By Mike LaVella
O.K. I know what you all are thinking. What could possibly be said about Mudhoney that hasn't already been written. Well, first of all, I'm the biggest Mudhoney fan of earth. Let's face facts. I can deal with it. To me, the sun rises every morning on them and sets on them every night. I've read every article and interview written about them, and some I liked, some I hated. I especially hated it when the band didn't give straight answers and the piece seemed like a big joke. We discussed this, and if the person conducting the interview knew nothing about the band, regardless of the magazine, it was a joke to them. Well, I strolled in there with an entire notebook full of questions and a 120 minute tape (thank God) which was quickly filled up. I really think these guys have a lot to say, and I pulled no punches while transchibing. A lot of words, thuosands in fact, can be said be five people in two hours and the fact that everyone spoke at the same time didn't help when I sat down and tried to make heads or tails of this. But this is also a labor of love, people, Love and respect. Mudhoney are Mark Arm, vocals and guitar; Steve Turner, guitar and vocals; Matt Lukin, bass and vocals; and Dan Peters, drums. Mark and Steve were in Seattle's now legendary Green River, and are currently still involved with The Thrown-Ups. Before that they were in Mr. Epp and the Calculations and the Limp Richerds. Matt was previously in the Melvins and Dan came out of a band called Bundle of Hiss. If you knew all that, and you think you know the whole story, read on. Hey, they even surprised me a few times.
MRR: So is it better to interview when you're drunk?
MRR: So do you guys ever read MRR?
MRR: Did you see my Sub Pop piece?
MRR: Did you see my Crime interview?
Steve: The problem is that we saw Crime the last time we were here, and they were horrible.
Mark: Horrible. Some people don't know when to stop.
MRR: Well the did stop for years, but I guess public demand...
Steve: No way!
Mark: The show we caught there was nobody there to see them, and it was a two dollar night. So it couldn't have been public demand. On a certain level there is, I mean they must know their records are worth money or whatever, so I guess the problem was that they had already played once.
MRR: So you guys plan on throwing in the towel before then?
Mark: I hope we realize when we suck.
MRR: You guys are harsh!
Steve: That may be...
MRR: I heard from some people that you guys hate San Francisco. Is that true?
Steve: No, we don't particularly like much of California, but we don't like much of any city.
MRR: I know that L.A. can be tough, and that Green River had trouble there.
Steve: We don't like anything south of Seattle. We don't like Portland, we don't like Tacoma. Olympia is O.K. We don't single out San Francisco at all, there's no added distaste for it.
MRR: Other than Seattle though, what stage can't you wait to step onto?
MRR: In Hoboken?
Steve: Berkeley Square was really fun.
MRR: It was funny when everyone left before Christmas played.
Mark: I guess there are a lot of close-minded, one-dimensional fucks in the area.
MRR: It must be weird for you guys because, for instance, some bands work all their lives to get into the Fillmore and your first ever San Francisco show was there.
Steve: Man, that place sucked! Why would anyone work their whole life to play there? That's a sad life.
MRR: I don't know, cuz Jerry (Garcia) played there! It's San Francisco, man.
Mark: Well maybe it means something to people in San Francisco.
Steve: It doesn't mean anything to us.
Mark: It's like when we were in England, people were going, "Wow you've really broken a lot of ground getting into Melody Maker and all this shit," and we were like, "That doesn't mean anything to us, because we don't know anything about the magazine."
Matt: I don't feel comfortable playing in a place where they got some guy standing there saying, "Hi! Welcome to the Fillmore" to everyone who walks in. And they got a lounge where they got some band playing...And there's all these posters, and I just didn't like it cuz I got in trouble for stealing pizza!
MRR: Now very punk rock, huh?
Mark: Not very punk rock at all.
MRR: So playing at the Fillmore was no big deal?
Mark: It's just not the best place to play in a town for the first time. It was like, here we are unknowns opening for Sonic Youth in this huge place where half the people actually 90% of the people are just kinda sitting there, trying to figure out what's going on, or sitting out in the lobby because they never heard of you. It's just not the best situation to be in.
MRR: Well I just heard that you didn't like it here, and I thought maybe that was part of the reason.
Steve: No, we like it fine.
Mark: It's like anything, when we say we don't like something it doesn't mean that we seriously hate or anything. I mean, there's things about Seattle that suck. There's things about everywhere that suck. But there's probably something about everywhere that's really nice...I mean (holding up a bottle) the glass is half full...not half empty.
MRR: So the name comes from the Russ Meyer movie, right?
Mark: That's where we heard it.
Steve: We never saw the movie or anything...
MRR: You never saw the movie!?!
Steve: Well, we have now.
Matt: We figured we were in a band called Mudhoney, we better see it.
MRR: Did you like it?
MRR: How big of a tour are you on now?
Mark: Just down the coast.
MRR: This is your third time here, how many times have you been across America?
