Johnny Marr pays homage to his Irish roots

Updated: 20 February 2013 17:03

Johnny Marr says that being Mancunian Irish has always been a very important influence on his life and work

Johnny Marr says that being Mancunian Irish has always been a very important influence on his life and work.

"I grew up in Manchester around Victorian buildings but I also grew up with second generation Irish families," he told RTÉ Ten ahead of the release of his debut solo album The Messenger this Friday.

"Both those things together combined to bring out a certain thing that is quite beautiful in all the music that I've made and it's quite intense too."

Read RTÉ Ten's interview with Johnny Marr here.

Marr's parents moved from Athy in Co Kildare 50 years ago and Johnny changed his name from Maher to Marr when he embarked on a career in music to avoid confusion with Buzzcocks' drummer, John Maher.

"I was the first of my family born in the UK with all the iconography and the accents but you would not confuse my parents with being from anywhere else but southern Ireland," Marr says.

"They've been over here now for 50 years but they've still got their accents and they're still connected to their home place. What was great was that when I was growing up I had the best of both worlds. My parents brought me up to love my roots and appreciate my homeland.

"It was very, very cool actually but I've always, always regarded myself as Macunian Irish and there is a particular strain of person who is like that. I've worked with Mani and Noel Gallagher, and Morrissey, all people with exactly the same background as me. They all play music and they all lived in Manchester and they all come from Irish families. So Ireland is still definitely a huge influence on me."

The Messenger is out this Friday and Marr plays Dublin's Academy on March 27.