Dashboard – Modest Mouse

Johnny Fucking Marr.

I did think of stopping this article right there. But I shall extrapolate a little further. Johnny Fucking Marr is both a massively lauded guitar genius and an under appreciated talent. Johnny Fucking Marr is such a bright light in the firmament of rock and pop history he has entire systems of other worlds forever tied to his orbit.

Johnny Fucking Marr also wrote one of the best books about life in the music business I have ever read. Set The Boy Free by Johnny Fucking Marr tells his story from Kid on a council estate in love with the 45’s on the record player up through his time as a scenster trying out for various bands, forming The Smiths, hitting the big time, the split, him joining Paul McCartney’s band, The Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Pet Shop Boys, The Cribs and this bunch of magnificent bastards Modest Mouse.

As CV’s go that’s a hell of an impressive list. It’s safe to say the records Johnny Fucking Marr has played on that you don’t own are gaps in your record collection which need filling.

And so to Dashboard. It’s a brilliant song. The passage in Johnny Fucking Marr’s book about how the song came into being is some of the most entertaining and exciting rock writing you will find. From the album We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank this complex groove is layered with luxurious guitar, bass funk and horns. The bubbling vocal melodies of Isaac Brock’s famous voice tells a tale of optimism in the face of defeat (apparently the album was intended to be a concept record about a ships crew who drown in every track) and you just have to shake your butt to it. It is the rainbow bridge between indie and Funkadelic. Equal parts Motown, Chic and The Stones in the 70’s, the only people who don’t love Dashboard by Modest Mouse are those who haven’t heard it.

Johnny Fucking Marr everybody, Set The Boy Free!

10 thoughts on “Dashboard – Modest Mouse

  1. “the only people who don’t love Dashboard by Modest Mouse are those who haven’t heard it.” I can get behind that statement. Absolutely. There’s so much awesomeness is this one track yet it’s difficult to prepare folk for how awesome the album is. I caught them on that tour, too… one of my favourite gigs ever. Marr makes it look so effortless.

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  2. Modest Mouse had a song on Rockband that we were made to play over and over again, and it prevented me from exploring the band any further, but this one is a great tune! Johnny Marr???!! I cannot ignore them now!

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  3. So AMAZING Steve!!! For decades now, I’ve been completely outside of the contemporary musical scene — this is over-the-top fantastic!!!! Will send a link to my girls so they can see. They were LARP (Live Action Role Playing) girls since elementary school, when we ran into a group of LARPers up here in the mountains where we live. The group originally met at film school in New York and then moved to LA to work in the film Industry. They developed their Game while at Ithaca, and brought their Magical Realm of Elves and goblins, Wizards and Spellbooks here to Southern California. Instead of taking my kids to soccer, I took them to time warps and dragon attacks and wonderful worlds of whimsy (in addition to harp and flute musical lessons). As a result, my girls, now late 20s early 30s, are tough. Gritty. They sew their own clothes. They can fight. They can figure out anyone’s plots and schemes. Fend for themselves. They can do Anything! :))

    Best to you! Thanks for turning me on to such awesome stuff!!! :)) Dawn

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      1. That makes me smile — thank you, Steve. Magic still exists if we look for it. if we create it. like this awesome song and video :))

        Check out daughter Anna in Elf ears in the pic with the donkey in the following post. As a teen, she wore her Latex ears daily for about a year, and longed for an exit from her day-to-day world. (She married a fellow Gamer, from the UK, no less — they have two beautiful young daughters, and dress them up in costumes and makeup for the games :)) Great to re-visit the old Gaming days!


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