Morrissey may have gotten the most attention, but the Smiths’ distinctive sound was also shaped by guitarist Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke. Now they both feature on a new song for the first time in 35 years: Marr plays guitar on Rourke’s new single, Blitz Vega, “Strong Together.”
The song was created in 2020 and was supposed to appear as part of a football anti-discrimination campaign. Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan sang on the first version. However, after Meighan left his own band following allegations of domestic violence, Blitz Vega withdrew the song from the campaign and replaced its vocal track with one by their singer Kav Blaggers.
“Andy called me [eines Tages] and said Johnny said he’s going to record some guitar for the track,” Blaggers told the US edition of the ROLLING STONE. “I was like, ‘What? Johnny? Johnny Marr?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah,’ in his easy-going but very Manchester-esque way.”
“I wanted exactly what Johnny does,” Rourke said. “He has a very distinctive sound […]. We love what Johnny brought to the track.” The bassist welcomed the chance to work with the old bandmate again: “We’ve remained friends, we’ve known each other since we were 13. He is my oldest and dearest friend and I find our friendship only grows stronger with time.”
Rourke formed Blitz Vega with vocalist and guitarist Kav Blaggers aka Kav Sandhu. In 2019 they released their first three singles “Hey Christo”, “Lost & Found” and “LA Vampire”. As Blaggers has now announced, further singles and an eight-song 12-inch are to be released in 2023 for Record Store Day.
Marr and Rourke were also on stage together in October 2022: As a support act for the Killers, they performed the Smiths songs “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “How Soon Is Now?” at New York’s Madison Square Garden. . It seems very unlikely that both of them will one day make music together with Morrissey again. In early 2022, the singer, whose solo album Bonfire Of Teenagers, originally announced for February 2023, is apparently being postponed indefinitely, asked Marr in an open letter not to talk about him anymore in interviews.