By Jessica Wheeler, AliveTampaBay Columnist
Kings-of-indie-rock-turned-pop-stars Modest Mouse have been making spiky, original music since 1992, although it took a decade for them to gain wide recognition. This quirky band has captivated fans who find much to love in their catchy, post-punk anthems. In honor of their upcoming July 9 show at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, here are five things to know about Modest Mouse.
- Their name comes from a Virginia Woolf story.
The band, founded in 1992 near Seattle, chose their name from a passage of Virginia Woolf’s story “The Mark on the Wall.” The text 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. The band has recorded on two legendary indie labels: K Records and Sub Pop.
The band recorded for these hall-of-fame level indie labels before making the jump to major labels. In their early years, they toured in small venues that welcomed indie bands.
3. Heath Ledger was a big fan.
The actor loved the song “King Rat” so much, he wanted to make a music video for it. He wrote the outline for the video himself, but his death in January 2008 prevented it from ever being finished.
4. Johnny Marr was in the band for awhile.
Legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr loved the band so much, he joined them. From 2006 until 2009, Marr played guitar and provided some vocals for Modest Mouse. His work with the band provided him with his only number one album in the United States, where the Smiths had never been huge stars.
5. They don’t mind having their songs featured in commercials.
“Gravity Rides Everything” was featured in a Nissan commercial, prompting criticism of the band from those who felt they had “sold out.” Lead singer and songwriter Isaac Brock admitted that the decision was made to provide financial stability for the band, noting that those who don’t play music for a living can afford to criticize others’ choices, while musicians often find themselves short of funds.
Jessica Wheeler is a columnist for AliveTampaBay.