Music Features

This Haunts Me: Puddle Of Mudd's Awkward Return

The post-grunge group's return has been...odd...to say the least

Puddle of Mudd "Just Tell Me" Music Video

Puddle of Mudd

Wes Scantlin is back, and it's weird.

The asinine Puddle of Mudd frontman and his greasy band of misfits actually returned in 2019 with Welcome to Galvania, their first album after a bedeviled decade away. Scantlin's drunken debauchery both on and off the stage had tarnished the group's image by that point, and their puzzling return wasn't warmly welcomed as a result.

Welcome to Galvania peaked at No. 65 on the Billboard 200 its debut week, then disappeared from the chart altogether. Critics tipped their hat to the group's return and to Scantlin's seeming attempt at redemption, but musically the band sounded stale; and, with a reputation so sodden in controversy, a redemption arc in 2019 was a tall order to fill.

But the band's most recent music video for "Just Tell Me" aims to show naysayers that they're trying — that Scantlin is capable of being sober and kind, that the band feels anything...at all. "Sometimes, when I get crazy, all I do is wanna see you," Scantlin whinnies in his pinched Nirvana howl. Later on, he laments: "Sometimes when I get crazy, all I do is reminiscing you." "You're my one and only, song my end," Scantlin mumbles in the second verse. It's hard to note whether the blatantly ungrammatical lyrical are intentional or not, but I suppose it's the thought that counts?

Songwriting aside, the single's pseudo attempt at romance via its music video is hard to swallow in and of itself. Whether it be Scantlin's stiff dance moves at the 50-second mark, his candlelit studio session, or his shredding alongside a massive American flag in an airplane hanger, dissecting whether "Just Tell Me" is satirical or genuine is an all-consuming affair.

There are moments where Scantlin seems in on the joke. He juggles around his earphones during his studio session so much that he seems to be playfully poking fun at the music video cliches of 2000s corny rock and roll past. But then there are moments where he really thinks he's the shit — like when he dramatically takes off his Crocodile-skinned baseball cap and wide-rimmed sunglasses before belting into the microphone: "Breaks me down!" As for Scantlin's recurring love interest in the video – clad in a straw cowboy hat, clammy make-up, and "That's Cool" T-shirt – the nameless woman invites many questions herself.

Look, the overall point is that Puddle of Mudd has returned, and they want you to know that they're, like, deep, or something. Sobriety undoubtedly looks good on Scantlin, but their squirmy attempts at communicating empathy are just really uncomfortable to watch.

Puddle Of Mudd - Just Tell Me (Official Video) www.youtube.com

In April of 2016, the LAPD got a call about a burglary near the house of Puddle of Mudd frontman Wes Scantlin.

A car that was parked in Scantlin's driveway had allegedly been broken into. When police arrived, a panicked Scantlin ran into his house and refused to come outside.

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Music Lists

This Haunts Me: 2000's Cringe Rock

Remember these bad boys? Of course you do

This is War 30 Seconds to Mars

We all remember those 2000s rock songs that were strangely beloved, but at the same time incredibly dated.

There remain a handful of truly awkward sentimental rock songs from the 2000s rock revival that we'd all love to forget. But, just for the sheer entertainment of it, we've compiled a list of some of the revival's most painful efforts.

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MUSIC

THEORY's Tyler Connolly Discusses the #MeToo Movement and Going Pop on New Album

Frontman Tyler Connolly spoke with Popdust in an exclusive interview.

Jimmy Fontaine

Theory of a Deadman's first album feels like it was released a lifetime ago.

In 2002, the band's debut was soaked in the heavy guitars and post-grunge workings of the early aughts. Tyler Connolly's gravelly growl was notable, his jet black hair, tattoos, and all-black attire signifying the arrival of a new bad boy in rock and roll. The band's hit project, Gasoline, expanded on the post-grunge fixings of its predecessor but dipped into a previously untapped commercial sensibility. "No Surprise" was filled with the angst of a relationship turned sour, but the band's unique fusion of country and rock, combined with an ear worm of a chorus, made for commercial success. Meanwhile, tracks like "Santa Monica" and "Since You've Been Gone" showed the versatility of Connolly's range: at one moment coarse and abrasive, the next open and cathartic.

