Puddle of Mudd

views updated May 29 2018

Puddle of Mudd

Rock group

The history of Puddle of Mudd's rise to popularity could provide the definition of being in the right place at the right time and with the right talent. Their major label debut album, Come Clean, sold more than 100,000 copies in its first week of release. The album went on to sell more than two million copies and remained on Billboard 's Top 200 Albums chart for more than a year.

Singer and guitarist Wes Scantlin formed Puddle of Mudd in 1993 with a group of musicians in Kansas City, Missouri. The group gained some notoriety in Kansas City and locally released two CDsStuck in 1994 and Abrasive in 1997in an effort to garner attention from a major record label. The band came up with its name after severe flooding turned the entire first floor of their rehearsal space, which was located next to the Missouri River, into one big puddle of mud.

In 1999 the members of the band had decided to call it quits, and Scantlin was ready to move to New Orleans, Louisiana, to manage his girlfriend's career as a stripper and to work in his cousin's bar. But before he headed south, Scantlin decided to accept his friend's invitation to go to the Family Values concert in Kansas City, featuring Limp Bizkit and Korn. While there, he used a fake pass to get backstage at the show, where he met a security guard for Limp Bizkit. Scantlin gave the guard a copy of his band's demo tape to give to Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst, who was starting his own record label.

After the show, Scantlin continued with his plan to move to New Orleans. He was on his way when he received a phone call from a friend who told him that Durst had left messages trying to reach him. Durst had not only listened to Scantlin's tape, but he liked what he heard and wanted the band to go to Los Angeles to meet him. Durst's interest didn't convince the former members to regroup, so Scantlin went to Los Angeles alone. Scantlin, with Durst's help, recruited a new group that included bassist Douglas Ardito, guitarist Paul Phillips, and drummer Greg Upchurch.

Ardito, who grew up in Bedford, Massachusetts, had previously played with a band called Cellophane. Up-church, from Kingston, Oklahoma, had performed with Chris Cornell on his 1999 Euphoria Morning tour and was a former member of the band Eleven. Phillips, from Jacksonville, Florida, knew Durst from the local music scene there and was asked to audition. "When Wes went out to L.A., I got the call, flew out there, and we jammed for awhile," Phillips told Phil Ascott of Guitarist online. "We wrote 'Control' [the band's first single] on the second day we were together. We clicked really quickly, which was cool."

With all the members of Puddle of Mudd in place, they signed with Durst's Flawless Entertainment label, part of Interscope Records, and recorded their debut. Before its release, they began touring in May of 2001 to generate some initial exposure for the band. Their first date was in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and they continued to tour for the next few months. On August 28, 2001, Come Clean, which was produced by John Kurzweg, arrived in stores. Along with the debut single, "Control," Come Clean launched Puddle of Mudd's career into overdrive.

"The whole project was very low profile at the beginning," Ardito told Arturo Perez at KludgeSound.com. "We were definitely not on top of the label's priorities once we started, but then 'Control,' our first single, started getting played on the radio and on TV, and things started rolling."

Durst continued to support Puddle of Mudd at every opportunity. He directed the video for "Control" in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, and invited Scantlin to join him and former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on stage at the MTV Europe Awards to perform the Led Zeppelin song "Thank You." Scantlin's appearance gave Puddle of Mudd even more exposure, particularly at an international level.

In 2002 Puddle of Mudd released their next single, "Blurry," which soared to number one on Billboard 's Modern Rock chart. Scantlin wrote the song about missing spending time with his son Jordan, who also appeared in the Durst-directed video. Puddle of Mudd followed "Blurry" with the release of two more singles from Come Clean "Drift and Die" and "She Hates Me." That same year, Puddle of Mudd won four Billboard Music Awards, including Rock Artist of the Year, Rock Track of the Year for "Blurry," Modern Rock Artist of the Year, and Modern Rock Track of the Year for "Blurry."

The group kept the momentum of the album's success going with an intensive touring schedule that included stints with Korn and Staind. According to Scantlin, the members of the band didn't get wrapped up in the typical over-the-top partying on tour to which many new rock bands succumb. "We're really down-to-earth guys, and all of us have our heads on our shoulders and feet on the ground, and we're almost like choirboys on tour," Scantlin told Stephanie Cabral at Yahoo! LAUNCH.

For the Record . . .