Mark: Just once, but before we went to Europe, we played like 10 dates around New York, New Jersey...
MRR: That first tour must have been weird because like in Philly, you played in someone's basement, but here you played at the Fillmore.
Mark: That's because we did the second half of the tour with Sonic Youth.
Steve: Hey you're the guy with the wife.
MRR: Well I was, we split up after 11 months.
Steve: Well, your ex-wife then, are we still her favorite band.
MRR: Not since she heard TAD.
All: Oh no!
Steve: God dammit! The fat man wins out again!
Mark: It's a curse to follow in that big shadow!
MRR: I don't know man, there's something about fat. I mean, did you ever see the Necros? The front row was full of screaming women every time.
Mark: We've never gotten that.
Steve: Hey Dan! Keep eating! We'll put the drums up front, people will love it.
Matt: I remember Barry (Henssler) telling me, "I don't know what it is, but people just love to watch fat people boucing around on stage."
Mark: Screaming Trees, man.
MRR: Look (holding up questions), that was a part of this tell a funny Barry Necro story. You got to it before I did. Umm...you were in Europe once?
Steve: Twice. We had been to Germany before.
MRR: Early on, huh?
Mark: Even before we toured the States. That was a weird thing. It was like this independent label showcase and since we were both on Glitterhouse and Sub Pop, we were chosen to represent both labels. Even though the only thing we had out at the time was the single. So we went there, came back, and four days later we started our U.S. tour.
MRR: So this last time in Europe was really good?
Steve: Oh yeah.
MRR: Where did you go?
Steve: England, Holland, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Austria.
MRR: I was getting postcards from Matt from Soundgarden and it was like, "Mudhoney did this Mudhoney did that." He actually didn't say much about his band being there.
Mark: Well, I think they had a hard time in Europe because they were having personnel problems while they were there.
Matt: I have to tell you the truth I don't remember much of Europe...or the last five years of my life. I realized today that I'm losing my mind...
MRR: Hey while you're talking let me ask you this: you settled everything with the Melvins, right?
Matt: Pretty much.
MRR: So everyone loves everyone now, right?
Matt: Pretty much.
Steve: We hope so. Of course, we never know what is said behind our backs!
MRR: Actually, I do know what is said behind your backs.
MRR: Everything seems cool.
Steve: Well there was never anything between anyone except them and Matt. There's no reason to drag us into it.
Matt: In some interview that we did, I said some pretty stupid things that I probably never should have said...but they shouldn't have kicked me out of the band!
Matt: I think that me and Buzz just grew apart. We have different opinions and I think it's better that we aren't in the same band.
MRR: I really like those guys a lot. They seem to be doing pretty well down here.
Steve: They are coming out with shit loads of vinyl. It's a total Melvins onslaught it's great.
Mark: The Melvins were an institution in Seattle for a really long time, on a certain level. I mean they were never really huge...
Matt: They weren't an institution like Lemmy is.
Mark: No but, hey, give it five years.
Steve: By the end of your stay in the band, lots of people were coming to see you guys.
Matt: Oh yeah.
Steve: They were some of the best attended shows.
MRR: (To Steve) What did you do between Green River and Mudhoney?
Steve: The Thrown-Ups.
MRR: You play guitar and Mark plays drums, right?
MRR: Is that still going?
Steve: Yeah, in fact we just recorded an album.
MRR: For Amphetamine Reptile?
Mark: Twin Tone, heh, heh.
MRR: So, this question comes from Dave Martin in Pittsburgh. Do you guys wear boxers or briefs?
Steve: This is a point of contention between us because we (pointing to Mark and Dan) are boxer men. Except for the hairless wonder over there (points to Matt).
MRR: Hairless wonder?
Mark: Matt is the most hairless person on earth.
MRR: Let's see your chest. (Matt pulls up his shirt) What's up Ted Nugent!
Steve: That's right, he didn't have much hair either.
Mark: His butt is hairy though.
Steve: He could braid it and shit.
Matt: I tried to wear boxers once when I was in junior high and was like, "Fuck this! I can't wear these things," so I put a jock on and started wearing a jock and boxers. (laughter) But now my regular underwear is so stretched out because I haven't bought any in years, so it's kind of like short boxers.
Steve: Saggy brownies.
MRR: But you guys...
Steve: Are total boxer men.
Unidentified person: My girlfriend wants me to ask you what you guys wear to bed.
Steve: I sleep in the raw.
Mark: I wear a pompadour to bed.
MRR: So, what are you guys listening to these days?
MRR: What, Hugh Masekela? That was music.
Matt: Black Flag, F.U.'s.
Steve: We have rediscovered the F.U.'s! "My America" was a hot record.
Mark: I think the F.U.'s were one of the funniest bands from that time period, and I think that MRR taking them way to seriously was ridiculous and that's about the time I stopped reading it.
MRR: It's interesting that you say that. In the Mr. Epp days you used to read it, right?
Mark: Yeah, I did a scene report in the third issue, under a different name.
