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Johnny Marr says Brexit has been a “catastrophe” for musicians

He said "it's a pain for people to put British musicians on"

By Jen Thomas

Johnny Marr with a blurred background with guitar
Johnny Marr says Brexit makes it a "pain" to book British artists (pic: Press/Andrew Cotteril)

Johnny Marr has opened up on the effects of Brexit on British musicians, claiming that many are losing work as a direct result of it.

The former Smiths guitarist says the ‘administration’ that has come into place ever since the 2016 referendum has made life harder for artists.

Marr told ITV: “Brexit for musicians has been an absolute catastrophe in so many ways”.

“There are ways that people just don’t think about, that people who aren’t in the industry just aren’t aware of,” he insisted.

“For example, if there are a bunch of festivals in Germany and Belgium and France and Holland, the people who would otherwise have been inviting British bands to come and earn money on all kinds of levels – DJs, all kinds of different groups – they have to go through so much paperwork and administration and expense.

He added: “They’re now ignoring those young bands, particularly, who they might have taken a chance on and just saying, ‘alright well we’ll put a DJ from Munich on, we’ll put an act on from Bruges’ or whatever.”

Marr continued: “It’s literally taking the work away from British musicians”.

“That’s got nothing to do with border control or any of that stuff, it’s to do with all the administration. It’s a pain for people to put British musicians on,” he finished.

Marr hit back at Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickenson following comments he made about Brexit, after previously revealing he voted for the UK to leave the EU back in 2016.

Dickenson told Sky News back in June that the UK government needed to “get your act together”.

In response, Johnny tweeted: “A musician supports Brexit then finds out that Brexit screws musicians and then complains. Well done mate.”

Marr recently performed on the soundtrack of the James Bond film, ‘No Time to Die’.

He told ITV News that receiving the request from composer Hans Zimmer for him to take part was “kind of an amazing thing”.

He said: “A lot of people who started playing the guitar, certainly if you grew up in the UK anytime since the 60s, one of the first things you learn to play is the Bond theme because it’s so simple. It was a real career highlight I have to say”.