Mudhoney are probably more important to your musical tastes than you realize. If Nirvana and Pearl Jam were the ever-flowing ketchup of 1990s music, then Mudhoney were the butter knife that stirred it all up and got it going.
Mudhoney had a short flirtation with super-stardom in the early ’90s, perhaps peaking when they were featured on the soundtrack for Singles, the most ’90s movie ever made — with the possible exception of Encino Man, starring Brendan Fraser, Pauly Shore and pre-Lord of the Rings Sean Astin. But I digress.
After the sheen of “alternative music” wore off, some of the bands that had been lifted by the rising tide of flannel shirts and Starbucks coffee went on to become big-time arena rock bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, while others seemed to fade away.
But Mudhoney have been diligently making the music they want to while maintaining a relatively small but loyal fanbase. They’re sort of like the cockroaches of the Seattle music scene, but in a good way. So we did a little reading to see what interesting tidbits of trivia we could find. Here are some things you might already know — and a few others you probably don’t — about Mudhoney:
Mark Arm and Steve Turner’s first band was called Mr. Epp and the Calculations. When they got a chance to be on local radio station KZAM-AM, they were introduced as “the worst band in the world.”
Mark Arm is credited with inventing the word “grunge,” or, more accurately, being the first to use it to describe the type of music his band played.
Arm and Turner formed the band Green River, recruiting a couple of guys named Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard. After the dissolution of Green River, Ament and Gossard would go on to form Mother Love Bone, then a band called Pearl Jam.
Steve Turner quit Green River early because he thought fellow bandmates Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard had unrealistic expectations of musical success.
Steve Turner’s first musical love is folk. He’s actually released a few solo folk albums.
Mudhoney bassist Guy Maddison considers his duties in the band secondary to his career as a registered nurse.
Mark Arm works a day job packing CDs and records in Sub Pop’s shipping warehouse.
Arm also used to work for elevator music company Muzak. He told MTV, “It was like a job where scumbags could get work, duplicating tapes of Muzak and stuff for restaurants and elevators and department stores.”
Arm and Turner were fans of B-movie king Russ Meyer, but they hadn’t actually seen the movie ‘Mudhoney’ before adopting that as their band name. Arm went to see it in the theater as half of a double feature, but missed it when he left to get something to eat.
Mark Arm pissed off the singer of band Spaceman 3 by changing the lyrics of their song “Revolution” when Mudhoney covered it. While the original was about rising up to make a change in society, Mudhoney’s version was about making fun of heroin addicts.
In the movie ‘Singles,’ Matt Dillon’s band Citizen Dick has a single called “Touch Me, I’m Dick,” which is a direct play on Mudhoney’s first single, ‘Touch Me, I’m Sick.”
While touring the U.K. with Sonic Youth, Mark Arm would occassionally call people from Thurston Moore’s hotel room, pretending to be Moore as he yelled at people on the phone, demanding they come to the room to hang out.
Mark Arm is a fan of wine, which is his drink of choice back stage at Mudhoney shows. But he hates chardonnay. So much so, in fact, that he wrote a song about it, called “Chardonnay.”
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