Saturday, September 23, 2017

A quick note about Johnny Marr's Set The Boy Free

I recently read Set The Boy Free, the autobiography of guitar genius, consummate collaborator, indie god and personal hero Johnny Marr. And given that it's essentially the fifth Marr history I've read, I feel like I ought to say something about it. But I'm not sure what.

The book is well-written and entertaining for New Wave geeks like me. But nearly every section feels facile. "I joined Band X and it was great, everyone was talented and I was very happy, but a couple years later I joined Band Y, which was also filled with awesome and talented people, but two albums later I decided to go collaborate with Band Z, and that was good, too."

I wasn't looking for dirt, but I would've loved some grit. I came away with a portrait of Marr as sort of a blithe spirit, flitting from project to project without ever considering the importance of his decisions.

The book is like Marr's guitar playing itself, woven inside time, defined by a dogged refusal to take the lead.

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