Smiths star also discusses Chvrches and Spotify
Andrew Trendell

13:25 18th December 2013

Former Smiths turned solo legend Johnny Marr has slammed Haim for posing for photographs and buddying up with Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year. 

Back in September, the band appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr show where they performed 'The Wire', before bassist Este Haim turned towards where the PM was sat and said: "That was for you DC - it's all about you."

The Prime Minister then took to Twitter to reciprocate his love for the band:

The move was met with a great deal of controversy from fans and critics. Unsurprisingly, now Cameron's mortal enemy Johnny Marr was not a fan of the gesture either. 

"It’s really simple: they made themselves look like idiots," says Marr in the latest issue of NME. "It’s ridiculous. No-one put a gun to their head. The Conservatives tried to do the same thing with The Smiths, to re-appropriate us in a false way, to be cool by association."

Watch their appearance on Marr below

Marr was however, full of praise for the likes of Grimes and Chvrches' singer Lauren Mayberry for speaking out against misogyny in the music industry, adding: "I wonder why we’re going backwards in that regard."

He also joined the ranks of David Byrne and Thom Yorke in criticising Spotify, describing it as 'the opposite to punk rock'

"I think it entirely hampers new bands," said Marr. "I can’t think of anything more opposite to punk rock than Spotify. I have no answer to the economic side of the music industry, but I do think we certainly shouldn’t stop valuing what bands do. I don’t like great things being throwaway."

Marr added: "Pop culture isn’t just about ‘the music, man’. It’s a way of life, and an aesthetic, and it’s not just about pressing a button and getting something entirely for convenience. Put it this way: we’re soon going to start seeing the difficulties of innovative music trying to swim in that huge tide."

Below: When pop meets politics - it never ever ends well

  • Vince Cable: Business Secretary Vince Cable backed down over comments he made referring to One Direction's salary as 'downright insensitive and grossly immoral'. He later said that he had misheard the question, and was referring to the pay of chief executives instead. Cable added, "I don't want to attack One Direction; this is one particular group who are apparently very popular and successful, so I have nothing against them."

  • Norman Baker: Liberal Democrat junior transport minister Norman Baker released a single with his band The Reform Club, titled 'Piccadilly Circus'. Baker didn't write about politics - "That would be naff," he told the Sunday Times - but the song was still branded 'banal, obvious and utterly pedestrian'. Better not quit the day job.

  • David Cameron: The current Prime Minister appeared in the music video for One Direction's Comic Relief single 'One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)'. It's difficult to tell who lost the most credibility through this venture - One Direction, for cosying up to the notoriously uncool Tory government, or David Cameron, for attempting to appeal to voters through a boyband. Either way, no one won.

  • Fatboy Slim: When Fatboy Slim DJd at the House of Commons, there's no question that it was for a good cause - clubland youth charity Last Night A DJ Saved My Life - but there was still something awkward about seeing something as anti-establishment as dance music in a Parliament setting. Especially when Fatboy put on a Guy Fawkes mask halfway through the set.

  • The House of Commons: In one of the most embarrassing exchanges in the House of Commons - not just for the people involved, but for everybody that had to hear about it - David Cameron and Labour MP Kerry McCarthy had an argument using The Smiths' song titles (despite The Smiths members emphatically saying they do not want Cameron listening to their music). McCarthy said, "The Smiths are, of course, the archetypal student band. If he wins tomorrow night's vote, what songs does he think students will be listening to? 'Miserable Lie', 'I Don't Owe You Anything' or 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now'?" Cameron responded, "I expect that if I turned up I probably wouldn't get 'This Charming Man' and if I went with the Foreign Secretary [William Hague] it would probably be 'William It Was Really Nothing'."

  • David Cameron: Cameron just can't catch a break when it comes to his so-called music taste. In 2008, he named The Jam's 'Eton Rifles' as one of his favourite songs, reportedly saying, "I was one, in the corps. It meant a lot, some of those early Jam albums we used to listen to. I don't see why the left should be the only ones allowed to listen to protest songs." Weller responded, "Which part of it didn't he get? It wasn't intended as a jolly drinking song for the cadet corps."

  • Gordon Brown: The former Prime Minister reportedly said during an interview with New Woman magazine that the Arctic Monkeys' music "really wakes you up in the mornings". However, when asked later on, Brown was unable to name a single song by the band and admitted instead that he was more of a fan of Coldplay.

  • Harold Wilson: In 1964, Prime Minister Harold Wilson wanted some positive press - and the Beatles were the most popular band in the world at that time. Wilson invited them to Buckingham Palace to award the band MBEs, despite the fact that war veterans disapproved. Later on, it backfired when Paul McCartney claimed they smoked pot in the Palace bathrooms while they were waiting. John Lennon also handed back his MBE in 1969 with a note saying: "I am returning this in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against 'Cold Turkey' (Lennon's solo single) slipping down the charts."

