Always the bridesmaid… Seattle-based rockers Mudhoney were there at the very beginning of the grunge movement, marrying punk rock and metal. Shit, Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm was one of the first to bring the obscure term “grunge” to Seattle using it as a tongue-in-cheek derogatory description of one of his earlier bands in a letter to a local rock magazine. Nirvana, the ultimate lottery winners of the genre, worshipped Mudhoney, so it’s puzzling that in the great Grunge Gold Rush of the early ‘90s everyone, everyone (Candlebox, for Christ sakes!) was able to at least get temporarily rich and famous off the genre, except for the Mudhoney. Yes, they signed a very modest deal with a major label, but they never sold nearly as many records as their contemporaries.
British journalist Keith Cameron, who covered grunge’s inception and ultimate implosion, does a great job of capturing the band’s story, in true self-deprecating fashion. All of the current members (founders Arm, Dan Peters, Steve Turner and Matt Lukin and Lukin’s replacement Guy Maddison) weigh in, as do Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard – both of whom were in Green River with Arm and turner, before Mudhoney. And plenty of others connected to the band and the Seattle music scene at the time. The band openly discussed all of the internal strife, from drug addiction to indifference, that hung over the band like a dark cloud.
There is not a whole lot of new information reveled here that hasn’t been covered in previous books and articles about Seattle in the ‘90s and last year’s Mudhoney documentary, but the book is absorbing regardless; It’s nearly as hard to resist as the band itself.
Mudhoney: The Sound and The Fury From Seattle by Keith Cameron/Paperback/304 pages/Voyageur Press