Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Superfuzzy Mudhoney...The Mudhoney Story and Show # 211

Forming in Seattle, Washington in 1988, Mudhoney were essentially born out of the ashes of Green River. Green River was a band that contained future members of the Seattle band Pearl Jam (Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard) and Mudhoney (Mark Arm and Steve Turner). Due to different members in the band wanting to go in different directions Green River split after they completed two EP's and one full length album. Mark Arm wanted to take the band in more of a punk rock direction, while Gossard/Ament wanted the band to go in more of a hard rock direction. In 1988, Arm and Turner began playing with drummer Dan Peters. They would find their way to Melvins bassist Matt Lukin and Mudhoney were born.

Taking their name from a Russ Myers movie, Mudhoney recorded a single for Sub-Pop titled "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More". The single and it's B-side "Touch Me I'm Sick" were released on a limited edition 7" vinyl on August 1st, 1988. Even though fans favoured "Touch Me I'm Sick" over the A-side "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More", The single defined Mudhoney's sound. It was distorted fuzz box fueled guitar played sloppily, with elements of metal, garage rock and the attitude of punk. The lyrics were sarcastic and at times humorous. The single would lead to a devout following of the band in the UK. For the recently starting independent label Sub-Pop Mudhoney propelled them from unknowns to a label with bands from a upcoming music scene that would eventually be labelled as "Grunge". In October of 1988, Mudhoney released Superfuzz Bigmuff EP. Named after Arm and Turners favouite distortion pedals for guitar (The Superfuzz and The Big Muff), the EP contained eight tracks and sold poorly. In the UK it did well remaining on the charts for quite sometime. It would lead them to a headlining UK tour and lots of press coverage, Mudhoney were hailed as the next big thing to come out of Seattle. In 1989, Mudhoney released their first full length album Mudhoney.

Around this time other Seattle bands began getting notice due to Mudhoneys success on college radio and in the underground. Bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Tad. Mudhoney had another album in the can titled Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, but due to Sup-Pop's financial troubles, it wasn't released until 1991. The album is a favourite of Mudhoney guitarist Steve Turner and brought in a more garage rock and punk sound than their previous releases. Due to the difficulties of Sub-Pop at the time Mudhoney would leave the label and sign to a major label, Reprise. At the time the band began looking for a new label Nirvana's Nevermind was released and set the world on fire making Seattle the new centre of the rock and roll universe. Other Seattle bands began getting major label record deals because of this and the Grunge phenomenon took over the world of music.

Mudhoney's first album for a major label was released in 1992, it was called Piece of Cake. The band did not let their new label alter their song writing skills, and Piece of Cake showed the band sounding more like a garage rock band than a Grunge band. The album contained songs that the band regularly featured in their energetic, often riotous live shows such as "Suck You Dry", "Acetone", and "Blinding Sun". Despite signing to a major label, the band's album sales did not do as well as other Seattle bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden. In 1995, Grunge began to wind down and Mudhoney released their second album for Reprise. My Brother The Cow is considered one of the best albums the band has ever released. The album combined elements of their new sound with elements of their old. The band paid homage to some of their favourite bands in song titles in lyrics. Bands such as Bad Brains, Led Zeppelin, Captain Beefheart and The Stooges. The song "1995" can be seen as a homage to The Stooges song "1969". Other great tracks include "Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme", "Today is a Good Day" and "Into Yer Shtik".

In 1996, the band appeared in the movie Black Sheep staring comedians Chris Farley and David Spade. They are shown playing live on stage for MTV and also talk briefly with Chris Farley's character backstage. Tomorrow Hit Today was released in 1998. The album kept the bands Grunge style sound, but also brought in an influence of Blues Rock. The album was produced with legendary Rolling Stones producer Jim Dickinson and was recorded in three different cities. After a long tour in support of this album, the band were dropped from Reprise and bassist Matt Lukin would leave the band. The reason he gave was his dislike for touring.

In January of 2000, March To Fuzz was released. This was aa compilation of the bands well known songs and b-sides/cover songs. When this was released many people thought that since Matt Lukin left the band and they released a career retrospective greatest hits, that they were going to call it quits; The band continued. Recruiting Guy Maddison on bass, Mudhoney played more live shows and returned to the label Sup-Pop. Recorded in eight days, Since We've Become Translucent was released in 2002. The album was the bands sixth studio album and brought in a change of sound for the band. The album featured less metal-like riffs. as did early Mudhoney and brought in horn sections and violins. The first track on the album "Baby, Can You Dig the Light?" (which is over eight minutes long) sounds like a lost track from The Stooges album Fun House. Other interesting tracks include "The Straight Life", "Our Time is Now", and "Inside Job". The band followed the release of this album with a South American tour.

In 2006, Under A Billion Suns was released. The album further expanded upon the new sound the band experimented with on Since We've Become Translucent. The album brought in more horn sections and the band expanded lyrically on political subjects. Songs such as "Hard-On For War" (originally recorded in 2003), "Empty Shells", "Where is the Future?", and "It Is Us" addressed political issues. The album is just as interesting as their 2002 release. The band toured again in 2007 and released a live album titled Live Mud. In 2008, Mudhoney released their ninth album The Lucky Ones. This album is seen as Mudhoney returning to their original sound and has been as hailed as their best album in years. It was recorded and mixed with overdubs within three and a half days. This superfuzzy and raw album was also released to coincide with Sub-Pop's 20th anniversary, and the band's. In May of 2008, Sup-Pop also re-issued Superfuzz Bigmuff. The re-issue expanded the EP into a deluxe edition adding twenty additional songs, demos, early singles, and live tracks.

In addition to having a long career with Mudhoney, Mark Arm and Steve Turner have been involved in many other side projects. They are involved in the garage rock and blues side project The Monkeywrench. The band has released several albums including their most recent one in 2008 titled Gabriel's Horn. They have been active since 1991, seeming to release an album every eight years. In 2000, Turner went on bass and along with Mark Arm (on guitar/vocals) and several other musicians (Dan Peters, Scott McCaughey, Tom Price and Bill Henderson) they formed the one off group The New Strychnines. This band released one album containing 16 covers of songs originally done by garage rockers, The Sonics; The album was titled The New Original Sonic Sound. Mudhoney are a band that kick started the Seattle Grunge scene, but unlike almost every band to have come from that time, they are still standing and most importantly still rocking.

The Play List:

1. Supergrass - Strange Ones
2. The Creepshow - Take My Hand
3. The Jolts - Hey, Alright!
4. The Caesars - Boo Boo Goo Goo
5. The Pack AD - Blackout
6. John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (With Eric Clapton) - Little Girl
7. Malibu Kens - Crude City
8. Bureaucrats - Vaccination
9. Diodes - Teenage Nation
10. The Clips - Space Kidz
11. Elvis Costello & The Imposters - American Gangster Time
12. Public Image Limited - Home
13. Wire - Map Ref. 41 Degrees N 93 Degrees W
14. Talking Heads - No Compassion
15. XTC - Are You Recieving Me?
16. Magazine - Give Me Everything
17. U2 - Touch
18. Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick
19. Mudhoney - Today, Is A Good Day
20. Mudhoney - New Meaning
21. The Monkeywrench - Solar Revelations
22. Luger Boa - Mutate or Die
23. Nirvana - (New Wave) Polly
24. Pearl Jam - Spin the Black Circle

Mudhoney Videos:

Touch Me I'm Sick (Live 1991)
Into The Drink
Suck You Dry
Pump It Up
Generation Spokesmodel
It Is Us
Hate The Police (Live 2008)
New Meaning (Live 2008)
The Lucky Ones (Live 2008)

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