It's safe to say that Mudhoney are an undisputable pioneer of grunge music. In fact, they helped invent it before it was even given that name. Seattle's strong music scene began to blossom by the end of the 80's, as names such as Soundgarden and Screaming Trees started to gain underground notoriety and Sub Pop became a home for countless aspiring musicians. One particular band, Green River, helped make all that happen. The brand of rock, hardcore punk, psychedelic and metal they employed not only jumpstarted a local music movement, but also influenced a legion of alternative bands. Where commercial exposure lacked, the legacy they built more than made up for it, but divergent artistic visions caused its members to part ways. Rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament, interested in moving out of the underground and creating a slightly more acessible sound for a wider audience to embrace, went on to form Mother Love Bone and, later on, Pearl Jam, while vocalist Mark Arm and lead guitarist Steve Turner remained true to the small but devoted fanbase they had amassed. Out comes Mudhoney. After recruiting drummer Dan Peters and former Melvins bassist Matt Lukin (whose name Pearl Jam famously named a song after, Lukin being a close friend of Eddie Vedder's) to round out the lineup, Arm and Turner took Green River's sound and elevated it. It was noisier, dirtier, and perhaps less self conscious, playing a huge influence on defining the Seattle sound.
Though they've found little commercial success, Mudhoney have become a respected act in the underground community, and while the most acclaimed release of theirs may be Superfuzz Bigmuff
, now held in a somewhat legendary status, it'd be unfair to dismiss the amount of quality material that Mark Arm and co. have put out over the years. Still, due to the fact that all 5 songs here are included in the SF + Early Singles
compilation, released in the turn of the decade, finding a physical copy of the '89 EP Boiled Beef And Rotting Teeth
is a hard task even for the most hardcore of Mudhoney fans. Regardless, the release, which barely clocks in at 14 minutes, captures the band at a creative high. The tune "Touch Me I'm Sick" should be no stranger to any listener. Coupled by the noisy, distorted dueling guitars, hysterical cries and howls from Arm, cryptic lyrics and a vicious refrain, the song, initially described by Arm himself as a "B-side toss off", deserves its status as a grunge classic, being possibly the band's crowning achievement. The cover of The Dicks' "Hate The Police", a live staple for the band, is another exceptional moment, as Mudhoney find themselves able to make the tune so distinctively... theirs, almost effortlessly.
As for the rest, the bleak, sludgy guitars on "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More" or the upbeat riffing and repetitive chanting on "You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)" add some great variety to the experience, exemplifying the band's ability to be incredibly efficient while not taking anything, let alone themselves, too seriously. Amongst all the fuzz, frantic recordings and nonsensical lyrics, Mudhoney still reveal an upbeat attitude, perhaps an uncommon sight during the time. Where great bands such as Alice In Chains or Pearl Jam find greatness on their chilling intimacy and confessional music, Mudhoney succeed almost doing the opposite, to excellent results. Make no mistake, Boiled Beef And Rotting Teeth
is an excellent offering, and simultaneously only a glimpse of the amount of great material the band has accumulated over time.