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Morrissey Who? Johnny Marr Says “Isaac Brock Is the Greatest Lyricist I’ve Ever Worked With”

johnny marr isaac brock greatest lyricist i've ever worked with morrissey modest mouse the smiths
Johnny Marr (photo by Andy Cotterill) and Isaac Brock (photo by Shervin Lainez)
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    Johnny Marr has named “the greatest lyricist I’ve ever worked with,” and wouldn’t you know it, Morrissey’s name didn’t come up. In a new interview with Stereogum, the former The Smiths guitarist sang the praises of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock, saying, “I’ve seen him write an amazing song, and then make it better, and then make it better again.”

    Marr joined Modest Mouse from 2006 to 2008, touring with the Portland rockers and contributing to the 2007 studio album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. He said he was already a fan when “I got a message from management, the record company, that Isaac Brock wanted to give me a call. So Isaac called me up and, being the devil he is, said, ‘Why don’t you come and join my band?’ I was like, ‘Uh, thanks, who is this?’”

    Marr said he and Brock “had a really long talk and I was none the wiser about the guy. If anything, I thought this was more intriguing and peculiar than I’d first imagined. We arranged to have a 10-day experiment. He said, ‘Why don’t you be involved in producing the album or helping me write it or you join the band.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t know you but I like your music, so I’ll come over and I’ll see what’s up.'”

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    As he explained, “A brotherhood happens. You go in the trenches with people, and you have these intensive days where it means a lot and there’s a lot at stake… I stayed in the band, and I loved being in the band. There was a brotherhood that is there to this day. Probably the best time of my life. Some supernaturally good shows. I liked my role. It’s just a thing that happened in my life that I’m eternally grateful for. And Isaac Brock is the greatest lyricist I’ve ever worked with.”

    Considering his feelings, you might suspect that Marr would be open to a Modest Mouse reunion. And you’d be right. In June, Modest Mouse said “the option’s available” for Marr to return, and when asked if he’d be interested on Twitter, Marr replied, “Food for thought. Modest Mouse was the best time of my life. Still a great record, great shows.”

    In the meantime, though, Marr is busy prepping the release of his double album Fever Dreams Pts 1-4, out February 25th. Next year, Marr will join The Killers on their North American tour, and tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

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