He plugged things in and handed over metal prongs and rubber pads and poked and tapped and swirled notes and smoke all around us. He turned squelch knobs — erasing out the static — and tuning into the pops and rhythms of the moment. He performed them for us as if to say, "Listen they're here, look they've been here all along." But all I saw was his immeasurable talent. He had a calming, rhythmic, back-of-the-throat laugh. And it always seemed to come in between thoughts and theories so alien and strange... or the extremely absurd. He had an affinity for odd looking animals and puking puppets. For waxed cotton, denim, and sage. He was intricately connected to the Northwest. From spending his summers as a kid in a camp trailer at Mount St. Helens to creating a band called Modest Mouse, in a shed, under the fir trees of Issaquah.
Jeremiah spent the better part of his life playing with friends Isaac Brock and Eric Judy in Modest Mouse. Modest Mouse began in that shed in 1993 and continues today. He was a paradox behind the drumkit - somehow loose and relaxed while juggling odd time signatures with double fist pumps, tight snare rolls, and rudimental patterns. He was transportive. And those that know his music recognize how he shaped a genre from the very beginning.
Jeremiah Israel Martin Luther Green (Jeremy, or "Miah," depending on how you knew him and where you met him) passed away on the morning of Dec. 31, 2022 after a brief struggle with cancer. He was 45. On Dec. 1, 2022 he played his final show with Modest Mouse in Los Angeles. Before walking out for their encore that night Isaac gave Jeremiah a long hug. "Night On The Sun" was his final song. Isaac sang "Turn off the light because it's night on the sun." Jeremiah spun his sticks.
Losing Jeremiah leaves a hole — his size — wherever you'd had him stored. If you need any help filling that hole here's what's been helping me: After his final show he flew home to his family. To his son Wilder James Isaac Green (who is 6), and his wife Lauren Green. To his mother Carol Namatame, his step father Brian Namatame — who stayed with him every night while others were battling winter illnesses — and his brother Adam Green, who picked him up at the airport and drove him home.
Jeremiah is also survived by his two sisters, Teri Dean of Graham, Washington and Emiko Van Wie of Spokane. Jeremiah's father Donald Green passed away in 2015.
Jeremiah was born on March 4, 1977 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His family moved to Washington state shortly thereafter and set up a home in Moxee. After the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the Green family spent its summers in the blast zone helping with the rebuilding efforts. Jeremiah formed his earliest memories there swimming in mountain streams and listening to tired construction workers tell stories over campfires. In 1989 the Greens moved to the eastside suburbs of Seattle. Jeremiah split his time between learning how to play the drums and getting his skateboard confiscated by local law enforcement. Along with Modest Mouse Jeremiah was a member of two other highly influential NW bands: Satisfact and Red Stars Theory. Jeremiah spent much of this time traveling across the country in his many bands — in many vans — absorbing what '90s Americana had to offer: truck stops, diners, basements, highways, and ever changing landscapes as far as his eyes could reach. But it was the people that had the biggest impact on his life. He began picking up friendships that lasted through three decades of touring.
Back at home Jeremiah could be found at the Redmond Firehouse, The Goat House and Velvet Elvis. He was front and center for Lync and Hush Harbor shows and his eclectic tastes skyrocketed from there. From Linval Thompson to Daft Punk, Cat Stevens, and Chihei Hatakeyama one could never know what Jeremiah had playing in his headphones. Putting your finger on Jeremiah was like trying to mash your thumb down on a wet marble. He was a seeker. From books, philosophies, plants, music, scents, places he'd traveled, spiritualities... he forever had a brand new list of them all to spin around you. The act of Jeremiah looking for something was beautiful.
Jeremiah eventually moved out onto the tip of the Olympic Peninsula — in the forested outskirts of a town called Port Townsend. He dug in. Quite literally. He built an underground bunker on his property where he could experiment with art and record music all day long under the trees. He recorded music with The Vells, Psychic Emperor, Plastiq Phantom and World Gang. He was a prolific photographer and always had a camera with him. Jeremiah's photographs offer a rare glimpse into his point of view. His world.
In 2015 Jeremiah met his wife Lauren in New Haven, Connecticut. Lauren moved to Port Townsend and they began a life together. Wilder was born in 2016 and they married in 2017. Lauren held down the fort at home while Jeremiah toured the world — always happy to return home to his family at land's end.
On tour, Jeremiah collected people across the world like he collected Walmart curios. Getting on Jeremiah's guest list at a Modest Mouse show was a backstage carnival of Warholian proportions. You'd find photographers, actors, musicians, Jeremiah's landscaper, a death metal band from Nebraska, two DJs, the guy who sold honey to him earlier that day and a dentist from Tukwila. Modest Mouse is a band in constant motion, both musically, and physically. Jeremiah mined people out of it — and through his talent, gentle nature, and genuine interest, he came up with more friends than raindrops in a Northwest sky.
He was interested in Sufism and Buddhism. The Sufis believe that motion in the universe means life, and that rhythm is motion... that there's a design and rhythm to things and our universe is not built on chaos and chance. This obituary is not intended to solve any existential dilemmas, of course, but I do hope to highlight the spiritual side of my friend. So, here is a verse from Rumi:
Let sadness and your fears of death / sit in the corner and sulk. / The sky itself reels with love. /
There is one being inside all of us, one peace.
And Thich Nhat Hanh said:
Enlightenment for a wave is the moment the wave realizes it is water. At that moment, all fear of death disappears.
It is helpful to think that Jeremiah had some of these thoughts with him when he passed into the mystic. If you'd spent a day with him then you'd noticed that his body was eternally tuned in to this universal rhythm; beats tapped on steering wheels, rocks, bones, fingernails from ashtrays and cup holders tapping on tables and dirty, denimed, thighs... a facial tick tuned into the frequency of a nearby star or bug. You can hear and feel it all in the dust and ash left behind in the wake of his cool waves rolling out from Port Townsend and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Past Sequim, the Elwha River, through the Salish Sea, and around Neah Bay... into the Pacific.
Nest Builder, Bunker Lurker, Soil Digger, Gentle Talker, Nature Smoker, Wire Dancer, Perfumed Dragon. It was wonderful to be in your world. It is both quieter and louder without you.
Written on behalf of the family by Gavin Feek