  • William Hague: Conservative leader (at the time), William Hague used the Massive Attack track 'Man Down' in 2000 as he took to the stage for a speech. The band released a statement saying, "Massive Attack have not and will never support the Conservative party or their policies. If our music has been used by the Tories it is without our knowledge or our permission. The misappropriation of our music by any organisation or broadcaster will be dealt with in the strongest way we can." Member 3D later told Q magazine, "We're completely fucked off with The Tories. How dare they use us to promote their bullshit?"

  • Tom Watson: Rising rockers Drenge accidentally caused a (minute) shift in power in the UK, after their Glastonbury performance proved so inspiring, a cabinet minister quit his job. In an open letter to Ed Milliband in July of this year, Tom Watson recommended the Labour leader went to a muddy field and watched Drenge perform, adding it was sad that politicians were out of place at festivals. Drenge were less than impressed.

  • David Cameron's G8 playlist: Making sure world leaders, including Barack Obama and Vladamir Putin, left the 2013 G8 summit with something to remember, our PM presented the most powerful people in the world with a USB playlist. This included Conor Maynard. The Radio 2-esque playlist featured tracks from Alt-J and Tom Odell, and was specially created by the BPI for the summit.

  • David Cameron Haim: When Haim appeared on Andrew Marr's BBC show to perform 'The Wire', they pointed at fellow guest David Cameron and said, "That was for you DC - it's all about you." There was a fair amount of irony in her tone, but that didn't stop it from going down fairly terribly with Haim fans, especially when Cameron tweeted to say they'd given him a copy of their album. To be fair, they're American, and probably don't know the full extent of Cameron's evils.

  • David Cameron + Ed Sheeran: David Cameron showed up at an intimate Ed Sheeran gig a few weeks ago, because he is just a normal, easy-going guy. And just as any normal, easy-going guy would do, he had his people stop the gig and request that Sheeran dedicate a song to him. Sadly, Ed obliged.

  • Ed Miliband + The Horrors: The fact that Miliband used The Horrors' 'I Can See Through You' for his Labour conference speech may have gone unnoticed by the band, were it not for a little prompting from Gigwise. When we tweeted Tom Cowan to let him know, he responded, "Fuck's sake. Leave it out, Ed. Keep your outdated political ideologies away from us."

  • UKIP Calypso: Not content with the unwarranted bastardisation of ABBA, UKIP released a calypso jingle, complete with full-on Jafaican accent mildly offensive lyrics. It's horrible, embarrassing and Nigel Farage wanted it to get to No.1.

  • Brian Harvey: East 17's Brian Harvey stormed Downing Street armed with a white ring binder demanding to see the Prime Minister. Clearly Cameron is not an East 17 fan (the only band he hasn't professed his love for?) as his request was denied. Apparently, Harvey has evidence of how much money the government has stolen from him - so obviously that needs to be addressed immediately, by the leader of the country.

  • UKIP: Mandy Boylett's hideous cover of ABBA's 'Chiquitita', in which she changes the lyrics to attack David Cameron, managed to fly under the radar for almost four months. Sadly, despite being unlisted, the video has now emerged in all its horrifying glory.

  • Margaret Thatcher: She announced to Smash Hits magazine that her favourite record was not by Duran Duran or Madonna but Lita Roza's 1953 novelty 'How Much is that Doggie in the Window?' ("obsessed with free-market economics even as a child," the interviewer, Tom Hibbert, later wittingly noted).

  • Tony Blair on Bowie: Blair named Bowie a genius but his confidence in his back catalogue was never expressed on his desert island disc appearance where he picked Benny Hill's 'Erin- The Fastest Milkman in the West' ahead of him.

  • Ronald Reagan on Bruce Spingsteen: Reagan used Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' in 1984 because he thought it embodied patriotic values. Actually the song is about a war veteran that feels forgotten about in American society.

  • Hillary Clinton on Beyonce: "You see her in person, you're just stunned, thinking like, 'How does she do that?' Really. I mean, she sings, she's up, she's down. It's just amazing. " said the pro war (she voted yes for the Iraq war) presidential candidate. How insightful Clinton... yes she sings and dances but isn't there anything else you can add to your observation. Her musical awareness is actually so out of touch with what's going on at the moment that she had to spend $9000 dollars on a musical consultant to make her a speech playlist.

  • David Cameron on Mumford and Sons: Cameron bizarrely named Mumford & Sons' album Babel as his favourite Christmas song. Seemingly confused by The Spectator's question he answered, "Although it%u2019s been out all year I really love the Mumford & Sons album, Babel. It's driving Samantha mad. You know what it%u2019s like when you overplay something and it%u2019s even beginning to annoy you, and it%u2019s annoyed everyone else in the family."

More about:


Photo: WENN/Chris MacDonald