MRR: Oh yeah? What name?
Mark: Craig Joyce.
Mark: I guess I didn't want people to think that a person from one of the bands mentioned was writing it.
Matt: When I was in the Melvins, we did a scene report that never got printed.
Matt: Of course, it was a total joke!
MRR: Well, they probably picked up on that, and that's why they didn't print it.
Steve: I don't know man. It's like when I used to do a radio show, I had to stick around for the MRR radio show and I remember thinking that it was odd that these older guys would be interviewing these young bands and asking them their political views and I mean, I do not take the political views of some 15-year-old kid seriously. Actually, I don't take any band's political views seriously. I felt like they didn't know any more than I do, but there they were spouting off.
Matt: 14-year-old politicians.
MRR: Well, in some ways, things have changed. I mean, I can go out and interview whoever I want and they print it. It's cool. Also I was the first guy pushing Sub Pop at the mag, but now the Glaser Brothers are into it. Murray Bowles likes you guys, things are changing.
Steve: Well, I still read the magazine, it comes into Sub Pop and I look at it. It still makes me mad when I read a review of something that I really like but the review is like, "If you're a fan of this weird noise stuff maybe you'll like it."
MRR: Yeah, well now if like Killdozer or something comes in they hand it to me. If Sore Throat comes in they hand it to Chris Dodge. Everyone has their own thing that they are into and it works well.
Steve: Maybe the magazine realized its own limitations.
MRR: But back to the question what are you guys listening to these days?
Steve: I bought a Bo Diddley record, a Nancy Sinatra, a Jaggerz record, you know "The Rapper."
MRR: They were from Pittsburgh, my home town.
MRR: Yeah, do you know who Donnie Iris is?
MRR: He was in the Jaggerz and wrote "The Rapper." You should cover it, and then play Pittsburgh.
Steve: I bought The Eyes, a Raw record from 1978. I was stoked about that.
MRR: Ever hear The Users?
Steve: Oh yeah, I never heard The Eyes though. I have most everything on Raw.
Mark: I bought the Walking Seeds record, the Swell Maps compilation, a Byrds single and a Scientists record that I bought because I needed like four of the songs on it.
MRR: So it's a mixed bag, huh?
Steve: I even bought a CD! Pebbles Volume 1.
Matt: I've been listening to old AC/DC, Ramones, Motorhead, Ozzy...
MRR: What about Seattle bands?
Matt: Nirvana, Catt Butt.
Mark: The Walkabouts are great, when I first saw them I thought they sucked, but lately they are great.
Matt: The Accused...
Steve: Gas Huffer, Beat Happening have a new record out, we're playing shows with them. Pure Joy have a good single out.
MRR: Who's that one band that has those guys from Big Tube Squeezer?
Steve: Oh, Love and Respect. I play on that.
MRR: That's really great. I like that a lot.
Steve: Really? I play slide guitar on that.
MRR: So you guys have sold more records than any other band on Sub Pop?
Steve: I guess so.
Mark: Even though on the mailing thing it says that Soundgarden is the best seller, but it's not true. We kicked their fucking asses, man!
MRR: So how many "Touch Me I'm Sick" 7"'s were sold?
Steve: The first one was 1,000, then 3,000 of the reissue, then it was out of print for a while; then they made 2,000 more and those are probably gone.
MRR: That's a lot, and "Burn it Clean" sold how many?
Mark: 5,000 advance orders.
Steve: 8,000 total so far.
MRR: That's a lot for a 7".
Steve: The 12" is out in Europe with a different version of "Need" on it.
MRR: From that German fanzine?
Mark: No, that's a live version, this is a different version.
Steve: It sold 6,000 immediately in Europe.
MRR: On Glitterhouse.
Steve: Yeah, and they also did Superfuzz with "Touch Me I'm Sick" instead of "Need."
Mark: That's why we keep releasing it over there.
MRR: Then in Australia it was issued except with "Sweet Young Thing" on it. Who put that out?
Mark: Au Go Go, we actually haven't seen it yet.
MRR: It looks the same, only the lettering is different.
Mark: Isn't it yellow?
Mark: I'd like to see it.
Steve: Ed, the singer for The Thrown-Ups, did the lettering on that.
MRR: Whose idea was it to do the Slits parody cover?
Steve: Actually, I think it was Charles Peterson, wasn't it?
Mark: Yeah, cuz he had that huge poster of it on his wall, and it kinda made sense with the name and all.
Steve: We wanted to call it "Slut." Like the Slits: Cut, Mudhoney: Slut.
Mark: We were going to do the record with the exact same design and all, but we didn't have enough patience, we had to use the photo.
MRR: So where did you get the mud?
Steve: Tad's backyard!
MRR: So you went to Tad's and he had the mud?
Mark: No, he had dirt, and we poured water on it. We wore our boxers though.
Steve: We gave Matt some boxers and he put them on over his tidy-whiteys. You can see that he was wearing two pairs of underwear.
