Johnny Marr backs up new album with tour, 9:30 Club show

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Entertainment,Music,Robert Fulton

Earlier this year, the U.K. publication New Musical Express named Johnny Marr its 2013 Godlike Genius.

"I take my duties very, very seriously," said Marr, before breaking out in laughter. He added that fans enjoyed the award.

"Anybody likes a pat on the back, and everybody likes to be liked," said Marr.

Johnny Marr performs on Monday at the 9:30 Club.

If you go
Johnny Marr
» Where: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW
» When: 7 p.m. Monday
» Info: $20; 877-987-6487; 930.com

In February, Marr released "The Messenger," his first ever solo album, a surprising fact considering his career has extended past three decades.

"It was a lot of fun and a lot of work," said Marr, speaking by phone while heading from Portland, Ore., to Santa Barbara, Calif., earlier this month. "I was very enthusiastic about getting into the studio. I'd been touring for so long with Modest Mouse, and I had a lot of ideas and notions in the back of my mind that I wanted to see if I could turn them into songs. I was excited about the sound that luckily for me I was able to capture."

Marr is best known as the guitarist for the Smiths during that band's '80s reign. But beyond that hit-producing collaboration with Morrissey, Marr has had a rich career. He's been a member of Modest Mouse, the The and Electronic, and has worked with or collaborated with numerous other musicians. However, he felt this batch of songs would best be presented solo.

"What I'm doing now is not that different from what I was doing before the Smiths," said Marr. "I wanted to reconnect with that."

In reconnecting with his past, Marr recorded the album in his hometown of Manchester, though he currently resides in Portland.

"I'm not a nostalgic person, far from it," said Marr. "I had this subconscious notion that where I was pulling from should be where I was pulling from as a teenager."

On this tour, Marr said he's playing 11 of 12 songs from the new album. He added that he plays a couple of Electronic songs, and yes, a few Smiths classics.

"Now it's even more fun because I don't have ambitions about it," said Marr. "I don't have ambitions to be a pop star or anything. Just to represent the songs really well and do shows that the audience can draw away from having had a great time."

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Robert Fulton

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner