Behind the Band Name: Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse perfected an underground sound that melted angsty emo and light-hearted folk with experimental rock for something entirely their own. When the outfit – originally made up of frontman Isaac Brock, drummer Jeremiah Green, and bassist Eric Judy – broke into the mainstream, it was never at the expense of their one-of-a-kind style.

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The word “unique” has certainly become synonymous with the band and has extended to their name, a moniker that demands pause and begs the question: What do you get when a mouse encounters a Woolf?

[RELATED: Shortly After Announcing His Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis, Modest Mouse’s Jeremiah Green Dead at 45]

Behind the Name

Modest Mouse reportedly takes its name from an obscure passage in a 1917 short story by Virginia Woolf. From her tale titled “The Mark on the Wall,” the lines in question 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-colored people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises.” From “the minds of modest, mouse-colored people,” Modest Mouse was born.

“The Mark on the Wall” was actually Woolf’s first work to be published. It is a story that lives on today, not just as inspiration for a band’s name, but as a regularly analyzed piece of literature as it is a noteworthy example of introspective writing. Written in a stream of consciousness, a style not unlike Modest Mouse’s fluid lyricism, Woolf’s “The Mark on the Wall” seems to be a fitting influence.

Modest Mouse Today

For three decades, the indie rock outfit has been going strong. While the band has witnessed several years in flux with various lineup changes, they have continued to tour, release music, and rack up acclaim.

In late 2022, the band held a 20-date winter tour across North America in celebration of their 1997 album, The Lonesome Crowded West, released 25 years prior. Their longtime percussionist Green did not join the group on the trek as he was battling a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Green passed away on Dec. 31, 2022, shortly after the anniversary tour wrapped.

[RELATED: Modest Mouse Books First Show Since Death of Drummer, Jeremiah Green]

Modest Mouse recently announced their first show since Green’s death would take place at the In Between Days Festival this upcoming summer at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Indie rock fans, rejoice! Pixies and Modest Mouse are embarking on a joint tour in 2024. Secure your tickets now for a night of non-stop alternative hits. Act fast – grab your Pixies and Modest Mouse 2024 tour tickets today!

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Photo by Chris Lopez/Sony Music Archive via Getty Images

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