Life in the Key of M


April 18, 2023 by David Jackson
There are guitar heroes, and then there are guitar legends. Johnny Marr is the latter of the two. Now the guitar legend most notably known for his time with The Smiths is sharing his life with fans in book form. And what a colorful life he has been blessed with!
Born in Manchester, England to Irish parents as John Martin Maher, “Marr” formed his first band at the ripe old age of 13. At just 19, he joined forces with a young man named Steven Patrick Morrissey, and it changed their lives forever.

Their collaborations – as The Smiths and Morrissey – were fueled by Marr’s guitar-featured songs like “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” “Panic,” “Ask,” “London,” and “How Soon is Now?”

Marr’s influence can also be felt in his time with The Pretenders, The The, Electronic, The Cribs, Modest Mouse, and his studio work with Pet Shop Boys, Talking Heads, and Bryan Ferry. His sound is that of legends; it adds the color to rainbows and starlight to the moon’s shadow. Yes, his talent is that moving. Presently, his talent has him playing as Johnny Marr and the Healers. Recently, we caught him on tour with The Killers, and – no pun intended – Marr killed it.
In addition to being a rock star and guitar hero, Marr is also a published author. In 2016, he dabbled with “Set the Boy Free.” In the here and now, he is looking to press the button and send us back through the kaleidoscope of time through the eyes of his guitars with “Marr’s Guitars.”

In a recent interview, Marr said, “Guitars have been the obsession of my life … they’ve been a mission and sometimes a lifeline… So I’m delighted to have made ‘Marr’s Guitars.’”
From his time with The Smiths to his solo career, Marr is a musician’s musician and covers many aspects of his career in this book. His goes back to the beginning – as a teen and his collection of acoustic and electric guitars, and how each guitar took his craft further and helped him develop into a world class musician. Marr outlines the special relationship all musicians have with their instruments, discusses his signature sound, and describes moments in his musical life that created almost a pseudo character that he takes form onstage.


In this book, Marr works with photographer Pat Graham and his classic guitars are chronicled for the ages. “Marr’s Guitars” also follows a chain of custody, so to speak, following the guitars gifted to other musicians. Most notable, his gift to us all by virtue of another great artist, Noel Gallagher’s for the epic Oasis prelude of life, “Wonderwall.”

If you love music and all that goes into it, check out “Marr’s Guitars.” In the meantime, Marr is not sitting on his laurels: he is working on the upcoming Modest Mouse album, he’s on Gallagher’s latest work, and he is touring this summer.
“Marr’s Guitars” is scheduled to be released on October 17th.