The seminal Seattle four-piece will perform at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine on April 28 and the Torquay Hotel on April 29.
For the better part of 25 years, Mudhoney have honed in on a tried and tested formula. Distorted garage rock guitar tones, brazen punk ferocity, and the signature muffle of the esteemed Big Muff pedal are all sounds synonymous with the Seattle proto-grunge outfit, who are largely credited as innovators of the grunge movement.
So at this point, if the underground grunge icons were to release an album that was a rehash of their seminal 1988 breakthrough release Superfuzz Bigmuff, fans wouldn’t just be content, they’d be stoked.
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That said, it should be relatively easy for the well-oiled rockers to get into the studio and bust out an album at any point – especially when the group’s bassist confirms that the band can record an album in a timespan just shy of a fortnight.
“I’ve been in the band for the last 21 years, and the six studio albums that I’ve made with them have always been recorded in a period of 10 to 14 days,” laughs the group’s Australian-born and based bassist Guy Maddison.
“And that’s usually with breaks in there as well,” he adds.
Expanding on the group’s quick turnaround times with recording sessions Maddison noted, “We try to hone in all of the songs before we go in the studio.
“I think a lot of bands that spend longer in the studio are perhaps more experimental with their writing process and don’t have things entirely mapped out, whereas we rehearse stuff a lot, and then go in and lay it down pretty quickly.
“I guess we’re well-practised at this point because we normally get through recording pretty quickly.
“Plus, we’ve got a raw sound, which is sometimes easy to recreate in the studio.”
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While Maddison states that, the group’s most recent effort Plastic Eternity begs to differ, with the group’s twelfth full-length release highlighting quite a significant changeup for the band’s sound. Sure, it’s still Mudhoney through and through, but with singles like the quasi-psychedelic ‘Almost Everything’ channelling elements akin to the overlapping krautrock rhythms of Can, and the Latin-inspired neo-psych/Afrobeat fusion of ex-label mates GOAT, it’s undoubtedly packing a different flavour than the group’s iconic back catalogue.
“It’s interesting that you picked up on that,” remarks Maddison. “GOAT released two fantastic records on Sub Pop probably about ten years ago now. They are an amazing band.
“And interestingly enough, when it comes to rhythmic aspects of ‘Almost Everything’, Dan actually does play hand drums on it, which is a little bit unusual for us.
“The way we normally write is, we come up with riffs, we record them in our practice studio and then Mark goes back and sees how he can fit in the lyrics,” he explains.
“But that specific song was one that sat for a while in its unfinished form. It was originally called ‘Gopal’ after the Sam Gopal group from the late ’60s. If you’re unfamiliar with them, Sam Gopal was a British-Indian tabla player and percussionist, who made a fantastic record called Escalator. And interestingly enough, one of the main writing musicians on that record was Lemmy, pre-Hawkwind time, and you can actually hear some of the songs off Escalator on later Hawkwind and Mötörhead songs like ‘The Watcher’.”
“We love that sort of stuff, so I think the rhythms of that song were made to sound a bit like the Sam Gopal Band, who are very driven by hand percussion.”
When asked if the group’s newly adopted psychedelic soundscapes remain a prominent influence amid the entirety of Plastic Eternity, Maddison briefly paused to contemplate; “I think there’s a couple of tracks in there that people won’t be expecting from us.”
“But there’s also still stuff for the diehards. Most songs still use a lot of pedals and carry the garage punk sound that people generally associate with Mudhoney. But I think that over the years, we have evolved and are now able to stretch our wings into different types of music while still sounding like Mudhoney.”
And he couldn’t be more right, with the group consistently humbling themselves by returning to their roots and playing intimate club shows. It’s an ethos adopted for the group’s 2023 National tour run, which marks the group’s first Australian appearance since the final Big Day Out in 2014.
“It’ll be great fun”, exclaims Maddison, “I believe there is one festival, Gumball in New South Wales, and the rest are all intimate club shows, which are pretty much the best environment to see Mudhoney in.
“We’re super excited. We’d hoped to come out earlier, but the pandemic shut everything down and pushed back our tour schedule, so it’s a great feeling to be able to bring the band back to Australia.”
Catch Mudhoney at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine on 28 April and the Torquay Hotel on 29 April. You can purchase tickets and find out more here.
Mudhoney’s Plastic Eternity is out on 7 April 2023.