- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

Respect your youngsters: Alt-rockers Modest Mouse will release their fifth album Tuesday with a ringer of a new member — ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Fifty-one-year-old Clash veteran Paul Simonon, too, has found a young employer in Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, impresario of the new Brit-rock outfit the Good, the Bad & the Queen. Such alliances work in reverse, too, with Zak Starkey drumming in the Who. It’s all got us daydreaming:

Paul McCartney/Fountains of Wayne — The New Jersey pop wonders have a proven knack for writing catchy tunes and silly love songs. Add Macca to the lineup, and we’d be in melody heaven. Would FOW co-frontman Adam Schlesinger yield bass-guitar duties to Mr. McCartney? Or would the Beatles legend pitch in on guitar or keyboards? Actually, let’s not instigate a squabble before the band even forms.

Mick Taylor/Black Crowes — With a new album in the works, the Crowes are, once again, in the market for a lead guitarist. Who better than Mr. Taylor, whose fluid, melodic approach to blues guitar propelled the Rolling Stones to new heights in the early ‘70s and created a template for the Crowes themselves? Another thing: We’ve seen Mr. Taylor perform in recent years at Jaxx nightclub in Springfield. Trust us when we say he could use the work.

John Mayer/Crosby, Stills & Nash — The young Mr. Mayer has an enviable, two-headed persona of blues virtuoso and sensitive singer-songwriter that would fit right into CSN’s rootsy cocktail. To boot, we’re betting Melissa Etheridge would rate him highly as a potential sperm donor.

Norah Jones/Fleetwood Mac — The ‘70s soft-rock supergroup lost a vital member in singer-keyboardist Christine McVie, who is reportedly happily retired. Even though she sings in a different register, Miss Jones — like Miss McVie, a potent balladeer who can sell an uptempo number when she puts her mind to it — could still make lovin’ fun for the Mac.

Sly Stone/Gnarls Barkley — This truly would make us crazy, in a good way: Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse would be tapping one of the primary sources of their funk-soul mash-up — and, while they were at it, persuading the reclusive Mr. Stone to come permanently out of hiding.

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