Mark Arm Looks Back on Mudhoney's Big Break: "Something Clicked in the UK First"

Mark Arm Looks Back on Mudhoney's Big Break: 'Something Clicked in the UK First'
Along with dropping their new album Vanishing Point earlier this month, the guys in Seattle fuzz-rock outfit Mudhoney have been digging through their own past quite a bit recently. The Seattle quartet recently released the documentary I'm Now, chronicling their 25 years together, while !K7 recently unearthed concert footage from the band's very first overseas gig in Berlin. According to frontman Mark Arm, it was that show, documented in the appropriately titled Mudhoney – Live: Berlin 1988, that set the stage for the band in Europe, as several industry people caught their short festival set.

"We played that show and the people in the audience ended up being the people that we worked with, like our Dutch, French and English booking agents," recalls Arm in a recent interview with Exclaim! "All these people just ended up being there and watching us instead of just being someplace else. I guess that was the whole point of that show, little did we know or understand at the time."

Despite its seeming historical importance, Arm recalls the gig as being far from their best. "We only had one single out and that hall was a large hall. There were not enough people in it, which you can kind of tell. There aren't any audience shots in [the film]."

It was in Europe, says Arm, that Mudhoney and later, many of their Seattle peers, got their first taste of success. "Something clicked in the UK first," he says. The country's popular and powerful music weeklies — at the time Sounds, Melody Maker and the NME — were quick to champion the band.

"They went from covering really important cultural music touchstones like the Beatles and the Stones and punk rock to building up and tearing down bands every other week. And we just happened to be the new fresh thing at the time."

Arm says that the British weeklies at the time really ran with the idea that the band were rockist. "Like, it's too rock," he says. "[Us] looking back into history and applying some of our favourite things at that time, it seemed new to them. Like maybe a fresh take on being a rock band."

Vanishing Point is out now courtesy of Sub Pop, and you can read more of Exclaim!'s recent interview with Mudhoney here. You can also see their upcoming North American dates below.

Tour dates:

5/10 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
5/11 Brooklyn, NY - Sat Music Hall Of Williamsburg
5/12 New York, NY - Sun Bowery Ballroom
7/19 Denver, CO - The UMS
7/20 Minneapolis, MN - Grumpy's
7/21 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom
8/30 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick Lounge
8/31 Chicago, IL - Mayne Stage
9/1 Montreal, QC - Il Motore
9/2 Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace
9/23 Washington, DC - U Street Music Hall
9/25 Charlotte, NC - Tremont Music Hall
9/26 Nashville, TN - Third Man Records
9/27 Memphis, TN - Goner Festival
9/28 Dallas, TX - Club DaDa
9/29 Austin, TX - The Mohawk
9/30 Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's
10/1 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
10/2 Atlanta, GA - The Earl