Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly Soundbites

By Stephen Seigel

DECEMBER 7, 1998:  MUD IN YOUR EYE: Yeah, I know--grunge is dead. I mean, it was so '92: Soundgarden broke up a couple years back; there'll be a new Alice in Chains album out by the time flannel is so retro it's cool again; and I don't need to tell ya what sort of fate met ol' boy Cobain. So why should anyone care that Mudhoney is coming to town this week in support of their brand new album, Tomorrow Hit Today (Reprise), released in their 10th year as a band?

Here's why: Because Mudhoney kicks ass, plain and simple.

Is it street cred you're looking for? Let's not forget that future Mudhoney members Mark Arm (vocals/guitars) and Steve Turner (guitars) made up half of the members of Green River, the band credited with spawning the entire Seattle scene/sound way back in 1985. (The other two members were Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, now of Pearl Jam).

Are you scared you'll be scoffed at for living in the past by clubgoers who traded in their copies of Nevermind and Superfuzz Bigmuff a couple years back for the new Prodigy? I'll let ya in on a little secret: Soundgarden and Alice in Chains would've both been filed under "heavy metal" if they weren't from Seattle and had emerged a few years earlier; and Nirvana was a Cheap Trick/Pixies-inspired pop band with louder distortion pedals and deeper lyrics. My friends, "grunge" was the demented Easter Bunny of pop: It never existed. It was just a word invented by some marketing genius (or journalist hack) in an attempt to pigeonhole a bunch of bands who happened to shower infrequently and reside in the same region, and had very little in common musically.

Back to the music: Mudhoney is and always has been a down 'n' dirty, sleazy, fuzzed-out, '60s-inspired but unquestionably post-punk garage rock-and-roll band that plays three-chord, three-minute songs with themes lifted from Russ Meyer movies (just like their moniker). And here's the kicker--they do it as well as, if not better than, any group still in existence.

Don't let it bother you that they've been around for a whole decade now. The new album (their first in three years) is probably their most diverse to date, while still managing to sound like the Mudhoney we learned to love in the first place.

The self-referentially titled Tomorrow Hit Today (their first album contained the song "When Tomorrow Hits") was superbly produced by Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Big Star, The Replacements, and Ry Cooder, just to name a few. From the "Cinnamon Girl"-lifted opening chords of "A Thousand Forms of Mind," the band makes it clear they're not just putting out "product" to tour, but that they've made a fine addition to their already impressive canon.

And as great as any of their albums are, Mudhoney has always been, at their core, an earth-shaking, ear-splitting dynamo of a live band.

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