's new self-titled album is named after the band because it "Definitely captured what Mudvayne is
" explains guitarist Greg Tribbett
. It contains tangential pieces like "Dead Inside
," an acoustic piece featuring guitarist Greg Tribbett
and singer Chad Greg
and "Out To Pasture
," a haunting piece given shape by Tribbett
's single-note guitar line and the quartet's epic arrangement. But it also sports kick-you-in-the-head metal riffs such as the album's opener "Beautiful And Strange
" and "1000 Mile Journey
." The artwork was executed by tattoo artist Paul Booth
and was completed with special black light ink invisible to the naked eye. You'll need your own psychedelic-era black light to read the writing here. There are also several CD versions of the album available [including deluxe editions with accompanying black light] as well as vinyl pressings.
talked about the music on the Mudvayne
album and how the record had actually been written and put in the can for some time now.
UG: When we last spoke you were recording The New Game album. At that time you said you already had another record in the can. Is this the record you were talking about?
This is the record [laughs.]
How does that happen where you record two albums virtually back-to-back? Do you need to think differently as a musician so you're not just recording what might have become part two of The New Game record?
Uhh, well, first of all it's a lot of work. Second of all, it was coming back off of when I went and did Hellyeah with me and Chad. When we got off touring we came off that and I went directly into writing the next Mudvayne record so that's how it all came about. It was having that break that I think I was able to do that and put those two together.
So you finished The New Game album, went out and toured with Hellyeah, and came back and wrote the record that would become this new one?
Yeah. We wrote this new record while The New Game was being prepared for release. You know what I'm saying? The new record was ready and packaged to go and after I got off tour with Hellyeah, we ended up with more material for this newest record while The New Game was getting prepared to be released last November.
Was there a reason you wanted to get back into the studio so quickly?
I think I was itching to get back in and write some more Mudvayne stuff after the Hellyeah stuff and I was ready and prepared and I just had a lot of riffs goin' on. So I was ready to go and I got the band together and we all got together and we did it.
I'm still trying to understand how you were able to separate yourself from The New Game material in order to write material for a new album. Especially since the period between those two records was that long a time. Did you have to think differently as a songwriter? Did you dial up different types of guitar tones to get inspired?
Yeah, I know what you mean. You know, I think I was just in a different headspace. I wanted heavier songs; I wanted to write heavier. I don't want any of our records to sound like the last record. I kind of focus myself away from anything we've ever done before.
You were laying for heavier riffs.
Yeah; I was definitely.
Were you thinking bigger guitar sounds also?
No, man, not really. It's more me sittin' in a room and pulling riffs out of my head and that's about it. It was nothin' about tone or anything to be heavier. It was just writing heavier riffs; I would just sit down in my room by myself and just work em out.
In press releases, Matt McDonough had described the Mudvayne album as one of the best records the band had done since The End of All Things To Come. Would you agree?
Umm, yeah, I think I would. You know it's a self-titled record, man, and I think we pretty much kind of settled on what Mudvayne is. And I think that's why it is a self-titled record. This is our fifth studio record and we've done it all and I think we kind of know what Mudvayne is now. I think, yeah, this is definitely one of our best records written.
After going through different styles on previous albums, how would you describe where Mudvayne is on this newest record?
"I was itching to get back in and write some more Mudvayne stuff after the Hellyeah stuff."
I guess you'll find out on this record; I think that is Mudvayne, man, what's going on on this record. There are some time signatures going on and a lot of individual shit that just came together to make what Mudvayne is and that's this record. And that's the only way I can put it.
Are the songs more fully fleshed out than earlier songs you might have written? Do the songs on the new album come out sounding closer to what the initial ideas were?
Yeah; I think it's from years of being together, man. We know how to write together now and it comes out on this record. It's easier to write together; songs come quicker; the formula comes quicker. We have a formula and it's realized on this record.
Members of the band and even fans have looked at Mudvayne's second album, The End of All Things to Come, as one of the best you've ever done. David Bottrill produced that one but then on the following album, Lost and Found and the one after that, The New Game, you switched to Dave Fortman. Why make a change if The End of All Things to Come came out so cool?
I don't think there was ever a thought about it. I think we were still trying to find the right producer that gelled with us and I think that was Dave Fortman. I don't think we ever thought about going back to any other producers basically because we didn't want to create the same sound and the same record. But with Dave Fortman he's more like a bro to us now and he's a very talented dude. Once he got inside our head and kind of figured out the music and his ideas and stuff, we just kinda of stuck it out. And that's why we've been using him.
But you used Jeremy Parker on the new record.
Yes; Jeremy's gonna be a great producer in years to come. He was Dave's right hand man; Dave was in and out of the studio for this record but Jeremy was there for all of it. He had a lot to do with it and he's a great dude and a great engineer/producer.
So he was involved with Beautiful and Strange which is the opening track on the album. Is this an example of one the heavier, Mudvayne-styled songs you were talking about before?
Yeah; I mean, I think that's one of the songs for sure. I think 1000 Mile Journey is another one and let's see, what else? Beyond the Pale is one of em.
1000 Mile Journey has that strange piece at the end. What is that?
Uhh, I don't know what you call it; just an extension of the song. Kind of an outro kind of thing.
Beyond the Pale has a bunch of guitars at the beginning that sound like they've been harmonized.
On the intro? Yeah, yeah, yeah; there are some harmonized guitars there for sure. We wanted to do interludes on this record but we wanted to create them ourselves musically instead of using like samples. So that's how that all came about.
