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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Bandmates reflect on Smiths anniversary
Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke
Rourke (right) performed Smiths songs with Marr for charity in 2006
A new DVD which details the inside story of one of the most influential and acclaimed groups in music history, The Smiths, has been launched by two of the band's former members.

Twenty five years after the group formed, Inside the Smiths sees former bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce talk about their time in the band famed for their pioneering of indie music, innovative guitar sound and dark, poetic lyrics.

But neither of the group's more famous former members, singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, are directly involved - having been long estranged following the band's acrimonious break-up in 1987.

Rourke told BBC World Service's On Screen programme that the end of the group was too soon, and "still smarts a bit".

"But you have to get on with your life - I think within a few months, me and Mike were on tour with Sinead O'Connor; you just have to move on," he added.

"Although it's still foremost in your mind that you wish it was still going on, at least our records didn't use any gimmicky sounds and so the tunes stand the test of time. I think that's why there's still the big interest in the Smiths."

Sudden fame

The Smiths formed in 1982 and released hits such as Panic and How Soon is Now.

Their rise was swift, with their debut, self-titled album lauded for its fresh sound, it powered to number two in the charts at a time when they were dominated by synth-pop groups.

The Smiths
It was fantastic - but it was non-stop. That was part of the downfall
Mike Joyce
"I think it helped that me and Johnny had known each other since we were 11 and had learned guitar together, and been in lots of different bands before the Smiths," Rourke recalled.

"Me and Johnny knew our playing inside out, and what we wanted from each other. I think that helped a lot. Mike's a great drummer, and you put Morrissey into the mix and the magic was there was from the start."

Joyce said that the sudden rush of pop stardom and fame was "incredible".

"Anyone that joins a band would be a fool not to want success in any form," he added.

"Obviously to achieve the kind of success that the Smiths achieved - such a meteoric rise so quickly - and to still be talking about that group 25 years on, as we are, is every player's dream.

"It was fantastic - but it was non-stop. That was part of the downfall - if we weren't touring, we were in the studio. It was relentless."

The group were last year offered $5m (2.8m) to reform for the Coachella US festival, but turned it down - with Morrissey saying that "money doesn't come into it" and adding that "I'd rather have my testicles cut off".

The DVD offers some insight into the deterioration of the band's relationships.

Nothing to prove

Although the break-up of the group is primarily attributed to musical differences between Morrissey and Marr, Joyce later fell out with Morrissey and Marr over royalty payments, resulting in a court case.

Joyce stressed, however, that at the time the group were making their final album, none of them knew what was to come.

"I heard people say about Strangeways Here We Come that they can tell the cracks were starting to show, that things obviously weren't going that well in the Smiths camp - that's absolute nonsense," he said.

"It was one of the best albums that we'd recorded in the way that we felt about the record and what we'd done, because we didn't have anything else to prove.

"Everything that we'd done - for me personally, and I think we can speak for the rest of the group - the records got better and better and better.

"When we recorded the last album, that wasn't meant to be the last album. Our career in the Smiths was cut abruptly short. I don't think there was a point where we dried up."


SEE ALSO
The Smiths 'reject 2.8m reunion'
17 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Morrissey: Why the fuss?
17 May 04 |  Magazine
The Smiths: The influential alliance
13 May 03 |  Entertainment

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