Who deserves more mockery: the nerds who assemble massive lists of barely useful data, or the nerds who pore over said lists for days on end as if it were some sort of Rosetta Stone for their wasted lives? I'm going to go ahead and say the latter is more detestable, more deserving of un-gentle ribbing, finger-pointing and possibly even outright scorn. Then again, I spent the past two days scouring the playlist archives of MTV's classic alternative music program 120 Minutes to figure the exact moment when I first saw Mudhoney — which felt a bit like being the birthday boy face-planting in his birthday cake. Or the dog rolling around in his own shit. Needless to say, it's a specific sort of shameful pursuit that only the Internet can provide. That said, if growing up on the tail end of Gen X has taught me anything, it's that a little self-loathing goes along way.
But that's really neither here nor there. The important thing is "Suck You Dry," the lead single from Mudhoney's major label debut Piece of Cake, ran on 120 Minutes on Nov. 8, 1992, right between Nirvana's "In Bloom" and Lemonheads' "Mrs. Robinson." (Or at least, that's the date according to the 120 Minutes archive on TylerC.com, which seems entirely too thorough to be wrong.) While Tyler C. does note that "Suck You Dry" aired four other times, it's unreasonable to assume that — now hang onto your butts, this about to get really uncool — my parents would let me stay up late enough to catch anything but the Nov. 8 airing. Did I mention I was in middle school and had yet to figure out that whole programming-the-Reagan-Era-VCR thing that would become essential to my consumption of late-night alterna-tunes in high school? So yeah, the only way I could have caught it was on a long weekend, with no fear of repercussions for staying up too late on a school night. So there it is, an epically uncool introduction to one of the coolest bands of all time.
But what an introduction! Grunge, alternative, modern rock — whatever you want call it — had barely hit the suburbs, and here was Mudhoney, already turning in their piss-take. Set in the futuristic year of 1998, the "Suck You Dry" video finds Mudhoney — who at this point had already been acknowledged as architects of the "Seattle Sound" — celebrating "10 years of grunge," performing to a virtually empty nautically themed drinking establishment populated by bored-looking proto-hipsters and that one guy who always has to mosh even if he's the only one moshing. It was like a giant needle popping the Singles balloon, letting out all of the hot air that had accumulated in the year since "Smells Like Teen Spirit" exploded, complete with a Sub Pop-parodying "G>R>U-N<G<E" banner. And the sounds! Unlike those of their more classic-rock-leaning peers, Mudhoney's major label single was a steam engine of punk belligerence and fuzz-guitar goonery. It might have been their shot at the big time, but with 20 years of hindsight, it looks like Mudhoney was aiming for its own feet.
Needless to say, as a young goon hell-bent on being too cool for middle school, I was sold! It's hard to say whether I ran out and bought Piece of Cake the next day — I've never been good at hanging onto receipts — or if I waited a week to stockpile lunch money and allowance to afford the shiny disc. (A shiny disc that, it should be noted, would "last forever" and "sounded better than vinyl." Oh, the lies we were sold.) Regardless, Piece of Cake was acquired, and my mind was blown. I can't even say if I liked it initially — I remember a distinct air of weirdness and an unease with the songs' snotty, obnoxious execution. I was unsettled by the fact that Mudhoney didn't really have any other radio songs. Plus, there were those random untitled interludes that were maybe techno, and maybe country — and one that was definitely just noodling and fart noises — and maybe it was all just a giant middle finger to the listener who picked up Piece of Cake thinking they were getting an album from The Next NirvanaTM.
But six albums — there have been nine studio albums altogether, counting the classic grunge-seeding records for Sub Pop that came out pre-Piece — and two decades later it seems pretty obvious that I was in love. It's evident that on a late weekend night in 1992 I found myself some life partners, and every time Mudhoney releases a new record, it's like we're renewing our vows. Mudhoney's latest album Vanishing Point is just as visceral — and obnoxious and hilarious — as that clip of frontman Mark Arm & Co. bashing away in the back of nautical-themed bar, getting the jump on parodying a culture that would become a parody of itself in a few short years. On Vanishing Point's "I Like It Small," Arm sings "I'm not on some grandiose trip, I'm fine with little sips," he taps into that portion of the psyche that never wanted to find The Next NirvanaTM anyway — he connects with the late-night, sugar-addled kid who never wanted much more than to be too cool for middle school.
"Cory Branan. –Brandon Jazz" - YES
Jack likes hip hop. The guy is a Detroit native, any music about struggle is…
jared corder complaining about people moving here is a bit ironic. pot meet kettle.
nobody said so so glos and desaparecidos for best 2013 show! surprising.