Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke will perform together for the first time since the legendary U.K. act split up in 1987 at the benefit Manchester v. Cancer, to be held Jan. 28 at the English city’s Evening News Arena.
Rourke is overseeing the lineup for the show, which will also feature New Order, Doves, Badly Drawn Boy, Primal Scream’s Mani, Stephen Fretwell and other acts to be announced. Rumors have circulated that former Smiths frontman Morrissey will be involved in the show but at present there’s no indication he will participate.
“Andy told me about this project he was involved in and of course I literally stood up and applauded,” Marr says in an audio interview posted on the event’s official Web site. “I said I’d get involved if he needed any help. Absolutely glad to do it. It’s a privilege to do it. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to get something like this together, because it has to be on a fairly big scale for it to be significant.”
The Smiths’ unhappy breakup has of late been back in the news, after former drummer Mike Joyce attempted to sell unreleased Smiths material on eBay. Morrissey responded by posting a detailed account of the lawsuits Joyce has filed for back royalties in recent years on the fan site True to You.
“Somehow, he appears to believe that he should have equal financial status to both myself and to Johnny Marr, even though Joyce has done dramatically less than Johnny and I to attain the positions we now have,” Morrissey wrote.
Tickets for Manchester v. Cancer go on sale Saturday (Dec. 17) via Ticketmaster. “It will bring together people and bands that have made Manchester famous,” Rourke says. “The idea is that this will be the start of an annual event to raise money for charity whether it is helping cancer or arthritis.”