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Johnny Marr comments on Rick Astley and Blossoms’ “funny and horrible” Smiths covers band

By | Published on Monday 20 September 2021

Rick Astley & Blossoms

Johnny Marr has delivered his verdict on the new Smiths covers band that’s been created by Rick Astley and Blossoms, calling it “funny and horrible”. Although it doesn’t seem like he was laughing when he said that.

The Smiths guitarist was responding to footage of Astley joining Blossoms on stage at The Forum in London last week to perform ‘This Charming Man’. Shortly after that, they announced that they will play two full Smiths tribute shows together next month.

However, Marr doesn’t seem to be accepting the tribute – in part because he’s a bit miffed that Blossoms didn’t mention the project when he saw them recently. All of which could make things uncomfortable when both he and Blossoms support The Courteeners this Friday.

“This is both funny and horrible at the same time”, he tweeted, posting footage of Astley performing with Blossoms. “I met The Blossoms a few weeks ago and they elected to not mention it”, he added in a reply to a fan. He also said to another: “Didn’t mention when we were hanging out a few weeks ago. Must’ve slipped their minds”.

“I’ve got no problem with tribute bands or with anyone doing anyone’s songs good or bad”, he went on. “I’ve got no problem with Rick Astley. There’s a back story. That’s that”.

So, yeah, like I said, it’s gonna be slightly awkward at that gig later this week. Maybe Marr could balance things out by covering a Blossoms song with some old 1980s pop star. Phil Oakey, maybe. Or Jimmy Somerville. Or, er… Morrissey?

Actually, as many people have noted, one of the good things about this Astley/Blossoms hook-up isn’t just the weirdness of it all, but also that it gives people a way to enjoy Smiths songs without having to think too hard about those Morrissey complications.

When the upcoming tribute shows were announced, Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden said: “The Smiths have always meant so much to Blossoms, with even their rainiest songs complete with wry humour and soul-reaching musicianship and melody”.

“Their poppier moments are pure, joyful, danceable poetry”, he added. “Imagine backing Rick Astley to play the songs of The Smiths? We’ve had wilder dreams, but not many. We’ll barely be able to believe it until it happens, but the dates are set, we’re studying every note, line and beat to say ‘thank you’ to The Smiths alongside Rick and do both of them proud”.

Astley added: “From the moment The Smiths emerged in 1983 I was hooked and it’s as a fan, with deep respect as a musician for Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce, that I’ll be joining the endlessly enthusiastic and talented Blossoms on stage to sing their songs. It’s no secret that it’s been an ambition of mine to turn an idea that first sounded crazy, making more sense as Blossoms and I talked about it and then rehearsed it, into a reality. These shows will be nights that I’ll never forget”.

So, all very reverential. Although, you can see how the Blossoms guys might have been planning to mention it all to Marr when they saw him recently, but then got a bit worried that it might seem like they were taking the piss.