Isaac K. Brock (born July 9, 1975) is the lead singer, guitarist, banjoist, and songwriter for the American indie rock band Modest Mouse, as well as his side project band, Ugly Casanova. As a songwriter he is noted for wordplay and frequent use of metaphors, philosophical lyrics, themes of oppressive rural lifestyles, and certain phrases and sayings commonly used in the early to mid-20th century and in blue collar environments.
Brock was born in Helena, Montana. During his childhood, he lived with his mother and sister in Montana and Oregon in hippie communes and churches before moving to Issaquah, Washington when Isaac was 11 years old. Brock was home-schooled for part of his school career. When his mother's house flooded three times, she was forced to move into her future husband's trailer. Brock asked to stay behind in his own room until the new home was completed. He lived in the flooded home until the house was sold. After a short period of living in a friend's basement, he moved into the "Shed" built on the land next to his mother and stepfather's trailer.
As a young boy he was raised in a Christian religious sect called the Grace Gospel church. He told an interviewer from the Guardian newspaper that he was asked to speak in tongues when he was six: "I didn't feel the spirit of the fucking Lord rushing through me," he says. "I definitely felt awkward. I thought. 'What's the best way to make this stop?' So I ripped off some words from Mary Poppins and said them fast, and the deacons are going, 'Yeah, all right!'"
In 1992, when he was sixteen, Brock moved to D.C. for the summer where he met his girlfriend. Brock traveled back and forth from the East Coast to Issaquah, where he took a community-college course to get his high school diploma before moving back to D.C. and to New York's East Village. He earned a living cleaning out meat trucks, posing as a nude model for art classes and taking part in medical experiments, before eventually landing in the Seattle area. It was there that he, Eric Judy (bass) and Jeremiah Green (drums) first started practicing music together in the Shed.
Although many of his songs use religious themes, Brock describes himself as "not really religious at all," adding "I'm 100 percent on the whole Christianity thing being a crock of shit, pretty much." He claims to "toy around with the whole Biblical thing," because it "just has amazing characters" and also identifies himself as "pretty much" an atheist.
He's talked about the DUIs he has gotten and cutting himself onstage with a pocket knife. His songs have also addressed his substance abuse, as in "The Good Times Are Killing Me." Brock admits to past drug use, and now says that drugs are "just something I kind of have to fight... I just try and make sure that it's not around, or I'm not around it."
Brock is a former A&R man for the record label Sub Pop; his most notable accomplishment with them was signing Wolf Parade in 2004.
Brock currently resides in Portland, Oregon. A portrait of Brock wearing lederhosen and standing in front of a giant boar hung for many years in the office of former Portland mayor Sam Adams.
Brock made a cameo appearance in season two of the sketch comedy show Portlandia. His character was shown donating records to a pre-school library.
Brock has been in a relationship with Lisa Molinaro for the last five years. After having been signed to his Glacial Pace label in 2010 with her band Talkdemonic, she soon entered into a relationship with Brock, and was made a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist of Modest Mouse in 2012.
Brock's main guitar is custom made by Wicks Guitars. Prior to his custom, Brock mainly used a Westone Corsair XA1420, which was used to record The Lonesome Crowded West. He is also known to have occasionally used various other guitars made by companies such as Peavey, or a Fender Jag-Stang. His amps are custom made by Soursound, based on a Fender SuperSix, but are highly modified.
In October 2005, Brock started his own record label called Glacial Pace. The label used to be a subsidiary of Epic Records, but is now independent. Its first signee was Minnesota songwriter Mason Jennings, followed by Love As Laughter, Marcellus Hall, Mimicking Birds, Morning Teleportation, Talkdemonic and Survival Knife.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license