Although they never quite attained the levels of mainstream fame and fortune that some of their hometown contemporaries enjoyed, Mudhoney was one of the first and best bands to come out of Seattle during the late 80s and early 90s alternative rock explosion.
With fuzzed-out guitars, snarled vocals and heavy riffs on songs like “Touch Me I’m Sick,” “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” and “Here Comes Sickness,” the band was the embodiment of what was later termed the ‘grunge’ movement and is one of the only original groups around today.
Celebrating its 25th year of existence, Mudhoney hits Slim’s April 11, fresh on the heels of releasing their latest album, Vanishing Point earlier this month on Sub Pop Records, the Seattle label that is also marking a quarter century of putting out music.
“The fact that we’re still around, when you stop to think about it, that we’ve been a band for 25 years, it’s pretty crazy,” says drummer Danny Peters, who in addition to being a founding member of Mudhoney has also played with Screaming Trees, Love Battery and Nirvana.
Despite the fact that they don’t tour as often, or get played as much on mainstream radio or MTV as they used to, the band has survived the test of time thanks to a fiercely independent attitude and the strong friendship between Peters and the other band members; Mark Arm, Steve Turner and Guy Maddison (original bassist Matt Lukin left in 2000).
“Mudhoney is what Mudhoney is—we just write the way we always have, and we approach the music the same way we always have, and we try to come up with what we feel are the best songs we can. We never sit down and say, ‘Well, let’s try to write something like this, or write something like that,” says Peters.
Vanishing Point, the resulting album that was the latest culmination of that spirit, stands up with any of their early material, and it definitely won’t be a disappointment to long-time fans, or those just discovering the group.
Kicking off with Peter’s distinctive drumming, the record features highlight tracks such as “In This Rubber Tomb,” “Sing This Song of Joy,” and “Douchebags on Parade.”
As the years have gone, band members have started families, embarked on different career paths and even moved away from one another, but they always come back together to play music.
“Steve moved to Portland several years ago, so practicing and writing new material was becoming difficult,” Peters said. “When we would get together and practice if somebody had a riff or something, we’d throw it down on a recorder and over a couple of years we amassed about 30 riffs and songs.
“It was kind of a slow process, but Mark went and kind of weeded through all the stuff we had come up with throughout the years and whittled it down to the songs that are on the record.”
While they were finishing work on the record last year, Mudhoney was approached by a team of documentary film makers who wanted to make a movie telling the band’s story.
“At first we thought, ‘our band is relatively free of drama and whatnot, how interesting would a movie be about us?’ I guess it’s one of those things where being close to it, it’s like ‘who’s really going to enjoy this movie, or find it interesting, other than hardcore fans?’”
“We don’t have all the pitfalls that a lot of bands had, but it came out well,” says Peters.
I’m Now: The Story of Mudhoney was released theatrically in select theaters and cities last year, and is now available on DVD or streaming online.
After a series of weekend gigs here in the United States, including one at Sub Pop Records’ “Silver Jubilee” festival in Seattle in July, Mudhoney will head over the Europe in support of Vanishing Point.
If You Go:
Friday, April 12