Do415 photographer James Pawlish caught the MUDHONEY show at Slim’s last Friday…and leaves us wishing we woulda went!!
James also made time to talk to Guy Maddison, bassist of Mudhoney:
J: This is the ninth album that you guys have put out…I know the last one, the band kinda summarized a it’s based kinda off of rhythm up, instead of just riff and rhythm down kinda platform that you’ve guys have done in the past. With this new album “Vanishing Point” what’s the major difference…from “The Lucky Ones” and from previous albums that you’ve been a part of?
G: Well, this time we used sort of a mixture of what with did with The Lucky Ones and then some of the records we did before that. Theres a group of the songs, about half of the songs on the record, Mark doesn’t play the guitar and just sings, so that was the format that we used for the Lucky Ones…ya know the songs sort of spontaneously grooved with the lyrics at the same time, and then the other half is on this one are more like this one with previous records when we work on the music and then Mark comes along and does the lyrics second…and so those songs typically have Mark playing guitar on them and then the lyrics, are a little different because ya know, the ideas for them are not so on the spot they are more thematic or something, where as the other ones hes singing along with us and we are in the practice room where he’s just singing and not playing guitar, might be more sort of rhythm based
J: with this album, the title, I love it, where did that title come from “Vanishing Point”?
G: Well it was driven more by the photograph than anything else. Mark had that photograph, his wife was the photographer, she took it on a trip she made to Sierra and ya know he liked that photograph, and he said what do you think for this for the record cover and we thought yeah thats a great looking photograph and it’ll look good on our album cover so then came ya know previously as you probably know most of the record titles since I’ve been in the band have come from the lyrics…this one he was just looking for something that fit the image and I guess all of us are kinda fans of ya know the movie Vanishing Point, it’s kinda a classic, ya know everyones sort of our age group as well, its a cult film.
J: Off this new album was there any tracks that you that you just love or got really involved with?
G: Well I mean we are actually for the first time, I think ever for the band we are actually playing it front to back for the album release which is something ya know there are always a couple tracks on the record that are not gonna be live tracks ya know, but I think all of this one is gonna be live, the tracks on that are really like playing Chardonnay cuz its hilarious and it’s uh , its fun to play it its sorta a fanned out bad brains style punk. I really like playing the What to do With the Neutral, it’s quite different for us, ya know its a different taste, it’s gota spiciness that we haven’t used much in the past.
J: I was listening to some of the album, it has that sound that has made Mudhoney.
G: Yeah I think that one of the things thats really great about the new record is that some of the guitar playing is exceptional and some of the sound that Steve gets which is ya know a big part of what Mudhoney is, is the guitar tone, and uh I think ya know Steve is in exceptional form on this record.
J: now I know in the past Mudhoney has jumped around with Reprise, Sub Pop and back again, How has Sub Pop been to you guys?
G: I don’t think Sub Pop has changed that much from their original roots as an alternative record label there very nurturing to the band, they provide very fair and equitable splits of the money, I think that actually because the marketing is changing with recording because of online nature of it and even for magazines and stuff so theres a lot more ya know they run a youtube channel so they had us made a video so it could be on the subpop youtube channel and stuff like that , they’ve been really enthusiastic abput it and uh sort of had us doing thing that we haven’t been that familiar with because just the nature of the record business is changing a fair bit.
J: You mention the record business changing, what are your thoughts with services like Spotify. I mean I remember growing up, once you found something by a band that you really like, you literally searched out every single thing you could and it took so much work but you appreciated the music but you appreciated the music but now you can go on these services and you can pull up any band thats related to what your looking for. Do you think Spotify has changed that dynamic of the way we are listening to music or appreciating it?
G: I grew up in Australia as a kid and there weren’t that many record stores, we found out about things by reading, Maximum Rock Journal stuff like that, ya know we belonged to a community that kinda thing everything swapped and shared and I think that for the people who are interested in the more indie stuff, its probably not using Spotify that much, Pandora that kinda stuff, but I think for the people buying mainstream music its definitely changing it, you don’t have to go to magazines to find stuff out anymore, you don’t have to have your eat to the ground so much, if they like Coldpaly they can plug in Coldpaly in Spotify and it pulls up bands that are roughly related to them. I don’t think its thats disconcerting because its partly driven by advertising obliviously theirs money involved. I don’t know how the integrity of the system.
J: So when you’re not with Mudhoney, what do you do with your down time?
G:Well we have a two year old boy (my wife and I) so that takes up some of it, I have a day job, I’m a registered nurse I work at a hospital, and apart from that, I am a keene cyclist.
J:I haven’t seen you guys in years, i’m really looking forward to that show In slims . Its a great venue
G: yeah I think everyone’s pretty excited about it, cuz I’ve never played at slims before but I’ve been there a few times, I’ve been to SF, and I’ve played there for over twenty years, it will be a nice change from Bottom of the Hill and Galaxy 78 and places like that last couple times we’ve been down.
J: BOTH is a good spot too, just went down there and caught these two bands from LA, Fiddler and The Waavs, and man they just they romped it through and killed it. I’ve never seen that place so on fire like it was.
G: yeah its a pretty intamate room, to be in there and see the band you have to be in that small space, its a lot of fun for bands to play there, its a good room. But I think one thing about Slims it’s all ages is it not?
J-yeah I mean Im 30 and I kinda like it when its all age and you get young kids in there that are 17, 18 and they come, ya know maybe never been to a punk show, or never had that experience of never being in the pit, just to see the energy they bring, it kicks me on my ass but it also makes me step it up a little bit.
G: Yeah it’s a right of passage ya know? For young punks coming up to get to go and see shows and it was a little easier for me when I was younger cuz the drinking age was only 18 . But it’s nice to play all ages cuz we don’t get offered those when were out of town.
J: Being from Australia, who were some of your musical influences growing up?
G: a lot of my influences are basic influences of everyone, bands like the Sex Pistols, The Dan, and the Stranglers, were really the things I got into earliest, started to discover American hardcore like Dead Kennedy’s in high school. There are a bunch of bands from Australia that are the seminal groups, that would be, essentially, the Scientists, the Saints and the Radiobirdman for me so , most of those bands were either de funked or moved away from Australia by the time I was interested in them.
J: What is it like to be in one of the only alternative rock bands of the nineties thats been able to carry over to make it last, whats the secret?
G: Well I think partly the secret is those guys don’t want to be part of the mainstream, and obviously most of us would like to be as well of as we can be, but I don’t think making money was huge drive for them. It was more more, wanting to make music on their terms and having as much fun as they could, which probably why the band has been so long lived, when a lot of its its contemporary has died away and have now reformed usually. I think all of us are pretty much of the same mindset that coming up out of the punk seen its more important that you like what you do than it is that you do something for someone else because the record label wants it.
J: What has been like working with Mark, hes someone who’s worked for a lot of people?
G: He is very easy to work with hes pretty enthusiastic to what others can brings to the table, hes easy to get a long with musically, its kinda amazing to even practice and play along and you think oh god where did this voice come from? Its really powerful, its got a smeared delivery, its kinda strange when you look across and hes wearing t shirt and jeans and wearing his slippers….
J: how is his approach lyrically in this album compared to the last one?
G: well he said, in particular all is course just came to him all at once, because it’s a narrative story, and it just came to him all at once. I think some of the other stuff, like the johnny thunder kinda track called I Don’t remember you, which is pretty self explanatory ya know you get stopped by some guy in a super market and he goes “hey man you don’t remember me but we used to party” ya know lyrics drawn from real life.
J: Well I think that’s pretty much it, thank you, I’m really looking forward to the show at Slims!
G: Thank you! See you there