Mudhoney To Unleash ‘Plastic Eternity’ In Adelaide Tonight…

Seminal Seattle four-piece Mudhoney play at Lion Arts Factory in Adelaide tonight, marking nine years since their last local shows in 2014. A mammoth odyssey that has spanned April and May and has seen them playing headline shows across six states, with a handful of festival dates among them.Mudhoney have an enviable career spanning over three decades, thirteen studio albums, five live records, and endless headline shows around the globe.

Their provocative debut single Touch Me I’m Sick and 1992 hit Suck You Dry cemented them as pioneers of the late 80’s early 90’s grunge explosion, with their sound an instrumental foundation of the era. The band have managed to find time to lay down tracks in the studio for new album Plastic Eternity, which follows their 2019 EP Morning in America, giving Australian fans the opportunity to hear all of the new and a bunch of the former favourites live.Year after year, Mudhoney delivers contrarian, politically charged, anti-sentimental musings with their signature skuzz-rock rebellious, underground sound to wake you up, punch you in the gut and put a smile on your face with equal measure. Steve Turner talks to Hi Fi Way about playing in Adelaide tonight.

Is Australia the best place on Earth to tour? The band really does seem to like it here.
It’s definitely one of my favourites. It’s right up there. Getting there is hard, but once you’re there it’s good.

With such an illustrious back catalogue, it must make the job of pulling together a tour set list a nice challenge to have?
It gets harder with each time we put out another record, you know, we’re going to do a few of the new songs once we learn them. There are a few songs we always have to play every night, I think and we’ll continue playing those ones.

How has it been for the band navigating through the last couple of years?
It’s a strange world right now. We didn’t see each other for a year and a half until we got vaccinated. Through the early days of the pandemic, we just like didn’t do anything and that’s weird. Our lives were weird in other ways during that as everybody’s was. Once we got back together again, it was great and we quickly tried to put together some ideas for a record.

Did the ideas come during the pandemic or once you got back together?
Well, we had a bunch of stuff already that we had recorded at the rehearsal room and stuff like that. A lot of it came together during those times. We all had ideas, including Dan, our drummer, who’s now contributing with guitar ideas and stuff, which was a kind of a fun little change. Yeah, we cobbled together, you know.

What was the energy like in those jam sessions when you were working on the ideas for the album?
Like I said, we didn’t have as much time, because we didn’t get together for a while, so we had already made a schedule, if you will. We had some studio time, so it was more, it was frantically trying to come together and figure out what we were going to record. Then a lot of it was, we had sketches of ideas and then we went in the studio with that. Usually we’re more prepared when we go in the studio. This time it was kind of flying by the seat of our pants. I think it made it more interesting and got some good energy out of it.

Do you think that sort of franticness would be closer to what you might have done in the early stages of your career when you were first starting out?
In a way, yeah. What I would like to remind us of every so often is that if the four of us just one day said, okay, we’re going to be a band now and when you first form, you come up with a whole set’s worth of songs in a couple of weeks, so you have something to play if you’re going to be a band. It gets harder as you get older, I think, to work like that. But necessity made us do it that way this time. I loved it, it was okay, we got to get something together, think boys, what are we going to do?

Sonically how would you describe Plastic Eternity?
Oh, it’s grunge . Dan’s bringing in some music now and some of those songs are very different from things that the other three of us would’ve come up with. So that’s kind of exciting. That’s a little different dynamic. We have our producer engineer, Johnny Sangster, was more actively involved in this process. He played guitar and keyboards on some songs. I think it came out really strong, but I don’t know what to call it. I’m going to stick with grunge.

What do you say to the people that say that grunge is dead and has been dead for a long time?
All the terms are kind of ridiculous. When we started we thought we were another punk band and punk bands influences were evolving and growing through the eighties. We all came out of the hardcore scene for the most part. Hardcore was kind of a dead end because how fast can you go? So everybody’s trying to figure out what to do in a certain way and different influences came to the fore. I think that our main group of influences would be sixties psychedelic and obscure obscurities, seventies oddball music, punk rock and hardcore. Then I think there’s a huge influence on us from the mid-eighties American and Australian underground. You have Big Black, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Black Flag evolving through the years down in Australia you had The Scientists in particular Feedtime were a big one for us. All these things that were kind of noisy rock, I think that’s a good term for it that, I think that works for me, we’re noise rock grunge.

Did everything go as you thought it would in the studio?
We’re all pretty open-minded and it’s a pretty easy process I think at this point for us to come up with stuff. We share so many influences together and we’ve been doing it for so long. I mean, Guy’s been in the band more than twenty years and we know what we do and I was surprised at how quickly it came together to be honest.

Did you write enough for the album or were there a few leftovers for b-sides?
We have enough. We’re hoping there will be a tour seven inch of two other songs that didn’t make the cut for the album. There’s a handful of other songs that will do an EP with next year, kind of the same way we did on our last go around where we did Morning in America after the last record Digital Garbage. I think we’re on a roll. I think we’re really creative together right now. I think because we don’t do it all the time is a big part of why we’re not burnt out yet.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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