MRR: Let's talk about the album.
Steve: We couldn't think of a title, so it's just Mudhoney. Twelve big songs.
MRR: How many songs were recorded?
Mark: The other songs are "Baby, Help Me Forget," which is a song that Mr. Epp originally did and that is the B-side of "This Gift," the third single, and "Revolution," which is a Spacemen 3 cover.
MRR: So how much new material are you playing live?
Steve: A lot.
MRR: Pushing the album a lot?
Steve: It's not all that new, we've been playing some of these songs for a while.
MRR: Do you like the new stuff better?
Steve: We like mixing it up, playing the same set every night wouldn't be fun for us.
Mark: When we were in Europe, we only had a certain amount of song. We had the Superfuzz stuff, the two singles, and a few odds and ends like "This Gift" and "By Her Own Hand" and we played those every fucking night.
MRR: You had more than that, you had "The Rose," you had "Hate the Police"...
Steve: Well, yeah, but we had stopped doing "The Rose" and "Halloween." We still did "Hate the Police."
Mark: We hate the police.
MTT: What started that?
Steve: It's an awesome song.
Mark: It's one of the best tunes ever.
MRR: It's amazing that you even know the song. There were very few of those made.
Steve: Actually a guy gave me the single.
MRR: So it wasn't like Gary Floyd said, "You guys are the greatest carry the torch." No great story, huh?
Steve: No, a guy gave me the single and I was blown away by it.
Mark: We never met Gary Floyd, but we did see the Dicks in Austin opening for Agent Orange and we thought they blew them away.
Steve: The Dicks were so great. We met Lynn when we played with Soundgarden at the I-Beam. She was really nice and seemed amazed that we did the song.
Mark: We did it at the I-Beam and at the Fillmore. We were hoping that Gary Floyd would be there.
Steve: We really wanted to meet him; he's got the coolest voice.
Mark: Another thing that's really cool about that song is that you can't tell if it's political or not.
Steve: The lyrics are like acid lyrics.
Mark: Total LSD.
Steve: It's like "we hatched" Thank you Gary! That's really putting it to the police!
Mark: Sometimes it really comes together, but it's not really linear, or a Crass-type rant.
MRR: What other punk tunes have you done?
Mark: "I'm a Bug" by The Urinals.
Steve: We did a Mighty Caesars tune for our Peel Session. We did "You Make Me Die."
MRR: What else?
Steve: "On Parole" by Larry Wallace. It's a really great song, but I don't know if we could do it that well.
Mark: It's a real kinda bar-rock song, it's hard for me to play those kind of riffs.
Steve: I want to learn a lot of punk rock songs so we could have them to whip out and never get bored.
MRR: What's the story behind "You Got It"?
Mark: I just had this lyric in my head: "You got it, keep it outta my face" and it eventually got molded into a certain thing that repeated all the time, but a lot of it is pretty loose. Of all the songs, it's the loosest lyrics.
Steve: If you wrote down the lyrics, it would be pretty much just a couple of lines.
Mark: You got it.
MRR: What about "Touch Me I'm Sick"?
Mark: It was just that line at first, too.
Steve: Our best lyrics are the ones we don't think about.
Mark: That's not true!
MRR: Did you think about "In 'N' Out of Grace"?
Mark: Well, they're all thought about. "Touch Me I'm Sick" these days I'm saying some pretty weird shit.
MRR: Do you agree with Bruce Pavitt that there is going to be a big Sub Pop backlash?
Mark: There already has been in a way.
Steve: There are some people who really don't like it, like Your Flesh or whoever. Some people can't get with the Sub Pop thing and I still don't really think of it as a "Sub Pop thing." To me it's like these are our friends, these are the bands we hang with.
MRR: I think all the bands are pretty different, actually.
Steve: Well yeah, but people think we look alike and since we're all friends and still it's such a close knit thing.
Mark: They're just sad because they're not part of the party!
Steve: I don't really see what could piss people off about it, but I think the critics in England will soon say we're totally bankrupt and worthless and etc. and it won't bother me I expect that to happen.
MRR: Who interviewed you for Spin? Was that like a valid thing?
Mark: That guy was really nice, it was done over the phone. I later met him in New Jersey and he was really cool.
Steve: He understood our sense of humor.
MRR: How do things like that come about? Did he just call you up out of the blue?
Mark: Yeah, he called Sub Pop or something, I don't know. There are people working these mysterious things that we don't even want to deal with or think about, on our behalf.
MRR: I think it's cool that you guys would be in Spin but still be talking to MRR.
Steve: This is a breeze, man.
Mark: Rolling Stone interviewed us, but they wouldn't print it.
Steve: They gave us this stupid-ass person the assignment, like "interview Mudhoney" and they were like, "Who's Mudhoney?" They didn't know anything about us, the questions were like "What's your music like? What are your songs like? What are your songs about?" It's like FUCK YOU, MAN! Fucking listen to it and know a little bit about it before you call us up and hassle us. I don't know what they wanted.
