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This an extract of an interview that I did with Mudhoney a few weeks back, over a tasty curry at Hansa’s in Leeds.

All of the band were present and to sum them each up in a pointlessly reductive manner, Mark was playful, like a puppy that would tear your leg off if you gave him the wrong dog food. Steve seemed more studious (though maybe it was just the glasses… gee, that really is reductive). Guy was passionate and keen to chat, just as keen to eat (and the grub is mighty fine here). Dan was quiet – he seems like a speak-when-he’s-got-something-important-to-say kinda chap. Which is possibly why he doesn’t feature too heavily in this section.

I wanted to talk to the band about the rising culture of revisionism in music. When I used that phrase, they initially gawked at me like I’d just puked up the Review section of that day’s Guardian newspaper. Convinced that it was a real word and I was using it in the right context, I bumbled on, asking them how they feel about bands reforming, revisiting old material, vaguely mentioning ATP and skirting around the ‘Don’t Look Back’ series, of which Mudhoney took part a few years ago.

Mark: “You mean the ‘Don’t Look Back’ stuff?”

Er, yeah, that and the fact that there are a hell of a lot of bands reforming, like the New York Dolls, etc, etc, blah blah blah.

Mark: “I go by a case-by-case thing really (there are mumbles of agreement between mouthfuls). I mean, I was really excited to see the The Stooges. I’m not as excited to see The Stooges with James Williamson. But I’m still pretty excited to see them… It was a pretty weird process for us to do it (referring to their ‘Don’t Look Back’ performance of Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles) But we’re doing it again with the Raw Power Stooges (sic) in New York, about a year from now.”

Guy: “Barry (Hogan, All Tomorrow’s Parties henchman)’s been very clever, because he’s picked bands that have been popular for him. There’s people that want to see them that didn’t get a chance to see them.”

Mark: “And it’s a really fucking good idea.”

Guy: “But a lot of these bands reforming, you know, a lot of it’s about money.”

Care to name names?

Steve: “Well, I think that’s a good part of why we’re doing it, right?” (more mumbles of agreement)

Mark: “And I think a band like The Stooges should get the money.

Sure, I get what you’re saying, but you know, there’s tons of bands that I like, that I never got to see first time round, but you know, that wasn’t my time. Why should I feel the need to be a part of it? Isn’t it a bit selfish to insist on having a little bit of everybody’s past for yourself? Doesn’t kind of indicate a serious lack of anything happening in the here and now, if we’re all desperately scrabbling around getting bands to reform and recreate the past? Sounds like a fairly damning indictment of modern music culture…

Mark: “So don’t go.”

I won’t!

Guy: “You can never recreate the real thing; like, seeing the Stooges in a football stadium in Seattle is never like seeing them in a small ballroom in the ‘70s.”

Steve: “I’m amazed that, you know, punk rock fans wear the same things that punk rock fans have worn for years. You know, it’s like, you’re worse than the hippies ever were…When we got into music, people were wearing stuff from, like, 10 years before, late ‘60s, early ‘70s and this was the ‘80s. Punk rock was like, what? 30 years ago? People wearing leather jackets with The Clash and The Exploited patches right next to each other, you know, just not getting the point at all. At the time, there was a huge gulf between those two bands. Now it’s all kinda the same thing.”

Mark: “I’m always happy when I see the kids doing something that I don’t expect them to do.”

Steve: “So, what, you’re happy when they wear leather jackets with The Clash and The Expoited next to each other?”

Mark: “No, but I accept that, because…” (at this point, Mark’s profound statement is cut off by the more pressing issue of a waitress taking our drinks orders)

I think there’s a lot less tribalism with kids these days, they listen to loads of different types of music, because it’s all there at their fingertips.

Guy: (the conversation moves on to electronic music and access to downloads) “people don’t really buy albums, they just buy tracks. And there’s so much out there, so much that’s underground, they start a label on their own or there’s independent labels. Thre’s all these labels of what it actually is – it’s fascinating.”

I guess, in a way, it’s become so much easier now for kids to sit at home, with a laptop, than it is to lug guitars and amps across town. Harder to find places to practise too. I think in many places, people are less tolerant of noise, warehouses & practise places are getting bulldozed to make way for posh flats, councils trying to gentrify every inch of their towns and cities…

Steve: “And you can also discover so much music now, just sitting at your computer, which I think is great.”

Mark: “But you know, I looked for those first two Stooges records for a couple of years before finding them on Canadian import in Oregon…”

There is a general agreement that the widespread availability of downloads kinda kills the thrill of the hunt that record collectors have thrived on for years. Pity the children. And the lazy ones…


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