Puddle of Mudd Overview:
Puddle of Mudd have managed to produce a series of No. 1 hits on the mainstream rock charts despite being ridiculed by critics since their emergence at the beginning of the 21st century. Deeply indebted to the aggression and guitar sound of the Seattle bands
of the ‘90s, this Missouri quartet aren’t a particularly innovative group, but their ability to write accessible songs in a popular genre have kept them on the radio for most of the decade.
Puddle of Mudd's Origins:
Puddle of Mudd are led by vocalist and guitarist Wes Scantlin. He had started an earlier incarnation of the band in the ‘90s and had put out a few independent records, but after that group fell apart, he met Fred Durst, the frontman for Limp Bizkit
, who had just started his own label, Flawless. Durst put him in contact with musicians who would soon become his bandmates – guitarist Paul Phillips, bassist Doug Ardito and drummer Greg Upchurch. Signed to Flawless, Puddle of Mudd set out to make their major-label debut.
In 2001, Puddle of Mudd released Come Clean
. The reviews almost unanimously derided the album for its derivativeness – the band aped ‘90s bands like Stone Temple Pilots
and Alice in Chains
, and Scantlin’s vocals were eerily reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s from Nirvana
. Of course, those similarities were exactly what endeared Puddle of Mudd to so many fans, and the album eventually went triple-platinum, boosted by the self-effacing single “She Hates Me.” Clearly, this was music that demonstrated that grunge would continue to be a viable musical form in the new century.
Hard Rock for the Post-'Nevermind' Crowd:
Riding high after the commercial triumph of Come Clean
, Puddle of Mudd came back two years later with Life on Display
. Again, the band ripped through (and ripped off) the grunge playbook, but their skill at reproducing the sound of Nevermind
and other classics from that era gave the album a nostalgic feel. As with other post-grunge
bands like Nickelback
, Puddle of Mudd’s music was defiantly middle-of-the-road hard rock that appealed to listeners with more conservative tastes. But without the breakthrough singles of Come Clean
, Life on Display
struggled to match its predecessor’s chart success.
A Lack of Confidence:
By the time of 2007’s Famous
, Puddle of Mudd had experienced some personnel changes and a sonic transformation. Upchurch had left the band, replaced by session drummers for the album, and guitarist Paul Phillips had also flown the coop. Perhaps not surprisingly, Famous
as a result felt like a self-conscious hodgepodge of styles. For the first time working with outside songwriters, Scantlin moved toward a slicker sound that bridged the gap between late-‘90s post-grunge and the alt-metal
approach of later bands like Disturbed. The band remained popular on rock radio, but the energy of Come Clean
seemed a distant memory.
'Volume 4: Songs in the Key of Love & Hate':
On December 8, 2009, Puddle of Mudd returned with Volume 4: Songs in the Key of Love & Hate
. The album would be the first to feature new drummer Ryan Yerdon, and Phillips had rejoined the lineup after departing before Famous
. The first single was “Spaceship,” which, unsurprisingly, sounded inspired by Nirvana.
Puddle of Mudd Lineup:
Doug Ardito – bass
Paul Phillips – guitar
Wes Scantlin – vocals, guitar
Essential Puddle of Mudd Songs:
“Drift and Die” (Purchase/Download
“She Hates Me” (Purchase/Download
“Away From Me” (Purchase/Download
Puddle of Mudd Discography:
Life on Display
Volume 4: Songs in the Key of Love & Hate
(covers album) (2011)
Puddle of Mudd Quotes:
Wes Scantlin, on his preference for simplicity in his songwriting.
"The song 'Blurry' is three chords; I mean that's three notes, dude, really! In a basic world, it's only three notes. I mean you can play it with one finger on a guitar. You know what I'm saying? I'm telling the truth here, man, I'm not lyin'." (Ultimate Guitar, October 16, 2008)
Wes Scantlin, on the inspiration behind "Control," which is about a kinky relationship.
"I was going out with an uncontrollable person, and I was uncontrollable, too. But the intimacy was really, really good ... [There were] some freaky-deaky things going on." (MTV, September 15, 2001)
Wes Scantlin, on what made him decide to get into music.
"I went to a Van Halen concert. It was my first concert, and I got kicked off the soccer team because I didn't make the game the next day. I saw Eddie Van Halen playing the guitar, and I was like, 'I want to do that.' I started playing guitar and started writing songs at a really young age. It's all I've ever really done." (MTV, September 15, 2001)
Puddle of Mudd Trivia:
- In 2004, Scantlin was arrested after cutting short the band's show in Toledo, Ohio, claiming he was too drunk to perform. He was charged with, among other things, "misconduct involving a public transportation system."
- Scantlin first met Durst when he and a friend went to a Limp Bizkit show. The friend made fake backstage passes, which Scantlin used to get access to Durst and give him a demo tape.