Mudhoney went for broke with its latest Reprise album, “Tomorrow Hit Today” (released Sept. 22).
One of the few remaining vestiges of the long-lost grunge era, the Seattle quartet hooked up with producer Jim Dickinson (Rolling Stones, Replacements, Big Star) and split time between Pearl Jam’s Litho studio and legendary Ardent studios in Memphis. And singer-guitarist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Matt Lukin and drummer Dan Peters finally had the recording budget to back it up.
“We’ve recorded usually pretty cheaply, here at home, with no big-name producer or anything like that,” Turner said recently. “We figured most likely we’re not going to be given the chance to go spend $150,000 on a record again. That’s a small budget but for us it was huge; the Smashing Pumpkins could probably spend that in a day and a half, but for us it was either now or never for that, since we hadn’t before. That’s why we went for more of a big-budget recording this time around.
“The biggest thing I noticed, besides having Jim Dickinson there for the recording process – of course, he was a big chunk of money right there; he was a great asset to us – but also the guy that mixed the record, David Bianco, and what he was capable of getting out of the sounds that were already on the tape. It really made a difference.”
The group had more time to fine-tune and rehearse the songs live before going into the studio; they also had so many songs to choose from, they were able to be more selective of what would stay and what would go, Turner said.
“A lot of times, a year after a record comes out,” he said, “we’d go, ‘Yeah, remember those eight songs we shelved and put on B-sides? We should’ve actually used those on the record and gotten rid of half the songs that were actually on the record.’ This album flows pretty good. It sounds more like a unified record, and I think having the extra time really helped.”
Mudhoney got signed to Reprise at the height of the Nirvana/all-things-Seattle frenzy in 1992, but the group was a modern-day Blue Cheer when it formed in 1988, long before grunge became a category to describe “the Seattle scene.”
“The ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ single, a lot of people consider that the first national exposure of some of these bands in Seattle,” Turner said. “We were there, I’ll tell you that, but we certainly didn’t start it. It’s a very out-of-fashion term now. And it’s not like we loved being called grunge; we accepted it, that’s fine. Historically, that’s probably how we’re going to be remembered in the footnotes of the rock history books under Seattle grunge bands. Okay, fine, whatever.”
BWF (before we forget): Sweeten up to Mudhoney on the Web @ www.RepriseRec.com.