Johnny Marr says he quit drinking after gifting Noel Gallagher with guitar
Marr previously recalled the time he gave a young, “skint” Gallagher his guitars before the pre-Oasis guitarist could afford his own.
“He was just this guy who I recognised was intense and really serious about what he was doing, and he was skint and I had a load of guitars and I thought, ‘right OK well I’ll give him this guitar’,” he told Radio X.
The Smiths guitarist gave Gallagher a 1960 Gibson Les Paul – which can be heard on The Smiths’ 1986 album ‘The Queen Is Dead’, and was formerly owned by The Who‘s Pete Townshend – only for him to smash it while dealing with a stage invader during a gig in Newcastle.
Gallagher called Marr to ask for a replacement, after which the guitarist gifted his black 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom.
Marr also gave his 12-string sunburst Gibson 335, which features in the video for ‘Sheila Take a Bow’, to former Suede guitarist and producer Bernard Butler.
“It’s just to be nice,” Marr told The Guardian. “As simple as that. Bernard is a good friend and I knew he’d love that guitar.”
He went on: “And me giving Noel those guitars has become such a big story over the years, but people don’t realise that at the time he wasn’t who he is now. He was just a kid from Burnage. I had no idea Oasis were going to go on to such big things. I did it because he was in need, because I was lucky and had lots of guitars, and because I wished someone had done it for me.”
Asked why he gave Noel another expensive guitar, Marr said: “I must confess it’s why I quit drinking.”
Spoken perhaps only half-jokingly, he clarified: “I wasn’t drunk, but the chances are I was very hungover when I agreed to that.”
The pair have gone on to become longtime friends and collaborators. Marr contributed to Oasis‘ 2002 album ‘Heathen Chemistry’ and also played on The High Flying Birds‘ ‘Ballad Of The Mighty I’ in 2015 and ‘If Love Is The Law’ from 2017.
They teamed up again this year for three songs on Gallagher’s new album ‘Council Skies’, namely lead single ‘Pretty Boy’ along with ‘Open the Door, See What You Find’ and the title track.
Speaking to NME ahead of the album’s release, Noel said spoke about why Marr was right for certain tracks. “Sadly, we’ve never sat down to write a song. We’ve talked about it for a while,” he shared. “For the three tracks that he plays on, I had the idea that Johnny would be able to play something great on it – I could just hear it and knew it. With ‘Pretty Boy’, it’s so linear and gets to that point where it just motors along. I knew it needed something. I didn’t get loads of people to try it, I was going to ask Johnny to do it from the off.
He added: “It’s a funny thing with Johnny. He doesn’t get you to send him the track, he turns up, plugs his gear in, puts his guitar on, stands in front of the speakers and says, ‘Right, let’s hear it’. As he’s hearing it for the first time, he plays it. I wouldn’t tell him what to play, I wouldn’t be so cheeky.”