Cheap Therapy: Modest Mouse on Using Cannabis for Better Mental Health

Jeremiah Green is in Issaquah, Washington, trying to find a place to smoke a spliff outside of his grandma’s house. He’s momentarily bothered by a passerby, but he goes about his business like it’s any other day. The Modest Mouse drummer has been smoking cannabis for years to alleviate his depression, a condition that led to his temporary exit from the band he and front man Isaac Brock established over 20 years ago.

“I went on antidepressants, and I got all manic and weird,” Green explains. “I just blew up one day. I was acting hella weird. I ended up in the hospital for six hours and realized pretty quick I didn’t want to be there.”

But quitting the band wasn’t something Green meant to do. Modest Mouse was still basking in the critical acclaim of 2000’s The Moon & Antarctica and had its sights firmly set on a promising future.

“It basically took me a long time to call them because I was embarrassed,” Green confesses. “All of a sudden all of that happened, and within a week or so, I was off antidepressants and I figured out what the fuck had gone on. I got back to normal and was like, ‘Holy shit, I ruined my whole life basically.’ [Laughs] I sat around depressed for like a year. I didn’t do shit. Luckily, those guys were cool and got me back in the band.”

During Green’s hiatus, Benjamin Weikel kept his seat warm and Modest Mouse powered through with 2004’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News, the band’s most commercially successful album. When Green eventually returned, things had changed.

“It was a good opportunity for him to see if he wanted to be a part of the band,” Brock says. “When he got back, he was getting super-high all the time. He had normal-people weed-smoking abilities at that point. It was super-weird, because he’d be [drumming] super-slow or super-fast. It was never right. Then he got super-good at weed smoking, if that’s a thing—and I think it is,” Brock continues. “Master-expert level is where he is now. He can walk on tight ropes and do trigonometry with it and shit. He’s always Jeremiah. I love the guy. Even when he was crazier than a shit-house rat, I had patience for it. His crazy was kind of interesting.”

Cheap Therapy: Modest Mouse on Using Cannabis for Better Mental Health

Ben Moon/ High Times

Brock occasionally smokes with Green and fellow band member Tom Peloso—whom he calls “some Cheech-and-Chong motherfuckers”—but for the most part leaves the toking to them.

“I smoke regularly,” Green explains. “After taking the antidepressants, I started to realize cannabis was probably the better way to go. I’ve smoked for so long I don’t really get high anymore. I just sort of smoke on a low.”

“I like indicas,” he continues. “I’m already pretty anxious, so sativas make me kind of jumpy. It’s definitely helped me for sure with depression. If I drank a bunch of coffee and smoked sativa, I’d be shaky though. Coffee is even more gnarly.”

Modest Mouse is still touring in support of their latest project, Strangers to Ourselves, and despite becoming a new father, Green is looking forward to being on the road.

“Marijuana helps the time go faster on tour,” he says. “I feel like I maybe smoke a little more on tour. It’s like cheap therapy.”

On the other hand, Brock, who is also a new father, has his reservations.

“I got a newborn daughter and I’m not looking forward to not being around her for five months,” Brock admits. “It bums me the fuck out. I really like her. Supposedly—and this will change because all medical info from Western civilization changes every four years—the first six months is when they develop their personality, and I am terrific, so I’d like her to have some of me.”

This feature was published in the July 2018 issue of High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.

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