Smiths co-founder Marr now music professor


LONDON -- Johnny Marr, the co-founder and guitarist of 1980s icons The Smiths, is turning to academia as a visiting professor of music.

Marr, whose distinctive guitar style propelled hits by The Smiths including "How Soon Is Now," "Panic" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," has been appointed to teach undergraduates at Salford University.

The university in Manchester, northwest England, said Thursday that Marr would deliver a series of workshops and master classes to students in its popular music and recording course.

"Salford University is offering some fantastic opportunities to students in music," said Marr, 43. "It is an honor to be appointed as a professor and I'm excited at the prospect of being able to make a contribution."

The Smiths, formed in Manchester in 1982 by Marr and singer Morrissey, have close ties to Salford, a working-class district of the city. They posed in front of the Salford Lads Club for the sleeve of their 1986 album, "The Queen Is Dead."

The band split up in 1987. Marr went on to form the band Electronic and now plays with U.S. indie kings Modest Mouse.