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“Suede were touring North America in 1994 and my Gibson ES-345 got nicked in Toronto. I needed another, quick.
"I bought this at Guitar Center in Los Angeles for $4,500, the most I have spent on a guitar. The inspiration of getting a red ES-355 was Johnny Marr, but also Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison. My dad loved Roy Orbison, so big red semis are a childhood memory. From an early age, I thought: that’s an electric guitar.
“But Johnny playing one was one reason. I remember seeing The Smiths on The Tube, 1983, with Johnny playing a red ES-355. It’s odd, as he only played a 355 for about six months, but that was enough for me.
“I’ve just been touring with Ben Watt, and he says he was out shopping with Johnny when he bought his own red 355 that day in the 80s. It was at (Fat Rick’s) Vintage Guitar Emporium. I know Rick, too, and he’s joked, ‘if Johnny ever comes in we can close the doors, that’s business done for the day!’
“This is on a lot of my recordings, from late Suede to McAlmont & Butler, my solo albums, to my producing and playing. On Ben Watt’s album [due spring 2014], it’s all this 355 straight into my Lazy J 20 amp.”