You know who Puddle of Mudd is, so I’ll save the long introduction on who they are and where they’re from. If you listened to the radio in the 2000’s decade, you have heard their songs many times. They had an impressive string of singles like “Blurry,” “She Hates Me,” “Psycho,” and more, and have sold over 7 million albums to date. However, it’s been ten years since they last released new original music: Volume 4: Songs in the Key of Love & Hate was released on December 8th, 2009. Their last release of new music — a covers record — came with 2011’s Re:(disc)overed. That all changed on September 13th of this year when they dropped Welcome to Galvania.
Why the long wait for new material? There’s no shortage of stories out there covering that last few years of Puddle of Mudd, and more specifically: founding member Wes Scantlin. But it all just really, truly comes down to this: life happens. Sometimes it’s not always a smooth, easy path. But what’s important is how we come out of it, and how we grow from it. Back in January 2018, the band revealed that Scantlin had been in rehab for months, and that he was doing well. In August of that same year, they announced he was still sober and announced an extensive tour dubbed the “Resurrection Tour.” So for full disclosure with you, the reader, this is something that I didn’t bring up with Scantlin during our interview because I found that it was not a relevant discussion anymore — but alas, one that is a part of the last few years. By all accounts the band is hitting on all cylinders, and they were gearing up to release their first new record in nearly ten years. That’s the story here, one that is worth telling without any of the noise. If you want to read more, last month Scantlin wrote a firsthand essay on the past few years of the band and his personal struggles.
Since their “Resurrection Tour,” the band has been touring non-stop. Talking to me, Scantlin estimates, “We’ve been going right now, shoot, for probably like two years straight.” A rough google search of their touring history shows this to be true, and backs up how impressive their schedule has been. Of course, the record just came out this month, so most of the touring up to this point has been sort of dipping their toes back in the water consistently, if you will.
But when we start talking about Welcome to Galvania, Scantlin can’t contain himself. “I’m super happy about this new record, man. It’s got some great songs on it,” he begins when talking about the new record. Back before the record came out, if you saw them at a show they were selling prepaid cards for $10 that would give you the record immediately on September 13th. This was a strategy they came up with due to the decline of physical CD sales, while being a way to still push sales of their music. We sidetrack temporarily, highlighting the disappearance of CD players in vehicles, and the turn to vinyl records being more popular as a vintage-type item.
Through the long wait between two music, the music industry has changed a lot around Scantlin and the rest of Puddle of Mudd — currently comprised of Scantlin on guitars/vocals, Matt Fuller on lead guitar/backing vocals, Dave Moreno on drums, and Michael John Adams on bass/backing vocals — but some things haven’t changed. One of the biggest things that’s gotten easier, but has largely stayed the same, is the process of recording an album. Scantlin highlights this process being easier with all of the extra technology, but the general process is no different. “You’ve still got a mic in front of your face, cabs and a booth. The sound and trinkets, all kinds of knobs you used to have to twist and whatnot, that they used to use, now they have inputs, thousands and thousands of inputs, and you go in and you go, ‘Okay, I’ll take that,'” he explains. “It’s actually really quite cool to engineer like that. And as long as you’ve got a [great] engineer and a great producer that’s really song oriented, you’ve got a great record.”
The way that Scantlin goes about writing songs also hasn’t particularly changed much throughout the years. He describes them as “waves” in the sense of waiting for a good wave and riding it out. For as much new technology has taken over the industry, he keeps his process for songwriting very simple. “If I get a good little vibe in writing a song, I’ll just sit there on an acoustic [guitar] and play it over and over again, get a pencil and paper out –there’s no real reason to change that,” he says. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Every songwriter always struggles with when to cut off working on a song. Sometimes you can overthink yourself out of a good song and turn it into a bad song. It’s not an easy thing to do, and when I ask Scantlin about how he handles it, he explains that he finds himself having to just “man up.” “You can sit there and nitpick it for the rest of your life, but you gotta man up. Just deal with it, that’s the way it is,” he shares.
I mentioned earlier that Scantlin couldn’t contain his excitement when discussing Welcome to Galvania. This is no more evident than we start talking about his favorite songs on the record. He brings up “Go To Hell” first, “I just got off the phone with my dad, and he was like ‘Everyone will be able to relate to that song.'” He then brings up “My Kinda Crazy,” “Slide,” and “Time of Our Lives” as all great and catchy songs. He mentions that he thinks they’re going to wind up doing videos for all of them, something inspired partially by Twenty One Pilots.
“One thing I really like about Twenty One Pilots is [that] they have all kinds of videos for all kinds of songs. They’re really clever, I really like them,” Scantlin says, praising the creativity of Twenty One Pilots. He then quips, “They obviously like Puddle of Mudd. ‘Stressed Out‘ and ‘Blurry‘ — that’s two of my songs,” — referencing Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out” and the record Blurryface. He mentions that he would love to work with them for a video, jokingly saying “they owe me,” — so, Tyler and Josh if you just so happen to be reading this, there you go.
With Welcome to Galvania finally out, Scantlin knows that he and Puddle of Mudd will get some slack now on the questions about when the next new record is coming out. “I’ll get a little bit of a six month pass to where [fans] won’t come up and ask when the next records coming out,” he says referencing their fans patiently waiting for the record to come out. He’ excited to have it out, and thanks the fans for waiting so long, knowing they deserve this.
But what’s up next for the band? It’s nearing the time to release the second single from the album, which Scantlin describes will be a collaborative effort between him and the Puddle of Mudd team. After that, it’ll be more of the same: continued touring for the new record, and continuing to learn and grow. If you know Puddle of Mudd’s music from the past 20 years, you’d love everything about what and where they are now.
‘Welcome to Galvania’ is out now, you can pick up your copy here.