Johnny Marr is finally sharing his renowned collection of guitars with the rest of the world in the form of a stunning new coffee table book, Marr's Guitars, which is available now.
Marr says his original idea was to do an art book, comprised of photographer Pat Graham's abstract photos of his guitars. But as he continued mulling the project, it occurred to him how in his youth in England, many middle class households had architectural or botanical art books in their sitting rooms. Could a book of guitar photographs have the same widespread appeal?
"I thought it'd be really good to have a book that's so beautiful that people who would never have a guitar book in the house ... have this book because it's so beautiful," Marr tells Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke. "So that really gave me the inspiration to really run with this idea."
But as Marr opened one guitar case after another, memories came flooding back to him. He realized that the stories of his guitars are also the story of his career and his life.
"And then in the process of doing it, a whole load of things came out," he continued. "I genuinely didn't know that there was going to be so many stories attached to these guitars. I've forgotten that I loaned Radiohead some guitars and then Ed O'Brien tells his beautiful story. Then obviously there's the guitars the Noel Gallagher used in Oasis, and then there's Franz Ferdinand and Nile Rodgers giving me these guitars. I genuinely didn't really see that coming until I got into the actual photo shoots."
Marr did hours of interviews for the book, and the final edit reads like a conversation between friends. He says he kept reworking the section so that it wouldn't read like a magazine interview.
"One of the reasons I'm so proud of the book is that [the topics] are covered in a way that people who like guitars will recognize and people who don't know about guitars will find interesting, I hope."
Keeping with the retrospective theme of his book, Johnny just released a new album, Spirit Power: The Best of Johnny Marr, which celebrates the eclectic first decade of his solo career, plus two new songs, "Somewhere" and "The Answer."
While Marr is drifting towards making more new music soon, he says he'll likely be too busy touring to make a new album in 2024.
"We're touring a lot next year and I really get into the weeds when I record, like I demo everything myself before I even bring it to the band," he explains. "...The greatest thing is making new music, I get a feeling that a full record won't be out until  if everything goes to play. If it doesn't go to play, it'll come out earlier."
Check out the official music video for Johnny Marr's "Somewhere" via the player below: