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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NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH
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.
Go and find a Smiths website pal
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
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.
I think that's a bit harsh. The melody Moz brings to a song is massive. I think it underestimates him to say he is a singer/lyricist. Those songs handed to anyone else may have just been very good instead of perfect.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
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.
True that. I listen to Moz solo records far more often than Smiths.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
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.


It was actually a bandwagon, not a bus.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
John Porter actually writes the vocal melodies, as well as the music.

Dumb comment, obviously in reference to the post above regarding John Porter's contribution. It's not hard to draw a distinction between the vocal melodies and the music. There is no ambiguity as to who devised the vocal melodies - nobody has ever gone on record to dispute that it was Morrissey. There is ambiguity as to who should rightly take credit for the finished backing music. Marr takes all the credit - Rourke deserves co-credit, and Porter too where he is credited only with 'production': his role was much more than that. But no, apologies for offending your devout belief in the literal truth of everything Johnny Marr says and claims.
 
E

Eliza-Marie

Guest
Bass player Guy Pratt who Johnny met on the Bryan Ferry session was in the picture briefly before Andy got his visa to tour the US.
This is interesting about Guy Pratt. There was also guitarist Stephen Pomfret (Steve) who can play bass he is friends with Morrissey he was around in the early days of The Smiths. People also forget about Dale Hibbert his autobiography is a great read. There is Craig Gannon.

Check out Victor Wooten he is one of the best bass guitarists in the world.
 

Tingle3

Member
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.
Of course he can hear the difference but he can't admit it. The Fifth Smith took some money off of Morrissey & Marr for Ask. I'd say that's the problem.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Of course he can hear the difference but he can't admit it. The Fifth Smith took some money off of Morrissey & Marr for Ask. I'd say that's the problem.

You nailed it. You can hear how energised and galvanised Morrissey is on 'Rank' - he can't fail to have heard and felt the difference.
 
G

Guitar guy

Guest
I saw Johnny and his band on their most recent US tour. The amount of ground they cover as a quartet is quite impressive. There are several reasons for this. As Marr has grown his knowledge of guitars, effects and amps has evolved. The Jaguar which he designed gives him a ton of flexibility in sounds, and the arrangements he's developed with the second guitarist (who doubles on keyboards) gives them a powerful and tight sound.

To be very very honest, I preferred his renditions of Smiths songs to the last time I saw Morrissey's group. Morrissey has the better vocal tone but often sings flat. Johnny's tone is not as good as Morrissey's but his pitch is more consistent and the crowd sings along so loud you don't even care. Instrumentally and sonically, Johnny's band's interpretation of Smiths songs kind of obliterates Moz's band's versions and is tighter since one would assume JM essentially acts as his own music director.

That said(!) I'm actually very fond of Moz's band. I think the new record is one of his best. Matt Walker is always a highlight.
 
G

Guitar guy

Guest
Dumb comment, obviously in reference to the post above regarding John Porter's contribution. It's not hard to draw a distinction between the vocal melodies and the music. There is no ambiguity as to who devised the vocal melodies - nobody has ever gone on record to dispute that it was Morrissey. There is ambiguity as to who should rightly take credit for the finished backing music. Marr takes all the credit - Rourke deserves co-credit, and Porter too where he is credited only with 'production': his role was much more than that. But no, apologies for offending your devout belief in the literal truth of everything Johnny Marr says and claims.

I wish Morrissey had talked more about how he comes up with melodies in his autobio. He is masterful at it and still innovating after all these years. He is one of the best pop melody writers of all time I feel, comparable even to the Beatles.
 
G

Guy Man

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.

Wow I don't agree. I think "Strangeways" is amazing. I love it. Marr says it's his favorite and I tend to believe him.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Nobody's Nothing
Wow I don't agree. I think "Strangeways" is amazing. I love it. Marr says it's his favorite and I tend to believe him.

All four Smiths have said that it's their favourite.

Marr said if The Smiths had carried on he would either have gone into a more orchestral musical direction, comparable to Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me, or more acoustic like on Unhappy Birthday. He said he had no plans to go into a more electronic direction with the band.

I think it's quite interesting that Morrissey did both of these things on the material he recorded with Street and Reilly.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Nobody's Nothing
Well, I disagree completely.
And given the circumstances under which TQID was recorded/released I think it's no surprise that they wouldn't name it as their favourite.
Strangeways is more innovative and musically diverse than the other albums and Morrissey surpassed himself both lyrically and vocally, in my opinion.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><>
Marr said if The Smiths had carried on he would either have gone into a more orchestral musical direction, comparable to Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me, or more acoustic like on Unhappy Birthday. He said he had no plans to go into a more electronic direction with the band.

I think it's quite interesting that Morrissey did both of these things on the material he recorded with Street and Reilly.

Didn’t Marr say something similar when he first heard Viva Hate or maybe it was Everyday ? Something along those lines and he mentions a Scott Walker kind of thing in regards to string arrangements.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><>
Well of course they were going to say that. To say otherwise would be to admit that after TQID they'd gone off the boil. Which, IMHO, I think they did.


Why do you think that? As much as I love Strangeways, it has great songs and no indie guitar band that’s come after can even come close to it’s power and brilliance.
And yet, I would still go with The Queen Is Dead as my favorite.
There’s something about the vibe on Strangeways that I can’t put my finger on, there’s just something missing that’s not missing on the Smiths recordings that came before it.

Maybe it sounds too polished for a Smiths record ? I don’t know.
 

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