Heath Ledger directed gory whaling video for Modest Mouse - Metro US

Heath Ledger directed gory whaling video for Modest Mouse

You’d be forgiven for assuming that the reason behind a late summer Modest Mouse tour is the band’s new record. But when asked if the North American tour was planned around the release date of the EP, No One’s First, And You’re Next, frontman Isaac Brock laughs and says, “No, but good timing, huh?”

Featuring three recent 7-inch singles and a pair of B-sides, the indie rock alumni’s latest release is not a load of filler, but a compilation for the non-collectors. “The idea of the EP was that not everybody owns a record player and was going to buy the singles that were released,” Brock explains. “This is just a way to put these out so people who don’t buy 7-inch records can get them all together. It’s music, you don’t have to be a format specific person to enjoy it.”

So far, the song receiving most attention is King Rat. An unlikely single, the song has become the EP’s focal point mostly because of its video — which was directed by the late actor Heath Ledger. A stunningly gory animated short film that turns the tables on the whaling industry, Brock says he only played a small role in its creation. “We kept discussing the idea and refining it, but (Heath) chose the animator. It was his baby. I just kept an eye on it.”

The EP will be the only new material the band will be performing on tour. As far as a sixth album goes, Brock says, “No, there isn’t anything. There are a whole bunch of stems for songs. I’m gonna do this tour then come home, sit down and we’re gonna really work on that.”

Just months ago Modest Mouse wrapped up a two-year trek supporting 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Brock says the point of this new tour is simply to keep the well-oiled machine moving. “We like doing tours, but if we don’t do it for too long we get kinda rusty.”

The band made Canadians proud by kicking off their month-long tour in Halifax followed by Montreal, Kingston and two Toronto shows. “To be honest, I’m not sitting down with a map and circling s–, it’s not anything like that,” Brock says in a wry tone. “It’s like, ‘Let’s do this chunk of land and start in Halifax.’ We start in Nova Scotia because I’ve never been and always wanted to go. And the rest just seemed like nice towns on the way.”

Modest Mouse live

• Halifax: Halifax Forum Arena on Monday, August 17, 2009
• Montreal: Metropolis on Wednesday, August 19, 2009
• Toronto: Sound Academy on Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21, 2009

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