"I'm afraid, Dave..."
--HAL the computer, 2001: A Space Odyssey
There's reason to be afraid. There's very good reason indeed, if you're someone who likes their music unchallenging, simple, and easy to define and digest. But if you want something dark, mysterious, savage, and unsettling, something that will force you to confront the unknown and possibly alter the way you look at the world, then prepare yourself for Mudvayne.
Like that cryptic black object, Mudvayne keep their secrets well-even their faces are hidden in hal-lucinatory colors and symbols-but make no bones about their desire to fuck with your head. Taking the intensity of the new school of heavy rock one step further, Mudvayne has left a long trail of shattered preconceptions and blown minds in their wake. Next victims: the world at large.
sPaG and his cohorts have been pushing the envelope for four-and-a-half years, ever since Mudvayne first conspired together in the forbidding wastelands of Peoria, Illinois, circa 1996. sPaG, Kud, and Gurrg, with a different bass player (Ryknow came aboard two years later), found each other after ten years in the usual maze of local outfits, immediately sharing a vision of their own musical apocalypse.
"We always wanted to try and bring some visual aspect to what we did, but of course our budget lim-ited what we could do," says sPaG. "The makeup thing just came upon us." But the drummer also cautions not to read too much into the band's war paint: "It doesn't necessarily symbolize anything, and I'd really hate to see things like that taken too literally," he insists. "I feel the same way about our music - we try to leave it up to the listener to make their own opinions about what it is we're really do-ing."
The concepts behind Mudvayne's music - a twisting roller coaster ride comprised of gargantuan, de-monic riffs, serpentine rhythms, and Kud's expressive, multi-dimensional vocals, offset by kaleidoscopic effects and samples taken from subjects like evolved consciousness guru Terence McKenna - were gen-erated organically through the band's shared interests.
But the end result was worth the harrowing experience, with Mudvayne's music already earning the accolades of fellow musical shock therapists Slipknot, whose percussionist Shawn "6" Crahan serves as executive producer on L.D. 50. The two bands have also been sharing the stage this past spring on Slipknot's headlining tour and this summer's Tattoo The Earth mega-fest.
"They're a great band and they're great people," enthuses Kud. "Shawn's seen something in us that was very genuine, and I also hope that people can see that the music is very passionate and honest. We stand behind it and we believe in it."
One thing is certain: The frontal assault of Mudvayne's music may be too lethal a dosage for some to take. "I really feel like we're trying to do something different and test the waters here," concludes Kud, before warning ominously: "If you're scared of it, don't buy it."