As the indie rock genre has continued to grow in the United States, more and more people have become exposed to the unique and borderline-twisted sound of Modest Mouse. The band’s success has continued with the release of its sixth album, Strangers to Ourselves, in March of 2015. In case you’re unfamiliar with the band, here are some fun facts about Modest Mouse:
1) The band acquired its name from Virginia Woolf’s “The Mark on the Wall.”
The passage that inspired the name reads, “I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest, mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises.”
2) Lead singer Isaac Brock has mutilated himself on stage twice.
During a 2002 Modest Mouse performance in Oklahoma City, Brock asked the crowd for a knife and subsequently cut up his arm on stage. Brock smashed his head with a microphone and cut his chest with a blade during a 2007 show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He later told the Seattle Times in an interview that, “I was having a good time and got a little rowdy. I was having a good time, it was not a cry for help — [the cut] was really superficial. I’m not going off the deep end.”
3) The band licensed the song “Gravity Rides Everything” for a Nissan Quest minivan commercial.
Brock justified this decision as necessary to achieving financial stability. He said, “People who don’t have to make their living playing music can bitch about my principles while they spend their parents’ money or wash dishes for some asshole.”
4) Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On” borrowed its melody from the Modest Mouse song “Float On.”
Modest Mouse apparently gave Lupe the approval to adopt the same melody and opening guitar riff, so there was no need for litigation. Compare both songs above and determine for yourself how similar they are.
5) Lead singer Brock had his jaw broken by a group of teenagers in 2000.
Brock recounted the incident in an interview, saying “We drove back to the apartment, and there was a park kind of kitty-corner to it, where local kids were just hanging out. I was going to smoke a cigarette outside before I went in, I’m all friendly drunk-guy, and I decided to shoot the shit with these kids. I’m like, ‘Hi, how are you all doing?’ And before I can get more words out, some dude from the side just full-on punches me, breaks my jaw.” The injury impacted how the band recorded their album The Moon & Antarctica but had no bearing on how successful it eventually became.
6) Modest Mouse was cited in the 2005 Supreme Court case MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.
The case concerned copyright infringements associated with file sharing software. Supreme Court Justice David Souter wrote that, “Users seeking Top 40 songs, for example, or the latest release by Modest Mouse, are certain to be far more numerous than those seeking a free Decameron, and Grokster and StreamCast translated that demand into dollars.”
7) Modest Mouse performed “Float On” and “Ocean Breathes Salty” on Satuday Night Live in November of 2004.
The performance followed the acquirement of Platinum status for the band’s album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News in August of 2004. Both “Ocean Breathes Salty” and “Float On” were tremendous hits from the album, and the latter was later nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
8) The group began working on a music video with Heath Ledger prior to his death in 2008.
The band had met the “Dark Knight” star during their 2007 Australian tour. The music video was unfortunately never completed due to Ledger’s unanticipated passage.
9) Modest Mouse’s drummer, Jeremiah Green, can speak Japanese and has demonstrated this in song.
One can hear some of Green’s Japanese speaking abilities in the song “Night on the Sun.”
10) The band has continuously had members rotate in and out throughout its history.
Its founding members include Brock, Green, and bassist Eric Judy. Only Brock has remained with the band throughout its entire history, but Green returned in 2004 after leaving from a nervous breakdown in 2003. Other current band members include bassist Tom Peloso, guitarist Jim Fairchild, and percussionist Davey Brozowski, among others