Interview with the Fifth Smith, Craig Gannon - C-86 Show

The ever good C-86 show hosted by David Eastaugh interviews Craig Gannon. Interesting bit about how Morrissey and Marr had been thinking of adding a second guitarist after watching Easterhouse. Interview with Craig Gannon C-86 Show


Description:

Craig Gannon in conversation with David Eastaugh

Gannon had played in bands with friends since he was 12 years old, and in 1983 joined Aztec Camera after replying to an ad in Melody Maker. In 1984 he briefly joined The Colourfield, and went on to join The Bluebells.

After another brief stint in The Colourfield, when bass player Andy Rourke was fired from The Smiths in early 1986, Gannon was hired to replace him. Within a fortnight, however, Rourke was reinstated and Gannon moved to rhythm guitar becoming the official fifth member, playing on the "Panic" and "Ask" singles and touring the UK, Canada and the US with the band. Gannon also played on the scrapped single "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby", which was included on The World Won't Listen compilation album. After the tour ended in October 1986, Gannon was no longer part of the line-up. Gannon has been affectionately known thereafter as "the Fifth Smith".
 
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ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
This is really speculative territory, but given Marr's musical tastes immediately after the Smiths split, had the band stayed together as a 5 piece for anther album or two, I can actually imagine a scenario where Marr himself shifted over to keyboards, with Gannon staying as the sole live guitarist.

It's kind of nuts to think about, but I remember interviews at the time of that first Electronic album, where even Marr's minimal guitar playing seems to have been forced out of him by Bernard Sumner. There was a period during the late 90's/early 2000's when Johnny seemed to fall out of love with the guitar completely. Ironically, had it happened, I suspect any post 'Strangeways' material would have sounded not unlike some of the stuff on 'I Am Not a Dog On a Chain'. Weird to think about.
You mean like an electronic/synth Smiths? Interesting. I think a predominately synth sound suits some artists (e.g. New Order, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan) but not sure if it would suit Moz's voice.
 

SheilaSmith

Active Member
I must say he's a nice guy apart from musician. I wonder what happened to the songs he wrote with Morrissey that never came out. I wish Morrissey would work with him again.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
This is really speculative territory, but given Marr's musical tastes immediately after the Smiths split, had the band stayed together as a 5 piece for anther album or two, I can actually imagine a scenario where Marr himself shifted over to keyboards, with Gannon staying as the sole live guitarist.

It's kind of nuts to think about, but I remember interviews at the time of that first Electronic album, where even Marr's minimal guitar playing seems to have been forced out of him by Bernard Sumner. There was a period during the late 90's/early 2000's when Johnny seemed to fall out of love with the guitar completely. Ironically, had it happened, I suspect any post 'Strangeways' material would have sounded not unlike some of the stuff on 'I Am Not a Dog On a Chain'. Weird to think about.
I remember Johnny and Bernard being interviewed on top deck of a bus in Manchester around the time Electronic started, and they looked like yobs in leisurewear. Something like this.

 
A

Anonymous

Guest
He was feeling the pressure of being expected to come up with another 'William, It Was Really Nothing' or 'How Soon Is Now' and knew he couldn't do it without John Porter. As always with Marr, as a master of spin, he anticipated the press angle and spun it his own way. Rather than just being a 'jingle-jangle' indie guitarist, he claimed that he felt restricted by that style and needed to expand and experiment, and the next step from that, when he saw that electronic dance music was about to make indie guitar music yesterday's news, was to claim he was bored with the guitar and wanted to experiment with keyboards. But the thing is, Marr was and basically is, a 'jingle-jangle' indie guitarist - that's his specialty, those arpeggio chord melodies. He's the best in his field, by a country mile, but it's what he is nevertheless, and it was only when working with Porter that he was able to really go beyond his own limitations. Porter built up layers of harmonies and stitched together separate riffs and takes until he had virtually composed a new piece of music himself - especially in the case of 'How Soon Is Now'. Critics were distracted from how relatively simple the music and production on the 'Meat is Murder' and 'The Queen is Dead' albums were because the songs were so good, but by 'Strangeways' Marr was, I think, conscious of his limitations, wary of repeating himself and wary of being accused of repeating himself, of being 'sussed', and so 'experimental' became the watchword. And again, ever the masters of spin, both Morrissey and Marr still insist that 'Strangeways' was a triumph because they don't want to give fuel to the idea that The Smiths ended on a damp squib. But in truth it's not a triumph. It highlighted Marr's musical limitations - like a serious dramatic actor trying and failing to do comedy in order to avoid typecasting. As for Electronic, rather than being at the forefront of early nineties dance music, they were huffing and puffing to keep up and, by the belated second album, were already hedging their bets, and putting more traditional guitar tunes on the album alongside the dance stuff. But listen to 'For You' on that album - a clear attempt to come up with another iconic 'This Charming Man'-ish hook, and then compare those two recordings. 'For You' is crude and simplistic (I'm talking just about the musical backing track, never mind the vocal and lyric) compared to the Porter-produced 'This Charming Man'. Marr was adopting a 'quit before you overstay your welcome' mentality towards guitar in the early 90s, and when he eventually resumed making guitar heavy records, he spent years 'avoiding' his style, because he didn't want to be found wanting. He has always claimed too much credit for the music of The Smiths. He was a co-creator of the music and backing melodies, alongside Porter (where Porter was involved) and almost always Rourke.

