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Mudvayne



 
Five hours before a sold-out show featuring the bands Non-Point, Spineshank and Mudvayne, at The Boardwalk in Orangevale, I sat down in a plastic chair in front of the building to interview sPaG, the drummer from the hardcore rock band Mudvayne.
......Although Mudvayne's usual appearance consists of heavy make-up during their performance, even without make-up sPaG still looked his part, fully accessorized complete with a matching green watch, matching green sunglasses, a green goatee, and a shaved green Mohawk braided down his head. The sun was shining so bright through the clouds it created a blinding light on Greenback Lane. "That looks nasty," sPaG said, commenting on the heavy clouds billowing in the sky. "Do you guys get tornadoes out here?" "I don't think so," I said, "At least not that often." "Where I come from that's tornado weather," said sPaG, as he sat down in the chair next to me. Mudvayne, a Peoria, Illinois band that consists of four members: vocalist Kud (Chad Gray), guitarist Gurrg (Greg Tribbett), bassist Ryknow (Ryan Martinie), and drummer sPaG (Matthew McDonough) were scheduled to play at 8 p.m. that night. "For the interview refer to me as sPaG," he said. "So where did you guys get your nicknames?" I asked. "The band is notorious for nicknaming just about anybody that comes in contact with us for more than a day. The names were one of the first things that we ever actually did together. Kind of a spontaneous-communal sort of thing-it was natural. It was very, very early on after we got together. A friend of the band gave me my nickname- and from there I kind of- I don't want to say that I gave them all of their nicknames but it kind of came from me." sPaG said. Although I questioned further about the meaning of the band member's nicknames, sPaG would not reveal what the nicknames stood for. (Our names are)"Not for consumer consumption. You could kind of put some things together though, you know, Kud (the vocalist)?" sPaG asked. The definition of cud is food chewed again by ruminating animals. Sounds gross. "How long have you been together?" I asked. (We have been together)"Five years as of February 1, so we just had our fifth year anniversary." sPaG said. "Is this your first California tour?" I asked. "This is the third time we have been on the coast. But we have been out here many times. All of our business is pretty much out of LA, LA or New York. But we do a lot at the LA office," sPaG said. "Who writes the lyrics of your songs?" I asked. "Predominately Kud. Him and I do all of the themes and concepts together. I write some lyrics in conjunction with him, but it's fairly minimal. I do conceptual work with him." sPaG said. "Where have you had the most fun playing? Do you like to play in your hometown?" I asked. "Yeah sure, I mean, your local scene is kind of what got you going, but where do I like to play. I want to play Galapagos Island sometime." sPaG said. "Why is that?" I asked. "Why? Because of the turtles. Because it's never been done." sPaG said. "Are you working on an album right now?" I asked. "Were always working on an album. We don't write from the perspective of songs we write from the perspective of experience. Were always in the process of encouraging, cultivating, nurturing, the next experience base that we are going to compose from. Pretty much all of our writing begins on a conceptual level. Ideas. Headspace-that kind of thing. Right now we are very much in tour mode. Were going to be touring at least through September." sPaG said. Mudvayne has recently released their first album, LD 50. "What does your album mean?" I asked. "A lot of people have wanted to try to see the album as a concept album. But I don't think that's completely accurate. The album is not a concept album but it is conceptual. It has continuous flowing themes, and has continuity, but there is no specific or definable message or meaning behind what the album is. As an artist it is extremely important to me and I have a great amount of I really appreciate art that implies. And I think that one of the greatest things that art can do is infer and imply and encourage a listener or an audience to explore, to think. To make the attempt to build the relationship to the art. And from that perspective with a lack of definition that like something like our album has, becomes the responsibility of a listener to almost find out for themselves and so in the process find out something about themselves. All good art should reflect back on the audience. sPaG said. "Who would you say are your influences?" I asked. "Mine, or the band?" sPaG asked. "Both," I said. "Right now Jackson Pollack. Abstract-expressionist paintings Mark Robcow. Elisword Polly. David Lynch. I have a great love for cinema, movies. And I'm always-always looking for new intellectual, conceptual, thematic, avenues through movies. I started getting into Hitchcock about a year ago. My inspiration right now especially is predominately Jackson Pollack and Henry Miller. Have you heard of Henry Miller, I don't know if you're familiar with him?" sPaG asked. "No." I said. "He's kind of a 50's beat generation contemporary writer. Kind of like Jack Carolac. I'm not that much into Jack Carolac though. He's a little too cynical I think. Henry Miller is much more ecstatic. There's a freedom in his writing that I really, really like and what's interesting too is Pollack did most of his work between the late 40's and early 50's and that's contemporary with Miller. For some reason I have been drawn to 50's art. 40's and 50's art. I have been for awhile, because for Christmas I got a whole bunch of really, really nice hardbound art books. With his art in it." SPaG said. I personally hadn't heard of any of the names of the artists sPaG was mentioning, and I couldn't help but ask him what he thought about my favorite artist. "Do you like Salvador Dali?" I asked. "Actually, when I was young Salvador Dali was one of the first painters that I was really into, but I think with him I was more astonished at his technical capabilities because his paintings are so- his executionism is amazing. I'm not trying to deny his content or whatever, but surrealism doesn't really interest me that much. I'm a lot more interested as I'm getting older and getting more into looking at an artist, I'm losing an interest in narrative and figuration. I think painting that takes on any specific recognizable form generally just doesn't interest me. To me that's an ending point for true art," sPaG said. "You want to go beyond that? Beyond what you can just see?" I asked. "Yeah, well, not beyond it, necessarily beyond, but not to do with it. I don't want to, I mean figuration is like evidence of a world around us in our experience. I mean really as far as an essential level there really isn't anything beyond figuration or narrative. And to me, what the abstract painters of the 20th century evoked was something more idealistically pure. Kind of like, I don't know if you're familiar with Plato, but like Plato's realm of ideal forms. To me, this unrecognizable non-verbalizing quality that spirit has, that doesn't take form that you cannot express in the frame of his mind. That to me is what is so exciting about Pollack. And other artists like him too. And why I would say yes I like Salvador Dali, but to me that not the real work. I would never discount any artist or painter, especially one like Salvador Dali that dedicated his life to his work that was so incredibly proficient. It's not my place to say that that sucks." sPaG said. "That's just not what you're into," I said. "Exactly." sPaG said. Last year Mudvayne toured with the popular band Slipknot and also did a tour called Tattoo the Earth, which featured many popular bands. "Do you think that touring with Slipknot and Tattoo the Earth helped your careers?" "Oh, it's undeniable. I mean that's without question. I mean, having the opportunity as a band with no album out even to play in front of 15,000 people. When regularly we only played for about 5,000 people. I mean we played for 10,000 people on a couple of different occasions, but I mean regularly, it was probably 5,000 people." sPaG said. "Do you guys enjoy touring? Are you having a good time doing that?" I asked. "It's a little bit more complex than enjoying it. I don't do this for enjoyment, I mean if I did what I enjoy I would probably be sitting in a cave somewhere in the Himalayas with a bottle of water and some hard bread or something. And no cell phone. I mean, yeah touring is really exciting. It's an incredible experience, and it's not an opportunity that many people are afforded. And I am grateful for that, but it's really, really hard. And it's not any way of life. There is no life inside. We don't really have anything that's our own. What you can make your own becomes very valuable to you." sPaG said. "If you have anything to say to Sac State students, what would you say?" I asked. "What would I say? Do not fear what you do not understand," sPaG said.

By Laura Honzay on 02/18/01...

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