Mark: It was like the "college issue." Dinosaur and Soundgarden are in it. We got bumped because we were just like "you're stupid" to the interviewer.
MRR: You've been approached by major labels, right?
Mark: People always say that. People always know that we've been approached by majors but nobody ever talks directly to us.
MRR: Do you think you want to stay with Sub Pop as long as possible?
Steve: I want to go with Sub Pop as far as we both can. I want to help Sub Pop because that in turn helps me and I want it all to grow. When Mudhoney breaks up, I want to have a job at Sub Pop.
Mark: It seems like the strongest institutions are the ones that have had time to take root or make a solid foundation and grow from there. Aside from Guns N' Roses, things just don't happen that fast.
Steve: I think the rate we're been growing is pretty phenomenal and the same with Sub Pop and if they can keep up with us...
Mark: And if they can't they're fucking history!
Steve: But they can and so what's the point of going with a major?
MRR: I think that's cool, that's such a punk rock thing.
Steve: Hey, we care a lot." (starts singing)
Mark: Then they brown nose to some fucking major label to get signed.
MRR: I take it you don't like Faith No More.
Steve: Well, that song fucking sucks. "We care a lot about the people."
MRR: I think that's tongue-in-cheek.
Mark: I haven't heard them with their new singer and stuff but that one record has irritating keyboards and an irritating singer.
MRR: Who else do you HATE?
Steve: We don't HATE them!
Mark: Edie Brickell.
MRR: What was it like playing with Danzig?
Mark: That was weird. During soundcheck he wasn't even there, then he walked down, looked at the stage, which was like three feet high, and he said, "I'm not going to play unless there's a barrier." We were like, "Oh great, we have to have a barrier. Are you afraid people are going to touch you?" Anyway, after we played we were splitting to a bar down the street and we saw Danzig come out of his bus with like two security guards to keep people from touching him or something. It's like, "You were in the Misfits, you're so neat."
Steve: They're riding that Misfits thing.
MRR: Is the story about John Lyndon true?
Mark: What story?
MRR: Who played with Public Image? You guys or Green River?
Mark: Green River.
MRR: The story that you spit all over John Lyndon's mic.
Mark: No, no, no. there was this piece of paper tied down right by the mic that said "J.L.'s mic" and I knew this would bug him so I took my pen and I crossed out the J.L. and wrote M.A. Just little shit like that. They had these keyboards and stuff set up on the stage and said, "We're not gonna move this stuff so just be careful," and we said, "You better move this shit or we can't guarantee you that it's gonna be there when we're done because that's the kind of band we are," and they moved it. We pretty much stole all their beer when they were gone.
Steve: Andrew, the singer for Mother Love Bone, who was then the singer for Malfunkshun, took John Lyndon's wine and poured it all out.
MRR: This was where?
Mark: At The Paramount in Seattle. Anyway, he was pouring it out over the road crew...
Matt: Then you guys threw salami out of their tour bus.
Mark: Yeah, it was pretty out of hand, but it was a reaction to seeing someone that you respected at one point turning into something that you imagine that at one point he hated.
Steve: I never respected him at any point, really.
Mark: The first three records are great. I saw them a long time ago and it was an amazing show.
Steve: I never thought Johnny Rotten was a really cool dude. I thought The Clash were really cool.
Mark: I can listen to The Sex Pistols more than I can listen to The Clash.
Steve: I can listen to The Clash now. I've gotten over my Clash "thing."
Mark: I still haven't gotten over that movie they did.
MRR: What? Rude Boy?
Steve: Man, that's nothing to get over compared to Combat Rock!
MRR: Or worse yet, Cut the Crap.
Steve: I never even bought that.
MRR: Dan, do you want to say anything?
Steve: Dan! Talk about Bundle of Hiss!
MRR: The world is still waiting for that record, it had a Sub Pop number! It was #21.
Mark: That's Superfuzz Bigmuff!
MRR: So where is the record?
Dan: It never came out because the band broke up.
MRR: So why doesn't Hazelmeyer put out something?
Steve: It's not Amphetamine Reptile type of stuff. It's more like TAD ultra-heavy stuff.
Mark: It's like Hendrix jamming with Scratch Acid's rhythm section in a way.
Dan: We went through two million changes and me and the bass player were pretty much the foundation. We knew what we wanted to do, but the finished product never came out the way we wanted.
Mark: Which is funny, because everything we do turns out way better than we think it will.
MRR: Where are the rest of the members of Bundle of Hiss?
Dan: Kurt plays bass for TAD and Jamie moved to New York. Tad plays on the six songs of our recorded output that are worthy of releasing.
MRR: What do you do in the band? I mean, do you always come up with your own part?
Dan: Oh yeah.
Steve: We all write songs together. We all take credit for the songs.
