Mudhoney bassist and nurse: ‘COVID has touched everything,’ even music

Oct 23, 2021, 3:29 PM
Mudhoney. [Photo courtesy of Teresa Sedó (botellitadecielo)/Flickr Creative Commons)]

COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic seems to have influenced every part of our lives, including music. That’s especially true for one local star who is also a supervising nurse at Harborview: Guy Maddison, the bassist for Mudhoney.

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Maddison told KIRO Radio that he started at Harborview Medical Center close to the time he started with grunge band Mudhoney, so has been juggling the two for 20 years. When it got more intense at Harborview due to COVID, Maddison started a podcast called “Emergency Room: The Covid Diaries.”

But when did he know that this was going to be a particularly stressful time in his nursing career?

“It sort of started out slowly,” he said. “We’d had some scares in the past with infectious diseases and potential outbreaks and pandemics with MERS and SARS, and then also there was the scare of Ebola, you might remember. This seemed the same … when the news first started to break.”

“It wasn’t until March, the end of March, when I got reassigned to a position that was actually helping coordinate the testing and the placement of patients and staff in the hospital that my work as a nurse really changed a lot,” he added.

Thankfully, at Harborview and within UW Medicine, Maddison says the number of COVID positive patients is trending down.

“It’s still a lot higher than than we expected with this final wave of the pandemic,” he noted.

Seattle and Washington are also thankfully not in the same situation as neighbors: Idaho and Alaska.

“They’ve instituted what they call crisis care management strategies,” Maddison explained, speaking about the neighboring states. “That means that they are completely overwhelmed. They have more cases than they can treat without enough resources, without enough staff, without enough ventilators.”

“We’re not in that situation at Harborview or at UW Medicine,” he added. “We have the staff and the ventilators to deal with the amount of patients we have. It’s still a tremendous drain on the hospital, but we are not so seriously affected as, say, Idaho, who has to move its patients out of state — a lot of them to here, in Seattle, for treatment.”

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After a long day at Harborview, Maddison says he’s thankful for his music and his friends in Mudhoney.

“We obviously haven’t been doing any shows for quite a long time. All our 2020 engagements were canceled and pushed to 2021. And once again they were cancelled,” he said. “But we still get together, and we’re working on a new album, so we do get to practice once a week.”

“And, yes, as you might be able to see on the Skype call,” he told Dave Ross, “I’m sitting in my studio with my instruments here around me and it’s a great stress reliever for sure.”

As far as whether or not the COVID pandemic will impact Mudhoney’s music, he thinks it’s inevitable.

“I think COVID has touched everything in life, including it’s touched music,” Maddison said. “You know, we talk about it a lot. It was an interesting process to go through waiting for us all to get our vaccines. Obviously, I was vaccinated very early as a health care worker, and then obviously we talk about it a lot, how it’s affected us and what our upcoming tour in May 2022 will look like.”

“There’s still a great deal of unknown with COVID,” he continued. “So yeah, there’s no way to separate the two. It’s had a big impact, and I think that maybe some of the songs on the next record will have some topics related to COVID in them.”

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Mudhoney bassist and nurse: ‘COVID has touched everything,’ even music