James Joiner is an award-winning writer and photographer as well as a 1% for the Planet Ambassador.
Head Above Water
Despite what you may think, it’s not always easy being in a prevalent rock band.
Constant touring can create a disconnect with the rest of the so-called “normal” world. The pressure of performing at your best, show after show, in front of thousands of demanding fans who spent their hard-earned money to see you compounds stress levels. Then add the complex nature of the sort of songs Modest Mouse is known for, and you can understand why founding drummer Jeremiah Green turns to cannabinoids to take the edge off.
“I find it helps with mental health,” Green mused. “I’ve tried antidepressants, I’ve done therapy, and all that stuff works but cannabis always felt like free therapy.”
Founded in 1992 in Issaquah, Washington, Modest Mouse burst into the mainstream cultural consciousness with their 2004 album Good News for People Who Love Bad News and have managed to balance popular appeal with underground cred ever since. Now they average two national tours of up to six weeks at a time every year, and Green, who recently became a father, maintains a regimen of essential oils and cannabinoid products to keep both his health and spirits up.
“It all really mellows me out, helps me sleep, and kills the anxiety,” he explained.
The sleep thing can be key, especially with a newborn at home and weeks spent trying to maintain a normal sleep cycle while being whisked around the nation by tour bus. Not to mention the way a lack of sleep can throw off a person’s internal rhythms – which are, naturally, key for a guy who has a whole band leaning on his ability to deliver perfectly timed ones externally.
As he gets older, Green finds that he uses cannabis products for different reasons than when he was in his twenties.
“I smoked marijuana in my 20s and it made me come up with new ideas, but I wasn’t good at actually playing on it,” he admitted. “It also made me face myself a lot more, made me self-conscious, though it’s good to be self-conscious, at least when you’re not beating yourself up.”
A decade or so later, he’s finding that consuming cannabis products in a variety of ways – not just smoking but using cannabinoid salves and oils – can help with whole-body wellness. That’s a good thing because, perhaps more than any other instrument, drumming requires both physical and mental interconnectedness.
“Drums are kind of cerebral,” he said. “You need to have focus and inspiration. Removing the anxiety helps me do that.
Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.
James Joiner is an award-winning writer and photographer as well as a 1% for the Planet ambassador. A former senior editor at Esquire and The Daily Beast, he recently retired from full-time journalism to focus more on fighting for conservation and environmental issues through storytelling.