MRR: (To Dan) But you wouldn't write lyrics, though?
Dan: I've never written lyrics in my life.
Steve: The person who sings them should write them, it just makes sense.
Mark: The two other guys in Bundle of Hiss, Jamie and Kurt, were like really heavy into poetry and stuff. They all had English degrees and shit.
Steve: Like Mark here.
MRR: You have a degree in what?
Mark: In English.
MRR: A Masters?
Mark: No, just a regular four-year degree.
MRR: How would you describe your new stuff?
Steve: It's really diverse; we got like total punk rock tunes. We got music for the punk rock kids, we got straight edge. Then we slow it down and add a fuck beat for the rap kids, country tunes for all the country people. So everyone will like us!
Steve: We have everything from The Velvet Underground to The Stooges!
All: (much laughter)
Mark: It's heavy, but in 20 years people will think it's cool.
Steve: So give us the low down on MRR.
MRR: What do you want to know about MRR?
Steve: It always kind of amazed me that it's still around...I mean, there have been issues that I totally loved, like the issue with all the punk rock collector singles on the cover.
MRR: Tesco Vee wrote that, he also loved Superfuzz Bigmuff. I saw a review in Forced Exposure, I think.
Mark: It was Your Flesh. Jimmy (Johnson) reviewed it for Forced Exposure.
MRR: I think it's cool that he is listening to you guys.
Mark: Us and Abba.
MRR: Punk rock.
Steve: Total punk rock. Have you seen The Dwarves?
Steve: Go see them! They are the most punk rock band that I've seen in years! I mean as far a weird nerdy freaks piss off, spitting swearing.
Mark: It was like, "I was born ugly...FUCK YOU!"
Steve: It was the punk ideal. I know they started out with '60s punk, which is one of my favorites.
MRR: The Haunted 1-2-5.
Steve: Yeah, all that shit. And it was so good that they started out like that and then freaked out on a punk rock binge total '77 arggghhh!
MRR: Who put the Lame Fest together?
Steve: Sub Pop.
Mark: It was like, "Hey Jonathon, let's get an all ages show going in Seattle" because we had no idea how many people who were under 21 would come to see us because we really never had an all-ages show in Seattle before. It's hard to get them up there. So they set it up with TAD and Nirvana. I was kinda hoping that it wouldn't be all Sub Pop, but that's the way it worked out.
Steve: It would have been really cool to have some band like The Nights and Days that isn't really a part of our "group."
MRR: Some Velvet Sidewalk...
Steve: That would have been really great! I saw them with the Go Team, they were really good.
MRR: So, the Lame Fest was really well attended?
Steve: twenty-three-hundred people.
Mark: Totally sold out.
MRR: Doesn't that make you think that maybe you should do more all ages stuff?
Steve: Oh yeah! We've been playing more small towns in Washington and we'll take all-ages shows if we can get them. It's really important. If I was a teenager in Seattle, I would be really frustrated. I used to go see shows when I was a kid and there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to do that now.
MRR: Where were you seeing these shows?
Steve: The first place was the Showbox, from like 1980 to 1983. I saw The Circle Jerks, PiL, TSOL, Black Flag...
MRR: What was the first band that you were ever in?
Mark: The Limp Richerds, right?
Steve: No, The Ducky Boys!
Mark: With Stoney!
Steve: The Ducky Boys were Stone Gossard (of Green River, later with Mother Love Bone), me and another guy who played drums. I went to this weird private school my senior year because I was kinda fucking up in regular school. So my parents said I could go to this other school so I could graduate. It was a weird hippie kind of place. I met these metal dudes there, and I was totally Mr. Punk Rock: big ol' boots and skinhead and shit.
Mark: And they were like Alice Cooper and Motley Crue.
Steve: They were into Motley Cure's first album and stuff. They had little shag haircuts like Rod Stewart. Anyway, for the first half of the year we hated each other, but the second half of the year we got to like each other because we were all really sarcastic and like they would try to put me down and I would match them banter-wise and so we got to be friends. Anyway, we got this band together, The Ducky Boys. We played "Louie Louie" and we played "Dr. Love" by Kiss. I had never really heard Kiss and they played me "Dr. Love" and I thought it was really funny so I learned to play it. And those were the only two songs we ever played.
Mark: And the singer never sang.
Steve: The singer was afraid to sing at practice because he had never sung before and was embarrassed. So all we did was instrumental versions of "Louie Louie" and "Dr. Love," (laughs) and check this out I didn't even have a distortion box. This is my roots: the guy that I was working in a restaurant with used to be in bands up in Vancouver and he started telling me about punk rock history. He asked me what kind of equipment I used and I said, "Peavy guitar, Sub amp," and he said, "Do you have a distortion box?" and I said "What's that?" I was going like "clink-clink-clink (to the tune of 'Dr. Love')." I couldn't tell the difference. So he gave me a Super Fuzz. So that's where the Super Fuzz comes from.