Members include Douglas Ardito (born on March 10, 1971, in Concord, MA), bass; Paul Phillips (born on June 26, 1975, in Brunswick, GA), guitar; Wes Scantlin (born on June 9, 1972, in St. Joseph, MO), vocals, guitar; Greg Upchurch (born on December 1, 1971, in Houma, LA), drums.

Group formed by Wes Scantlin in Kansas City, MO, 1993; recruited Douglas Ardito, Paul Phillips, and Greg Upchurch, 1999-2000; signed recording contract with Flawless Entertainment, 2000; released Come Clean, 2001; released Life on Display, 2003.

Awards: Billboard Music Awards, Rock Artist of the Year, Rock Track of the Year for "Blurry," Modern Rock Artist of the Year, and Modern Rock Track of the Year for "Blurry," 2002.

Addresses: Record company Flawless Records, 2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404, website: http://www.flawless-records.com. Website Puddle of Mudd Official Website: http://www.puddleofmudd.com.

Following a break from the tour, Puddle of Mudd returned to the recording studio, again with producer John Kurzweg, to work on their follow-up CD, Life on Display, scheduled for release in late 2003. Since it worked so well on Come Clean, Scantlin continued to harvest his own life experiences for subject matter on the next album. "The content of the lyrics is definitely coming from reality and a real place," Scantlin told Joe D'Angelo at MTV.com. "And that's where I kind of write fromreal-life situations. We've all still got problems in our lives that we can get inspiration from."

These "down-to-earth guys" have realized that their fans connect with their "real-life" approach to their material, and they plan to make every effort to stay connected to those fans with their future material. "I'm just trying to crawl under people's skin and make them feel good," Scantlin told Corey Moss at MTV.com.

Ardito echoed the sentiment in an interview with Chris Jisi for Bass Player: "What really matters is the kid who hears your song on the radio, turns it way up, and sings along, while he's cruising down the road to see his girlfriend. I just want to continue to make music that people keep humming in their heads."

Selected discography

Stuck, self-released, 1994.

Abrasive, self-released, 1997; rereleased, Phatt Phunk, 2001.

Come Clean, Flawless, 2001.

Life on Display, Flawless/Geffen, 2003.



Bass Player, May 2002.

Hollywood Reporter, March 25, 2002, p. 42.

Rock Airplay Monitor, January 18, 2002, p. 3.

Rolling Stone, November 6, 2001; March 28, 2002; March 20, 2003.


"Fred Durst Takes 'Control' of Puddle of Mudd Video," MTV. com, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1445388/20010725/story.jhtml (September 9, 2003).

"Love Hurts," Yahoo! LAUNCH, http://launch.yahoo.com/read/feature.asp?contentID=205738 (September 11, 2003).

"Next Puddle of Mudd LP Will Have Heartfelt, 'Super Heavy' Songs," MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1472103/05272003/puddle_of_mudd.jhtml (September 9, 2003).

"Puddle of Mudd," Guitarist, http://www.guitarist.co.uk/print.asp?ID=5228&type=int (September 11, 2003).

"Puddle of Mudd," Maximum Ink, http://www.maximumink.com/articles.php?articleId=307 (September 11, 2003).

"Puddle of Mudd," Total Guitar, http://www.totalguitar.co.uk/print.asp?ID=6114&type=ART (September 11, 2003).

"Puddle of Mudd: Bio," MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com/bands/az/puddle_of_mudd/bio.jhtml (September 9, 2003).

"Puddle of Mudd Nab Durst for Another Video," MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1448897/20010917/story.jhtml (September 9, 2003).

Puddle of Mudd Official Website, http://www.puddleofmudd.com (September 9, 2003).

"Puddle of Mudd Profit from Problems on New LP," MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1458503/11042002/puddle_of_mudd.jhtml (September 9, 2003).

"Wes Scantlin Comes Clean," Yahoo! LAUNCH, http://launch.yahoo.com/read/feature.asp?contentID=210758 (September 11, 2003).

Sonya Shelton

Puddle of Mudd

views updated May 17 2018


Formed: 1993, Kansas City, Missouri

Members: Douglas John Ardito, bass (born Concord, Massachusetts, 10 March 1972); Paul James Phillips, guitar (born Brunswick, Georgia, 26 June 1976); Wesley Reid Scantlin, vocals, guitar (born St. Joseph, Missouri, 9 June 1973); Greg David Upchurch, drums (born Houma, Louisiana, 1 December 1973).

