Mark Arm says Mudhoney is handling its 25th anniversary like just any other year.
“I think we mark the time at this point every January — ‘Oh, we’ve been around this long.’ We send an e-mail around — ‘Hey, way to go, guys!’ and then it’s kind of forgotten,” Arm tells Billboard. “We probably wouldn’t be aware of it if it weren’t for all the (Sub Pop Records) silver jubilee stuff that’s been happening this year. If you would’ve told me when we started that we’d be around for this long, I would have laughed at you. But at this point it seems perfectly normal.”
Similarly, the Seattle rockers are largely ignoring the anniversary during its tour this year.
“There’s nothing too rare, nothing in its entirety. We’re just playing the shows like we usually do,” Arm says.
There is, of course, new music to be showcased. Mudhoney released “Vanishing Point,” its ninth studio album, in April, sending it to No. 9 on the Top Heatseekers Albums chart and No. 13 on Top Tastemaker Albums. It’s the group’s first new album in five years, although Arm says that “we were probably thinking about getting a new record started about three years ago,” with an assortment of personal delays getting in the way.
“We just wanted to get a handful of songs that would sound good together, and I think we achieved that. It’s a pretty low bar,” Arm says with a laugh.
But he says the addition of recording gear in the group’s rehearsal space has helped make Mudhoney more productive.
“We can put down a bunch of riffs any time, and then at some point I revisit them and see if I can fit lyrics to anything,” Arm explains. “I listen to something over and over again and maybe an idea will come to mind. The easy part is coming up with the music; the difficult thing is for me to come up with lyrics and melodies that I’m happy with. Cool chord progressions are pretty easy compared to that.”
The good news is that there was more raw material for “Vanishing Point” than Mudhoney ultimately used. “We put down, like, 30 different ideas, most of which I think are really, really cool,” Arm says. “They’re still there. I probably need to go revisit them. We’ll do that once we focus less on playing live shows and start thinking about recording again. Hopefully it won’t be another five years.”
Mudhoney begins its next U.S. tour on Aug. 30 in Detroit, wrapping Oct. 2 in Atlanta. The group will also be part of the Big Day Out festival tour in Australia and New Zealand, which kicks off Jan. 17 in Auckland.