Johnny Marr Is the Quintessential 1980s Guitarist
Marr has spoken about his preference for undistorted tones, explaining that if one is always shouting, there is nowhere further to go dynamically =- just one of the many pearls of wisdom this anti-hero has provided guitarists with over the years. Beyond basic tonal choices, Marr approached the guitar in a way that defied the trappings of most lead guitarists, utilizing unique tunings, off kilter chord voicings, and mod-inspired rhythms to round out the Smith's sound. Though it is the most frequently referenced of Marr's countless earthshaking musical contributions, the melange of churning tremolo (created by sequencing the tremolo effect of four Fender amps at once) and the haunting slide guitar of "How Soon Is Now" is more than enough to cement Marr as an unsung legend of the guitar.
Marr has transcended his place as an icon of '80s guitar in maintaining relevance through the years and never shying away from opportunities with younger groups. Marr has performed with fresh bands like the Cribs and Modest Mouse, always adding his own flare to the established sounds of the artists without changing the entity all together. While the media already spends far too much time making verbal Venn diagrams of the Marr-Morrissey relationship, it is important to note that Marr -- beyond being Moz's former musical foil -- really has become the anti-Morrissey in his dealings with the media and fans, maintaining a reputation as one of the friendliest legends in music.
As Marr's first solo performance in South Florida approaches, one should take the time to delve deeply into the guitarist's massive catalog and understand the genius of Johnny Marr beyond the Smiths. Perhaps begin with The Messenger, Marr's first proper solo release, and a far more listenable record than anything Moz has released in recent memory.
Johnny Marr with Alamar. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 26, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $25 plus fees. Call 954-564-1074, or visit cultureroom.net.