You can subscribe to 2 different philosophies when you see a live show: you can think that it’s all about the music, that the look of the band is not nearly as important. Or you can think of it truly as a show, where the importance is played on providing as much of a visual experience as a musical one (in some cases, you will find it ok to even have the music come secondary to the show itself).
Personally, I dig both.
I remember seeing Mudhoney in this tiny club, not even 2 meters away from the stage. It was a badass rock n roll show. Band and crowd felt like one. The setting was intimate, and for lack of a better word, it felt “real”.
Mudhoney just came out with a pretty remarkable album called “Vanishing Point”, and after 3 or 4 listens, I know that this is an album that will keep growing on me and keep me grinning at Mark Arm’s ongoing rants. The single “I like it small” proves exactly the point of why Mudhoney work so well in a setting that is, indeed, small: they were a band that could have gotten away with much more success than they have had, but they truly instead chose to embrace what they had in a time where living in Seattle was becoming a trend for bands that truly wanted to “make it”.
Perhaps what is great about the current state of music as far as a band like Mudhoney is concerned, is that “making it” does not carry the same weight that it did 20 years ago. They’ve seen all kind of trends come and go and have seen that through not changing a single thread of their identity as a group, their consistency can be seen seen as what it truly means to make it: they can still release the music they want to, they can still tour the types of venue they want, and judging by this new album and having seen them live they are still having a lot of funs in the process.
Their consistent wave of the middle finger to an industry that has changed so much is a fresh reminder of what’s missing in a lot of modern music: attitude. I hate to sound like “rock is dead” etc… Lester Bangs was saying that in 1973 the moment the Stones released Goats Head Soup.
Call me an idealist, but I do believe in the words of Neil Young: “Rock n roll will never die”.
My point is that this album made me realize at what point people are still trying to reinvent the wheel, as far as rock music is concerned. Yet the rock bands that I relate to seem to know that their band is not the first rock band you’ve heard. They wear their influences on their sleeves, with pride to concentrate on something greater than a temporary gain of attention: songwriting.
Mark Arm shall forever remind us of Iggy Pop. That’s cool. We know what Mudhoney sounds like, we know what the Stooges sound like. I think that’s what this new album of theirs made me realize and why I like it so much. I actually listen to what’s being said, I listen to every instrument and that only makes me want to put the record on repeat.
By not changing, Mudhoney is making us care about what they have to say. Give this new record a listen – and pay the 20$ if they come to a town near you.