MRR: And you still have the same Super Fuzz to this day?
Steve: No, that one broke and I bought another one and that's the one Mark uses now.
MRR: And you use the Big Muff.
Steve: Yeah. Fuck! I just got a Mosrite Fuzz Rite which is what Davie Allan of Davie Allan and The Arrows used.
MRR: So are you going to do "Blues Theme" now?
Steve: We may as well do an entire '60s punk set now. It's the '60s punk sound.
MRR: So you went from The Ducky Boys into The Limp Richerds?
Steve: Yeah, Mark was already drumming in that band. It was kind of the brother band to Mr. Epp. Really nerdy weird people, the art spazz side of punk rock.
Mark: You see, these people weren't a part of the Seattle punk rock scene.
Steve: Like total suburban losers. People with thick glasses, bell-bottoms, those kind of people.
MRR: Good people to get hooked up with...
Mark: We weren't into punk rock because it was cool.
Steve: We were into punk rock because we could scream and yell and rant and rave.
Mark: It wasn't because of like, "Hey man, Johnny Thunders. Let's go get hooked on junk in a year." It was like, "Blahhhhhh!" (laughter)
Steve: I was always into like punk as the bookworm's revenge. People who were beat up and now they're up there rockin'. So it was like, "We're not total nerds. We're on stage are you're watching us. Fuck you!"
Mark: The whole attitude of Mr. Epp the whole time was pretty much "Fuck you."
MRR: Mr. Epp was from when to when?
Mark: 1980 to 1984.
Steve: I joined in 1983.
MRR: What's the story with what you said at the Danzig show?
Mark: The posters for the show said, "The evil genius behind The Misfits returns," so during our show I said, "I'm the evil genius behind Mr. Epp! Ha ha ha!"
Steve: That was funny. I doubled over.
MRR: (To Steve) The funniest thing you ever said was "Blue Cheer" over and over between songs at the I-Beam.
Steve: Well, I was hoping that they were there! Or at least that people would recognize the pure genius of their first two records.
MRR: So what happened after Mr. Epp?
Steve: We were in The Limp Richerds still.
MRR: Both bands were still going the whole time?
Mark: Yeah, Darren decided to quit Mr. Epp and so everyone else did. Todd, his brother, Smitty so we were like let's try to get a new band together.
MRR: Do you guys know Friday?
Mark: Yeah, Stephanie
MRR: She said she saw your guys on a bus looking through the paper for potential band members.
Steve: Could be.
Mark: We were probably trying to figure out who we could get.
Steve: We weren't sure if we wanted Alex to drum for us.
Mark: He was drumming in Spluii Numa...
MRR: He was drumming in what?
Mark and Steve: Spluii Numa!
Mark: We saved Steve from being in a band that had like two kinds of songs, G.B.H. or Social Distortion.
Steve: But it was good in a way because before that I had only played "Louie Louie" and "Dr. Love"! Anyway I played guitar in Limp Richerds, Mark played drums for a while, like two or three shows. Swallow's drummer was sometimes a drummer and sometimes a guitar player...
MRR: So it was a free form kinda thing...
Steve: It mostly revolved around the singer, Dave, who was one of the most amazing singers I even seen. He was like, if you heard Milo singing "I'm not a loser" but had never seen him then tried to imagine what the guy singing the song looked like. This guy was like flair pants that were totally falling off, with a big plastic comb in the pocket probably the biggest nerd I've ever met.
Mark: The essence of punk rock.
Steve: What punk rock should be, people who didn't fit in. Not people dressing up, but people who are already weird up there going "Blah!" I mean, that's a lot more frightening to me. If you see people who look like "rock" people on stage you go, "Oh, a rock band."
Mark: It's like "they went to the rock show and bought their rock uniform."
Steve: That's not punk rock. Punk rock is about total rejects.
MRR: So you two basically started Green River?
Steve: WE knew that we wanted to stay together...
Mark: There was this band that moved out from Montana called Deranged Diction, this hardcore band. They were on some Mystic comp or something. Anyway, they had a bass player who was really into SSD and jumped a lot and we were like maybe if we talked to this guy we can talk him into playing with us...
MRR: This was who?
Mark: Jeff, the bass player for Green River.
Steve: Check this out: instead of just going up and talking to him, I went out and got a job at the same place he worked!
MRR: Man, you guys were desperate to get something together.
Steve: So I got to know him for awhile, and after a bit I was like, "Hey Jeff, me and Mark are getting this band together and..." He was like, "Get real! You guys can't even play!"
Mark: He had seen Mr. Epp and he hated us. For one thing, sometimes it was just a wall of feedback. He actually once said, "I've seen Mr. Epp and I think you guys were probably playing pretty cool stuff but I couldn't hear a note you were playing." Todd had this huge bass amp, and I just had a tiny Peavy Backstage, so me and Steve couldn't hear anything so we would just start playing anything...
