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Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read Paperback – November 14, 2006

2.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bassist and journalist Goldsher chronicles the unexpected rise of Modest Mouse, the Washington State indie-rock band behind the infectiously upbeat 2004 single, "Float On." Like the previously published interviews from which this unauthorized biography was culled, this work spotlights sailor-mouthed, media-loathing front man Isaac Brock, whose songwriting knew much darker beginnings. A decade ago, the trio first built a healthy subgenre following with catchy, morbid and often nonsensical anthems. Brock later struggled with alcohol abuse, rape allegations that ultimately proved false and an assault that left him broken-jawed in the middle of a recording session. In a true-to-form darkest-before-dawn story, Brock served jail time for a DUI; drummer Jeremiah Green left the band for a mental hospital; and both coproducers walked away before Modest Mouse emerged with their most widely appealing album to date. Evoking the lore of Robert Johnson and Kurt Cobain, Goldsher attributes MM's allure partly to a "mythical" reputation Brock designed for himself as a notorious jerk to his fans as well as a starving-artist martyr. Goldsher cuts to the quick of the indie-rock scenester's antisellout, "hipper-than-thou" ethos in a style that's accessible and downright funny. While his reliance on secondhand sources and long-winded ruminations on individual songs may frustrate fans eager for new insight into the band member, Goldsher's book is an aptly titled jaunt through the MM story. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

THE BEST WAY TO BECOME A ROCK STAR IS SOMETIMES THE WORST WAY TO BECOME A ROCK STAR

Unruly and antagonistic, the Washington State rock trio Modest Mouse would seem like one of the least likely candidates for mainstream stardom: Their often brilliant live performances sometimes collapsed into utter chaos. Their highly original, highly off-center songs ran as long as eleven minutes. And their leader managed to raise eyebrows among music writers, law officials . . . and sometimes even his fans.

But Modest Mouse persevered. They didn't compromise their original, compelling musical style, nor did they lighten up on the attitude. They just waited for the world at large to catch up.

In 2004, with the release of their smash single "Float On," it finally happened. And it was worth the wait. For everybody.

Journalist Alan Goldsher uncovers the strange, little-known details of Modest Mouse's rise from DIY indie heroes to platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated international superstars. Goldsher also reveals the troubled background and fractured history of frontman Isaac Brock, a charismatic, cantankerous singer/songwriter who has spent as much time avoiding the media as he has attempting to control it.

Thoroughly researched, sharply funny, and filled with more than thirty rare photos, this unauthorized biography shows how Modest Mouse trashed the Behind the Music mold and created their own unique version of the rock 'n' roll, rags-to-expensive-rags success story.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (November 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312356013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312356019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I cannot put in words how disappointed I was with this book. The book is nothing but hearsay and speculation, mixed in with a few quotes from Issac Brock. Which is another thing, the book itself should hardly be called a biography on Modest Mouse considering the only person that is even gone over in depth (and I use the term "depth" reluctantly) is Issac Brock himself, the other band members are only mentioned a few times.

I would describe this book as a time line of their album releases interrupted by very opinionated reviews on almost EVERY SINGLE track on their albums. The author picks apart each song and explains (poorly) in words exactly what you hear... If I wanted to know what it sounded like I would ...listen to it. Also, most of the information gathered is from reviews of their albums, so what you find yourself reading is actually just a review of the reviews. LITERALLY all the information in the book can be found online, nothing new is presented. I really regret how much I anticipated this books release.
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Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan of band biographies, but as the other review said, it's amazing anything this asanine was put out. Modest Mouse is an amazing band, but Goldsher rehashes all the information you could find on their Wikipedia page along with terrible song interpretations, sometimes skipping tracks because they didn't fit with where he thought the album was going. Nevermind the fact that he didn't have any cooperation from Isaac, the rest of the band, the label, etc. Go read Staring at Sound and Learning How to Die if you want good biographies on "indie" bands that have reached a more mainstream audience
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Format: Paperback
Unauthorized yes; a good read, no way. While some information was somewhat insightful, Goldsher's personal ramblings and constant reminders that he is also a musician (who cares, probably the majority of fans/readers are too) was enough to force periods of speed reading, page skipping or take a periodic break from reading it altogether. This was essentially a book about Issacc Brock, although the information comes via printed quotes, with minimal mention of Eric Judy or Jeremiah Green. All this information and more is available online for free. Read Rolling Stone's March issue for Issacc's feelings towards the book. He summed it up pretty well.
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By John Wraith on December 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm blown away that something this terrible got published. And I'm even more blown away that the guy who wrote it is not about seventeen years old, because it reads like an incredibly boring eleventh-grade research paper. This is obviously just a cash-in on the "Float On" single (which was what, three years ago, by the way), but it doesn't have to be THIS bad.
If I had actually wasted money on this thing (I read the first few chapters in a bookstore), I'd probably find this guy personally and make him give me my money back.
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Format: Paperback
Necessary for anyone obsessed with Modest Mouse. Otherwise, skip it. We super-fans crave information about Isaac Brock, and anything we can get our hands on is worth the time. Unfortunately, the book didn't touch very much on the things I really wanted to know, but hey, at least I know more. I wanted to know more about his drug use, especially, and the book pretty much skirted the topic.

I was also bothered by his reviews of a lot of the songs and albums. I didn't buy the book for reviews. He dissed some of the songs that I hold nearest and dearest as a Modest Mouse fan. This is not what I anticipated when I bought a friggn' biography about Modest Mouse.
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Format: Paperback
I am a huge Modest Mouse fan and this book was simply a disgrace!!! The only reason that I can feel somewhat content with giving this book even one star is the photos...which were not even the authors! I was wanting to read info on my favorite band, not two pages of history about his home town! Really, who cares who founded this city that "Isaac spent so much time not caring about"!!!! I agree with other reviews, this was work that my 13 year old sister would have done for a school project! No wonder it cost almost nothing. The money didnt bother me so much. I just want the time I spent reading this back! Complete waste of my time. Maybe I will write a "biography" on Goldsher explaining why he is so horrible at writing. BTW, his views of Isaac.....he obviously understands nothing about who this amazing artist really is. DONT BUY THIS!!! Dont even waste your time reading the free copy that I threw in the trash!!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From Isaac himself...

Rolling Stone: There's a new, unauthorized biography of Modest Mouse. Have you read any of it?

Isaac Brock: No. I don't know how you'd write a biography about a band without talking to any of the players or their families. I think it's written on speculation, from magazine articles and ****. I think the guy who wrote it is a ******* *** and an *******.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've driven 7hrs one way in several occasions to see Modest Mouse. I was pumped when my gf bought this book for me. I can't begin to explain how terrible it is. We've heard the songs, bruh. We don't need you to tell us when the chorus comes and if you liked it or not.
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