Thank you, John Porter! Next up: Stephen Street with his claim on authorship of the Smiths' sound.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Morrissey's musical ignorance is unfortunately exposed in 'Autobiography', when he says he couldn't hear any difference when Craig was in the band. Just stick on some headphones and listen to 'Rank', where Marr is panned on one side, and Gannon the other, and the guy is clearly killing it, and providing a great platform to allow Johnny to wander off and play other things.

Maybe he was a personality mismatch, didn't fit in the band in other respects, or was even a complete asshole at the time - but it really baffles me that after a lifetime making music, Morrissey just can't seem to hear what he added to the Smiths in a live setting.
Moz, for all his talent, can be full of crap and changes the narrative to suit himself. Like the time he said he "squinted across the room" at The Severed Alliance but didn't read it. Yeah right. I wish I'd just squinted at List Of The Lost.
That's what cracks me up about some fans on this site who think Moz is infallible. He isn't. Nobody is.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
It's funny, I've actually never really liked Rank and I find a lot of the '86 shows to sound a little bloated and unfocused. The bootleg I've probably listened to most over the years is Same Day Again, Oxford 1985. They're as lean as ever, but the repertoire is superior to their earlier shows.
Same Day Again and Thank Your Lucky Stars are ace. I forget which one it was when Moz and Marr screamed at the bouncer to stop hurting an audience member.
 
E

Eliza-Marie

Guest
“Morrissey said yes...”

You've obviously never been in a band, worked with a band or had a minutia worth of grasp on how it works. Morrissey was no part of it. ...other than the fact that his alcoholism didn’t match with Andy’s other habit - at the time. The people who wrote the music ALL thought it was right to have Craig, after Andy came back. Morrissey just didn’t like him. ...or anyone else in the band - at that point. Morrissey only likes his Mum and the other sycophants who bought into his wallowing, man-child bullshit. ;)
Morrissey loves all kinds of people. Morrissey loves his very beloved mother Betty. He loves plenty of others.

If Morrissey disliked Andy Rourke it would of been for a good reason. I remember Andy Rourke talking about that he was a meat eater when he was eating his meat dishes Morrissey would move away from him. Morrissey was a vegetarian in those days and these days he is a vegan. Morrissey is a real animal lover.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><>
Plus Craig was pleasing to the eye. That might not have hurt. He looked like he belonged in a gang. In The Smiths. They should have kept him. They shouldn't have broken up. They should have taken 6 months holidays (separately). Marr needed a break from the pressure and Moz's ridiculous hissy fits (refusing to go to video shoots, refusing Wogan, being a control freak, etc.). That's not a dig at Moz. He is who he is and won't change. But a break to clear the heads would have helped.

It was really down to Marr, and not surprisingly he couldn’t handle It anymore, and most likely no one in his position could.

Then again, it is what it is, and we’ve had a lot of great Moz albums instead.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
Same Day Again and Thank Your Lucky Stars are ace. I forget which one it was when Moz and Marr screamed at the bouncer to stop hurting an audience member.
That would be Thank Your Lucky Stars. Which is a great bootleg, but they're already sagging in a way that they weren't a year earlier.
 
M

Melvis Fans are Daft

Guest
Why was Rourke fired
Really? I guess that’s all we need to know about your knowledge then, “Fan-boy”.

These wankers spend all day on here, talking smack - but have ZERO knowledge of what they’re on about.
 
K

K-hole ISADAFTCUNT.

Guest
Eventually, the Smiths would have needed to get a keyboardist, as Morrissey does now.