Steve: We would get lost, I mean our rhythm was not the best and after a certain point it wasn't even there. I'd be playing a riff and after awhile I'd forget what the riff even was and just sort of go into a solo.
Mark: In a way, it was a cross between Flipper and Minor Threat.
Steve: It was fast but so fucked up, kind of like The Thrown-Ups, only faster and louder.
Mark: It was really a mutant thing.
MRR: Everything that The Thrown-Ups do is totally spontaneous. How does it always work out so well?
Steve: Because now we've been playing together for so long it can't help but work out, sort of. It's Mark on drums and me on guitar and we can look at each other and just kind of know what's gonna happen next.
Mark: At least in terms of rhythm and stopping and things like that.
MRR: How often do you play with The Thrown-Ups?
Steve: Every six months or so.
MRR: And everyone show up, all your friends?
Steve: Well not everyone, not really that people like The Thrown-Ups. On record, I think it's really good and sometimes live if you're in the right mood.
Mark: Some shows really click and some shows are like, "My God. I can't believe we're still doing this."
Steve: In the studio it's always really easy and I think it comes out really good. It may never get as good as the last record again.
Mark: In a way we should kind of hang it up.
Steve: It's even better that we don't, in keeping with The Thrown-Ups motto of totally fucking with everything. Just keep getting worse and worse.
Mark: Like Crime!
MRR: The first Green River record has been re-issued; is it something that you would listen to if you weren't in the band?
Steve: Some of the songs are really cool, like "Come on Down."
Mark: I haven't listened to that record in years.
MRR: How did you first hook up with Bruce Pavitt?
Mark: He moved up from Olympia even before Green River, like during Mr. Epp. He lived two blocks from me and he would come over to my house and I would play him like the first Fang record and he would review for The Rocket and things like that.
Steve: We really had a big influence on Bruce Pavitt.
Mark: It worked both ways, we would be like, "Bruce, here's Void" and he would play us like whatever.
MRR: Pell Mell.
Steve: Yeah, he was really into them.
MRR: Who actually put out the Green River 7"?
Mark: It was going to be Sub Pop but he was kinda like, "I'd rather do a 12"." So he helped us with it, but mostly we put it out. Homestead wasn't happening anymore...
MRR: How did Green River get on Homestead in the first place?
Mark: Initially, Bruce Pavitt got The U-Men and Green River on Homestead.
Steve: They were interested in The U-Men first, though.
Mark: They were great.
Steve: Like before their first EP came out they were amazing. If a U-Men show was happening, everyone would go cuz they were happening, everyone would go cuz they were like the band and their shows were the happening.
Steve: If you think about "cool" John Bigley and the drummer were it. The definition of cool.
Mark: Like I'm Lou Reed, I'm Sterling Morrison...
Steve: ...I'm James Dean, all rolled into one for your local entertainment.
MRR: What, they wore suit jackets...
Steve: Beatle boots, tight black pants, there were just fucking cool, period. You could tell from day one, like we were not the cool people, they were the cool people. We were the people into hardcore. They were the people who were not into hardcore; they were into old punk rock and things from the past.
MRR: Every city has that separation; In Pittsburgh, The Five were the cool people and we were the hardcore kids.
Steve: We always got along though. No problems. But you could tell that it was a different thing.
MRR: When did things start going bad in Green River, I mean (to Mark) is it true that they wanted you to take singing lessons?
Mark: Yeah, that's true.
MRR: That's so fucked. I think you have one of the coolest voices ever!
Mark: Well, I appreciate that, but I don't know if that's true.
MRR: C'mon! For what you're doing...
Mark: For what I'm doing maybe, but I'm working within my limitations and they wanted me to go beyond that.
MRR: (near hysterics) To what?!?
Mark: To lots of money.
MRR: But you two remained friends though.
Steve: I remained friends with all of them. It was never like, "Fuck you, your music sucks." I mean who cares what musical tastes are?
MRR: When you get down to it, yeah.
Mark: You told me later that when you quit Green River you fully expected me to quit, too.
Steve: The last few practices I was putting my foot down saying like, "I won't play this song." When I quit the band it was just so horrible.
Mark: When Steve quit there was kinda like a self-examination in the band.
Steve: And they got so much better.
Mark: And that's when Dry as a Bone happened.
MRR: My favorite Green River record.
Steve: Dry as a Bone is the best one.
Mark: After Steve left there was a desperate fight for me to push it into weirdness and it wasn't happening.
MRR: It seems like Mudhoney got started almost immediately after Green River broke up.
Steve: Mark called me up on Halloween 1987 and told me that Green River had broken up, and at that point I had been playing with Ed from The Thrown-Ups and Dan, our drummer I was going to college at the time.
MRR: Did you graduate?
Steve: No, not yet. Anyway, Mark called me up and was like, "Guess what? Green River broke up," and I was like, "Uh-oh, I guess I'm going to be in a band with Mark again."
Mark: And the rest, as they say...
MRR: ...is history!