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Come Clean (2001)

Hit songs since 1990: "Blurry," "Control"

In just a few short years, Puddle of Mudd singer Wes Scantlin went from sneaking backstage at rock shows to headlining his own concerts and selling 1 million copies of his band's hard rock major label debut Come Clean (2001). The story of how the Missouri native rose to the top invariably runs through his dogged pursuit of Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst and a batch of emotionally charged, grunge rock-inspired songs that drew immediate comparisons to a previous decade's tragic rock idol, the late Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana.

Scantlin had been trying to make a career with his band, Puddle of Mudd, for more than five years. Named after the band's rehearsal space, which had flooded one day when the Mississippi River overflowed its banks, leaving a puddle of mud, the group had slogged it out with a rotating group of members since the early 1990s. After half a decade of frustration and one locally released mini-album (Stuck, 1994) and one full length (Abrasive, 1997) with original members Jimmy Allen, Sean Sammon, and Kenny Burkett, the singer broke up the group in 1999 and was preparing to move to New Orleans and marry his ex-girlfriend.

When a friend suggested Scantlin attend the 1999 Limp Bizkitheadlined Family Values tour when it came to town, Scantlin made up a fake backstage pass and attempted to track down Bizkit singer and budding label honcho Fred Durst. Though Scantlin failed to find Durst, he did manage to get his last copy of Puddle of Mudd's demo tape into the hands of Durst's bodyguard. Three weeks later, Durst flew Scantlin to Los Angeles and signed him to his Flawless label. When Durst found a backing band to replace the players Scantlin had fired just a few months before, he jokingly referred to the new group as the first "rock and roll boy band."

Scantlin's new cohorts were not new to the music business, either. Drummer Greg Upchurch had played with acclaimed Los Angeles band Eleven and performed as part of former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell's live band, while bassist Ardito had been in the group Cellophane and was interning at Interscope Records when Durst tapped him for Puddle of Mudd. Guitarist Paul Phillips, formerly of the punk band Happy Hour, was an old friend of Durst's from Jacksonville, Florida.

Though studio veteran Josh Freese played drums on Puddle of Mudd's debut, Come Clean, Upchurch later became a full-time member.

Blue-Collar Rock That Struck a Chord

Unlike Durst's nu-metal band, which synthesized hard rock and hip-hop beats, Puddle of Mudd are rock traditionalists, relying on the basic guitar, bass, drums setup, and a charismatic lead singer on Come Clean, which debuted in the Billboard Top 10 in its first week of release. With Scantlin's gravelly voice frequently compared to Cobain's, and with the quiet verse/loud chorus formula employed to perfection by Cobain's band, Puddle of Mudd unleashed one rock anthem after another with songs such as the raunchy breakthrough hit "Control."

The song is among the first Scantlin wrote upon moving to Los Angeles to relaunch the group, inspired by his ex-girlfriend and a relationship that had run its course. "I need to feel you / You need to feel me / I can't control you / You're not the one for me, no / I can't control youYou can't control me / I need to feel you, so why's there even you and me?," he growls in the song. Durst had a cameo in and directed the video for the song, a bombastic number with grinding guitars and Scantlin's pained, shout/singing.

In a strange bit of irony, Scantlin was arrested in March 2002 for a roadside altercation with his fiancée, Michelle Rubin, which eerily mirrored the plotline for the "Control" video, in which Scantlin has a heated argument with his video girlfriend. Police did not pursue charges against the singer. In another hit song, the power-pop-meets-grunge ditty "She Hates Me," Scantlin laments another messy relationship gone sour.

Side by side with the hard rocking songs on the album are dreamy, string-laden acoustic ballads such as "Drift & Die" and "Blurry," yet another chronicle of failed relationships and emotional abuse. In the video for the latter, Scantlin, in his uniform of classic rock T-shirt, jeans, and backward baseball cap, is shown playing with a young boy who appears to be the same age as his four-year-old son Jordan.

After touring the world for much of 2001, including stints on the 2001 Family Values tour with Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, and another platinum-selling Durst discovery, Staind, as well as a performance with Durst and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page at the MTV Europe Awards, Puddle of Mudd were slated to enter a studio to work on the follow-up to Come Clean, expected for release in 2003.

Scantlin went from being a construction worker, cook, dishwasher, and frustrated musician to a rock star and million-selling artist over the course of the 1990s. When Durst put together a band for Scantlin, their major label debut landed in the Billboard Top 10 and Scantlin was able to take the pain of failed relationships and turn it into hard rock gold.


Stuck (V&R, 1994); Abrasive (Hardknocks, 1997); Come Clean (Flawless/Interscope, 2001).



gil kaufman