"It's about passion and writing music that connects with other people and somehow heals them. I really want to try to crawl under peoples' skin and at the same time make some kick-ass rock 'n roll music," says Puddle Of Mudd
frontman Wesley Scantlin about his band's imminent third album, Famous
After their 2001 debut, Come Clean
, sold over 5 million copies and spawned no less than 4 radio hits (including "Blurry", the most played song of 2002); and their gold-certified follow-up Life On Display
, Puddle Of Mudd were able to step back a little to create Famous
"We had a lot of time to write and then make the record, as opposed to our second record where we were writing while we were recording," explains bassist Douglas Ardito. "This time we had time to live life and have experiences to talk about."
After demoing songs "in some crazy little apartment with an isolation booth in the middle of Hollywood", Famous was recorded in Los Angeles and Colorado with former Black Flag
drummer Bill Stevenson (Rise Against
For all their platinum albums, awards and sold-out shows, Puddle Of Mudd have retained their organic approach to songwriting, usually starting with Wesley at home with an acoustic guitar. "If it sounds good and it makes your skin goose bump-up then you're probably onto something," he mulls.
"Have you ever heard those lyrics by Nine Inch Nails
: 'I just made you up to hurt myself'?" he continues, laughing. "That's kinda how it is for songwriters I think: you almost create drama in your life just to get some good inspiration! Anything that irks you a little bit, for some weird and unknown reason, is good for really passionate songs. I write a lot of the stuff, but it's like a team - everybody's got their inspiration that they put into it."
And Puddle Of Mudd now have fresh inspiration from new members Christian Stone (ex-Campfire Girls
) and Ryan Yerdon. It was a collaboration between Wesley and Christian that, in bizarre fashion, produced the album's title, Famous
- the name of a song they'd written together.
"Christian went home to Massachusetts to visit his family for Christmas and someone showed him a picture of his [soldier] brother in Iraq with this tattoo - he had got 'Livin' On Borrowed Time' tattooed on him," Douglas explains. "So, unbeknownst to either brother, one had written a song with Wes called 'Living On Borrowed Time' and then the other had tattooed 'Living On Borrowed Time' on his chest! So it was kind of a freaky coincidence."Livin' On Borrowed Time
once again displays Puddle Of Mudd's sixth sense for creating anthemic, songs that are at once optimistic and uneasy, uplifting yet contemplative, dramatic but never without humor. Wesley's voice retains its serrated charm but is more versatile than ever, able to shift a song's mood with sometimes unexpected inflections.
As ever, Puddle Of Mudd are single-minded in focusing on unpretentious songcraft and accessible lyrical authenticity over fashion's fickle demands or artsy affectations. "We're not using DJ turntables and synths and all that stuff," Douglas confirms. "We're just trying to pull out the honesty and make another batch of great songs for people to listen to."Listen To 'Famous'
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