Johnny Fucking Marr.
I did think of stopping this article right there. But I shall extrapolate a little further. Johnny Fucking Marr is both a massively lauded guitar genius and an under appreciated talent. Johnny Fucking Marr is such a bright light in the firmament of rock and pop history he has entire systems of other worlds forever tied to his orbit.
Johnny Fucking Marr also wrote one of the best books about life in the music business I have ever read. Set The Boy Free by Johnny Fucking Marr tells his story from Kid on a council estate in love with the 45’s on the record player up through his time as a scenster trying out for various bands, forming The Smiths, hitting the big time, the split, him joining Paul McCartney’s band, The Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Pet Shop Boys, The Cribs and this bunch of magnificent bastards Modest Mouse.
As CV’s go that’s a hell of an impressive list. It’s safe to say the records Johnny Fucking Marr has played on that you don’t own are gaps in your record collection which need filling.
And so to Dashboard. It’s a brilliant song. The passage in Johnny Fucking Marr’s book about how the song came into being is some of the most entertaining and exciting rock writing you will find. From the album We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank this complex groove is layered with luxurious guitar, bass funk and horns. The bubbling vocal melodies of Isaac Brock’s famous voice tells a tale of optimism in the face of defeat (apparently the album was intended to be a concept record about a ships crew who drown in every track) and you just have to shake your butt to it. It is the rainbow bridge between indie and Funkadelic. Equal parts Motown, Chic and The Stones in the 70’s, the only people who don’t love Dashboard by Modest Mouse are those who haven’t heard it.
Johnny Fucking Marr everybody, Set The Boy Free!