Johnny Marr & the Healers

For the first time in the 13 years after the Smiths called it quits, Johnny Marr announced that he had formed his own band aptly titled Johnny Marr's Healers. It was certainly a welcomed proclamation as in those 13 years Marr was mostly an exaggerated sideman (as much as someone of his signature sound, talent, and reputation can be) working with the likes of Kirsty McColl, the The, the Pet Shop Boys, the Talking Heads, and Billy Bragg. The closest to an actual solo outing was with Bernard Sumner as one half of Electronic -- but that still felt much like the Morrissey/Marr hierarchy as Bernard handled most of the lyric writing and singing and Marr controlled the guitar and much of the programming and production. With his Healers group he took on the responsibilities as the songwriter, guitar player, and added a new fold to his medium as the singer -- making this group feel like his own (of course the name helps too). He finished recording the debut in early 2000 and rounded out his group with: Alonza Bevan (from Kula Shaker) on bass, Zac Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) as drummer, Liz Bonney percussionist, Adam "Chink" Grey providing a second guitar, and Lee Spencer on keys. After some small club outings in the U.K., the group went on to tour Europe supporting Oasis in the summer of 2000 gleaning enthusiastic reviews. Unfortunately, the record rumored to be titled Play Dumb had not found a label to release it and therefore continued to sit on the shelf. In August of 2002 Marr released the news that he had finally found a label and his record (now called Boomslang) would be released in January of 2003 ~ Sam Samuelson

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