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Upon first listen of the Muggs self-titled debut album, which is out this week on Times Beach, one might think them better suited sharing some Motor Speedway Super Jam bill with pre-chub ZZ Top, pro-chub Mountain, the James Gang, and opener Black Oak Arkansas. We can imagine 15,000 hand-hoisted lighter flashes and scads of halter tops crammed with nature-filled knockers. We can see too many Schlitz-bloated guts protruding from under leather vests and weed wafts forming serpents in the summer night air. All hail the Muggs!
Problem is, it aint 1975, and imagination only goes so far.
So what? The Muggs dont give a shit about what the calendar says. Their smoky din carries weight: Headlong joy, inner-band loyalty and personal tragedies spark the bands heady riff-stomp and melody they could, if given the chance, melt into wicked shapes the ears of any classic rock enthusiast. Further, lead howler (and Payback six-stringer) Danny Methric is, in an untainted use of the term, a guitar hero. (To read more about the Muggs, see Mugg shots, Metro Times, Dec. 15, 2004.
To coincide with the bands record release show this week, we thought itd be swell to get the bands take on some new discs, Rate-A-Record style. After all, these gents know their rock n roll, but whats their take on DJ Z-Trip, or Nine Inch Nails? We gathered at Methrics kempt Cass Corridor digs armed with 12s of canned beer and a bag full of new releases. Yep, tonight the Muggs (Methric, keyboard-bassist Tony DeNardo and skinsman Matt Rost) are the music crits.
Heres how it worked: I picked the albums and spun select tracks from each, withholding certain details, such as who or what they were listening to, though they immediately guessed a few of them. All selections are new or upcoming releases or reissues. For the most part, their comments came in colors, and as the beer cans emptied, the boys got brave. In fact, the whole evening ended on a beery argument about the Beatles that mellowed into a reverent celebration of Jimmy McCarty and Cactus.
Tony: It sounds like MC Shy D from back in the day, my freshman year of high school. Gotta be tough was the shit.
Danny: [Laughing] I kinda like it. Its not bad. Its not something Id dig out of my closet and get down on. But if its on at a club a house pah-tey I can get down on that. Sounds like a white guy.
Tony: Sounds like Will Smith, which is the same difference [laughs]
Matt: [Shaking his head, solemnly] Sounds like they like to party first and the music comes second.
Once We Were Diamonds EP
Tony: The second song is a little too sing-songy for me. The first song was great. I like how the drums were produced, all up front.
Danny: I like it, actually. They sound like smart songwriters. Good musicians, sounds like a good drummer, produced well, I actually really dig it. I give it the thumbs up.
Matt: Its my turn? Um ... ah, man. I really like the songs, pop rock. Good rock n roll, ma.
Round About Midnight: Legacy Edition
Tony: I could listen to Miles Davis 24/7. Its perfect. When Im in my twilight years, I want to be in a jazz ensemble.
Danny: Thats as good as it gets as far as jazz goes. Im not big on the modern jazz, but the classic Miles stuff is what I really like to listen to.
Matt: Very cool. How can you not like the airy, muted tone of Miles Davis?
( local demo)
Tony: I like it. I like it a lot. Very melodic. Melody is king.
Danny: Fine crafted songs and pop. Ive heard some better pop, but I like the songwriter and this band. I think I can get into it with a couple more listens.
Matt: Um ... I dont care for it. Its a little too folky for me.
Band, Girls, Money
Tony: I like this, it has an urgency to it. Its like being force-fed a hot dog down your throat but being hungry at the same time...
Danny: [Laughs] Id like to comment on Tonys comment. Um, the Muggs dont endorse hot dog consumption of that form...
Matt: [Shaking his head again, and staring at the floor] Noise, noise, nois.
Live at the House of Blues
Tony: I love Solomon Burke, the live shit works really, really well. Anything will do for me.
Danny: [Mimicking Don Pardo] Its Saturday Night Live, with your host Matthew McConaughey. No, I love it. My favorite type of music to listen to is soul music, R&B, soul with horns, Otis Redding- and Sam Cooke-style. Sooner or later Im gonna write tunes like that. I think this is fantastic. I love the sound of it.
Matt: I love anything with horns and a B-3. I think its super-sexy.
Tony: Actually I like it. Is this Electric 6? I thought it was very imaginative. I like all the crazy sounds, and the way it was produced.
Danny: [Said before he knew it was Electric 6] If this band was guys dressed normally in jeans and T-shirts, I would hate this music. But if they had some sort of Spinal Tap persona, dressed up as crazy goth Indians up on stage, Id think it was fantastic and Id love it.
Matt: I like it more and more as I listen to it. Very distinguishable band, larger than life.
Radiators From Space
TV Tube Heart
(Chiswick/Ace UK - '77 punk reissue)
Tony: Very good. I like the linear bass line, blues roots rock. Its cool.
Danny: I think its pretty interesting for a silly, mindless new wave rock n roll. Had it been 1979, I mightve really gotten into it.
Matt: Its just too silly and corny for my taste.
The Black Eyed Peas
Tony: Black dudes on surfboards. I like what the Black Eyed Peas represent. The Peas are the type of band that deserves to be played in a club while youre rolling on E, where you dont care about anything but the beat.
Danny: I dont like it too much. Ive heard better representations of the genre. It doesnt do much for me.
Matt: Waaaay toooo prooduuuced. I cant get into the sampling at all.
Tony: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yawn.
Danny: Jakob Dylans monotone delivery gets on my nerves. I dont like it.
Matt: I like it. It sounds intelligent. Too bad it doesnt fit the bill between 89X and WRIF.
Nine Inch Nails
Tony: Ive got to say that I respect all music. But, I cant stand Trent Reznor.
Danny: Everything that is wrong with modern music is embodied in Trent Reznor.
Matt: I just dont get it, man. Theres so much better stuff out there than this.
Dont Believe The Truth
Tony: Im a pouty face! I dunno, Liams a fuckin gaywad
Danny: Oasis is very derivative. But theyre derivative of my favorite bands, so, ultimately, I can listen to this stuff and still get into it. If they were nice guys and didnt say they were better than the Beatles, then they could be one of the best bands around. But I have a personal vendetta against them because they think theyre the greatest band. But theyre not. They talk too much shit.
Tony: Were derivative.
Danny: Were totally derivative. But you cant say youre better than the bands youre derivative of ...
Matt: I doooont know. Theyre al-riiight. I dont know, the Beatles never did anything for me.
Danny: Whaaat? Thats like pissing on my family [laughs] ...
Preview two songs from the Muggs latest album on their artist profile.
Brian Smith is music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.