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The best thing about this year's New Music West Festival was that we got to interview Modest Mouse, thee best band currently out of Issaquah, Washington. Which I guess isn't saying that much since I doubt anyone reading this could actually name any other bands from Issaquah unless if they live there. But trust me Modest Mouse rawks in every sense of the word! Myself, and my friends Angie and Anya sat down to talk to the band before their second New Music West performance, this time at the Brickyard. Thanks to Christi at New Music West for making this interview possible by hooking us up with press passes and providing us with a very enjoyable weekend of rock 'n' roll.

James: State your names and what you do.
Eric: I'm Stan and I play the banjo.
Jeremiah: I'm Stan and I play the banjo too.
James: Stan #1 actually plays bass and Stan #2 plays drums.
Angie: Our #1 question is… actually let me give some background information. On CBC radio which is a cross-Canada radio station.
Jeremiah: Brave New Waves.
Eric: I left my Walkman at that ladies house.
Angie: At Patty Scmidt's house?
Anya: You met Patty Scmidt!
Eric: Yah. I wanted to find someone who had her number so I could call her and get it back. She probably doesn't know its mine. She probably just found it.
Angie: She said on the show that the way you met Isaac was he was at a video store and you were wearing a shirt that said something he didn't like. We we're wondering what the shirt said?
Anya: And if you still have the shirt?
Eric: It was a shirt of some punk band called Econo Christ. Some old punk band from Berkley.
Anya: Why did it offend him?
Eric: Because he was being a brat. He just wanted something to lip off about I guess.
Angie: Do you still have the shirt?
Eric: No. I wish I did though.
James: You could go for the crusty punk look and sit outside of the clubs and panhandle.
Angie: Have you ever seen the movie So I Married An Axe Murderer?
Eric: No. I've never seen it.
Jeremiah: No. I remember seeing tons of previews for it though.
Angie: Too bad, we we're hoping you could tell us what you thought of it.
Jeremiah: I heard that it was funny.
Eric: Have you guys seen Better Off Dead? You have to see that!
James: That's a good movie!
Angie: I haven't seen that.
James: With John Cossack.
Jeremiah: Is it dumb to tie a sweater around your waste (as he ties his sweater around his waste)?
Anya: I do that.
James: This is indie rock! People will just think it's the next big thing!
Eric: What's that town Surrey like?
Angie: That's where I live!
Eric: Do I look like I'm from Surrey?


Anya: Yah.
Angie: You look like you could be from anywhere.
Eric: Some guy told me I look like I'm from Surrey.
Angie: Surrey has this bad reputation because most people who live in Vancouver don't bother driving out to Surrey because there's lots that goes on in Vancouver. Why drive to suburbia, right? The main part that you first drive into in Surrey is this dingy area. But it only lasts for about a four-block radius. Once you get out of there, there are tons of beautiful parks; in fact it's called the City of Parks. But people from Vancouver have this bad stereotype.
Anya: People from Vancouver think it's full of hicks. Like people with hockey hair.
Jeremiah: Hockey hair?
James: The mullet.
Eric: That's probably why he said that (referring to his hair, which is starting to take on mullet like qualities).
James: The mullet, the haircut of choice for country music stars and lesbian tennis players.
Eric: I do look like I'm from Surrey.
Jeremiah: There were a lot of those today at that place.
James: The Plaza of Nations?
Jeremiah: Yeah, there were a lot of mullets walking around that place.
James: I noticed some nice moustaches too.
Jeremiah: There were some people with really bad skin. I've had skin problems, so I was noticing it. There were all these really hideous people.
James: It looked like a leper colony.
Anya: There was this lady that was totally freaking out while you were playing.
Jeremiah: There was?
James: The purple lady.
Jeremiah: Oh yeah! She was weird. And what was with that band before us (Copyright)?
James: The leader singer was trying to look so upset and angst ridden and then he tripped over his mic stand.
Jeremiah: And then he threw down the tambourine.
James: I was just waiting for him to burst into tears.
Jeremiah: He totally had no rhythm at all. He looked like an upset five year old.
Anya: I like his pants!
James: Those were fine pants!
Jeremiah: His pants were so ugly though!
Angie: I liked those pants!
