Puddle Of Mudd
How Puddle Of Mudd landed on Fred Durst's Flawless label: Scantlin laid a demo on Durst - out of the blue (bumrushed him). They were the first act signed to Flawless.
Groups before Puddle Of Mudd: Upchurch was in Eleven with Chris Cornell and Ardito played with Cellophane.
Fantastic pre-fame jobs: Not likely, unless being a dishwasher is the ultimate gig. Both Scantlin and Upchurch clocked in for that one. Scantlin also did time as a construction worker and cook. Upchurch moved on to house painting (not as easy as it looks). Ardito fumbled his way through grocery bagging and pizza delivery gigs. Only Phillips held a semi decent job - manager of a record store.
Puddle Of Mudd's influences: Alice In Chains & Pantera. On the next tier there's Queen and Radiohead.
Where Puddle Of Mudd formed: A wet spot in Missouri (actually just Kansas City).
What do St. Joseph, MO, Concord, MA, Brunswick, GA and Houma, LA, have in common? Each was the birthplace of a Puddle Of Mudd member. Scantlin - St. Joe and raised in K.C. Ardito - Concord. Phillips - Brunswick and raised in Jacksonville, FL. Upchurch - Houma but grew up in Kingston, OK. Tough break.
"Life On Display" had two hits, "Away From Me" and "Heel Over Head." It sold in the neighborhood of 600,000 copies. Apparently, that wasn't enough for Upchurch who left to join 3 Doors Down. Then creative differences with Scantlin led to Phillips' departure. But before the two packed it in, Puddle Of Mudd recorded a live set, "Striking That Familiar Chord," at San Diego's Key Club in late '04. The album was released the following spring. Also, Upchurch and Phillips were replaced by drummer Ryan Yerdon and guitarist Christian Stone.
While on the road in '07, the group made a tourist stop at Graceland (the late Elvis Presley's estate). For tens of thousands, Graceland is an interesting if generally uneventful nostalgia trip. But Scantlin was the exception getting himself banned "for life." While wandering through the grounds, he decided to jump into a private pool. "I just wanted to take a dip," quipped Scantlin a little bit later. He was dragged out of the pool by very unhappy security personnel. A few days later, everything was back on track with the release of "Famous," featuring the uptempo but melodic "Psycho," which nailed the top spot on the Active Rock Radio chart early the following year.
After Stone was let go "on good terms," Phillips returned to the fold. Working with producer Brian Howes in Vancouver their next set was tentatively titled "Jacket On The Rack." That was changed to "Volume 4: "Songs In The Key Of Love & Hate." Featuring the singles "Spaceship" and "Stoned," Puddle Of Mudd's fourth studio album landed in late '09 and sold around 100,000 copies.
According to Scantlin, the set had songs (particularly "Keep It Together" and "Pitchin' A Fit") that were inspired by his wife. She seemed to have a problem with his songwriting technique. Scantlin could often be found on the couch at 5 AM with several beers. "I get a song out of any mood that my wife is in," he added.
OK, maybe it's time to get out of the house and do some album promo work. But that didn't turn out too well either. Scantlin broke his right foot after jumping off of a stool following a New York radio station interview. "I was kind of hoping it was more serious than it is," Scantlin joked. "So much for a sexy explanation of what happened."
After completing one tour and about to embark on another, Puddle Of Mudd announced that Ardito had left the group. "It's been a great 9 years of rocking the music of Puddle Of Mudd with Doug," said Scantlin. "We wish him all the best in his future endeavors." They installed Damien Starkey, a friend of the band, as Ardito's replacement.
Puddle Of Mudd then issued "Icon," a compilation of singles from their first four albums. That was followed by another sort of compilation. "re:(disc)overed" had covers of songs by The Rolling Stones, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. In the meantime, Shannon Boone replaced Yerdon and Dizzi Devereux was hired as a third guitarist for tours to help with Scantlin's parts, so he could focus on singing.
2001 Come Clean
2003 Life On Display
2009 Volume 4: Songs In The Key of Love & Hate
"Come Clean," Puddle Of Mudd's debut album Rocks with "Control," "Nobody Told Me" and the less dense but charging "Bring Me Down." "Drift and Die" and "Never Change" are more ballad oriented but not embarrassing. Overall, a strong start.
For '03's "Life On Display" Puddle Of Mudd kicks it out on several tracks including opener "Away From Me." But it's the change-of-pace songs "Change My Mind" with the acoustic guitar and the pop oriented "Spin You Around" ("turn your world upside down") that have the most immediate appeal.
With a new line-up Puddle Of Mudd widens their aperture on "Famous" - ranging from their core post-Grunge/Alt. Rock to a little left of Bon Jovi. That latter drift may strike some as lame. To their credit POM pulls it off but still, it is what it is. If the '70s "Psycho" or "We Don't Have To Look Back," which could have come straight out of Jersey, don't do it, there's a lot that will.
Scantlin gives a Kurt Cobain-ish reading to the line "so you wanna have a good time" on "Merry Go Round" then uses "Radiate" to channel Layne Staley.
The title track comes out roaring and snarling all the way. "It Was Faith," "Moonshine" and "I'm So Sure" keep the faithful from grousing too loud.
"Volume 4: Songs In The Key Of Love And Hate" is not nearly as dark as the title implies but there are moments. The set's best track, "Pitchin' A Fit," is another nod toward Nirvana. Scantlin's "All I'm trying to do is make you happy" is frustration and uncertainty cut by desperation and spiked with some passive-aggressive anger. Just the toxic mix that fueled Cobain's best vocals.
A killer guitar drives the hard-edged "Out Of My Way" and "Spaceship" hangs on a melodic bass hook. The powerful "Blood On The Table" is countered by the acoustic "The Only Reason." For being opposites, it's telling that both songs work.
On "Better Place" Scantlin turns serious singing about not being around when needed. But mostly, he doesn't dwell in the darker vestiges. Rather, "Stoned," as the title implies, is about getting high and the album closer, "Hooky," provides a tongue-in-cheek (hopefully) track designed for high school boys.
A covers album is usually a sure-fire loser. It's hard do a song that comes within five miles of the original. Changing a song's arrangement, tempo or overall feel is risky too.
One way not to look completely stupid is to cover tunes that pre-date the audience, like British bands did with the Blues in the mid-to-late '60s. Or take the sappiest, wimpiest songs and give them some muscle, which is what New Found Glory attempted. Puddle Of Mudd splits the difference on "re(disc)overed."
Covering songs from the late-'60s and early-'70s, when even their oldest fans were still on all fours, was smart. When Steve Miller's "The Joker" comes on the radio (about the only place the song gets played) it is simply regarded as an embarrassing oddity of the '70s - you had to be there. Puddle Of Mudd do a excellent job turning it into a cringe-free song. The same holds true for their take on Billy Squier's "Everybody Wants You."
The set opens with a Hard Rock interpretation of the Rolling Stones' classic "Gimmie Shelter." It lacks both the original's foreboding and vocalist Mary Clayton - serious omissions. However, the track is far superior to Grand Funk Railroad's '71 version. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" is a pretty faithful remake of the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks track. Singer-songwriter BC Jean handles the Nicks part.
What is most impressive is Scantlin's ability to come close to capturing the sound and attitude of the original vocalists, whether it's Neil Young's drawl on "Old Man" or Bon Scott's (AC/DC) drunken swagger for "T.N.T."
The set closes with "Funk #49." That's perfect - can't go wrong with that riff.