Johnny Marr on leaving Portland to return to Manchester


From SF Weekly:

Why did you decide to move to Portland, and then why did you move back to Manchester again?
I went to Portland because I was invited to join Modest Mouse. That was in 2005. My plan was to just go out there for 10 days and write some songs together, maybe just do a few tracks, but the writing went so well that we ended up writing 19 songs and doing a whole album. It took off and was successful and that was great. I really clicked with the city — it suited my life. I loved the musical community, the artistic community. It was just the overall attitude there that I really took to. I loved being in the band, and whatever band I’m in my life follows that, and has done since I was 14 or 15. Wherever the band is and wherever the music is, that’s where I end up.

It seems like you’re not at all interested in doing the thing that a lot of bands are doing now, where one person lives in London, another person lives in New York, and they really only get together when they have to tour.
I’m a bit old-fashioned that way. I have some values and influences that I picked up on like a lot of people when you’re young, and maybe in my case it’s because I started doing what I do at such a young age. I did bands with older guys when I was 14, 15 — I guess I had an apprenticeship at a young age, and a lot of those values stick with you. I tried to have my own band in the early 2000s, the band members at different times lived in different cities, albeit in the same country, and it was one of the reasons why I decided not to continue that band. In the case of what I’m doing now it’s a good example of what I’m talking about. Everyone in the band lives within 30 minutes of me. It didn’t really have to be that way, I could have one guy living in Berlin and another guy living a few hours away, but I wanted to make this new record and start this new chapter or whatever it was and keep as many of my original values as I could. And I think that went into the music.

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