Guitar tones switch pretty drastically from clean to distorted. Are you hitting an effects pedal or just what is happening?
Umm, basically man, the tones are straight up; I have the same tone on every track. If it's a clean tone, I use a Telecaster with a chorus pedal and that's basically it. I think I've done that on every record. That's the clean tone I've always gotten; it's just a Telecaster and I think it sounds great. And as far as the dirty channel, there are two heads: a VHT and Randall 100. And my signature V that I use from Washburn and that's the tone.
There are a couple of tunes on there that are just crazy because I was tuning my guitar or whatever and it's dropped tuned to G. It makes the octaves chord under your 6th string; 6, 5, and 4 [strings] are the chord and it's all octaves. It's really crazy and that's the riff on Beyond the Pale. It's pretty crazy, man. When I came up with it, I went, Wow, man, that sounds killer.
You had never done that before?
No, I had never done that before.
Don't the strings become a little wobbly with this kind of tuning?
I have .070s on my low string.
Had you not been using such heavy strings, the tuning would have been all over the place.
Oh, yeah, it would have been insane; there's no way I could have done it.
All Talk is another track with clean guitars and distorted riffs and that kind of sustain guitar in the background.
Yeah, I guess so. It's an overdub I did with the clean channel and I think that was it. And maybe a little chorus than usual on it.
Out to Pasture is a little different approach for the band inasmuch as you have that single note phrase acting as sort of a running melody line through the song.
I was listening to the bass line actually that Ryan wrote and I just sat down and I started fooling with single-note things. It came to me really quick actually, that pattern did, and I just played it over and over and over. I went, Wow! That's really cool and I might need to keep that and that could be a verse. And that's just how it came about. Chad heard it and he was like, Yeah, man, that's cool and then he started hummin' over it and that's how it came about.
Then there's a little instrumental interlude that happens before the second verse. Was this something that was written during pre-production because the arrangement in this song seems pretty complex.
No, man, it's more spur of the moment. It's like whatever comes out, comes out and we do it. That's kind of like how we have always written. Just do it; if it comes out and it works we do it.
Are there things that don't work?
Yeah, man, I mean sure that'll happen sometimes. But we don't question it too often, man. Usually I'll just write and if something comes out I'll write something to go with it. But I mean sure, a couple times I'll be like, Nah, fuck that riff [laughs.]
There aren't a whole lot of straight ahead solos on the album.
Yeah, man, I'm not Yngwie Malmsteen, dude, and I don't want to be like him. I like to be more tasteful; I like to write what the song is asking for. I don't need to do shredding solos all through [the song.] I'll leave that for people that can do it. I don't enjoy it man; I just want melody. I'm more into melody.
You mention Yngwie and the shredding thing. Do you listen to those types of players?
Shredders? Not really, man, I really don't listen to it too much. I mean maybe back in the day I did but not now.
If you were going to listen to a guitar player, who would it be?
Zakk Wylde is definitely awesome. I don't know, man, I listen to so much different stuff I don't really pick out guitar players that I wanna follow in that direction. I'm just more of a guy who creates stuff in my head and could do it.
Dead Inside is your acoustic side and then there's that little electric part that sounds like a French police siren.
It's just something that I wanted to add to the acoustic song. And I just did it as an overdub and wrote it on the spot basically. I was actually tracking acoustic guitars and I wrote that while I was tracking in my head and it was like, Hang on. Keep recording and play it back and I'm gonna play this over it and that just kinda happened.
You like working with acoustics? That's a nod at the Jimmy Page influence in your music?
"This is our fifth studio record and we've done it all and I think we kind of know what Mudvayne is now."
Yeah, I like acoustic stuff man. I wish I could play flamenco guitar actually. I need to learn because I love that stuff. It's awesome.
Is that acoustic sound represented in Dead Inside a reflection of where Mudvayne are in 2009?
Dead Inside is something we've never done but it's actually a song that I wrote five years ago. I played it for Chad and he loved it and stuff and then the circumstances finally worked out and I got Chad to sing on it and we did it.
Does Dead Inside relate in any way stylistically to Scarlet Letters from The New Game album?
No, man, I think this is different. Scarlet Letters is full band and this is acoustic. This is something me and Chad have never put out there on a record. It's just us two doing it. It's something for the listeners, the fans to hear. Either you dig it or you don't.
You haven't done any vocals for several albums now but are you doing any singing on the new album?
On Dead Inside? No, man, it's Chad. I quit doin' that three records ago [laughs.] I was like, Nope, Chad can do it.
Beautiful and Strange opens the record with that strange little interlude at the beginning. And then the album ends with that same kind of weird backwards kind of piece. Is that meant to imply, We began here and we're leaving here?
Yeah, that's exactly what it is. It's like the intro into the record, you listen to the record, back into the outro and you're done with the record.
And you just got off of the road?
We just completed the summer tour, the Pedal to the Metal tour. And yeah, I don't know what's going on in the future here but I'm sure we're gonna work something out. But the record is gonna drop here in a few weeks [at the time of this interview, release date for the Mudvayne album was still several weeks away] and we'll go from here.
As you said several times, naming the album Mudvayne is meant to truly define where the band have arrived after four prior albums. When you listen to it top to bottom, have you captured what the band are?
Yeah, man, like I said I think that's why we self-titled this record. And I think we definitely captured what Mudvayne is on this record and I have no idea what the next record's gonna sound like [laughs.]
So you haven't written that one yet, huh?
No, I haven't written that one yet. That's for sure.
Interview by Steven Rosen