‘Godfathers of Grunge’: Seattle’s Mudhoney roars again

Feb 1, 2013, 3:53 PM | Updated: 4:24 pm

When it comes to the icons of the Seattle “Grunge” scene, many people point to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. But those in the know would say Mudhoney can rightly lay claim to the title “godfathers of grunge.” So you’d figure front man Mark Arm is at least a little bitter the band didn’t attain the worldwide fame and fortune of his contemporaries. You’d be wrong.

“Not at all. These are all old good friends of mine and I’ve always been nothing but happy for their success,” he says of fellow musicians like Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, his former bandmates in Green River.

“There’s a reason that Green River split up. They’re making their own way doing their own their music and we’re totally content in our little world making our own music.”

That music hasn’t changed a whole lot since Mudhoney formed back in 1988. It’s a swirling, fuzzed out concoction of punk influenced rock with a decidedly unique twist. Arm says it was always a reflection of the group’s decidedly eclectic musical interests that spanned all styles and eras.

“I like jazz a lot but I wouldn’t be comfortable faking my way through that,” he laughs.

But it’s rooted in hardcore punk and bands like Black Flag and Minor Threat. Still, as those bands gained in popularity, an increasing number of copy cats started showing up in Seattle. And Mudhoney vowed to do something different.

“It kind of made it seem like hardcore was kind of a dead end, and that’s when we started out trying to figure out where this stuff came from.”

That led them to all sorts of influences, from the early garage rock of legendary Tacoma rockers the Sonics to early punk pioneers like The Stooges and The MC5.

Arm says he’d actually never heard of the Sonics until he read about them in the old rock fanzine Trouser Press in an article by a British writer.

“It always kind of amused me that I learned about this band in my backyard from a British guy,” he says.

Decades later, the two bands are sharing the stage in a highly anticipated, sold-out show Saturday night at Showbox at the Market. It’s a gig Arm says the pair have been trying to put together for years.

The Mudhoney set should feature plenty of the classics like “Touch Me I’m Sick,” but it’ll also be the first chance for fans to hear tunes from the band’s upcoming album “Vanishing Point”, due out April 2 on Sub Pop. It’s Mudhoney’s ninth studio album, the first since 2008’s “The Lucky Ones.”

Arm says while there’ll be little doubt it’s a Mudhoney record chalk full of the band’s signature sound, it’s also surprisingly diverse.

“It’s got a couple of slower things and one song you might even think is a ballad,” he says. But then he quickly qualifies it. “It’s not like a romantic ballad or anything,” he laughs.

While he’s happy with it, he doesn’t have any delusions of grandeur the band will suddenly become a chart topper. It’s why he’ll be back at his day job next week at Sub Pop, where he’s run the warehouse for the last few years.

“It can be pretty humbling […] because I know how much our records sell compared to other records,” he laughs.

Listen to “The Only Son of the Widow From Nain” from Mudhoney’s upcoming “Vanishing Point” out April 2 on Sub Pop:

Mudhoney and The Sonics play Saturday night Feb. 2 at the Showbox at the Market.

Local News

homeless encampments...
Dalton Day

King County Council rejects attempt to remove public homeless encampments

King County Council ahs rejected a motion to codify procedure for removal of homeless encampments in unincorporated King county.
16 hours ago
Charleena Lyles...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle agrees to settlement in Charleena Lyles wrongful death lawsuit

The City of Seattle will pay a $3.5 million settlement to the family of Charleena Lyles, a Black woman who was shot and killed by Seattle police in 2017.
16 hours ago
charity, giving...
MyNorthwest Staff

Secretary of State warns Washingtonians about giving to fake charities

While it's the season for charitable giving, it's also the season for scammers. The secretary of state's office has tips to help protect your donations.
16 hours ago
Tacoma police, South King County...
MyNorthwest Staff

South King County mayors demand action from state to end rash of violence

Multiple mayors in South King County are banding together to combat a violent trend after seven people were shot in four days. 
16 hours ago
Seattle election...
Nick Bowman

How wealthy strongholds helped deliver Seattle’s 2021 election to moderate candidates

Seattle's moderate candidates prevailed in the 2021 election on the strength of wealthy neighborhoods along its eastern and western coastlines.
16 hours ago
pineapple express, seattle rain...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Seattle area sets record for wettest fall season with more rain on the way

As wet weather persists across the region, the Seattle area has officially set an all-time record for fall rain between September and November.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
‘Godfathers of Grunge’: Seattle’s Mudhoney roars again