Though having a rhythm guitarist so Johnny can expand with his playing was inevitable, there’s something to say for the rawness of those pre-Gannon shows
where Johnny had to push himself more.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Morrissey said yes to having a second guitarist only to please Johnny, since Marr took on so much managerial duties.
You’ve got as much knowledge of how a band works as a bee-keeper who wants to raise cattle. Shut the f*** up. You’re a blight on those who want to know.
 
T

Tracey Gutswinger

Guest
Plus Craig was pleasing to the eye. That might not have hurt. He looked like he belonged in a gang. In The Smiths. They should have kept him. They shouldn't have broken up. They should have taken 6 months holidays (separately). Marr needed a break from the pressure and Moz's ridiculous hissy fits (refusing to go to video shoots, refusing Wogan, being a control freak, etc.). That's not a dig at Moz. He is who he is and won't change. But a break to clear the heads would have helped.
Yeah. ...but that didn’t happen and the single reason is Melvis. He pissed all over EVERYONE that tried to help that band go forward. The Smiths broke up because Morrissey was a narcissistic little bitch. It’s not as if anything has changed, save for the competent band.

Morrissey writes lyrics. He’s got ZERO to do with music. He couldn’t write a song,if his life depended on it. Never has. Never will.This whole drain-spin is about as surprising as the cancellation of the McRib.
 
F

Flagstaff Mercy

Guest
It's funny, I've actually never really liked Rank and I find a lot of the '86 shows to sound a little bloated and unfocused. The bootleg I've probably listened to most over the years is Same Day Again, Oxford 1985. They're as lean as ever, but the repertoire is superior to their earlier shows.
Is that funny? You’re a joke.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
You mean like an electronic/synth Smiths? Interesting. I think a predominately synth sound suits some artists (e.g. New Order, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan) but not sure if it would suit Moz's voice.
It works fine here. This song sounds much closer to that first Electronic album than it does The Smiths.
And didn't I read an interview somewhere about how Moz was obsessed with Black Box's 'Ride On Time' (of all things) during the 'Bona Drag' sessions? It might have been an embarrassing clusterf***, but a synth heavy Smiths LP in the early 90's as an intriguing idea, so I kinda sad we missed out on that. If nothing else, it would have been an interesting experiment.

 
B

Barton Flimmogan

Guest
Morrissey's musical ignorance is unfortunately exposed in 'Autobiography', when he says he couldn't hear any difference when Craig was in the band. Just stick on some headphones and listen to 'Rank', where Marr is panned on one side, and Gannon the other, and the guy is clearly killing it, and providing a great platform to allow Johnny to wander off and play other things.

Maybe he was a personality mismatch, didn't fit in the band in other respects, or was even a complete asshole at the time - but it really baffles me that after a lifetime making music, Morrissey just can't seem to hear what he added to the Smiths in a live setting.
Melvis doesn’t know what “this and that” sound like. He’s busy drinking vodka, eating Kerrygold and watching reruns of Coronation Street.
 
S

Sal Vation

Guest
I still prefer live Smiths without Gannon, as I like hearing distinctly what Johnny Marr is playing. I'm not into the smiths for a beefed up rocking immersion, I'm into them for the dynamic between Marr's guitar playing and Morrissey's voice (and also the way the bass interacts with Marr's riffs is fantastic.)

Gannon's guitar muddies things up too much. I want to hear Marr's amazing fingers as clear as possible.
Just go see Johnny Marr, next time he plays your area. He won’t disappoint!
 
S

Shooter McGavin

Guest
Thank you, John Porter! Next up: Stephen Street with his claim on authorship of the Smiths' sound.
Wouldn’t be far off. Ask Johnny.

Is it a pre-divined chorus for Melvis fans to over-bake a the denial cake?
 
R

Roger O

Guest
Johnny used Craig to frighten Andy into getting well. I don't think Craig ever strapped on a bass with Johnny. He was brought in for guitar. He had the best quiff since Roy Orbison or Elvis but looked like a big shy kid who just grew 6 inches in a year. He was a perfect Smith. Great rhythm with Johnny. The manchild. Nice interview too. He has such a nice voice and accent.
 
I

I Reckon

Guest
It’s always great to see articles about AztecCamera shared on this site. Usually it’s the same foreign psychopaths and Moz extremists pissing all over his factual posts about the California Son. Much like the inclusion of an AztecCamera song on that 80s hits compilation recently, this was a nice break from the usual “Moz misses his mum, here’s a photo of her in a bikini” posts from MC.

Nnnnnnnnit mate
 

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