aurait même présenté l’embryon de la chanson à Johnny Marr, -son idole- quelque part en Nouvelle Zélande, et ce dernier en a été flatté :

I Know we made a huge impression on the next generation of musicians. Ed O’Brien from Radiohead sat me down a couple of years ago in a barn, on top of a mountain in New Zealand and played me the then unreleased Knives Out. It was an unbelievable experience; I was beyond flattered and quite speechless- which takes some doing. He explained to me that with that song they’d tried to take a snapshot of the way I’d done things in The Smiths- and I guess you can hear that in it.”
— Johnny Marr / Edition spéciale de Mojo consacrée à Morissey et aux Smiths, juin 2004


Ed va rencontrer son idole Johnny Marr au détour du projet “7 World Collide”, au St James Theatre d’Auckland, New Zealand, les 2-6 April 2001.

Ed O’Brien, Johnny Marr, Angie Marr; 2001

Ed O’Brien, Johnny Marr, Angie Marr; 2001

En janvier 2003, Morissey, lui,  ne s’est pas montré très emballé par le manque de joie des paroles des chansons de Radiohead… Il aurait même rebaptisé le groupe “Radiodead”…

How do you feel about the new grown-up British rock bands – people like Radiohead or Coldplay?
Well I certainly envy the way they’ve been promoted, because I have never experienced that. With Coldplay, if you fail with that amount of promotion you must be pretty atrocious. They have been hammered into American society. The music bystifies me, because I don’t understand why I have the monopoly on the word “miserable.” Both of those bands sound very unhappy, with not a sign of a witty lyric. I might be wrong but I don’t understand how they’ve escaped that accusation. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed their records, no.

…In the driveway, he asked a favour. He wanted to modify a few things he said. “Please don’t have me say anything unpleasant about Coldplay and Radiohead,” he said. “There’s no point to it, it just looks silly and mean. They’re perfectly good bands, they’re just not to my taste.”
You called them Oldplay and Radiodead.
“I know. But I say a lot of things I don’t mean.”
And that was something I’d never heard from Morrissey before.

— Interview de Morrissey par Andrew Harrison pour Word / Juin 2003


Dans l’édition de juillet 2003 de Spin, Ed fait un trait d’humour où il cite Morissey :

“The first time I ever saw Thom, he was jumping over a car.” This is not something I expected Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien to say, but he appears to be quite serious. “Thom was an amazing gymnast in high school,” he continues. “Nobody knows that about him, but you can get a sense of it just by watching him move around. He’s really strong. He did this handspring right over a car. It’s like how Morrissey was a great long-distance runner in high school–nobody knows that, either.”


Plus sérieusement, il rappelle plus loin que tous les membres de Radiohead sont des fans inconditionnels :

“O’Brien (…)  especially enjoys discussing U2, who appear to be Radiohead’s third-biggest musical influence (the first two being the Smiths, whom all five members love unequivocally, and the Pixies, from whose records Jonny Greenwood learned how to play guitar)”

En 2005, alors que le groupe est en studio, Thom poste un message sur le dead air space où il déroule des mots telle une poésie. Cela laisse penser que Morissey les inspire particulièrement :


a harder day
sleepy now
we are pulling out pins at the moment
and hair
stcratching heads a little
it is always a good scratch when you get uprethinking ‘ suit dont fit’
like a fast bad dreammorrissey stayed in the room im in
ooooo he was here for three months were here for six daysgoing out on bikes up hill with no gearstalking a lot about The Beat’yes im counterfeit
im not proud of it’watched chris cunninghams video with Aphex twin off the net ‘rubber jonny’
felt ill’you wouldnt even know it it came sat down next to you and talked into the microphone’thom
22 August

— Dead Air Space / 22 août 2005


En 2007, Radiohead est en studio pour enregistrer le prochain album. De nombreuses photos sont postées par le groupe sur leur blog, le Dead Air Space. On y découvre plein de nouveau matériel, dont une 1957 Gold Top Les Paul… la même guitare que Marr a utilisé pour enregistrer “The Healers’ Boomslang” en 2003 !


En 2007 donc, Radiohead sortait “In rainbows” avec le système du “pay what you want”. Ca fait parler la planète entière qui donne son avis : on trouve pour les uns que c’est du génie, pour les autres un non respect des artistes… Jonny Marr lui est du premier camp. Il aurait déclaré sur la BBC :

I think it’s a really fantastic idea because it puts the responsibility back on people’s own consciences and deals with people as grown ups. It’s not hiding behind any corporate nonsense, it’s just saying ‘this is the way it is, let’s get on with it’. Everyone knows you can get your music for free, so let’s see if you really want to show the band your appreciation.


En octobre 2007, Ed est le maître de cérémonie pour le ‘Q’s Lifetime Achievement Award’ remis à Johnny Marr :

Le même soir, Johnny Marr commente ses liens avec le groupe : il aime radiohead !

En novembre 2007, lors d’une webcast, le groupe concrétisait son respect pour The Smiths par une reprise de “The Headmaster Ritual” :

Ca prendra un peu de temps, mais en 2012, Johnny Marr va déclarer qu’il a trouvé la version très bien :

I loved Radiohead’s version of ‘The Headmaster Ritual’. It’s not an easy song to do.
— Uncut, janvier 2012


En 2009, Johnny Marr et Ed O’Brien se rencontraient à nouveau à l’occasion d’un concert de Charité, le 7 Worlds Collide II (la première édition avait eu lieu en 2001, et Ed et Phil participaient déjà). Johnny Marr participe donc à l’édition de 2009, il y joue des anciennes chansons des Smiths, quelques unes de ses nouvelles chansons, et participe à quelques reprises, dont une “Fake Plastic Trees” :

Une chouette photo où l’on voit Jonny Marr et Ed jouer ensemble. Notez la guitare du premier, une Fender Jaguar signature Johnny Marr :

Johnny Marr & Ed - 2009

Johnny Marr & Ed – 2009

En 2011, Une Fender Jaguar signature Jonny Marr intègre les guitares d’Ed… On le voit l’utiliser en concert à partir de février 2012 , ce que J. Marr lui-même note sur son compte facebook :

MeetingInTheAisle marr


En 2011, deux fans interviewent Ed et lui demandent s’il écoute toujours les Smiths :

C- You like The Smiths, so do you still listen to The Smiths, or Morissey?

E- Humm, occasionally I listen to things like that, I don’t know, I mean, I might hear it on the radio but no, I wouldn’t play a Smiths record or aMorissey album nowadays, sometimes, very, very occasionally.

C- Do you think it didn’t age well?

E- No, once I was checking in a hotel and in the reception they played music, and they played This Charming Man by The Smiths and it sounded amazing you know, and maybe it is that I’ve heard this so many times, it’s not like it aged, I may wanna hear something else.

— Interview d'Ed O'Brien, Al tuntun, septembre 2011


En 2012, Ed arbore une seconde fender jaguar Johnny Marr, finition metallique KO

— Uncut
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Amatrice du groupe, surtout en concert. Travaille sur ce site depuis 10 ans.

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