Over the next 20 years, the band would slowly shed their post-grunge skin and lean more into these radio-friendly sensibilities. Now, after six albums, Theory of a Deadman isn't even the same band anymore. They've even shortened their name. "The darkness is definitely still there," said frontman Tyler Connolly, "but what inspired the change? I think I had written every riff there was on the guitar!" After 30 years playing guitar, Connolly has transitioned over to the piano. "It awakened this creativity," he said. "It also allowed the kind of room for us to be a band where we all have our effects." The frontman sat down with Popdust to talk about the band's new album, Say Nothing, their drastic change in sound, and the effects of the #MeToo movement.

THEORY - History Of Violence [OFFICIAL VIDEO] www.youtube.com

What transpired between Wake Up Call and Say Nothing? It seems like you guys got back into the studio pretty quickly.

"I think it was just a lack of time off. We weren't allowed to decompress from Wake Up Call, so a lack of sleep, and [going back into the studio] is where a lot of the inspiration came from. The creative process was very similar outside of having time off."

Sonically, the two sound similar. Who produced them?

"Martin Terefe produced Wake Up Call as well as Say Nothing, and I think he was much more timid on the earlier record, not really knowing us. [On Say Nothing] the only difference was that he really went gangbusters! He really spent a lot of time with the songs he was sent. We were so blown away by how much input he had. It was really amazing."

What inspired your lead single "History of Violence." What's the story behind its creation? Why did you choose this song as the lead single?

"The #MeToo Movement inspired it. I think the #MeToo movement is so large and powerful, and it's fantastic that women are gaining strength and [fighting for] equality. Being an all-male band, I think for us to support that is what we're looking to do with "History of Violence." There was no story behind it other than the fact that we wanted to create something to help women. The label chose the song as the lead single, and we're very happy they did; we love the song and it's great that it's out there."

Jimmy Fontaine

What should listeners take away from it?

"Empathy for the character, but, also, I think it's going to help people, help women, come forward. Like "Rx," we hope it gives people strength to talk to somebody and say, "Hey, you know what? This has happened to me." Sometimes people need a lighthouse, something to direct them, and, for us, hopefully this is something we can do to start that."

Tell me about "Strangers," your latest single. It seems to be a similar sort of rallying cry.

"That's exactly what it is—it's a cry for help, a cry for unity, a cry for everyone to get together. It's not about necessarily who you vote for or which side you're on, but it's really just about trying to get to the middle and agree that we're all human beings and we can all have our own opinion. It's just gross how biased the news is. So [the song] is me trying to process how I can say something without sounding like I'm complaining or picking sides. You have to be very careful not to pick sides [and] try to get everyone to come to the middle."

THEORY - Strangers [Official Visualizer] www.youtube.com

Tell me about your tour. How's life on the road?

"It's awesome! I recommend it. We get to go all around the world. I think people assume that every night we're playing Paris, New York, or LA, when in reality, we're actually going to every corner, every state, every province. We go to a lot of places that maybe don't have internet reception, because that's where everybody is. I think now, more than ever, we've really hit our mark. We've been doing this for almost 20 years, and I think we feel the most at home now finally up on stage in front of all our fans. It's really a blessing."

How's your chemistry as a band after all these years? You guys are veterans now, it seems like.

"Well, it's interesting because when you start a band, you get on a tour bus and there are 4 guys that you've never lived with before and now all of a sudden, you're with these people 24 hours a day. So, in the beginning, it was definitely tough. You have 4 different personalities that maybe don't mesh. I think after all these years, we're brothers now. We love each other. It couldn't be more fun. We have a blast. And yea, guess that's what we are now, we're veterans."

You called Say Nothing your most "honest" album.

"I think I'm just talking about things I really want to talk about. I used to shy away from certain topics in the past, being afraid to upset fans. On [Say Nothing], I just dove right into topics like politics and stopped thinking about what upsets people. It's just a perspective that I think people need to hear. I think sometimes that's what music is for, outside of being an art form or a creative process, it's also sometimes a voice for a generation. I grew up listening to guys like Bono and Rage Against the Machine and you wonder if you could do something like that. Maybe as you get older, you get braver."

Say Nothing is set for release on January 31st, 2020

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MUSIC

6 Early-2000's Bands You Love To Hate

These bands were awesome, and you know it. Stop denying it.