Jeremiah: He thought he was so stylish, but he looked like a pile of crap.
James: The third song sounded so much like Danzig.
Angie: I actually liked most of the music they were playing, but then they kept making me laugh.
James: They're one of the big hyped bands from Vancouver right now. They've been getting so much press recently.
Jeremiah: Why? They were so bad. We could make music like that at practice while joking around. Those guys made me so angry. The band after us too.
Angie: The Rascalz? I like the Rascalz.
Anya and James: Not the Rascalz!
Eric: No, not the Rascalz. The Rascalz were good. The band after them. The weird macho band.
James: We took off after the Rascalz played.
Jeremiah: They were a rip off of all these American bands. Like Rage Against The Machine, Deftones and all these metal bands.
Angie: It was probably Noise Therapy.
Jeremiah: I should shut up because I'm talkin' mass s**t. That whole thing today was just a trip.
Eric: It was a joke.
James: There was nobody there. The turnout was just crap for a place that big.
Anya: That was another question I wanted to ask you. Are you ever going to do Music West again?
Jeremiah: That was ridiculous!


Eric: Is this part of Music West (the Brickyard)?
Angie: Yeah, this is part of it.
Eric: This parts fine. But the part earlier today was ridiculous.
Jeremiah: Our sound today was ridiculous.
James: You could barely here the guitar.
Angie: They use to pack out the Plaza of Nations, but each year it has declined.
James: The bands just seem to get crapier every year.
Eric: They broke Isaac's amplifier too.
Jeremiah: And they had all these professional dudes hanging around yelling at us to. They were totally in a rush.
Angie: We thought that Rocket From The Crypt was going to play originally.
Eric: That's what we thought too.
Angie: That would have been cool if they'd played.
Eric: They played two shows in Seattle the nights before.
Jeremiah: Yeah, I wanted to see them.
James: Did they pay you guys to play the Music West thing at the Plaza of Nations?
Eric: Yeah.
James: Do you guys make a living off of the band now?
Jeremiah: Sort of. We don't tour year round.
Eric: I live at my parents' house still, but I'm in the middle of moving out.
James: I got another question. The sound on Fruit That Ate Itself EP is different then on your other releases, it has more of a dance sound.
Eric: It was recorded at Dub Narcotic.
Jeremiah: We wrote most of that album on the spot.
Eric: A lot of it was just stuff that Jeremiah and I did and that Isaac just added to it.
James: I read somewhere that you went in there expecting to do an EP and they wanted an album.
Eric: I thought we were doing like three songs. Something with us and Dub Narcotic Sound System, all of us getting together and making songs.
(Suddenly a loud crashing sound from somewhere deep within the back room of the Brickyard startles us.)
Eric: What was that?
Jeremiah: Dude, did the donkey escape?
Anya: Was that part of your secret plan for the show?
James: Modest Mouse, powered by donkey!
Jeremiah: Shoot! I thought I had him tied up.
James: That's why it took you so long to get down to the Plaza of Nations. You had to get the donkey across the border.
Eric: We got paid $500 for playing fifteen minutes. Enya: Did they tell you they only wanted you to play fifteen minutes?
Eric: They originally said twenty minutes. Jeremiah: They should have let us and the Rascalz play longer.
James: The first band that played was this band that sounded like Silverchair. It was a bunch of fifteen year olds with long hair and stuff and they played for an hour.
Jeremiah: That band that played after the Rascalz played for a long time too.
Eric: And they we're making all these weird faces too.
Angie: I have another important question. Do you guys remember that stuffed rat that you brought to the Starfish Room?
Jeremiah: (laughing) I'd almost forgotten about that.
Angie: There was this guy who was wrestling with the rat in the hallway and rolling down the stairs. What did you do with the rat?
Eric: We tried to store the rat in different people's houses and everyone's moms were totally bummed out by it.
Jeremiah: We left it at Chris' house.
Eric: And Chris' mom told me to take it away. My mom walked out and said, "This rat is horrendous, you have to get rid of it.".
Jeremiah: We went and saw the Cardigans one night and when we went out of the show it was sitting out there on this billboard.
Eric: Someone just left it there, up on this billboard.
James: Was it an like an actual stuffed rat? Like taxidermy?
