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  • DEREK ERDMAN
Dear reader: I've done you a great disservice. When I was offered the opportunity to interview Johnny Marr, I leapt at the chance—I was certain my rabid admiration made me the best candidate to relay Marr's current opinions on the state of the world. Instead, my fanaticism turned into sheer nervous terror, giving me the brilliant idea that I should ask him a bunch of questions about shoes. And weed.

Johnny Marr is a legendary rock guitar player and songwriter, known mostly for his integral role in the Smiths. He's managed to stay relevant throughout his entire career, playing in too many bands to count. In the late 2000s, Marr spent a great deal of time in the Pacific Northwest as a member of Modest Mouse. He'll return on Monday, April 15, to play Neumos, supporting his latest solo LP, The Messenger, which was released in February.

I wanted to congratulate you on your NME Godlike Genius award. How does a thing like that make you feel?

You know, you can't take that kind of stuff too seriously. The award made a lot of fans happy, though, so that was nice. A good thing about that one is that it's kind of tongue in cheek, it's not too serious.

You used to reside in Portland, and you still have a home there. Are you fond of the Pacific Northwest? Have you been able to explore the area very much?

Quite a bit, yeah. I took to it straightaway. Mostly the mentality of the people I found myself meeting—it was nice to discover that there are a lot of liberal and creative artistic people there. I spent a lot of time hanging out in bookstores, meeting other musicians, and writing a lot of songs with bands like Modest Mouse. After a while, I started to explore the things that people who live healthier lives do. I've explored the Columbia River quite a bit, but I find Portland very pretty and quite inspiring, so I didn't really need to get out of town too much. I went to Salem, just because that's where John Fahey spent most of his time.

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Johnny Marr plays Neumos tonight with Alamar.