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Johnny Marr Joins Modest Mouse: Exclusive

August 3, 2006 4:43 PM ET

We've known for a while that Modest Mouse leader Isaac Brock and former Smiths guitarist/genius Johnny Marr were collaborating on MM's next record. But guess what? Marr is now officially a full-on member of Modest Mouse, Brock recently told us. According to Brock, Marr's membership is so unequivocal, he will tour with MM in support of their next record, tentatively titled We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank that's due this fall. "He made a cautious commitment to write and record with us, and then the tighter we got, he was like, 'OK let's tour too,' " Brock said. "Then he was pretty much a member of the band — not pretty much. He's a full blown member of the band. It's really fuckin' nice."

Some backstory: When it came time to start work on the follow-up to 2004's indie-rock marvel Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Brock found himself sans guitarist and enlisted Marr to help write and record. "I took a long shot really," says Brock. "I was like, 'You know, I really like that guy's guitar playing. There's no chance in hell he's going to say yes, but why not give him a call?' So I did." Maybe Morrissey should borrow Brock's little black book? "Eventually it all came together, and it was a really good fit, which I think actually surprised all of us," Brock adds. Finally, Marr, Brock and Co. went down to Sweet Tea studios in Mississippi (the same joint where Good News was recorded) to lay down tracks for We Were Dead, which Brock describes as a nautical balalaika carnival romp. So what's the gist? Get ready to have your mind blown by Modest Marr's crazy-dark sailors-and-gypsies whimsy.

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