Jeremiah: No, it was made out of chicken wire or something.
Anya: It was so raunchy.
Eric: It was terrible!
Jeremiah: We took it and threw it out of a car at some people and scared them.
Eric: Every time we've tried to cross the border with it they've totally hassled us.
Jeremiah: We took it driving. We went by this coffeehouse and threw it out the window and scared all these people.
Eric: We drove back around and there were all these people gathered around looking at it. One time we just had it hanging out the window and there was this girl who thought it was alive. She thought it was some beast or something. It totally scared her.
Angie: (Much laughter) I'm glad I asked about that.


James: Driving up here what was the last thing in the tape deck.
Eric: Actually we have a CD player.
James: OK, what was the last thing in the CD player.
Jeremiah: I think it was Neutral Milk Hotel.
James: Speaking of bands, this is question you probably get a lot, but do you guys like Built To Spill and the Pixies?
Angie: (Groaning) Oh, don't ask. You don't ask that!
Eric: Everyone likes Built to Spill and the Pixies.
James: She doesn't like Built to Spill.
Angie: No! I like Built to Spill and I love the Pixies. But you don't ask that because they get asked that every single time they have an interview. It's old.
James: But obviously people want to know or they wouldn't keep asking.
Anya: James! Move on, move on.
James: Okay, never mind.
Angie: Another question we wanted to ask was about Calvin Johnson. He's done some background vocals and stuff.
Anya: We wanted to know, did he just say, "I want to do background vocals!" and you said ok or did you ask him to. Did you have a choice in the matter?
Eric: No he's not like that. We asked him.
Jeremiah: He was just hanging out and we were like, "You should do it.".
James: Speaking of additional musicians. You guys had a second guitarist on one EP, that guy from the Murder City Devils. What was the deal with that?
Jeremiah: He wanted to do other stuff, so he didn't stay in the band. He was actually our roadie for a whole tour once.
Eric: On our first really big tour.
Jeremiah: He just wanted to do Murder City Devils.
James: That's a good band, so I can see why.
Eric: Yah, they're amazing.
Angie: You've had trouble getting merchandise across the border, even though you have it this time. Is that why you don't usually have shirts and stuff with you?
Jeremiah: Yah, they hassle us about it at the border. Although, this time we brought it and they didn't even hassle us. The first couple times we played up here we didn't do it legally, as opposed to doing it legally and buying a work permit and everything.
Angie: Does it feel weird having more and more people come to your shows? The first time Anya and I saw you was at Jen and Andy's house.
Anya: The Sesame Street house. In the basement...
Angie: ...and it was small.
Enya: And now your playing here and I saw you at the Starfish Room and there were like fourteen year old girls sitting on the stage mouthing all the words to the songs. How do you feel about the change?
Eric: I think its cool that so many people like us as long as they like us for the right reasons instead of because of all the hype.
James: (Noticing skateboard beside Jeremiah) Do you skate?
Jeremiah: No. I don't know what this is. Does it belong to one of you guys?
James: What do you guys think of the whole Washington music scene right now? Because there are a lot of good bands that have been coming out of there the last few years after the whole grunge hype thing ended.
Jeremiah: It depends because there are so many different types of bands coming out of there.
Eric: I think there are a lot of rad bands in Seattle that never even get to play. Like his (Jeremiah's) other band Red Star's Theory.
James: Do you play drums in that too?
Jeremiah: Yeah.
Angie: (Referring to band that is playing) Sure sounds like someone is getting a sore throat.
James: That's Kim Kinikin who use to be in Sparkmarker.
Jeremiah: Did Sparkmarker break up?
James: Yeah, they put out a record on a Revelation side label and then they broke up right after that came out.
Jeremiah: What does Ryan (original lead vocalist of Sparkmarker) do now?
James: Last time I heard he was working at a restaurant and recording stuff on a four track in his basement.
Jeremiah: We haven't seen Sparkmarker since we were fifteen or sixteen.
James: Yeah, I use to always go and see them at the community center when I was in high school.
Jeremiah: They were good. I loved them. I took some of the photographs in their first CD. I think they're the only band from Vancouver I've ever listened to.
Eric: I have to go to the washroom.