Reflecting on the bands we used to shamelessly bump in the early aughts can sometimes be a cringe-worthy experience.

We may even join in with our friends as they say things like, "Remember Staind? Boy were those guys terrible!" You'll nod in agreement, maybe throw a quick jab at them yourself, when you know damn well "It's Been Awhile" was the anthem to your first teenage heartbreak. As hard as you try to forget, you never really can. This is by no means a definitive list of guilty pleasure bands, and Nickelback will not make an appearance on this list. Anyone who was truly a fan of early aughts rock, knows that those guys are poser sell outs.

Lifehouse

Lifehouse was the peak of adult contemporary radio. "You and Me" was a f*ckin smash. It brought us all to tears. It made us all think about and our two-week-long relationships and being in love with our Geometry teachers. This track made an appearance on all of our burned bootleg CD's that we would slip into the lockers of our crushes. This song was raw passion. It validated all of our hormones as real feelings. It also lied to us in the process. But it's still a f*cking amazing song, and Lifehouse is an amazing band.

MUSIC

Creed Frontman Scott Stapp's New Album Is Cheesy and Devoid of Meaning

Disguised as our friend, Stapp offers a nostalgic trip to the Creed days of yore, but upon closer inspection, the release is hollow and impossible to take seriously.

YouTube

Remember when being melodramatic was cool?

Gerard Way had long black hair and wore amber red ties and caked-on foundation and mascara. The Used were writing lyrics like, "I broke a needle off in my skin / Pick the scabs and pick the bleeding." Teenagers would passionately make out to Hoobastank's "The Reason." It was the aughts. Everything was sensationalized, all of it was cathartic, and none of it made any logical sense in retrospect.

All the while, Creed's "Arm's Wide Open" was being sung all across the country, with only a fraction of listeners picking up on the heavy-handed religious undertones that now seem painfully obvious. It's no doubt that the song was a bop; the post-grunge wave was filled with bops. But the post-grunge fanbase grew up quickly, and the movement dissipated as quickly as it came. When the veil of puberty was lifted, listening back on those songs brought with it a potent mix of nostalgia and shame. It's hard to believe now, in 2019, that a large portion of the population considered Three Days Grace to be saccharine music rather than the soundtrack for a serial killer. Yet whenever one of these bands is replayed during a drunken galivant with "the boys," we sing along almost satirically, because it's more fun to reflect on the past in jest rather than acknowledge that every artist listed above is actually still making music. Scott Stapp, the former lead singer of Creed, is one of them.

Stapp's latest solo release, The Space Between The Shadows, is a lie. Disguised as our friend, Stapp offers a nostalgic trip to the Creed days of yore, but upon closer inspection, the release is hollow and impossible to take seriously. "It's hard to forgive, even harder to forget," Stapp sings on "Name," "I am a son without a father." In the video for "Purpose for Pain," Stapp's interpretative condemnation of child abuse makes it seem like he's got corpses buried in his backyard. "Fell into the light, thrown from the abyss, screamed so many nights, not going out like this," Stapp sings. "I fought the devil and he won." Meanwhile, "Face of the Sun," Stapp's pump-up track, is just plain cheesy. "Fight until the end, in the name of love," he calls out with great solemnity. The closing track, "The Last Hallelujah," is so engulfed in its own dramatics it almost becomes satirical.

For years Stapp has been assaulted by his demons, and he has somehow emerged from each near-death experience still charismatic and optimistic for the future. His journey to sobriety and beyond is no doubt admirable, but it's hard to take the testament of Scott Stapp. Any vague guise of sentimentality is overshadowed by the album's clear lack of vulnerability. The cover art, most likely meant to convey a Stapp enlightened by his experiences, just paints the singer as a self-obsessed white guy.

But maybe this is part of his journey. Maybe Stapp is just going through the motions he needs in order to find a resolution. "Gone Too Soon" may be hard to take seriously on its own, but when placed in the right context, it's clearly a well-intentioned ode to his fallen rock compatriots. The Space Between The Shadows is cheesy and lame and sounds like our dads made a rock band, but it's comforting to know that at least Stapp isn't a dick, and at least Creed fans of the past and present don't have to worry about their beloved rock singer ending up like Wes Scantlin.