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Members include Chud (born Chad Gray), vocals; Guug (born Greg Tribbett), guitar; Ru-D (born Ryan Martinie; joined group, 1998), bass; Spag (born Matthew McDonough), drums. Addresses: Record company--Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022, website: http://www.sonymusic.com. Management--Anger Management, Chuck Toler, 6907 University Dr., Suite 199, Middleton, WI 53562. Website--Mudvayne Official Website: http://www.mudvayne.com.
The thrash-rock band Mudvayne have been on the road almost nonstop since their appearance on the national music scene in 1999. With extensive touring and a great sense of costume design, the quartet have built a reputation similar to that of rock group Kiss in the 1970s--they put on a great concert with visuals that hypnotize the audience. Though the band has struggled with comparisons to Slipknot, an equally costumed band, they've managed to create a following of their own, with highly anticipated, heavily played music videos that air on MTV and MTV2.
Mudvayne was formed in a Peoria, Illinois, basement in 1996 by guitarist Greg Tribbett (otherwise known as Guug), drummer Matthew McDonough (Spag), and vocalist Chad Gray (Chud). Ryan Martinie (Ru-D), bassist, joined the lineup in 1998; he replaced the group's original bassist. Like Kiss and Australian rock group Spiderbait, they wear costumes and masks onstage. They were determined from the beginning, however, to find their own style of music. "If you're a band in the Midwest, you play cover songs or you don't make money," noted Chud on their website. "We refused to play covers because we were more interested in finding our own voice rather than trying to emulate someone else's."
From the start, their creative concerts visuals and metal sound earned them a healthy local fan base in Peoria. Hoping to parlay it into a national one, Mudvayne hit the road and swiftly built a reputation for their great stage shows. Their demo, Kill, I Oughta, led to a recording contract with No Name/Epic Records in 1999. Their first album, L.D. 50, was released in 2000, with Slipknot drummer Shawn Crahan as executive producer.
Surprisingly, the label chose not to focus on Mudvayne's more theatrical elements at first, putting a logo on the cover of the album and keeping promotional pictures to a minimum. Then, in a typical sink-or-swim scenario, the single "Dig" wasn't released to radio for months after L.D. 50's release because Epic wanted to wait until it hit the 100,000 sales mark. Luckily the band had a big boost coming up.
In the "Dig" video, band members wore costumes and makeup that made them look like demons from a horror movie. MTV2 put it on the air, and even after heavy rotation, appetite for it was strong. Sister network MTV, recognizing the mainstream buzz on the band, added the group to their lineup and even featured Mudvayne in a concert special.
The MTV Video Music Awards ceremony usually gives fans a surprise or two, and 2001 was no exception. When "Dig" won the MTV2 Award (a new category "created to highlight artists who had their musical clips debut on MTV2," according to the MTV website), Mudvayne members went to the podium in white suits spattered with fake blood and sporting phony bullet holes in their heads. Mudvayne's favorite themes are alienation and rage--and they don't shy away from controversy. At a concert, before playing "Cradle," a song about domestic abuse, MTV reported that Spug told the audience, "This is a song about dear old dad."
Comparisons to Slipknot, their more successful mainstream peers, were inevitable. But Mudvayne insists that the bands have developed separately. Unlike Slipknot, for example, Mudvayne never sticks with one mask, theme, or style. "Anybody who follows the band closely knows that there has never been a consistent image with us," Spug told Jon Wiederhorn of MTV. "The only consistent thing about this band is that we have always involved ourselves in theatrics. If you look inside L.D. 50, you'll see me with black and white stripes, and I've never played in that. Every day we go onstage and do something different." In the same interview, Chud added, "The only thing that we take super-serious about ourselves is the music. The visual stuff is just stimuli to help you enjoy a journey, an experience that is a Mudvayne show." But the topic can seem to get out of Mudvayne's control at times. "In the beginning of this band," Spug admitted to Carla Hay of Billboard, "I thought putting on makeup would be fun, and I really had no idea what a powerful marketing tool it would turn out to be. I'm not so naive now."
Mudvayne quickly built a reputation as a major draw at big festivals. They've always considered touring to be their primary method of promotion, headlining clubs and, since hitting it big on MTV, traveling with a number of national and international tours including Tattoo the Earth, Ozzfest, and the Disturbed tour. They don't mind the grind since touring is what helped them to earn their success. They try not only to entertain their following but to give them what they want. When bootleggers releasing bad copies of live and unreleased material, the band decided to release Beginning of All Things to End with material from the vaults remixed to sound as good as they could make it.
Continuing their fast pace, in 2001 the band took only one month off from their 18-month road trip to work on their second album, End of All Things to Come. After such a long time out of the studio they didn't know what to expect. They had big ideas for complex arrangements, but found it difficult to wrap their heads around some of the theories involved in creating them. However, once they got started the album came quickly. Several tracks, including "Not Falling" were a bit of a departure from their style, including a catchy refrain. That might appeal to a wider audience but it also risked alienating their existing fans. The band members, however, felt it was time to include more melody in their music if they wanted to grow.
Their gamble paid off: End of All Things to Come debuted on the Billboard Top 100 chart at number 17 with 79,000 copies sold in one week. "Not Falling" was also heard in the movie Ghost Ship, playing in the film itself as well as during the end credits. This time MTV gave the band a healthy amount of airtime, moving Mudvayne further into the mainstream.
by Ben Zackheim
Group formed in Peoria, IL, c. 1996; signed with Epic Records, 1999; released first album, L.D. 50, 2000; joined the Tattoo the Earth tour, 2000; released Beginning of All Things to End, joined the Disturbed and Ozzfest tours, 2001; released End of All Things to Come, headlined their own international tour, 2002; joined Metallica's tour with Limp Bizkit, 2003.
MTV2 Video Award for "Dig," 2001.
- Selected discography
- Kill, I Oughta (demo), 1999.
- L.D. 50 No Name/Epic, 2000.
- Beginning of All Things to End Epic, 2001.
- (Contributor) Resident Evil (soundtrack), Roadrunner, 2002.
- End of All Things to Come Epic, 2002.
April 12, 2005: Mudvayne's album, Lost and Found, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_3/index.jsp, April 15, 2005.
- America's Intelligence Wire, December 18, 2002.
- Billboard, April 28, 2001.
- "Mudvayne Drops Alien Getups, Embraces Bowlers, Blood for NY Date," MTV News Online, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1458487/20021104/mudvayne.jhtml (February 7, 2003).
- Mudvayne Official Website, http://www.mudvayne.com (February 7, 2003).
- "Mudvayne: Smell The Crow," MTV News Online, http://www.mtv.com/bands/m/mudvayne/news_feature_112202/?_requestid=676615 (February 7, 2003).
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