Our new regular feature, Home Court Advantage, is a look into Portland's colorful indie music scene. In Stumptown, we have musicians of all shapes and sizes. Some weeks we will touch on the bigger players in the scene, while other weeks we will tip our hats to the smaller outfits.
Isaac Brock, from Modest Mouse, is a colorful character. He has almost 20 years in the music industry and more than a few odd tales to tell. With a house in SE Portland, Brock is a definitive staple in Portland's independent music scene. He is such a staple, in fact, that there is an Alexander Rokoff painting of him in Portland Mayor Sam Adam's office. While this may seem bizarre, it speaks to the nature of Portland's culture.
In October of 2009, Portland's Crystal Ballroom got a weird look into the everyday life of Isaac Brock. After the Modest Mouse show, Brock was met onstage by his fiance Naheed Simjee. Upon sitting down, Simjee promptly got to cutting Brock's hair to the surprise of the audience. About midway through the trim, Brock got out his acoustic guitar for a slowed-down version of Styrofoam boots. While I can't be certain, this may be the first onstage hair cut that's taken place at the Crystal.
When Brock isn't getting his haircut, he takes part in many local projects. The most notable may be the start of his new record label, Glacial Pace. With a lineup of local bands such as Mimicking Birds, Morning Teleportation, and Modest Mouse, Glacial Pace is in a position to make waves. Along with the local artists, the outstanding Love As Laughter, Mason Jennings, and a few others join them. For Portland's music scene, a record label with such a big indie music icon behind the wheel is a good thing. Expect to hear new and exciting artists come for their direction.
While the Modest Mouse front-man is notorious for his onstage rants and other stunts, he does have a calmer side. In 2007, Brock and a few other artists, such as James Mercer, created pieces of art for Portland's Buckman Arts Magnet Elementary School to raise funds. A little guitar painted with powerlines and wolves by Brock went up for sale. While it may not be a gallery piece, it does show Portland's DIY nature at work.
Today, it's easy to assume that Isaac Brock is busy. Modest Mouse is playing this years Sasquatch Festival alongside Wilco, while Isaac is also managing Glacial Pace Records and fishing with his friend and neighbor James Mercer. So next time you cast a line in the water, look for indie rock stars. This kind of weird only happens here.