Green co-founded Modest Mouse with frontman Isaac Brock and bassist Eric Judy in Washington in the early 1990s. As the band was just getting started, he also performed with the local groups Satisfact and Red Stars Theory. The first Modest Mouse album, This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, came out in 1996, and is now considered a fan favorite and cult classic. In a 2014 retrospective review for Pitchfork, Brian Howe wrote, “From the start, Modest Mouse were instantly recognizable: Judy’s ropy bass and Green’s drumming, heaving from a caveman bash to a disco skip, are indispensable to the rangy, volatile sound.”
Modest Mouse’s sophomore album, The Lonesome Crowded West, brought more attention to the Washingtonians, and the group toured for its 25th anniversary in 2022. Owing to the record’s success, Modest Mouse moved from the Seattle indie Up Records to major label Epic, which issued 2000’s The Moon & Antarctica. Another triumph, it became the band’s first album to chart on the Billboard 200 chart, debuting and peaking at No. 120. The record has also been certified gold by the RIAA.
The band’s fourth album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News, was even more successful and included the iconic song “Float On,” but the LP did not feature Green, who temporarily left Modest Mouse in 2003 for what has been described as “a nervous breakdown.” Green’s absence informed the album’s direction, however, and he was part of the inspiration for the hit single, too, as Isaac Brock detailed in a 2004 interview with The A.V. Club. Years later, in a 2021 interview with NME, Green reflected on his hiatus from Modest Mouse:
I felt like something bad came into me—not bad, but like a spirit…. I started acting really rebellious.… I was out for trouble. I was really anti-war and if [other people] weren’t down, I would just go nuts—weird revolutionary type stuff. I was like, ‘I’m gonna do something about this Afghanistan war! It’s bullshit!’