Puddle Of Mudd: Guitarist No Longer Measures Success By Billboard Ranking

Phillips recently talked with Ultimate-Guitar about the evolving dynamic within Puddle of Mudd and how his own view of success has changed over the years.

Puddle Of Mudd: Guitarist No Longer Measures Success By Billboard Ranking
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A solid fan base and commercial success certainly haven't eluded Puddle Of Mudd guitarist Paul Phillips. Radio favorites like "Blurry" and "She Hates Me" solidified Puddle Of Mudd's status in the rock scene during the early part of the 2000's, but as it happens for so many artists, Phillips and his bandmates began to sense creative tension while writing/recording their third studio album Famous. The strain led Phillips to leave Puddle Of Mudd for close to four years, and the guitarist admits that the idea of returning to the band wasn't even in the picture when he finally began chatting with vocalist Wes Scantlin again. But with both musicians on the same creative page this time around, Phillips did not hesitate to jump on board when he was asked to rejoin Puddle Of Mudd. The songwriting took a different turn for the new album Songs In The Key Of Love & Hate, with Phillips and Scantlin collaborating more than ever. According to the band's web page bio, the sessions were completed late at night with "Kettle One and a bottle of Southern Comfort" a satisfying setup for the songwriting duo. The resulting album is full of the band's trademark hooks and more than a few possible radio hits. Phillips recently talked with Ultimate-Guitar about the evolving dynamic within Puddle Of Mudd and how his own view of success has changed over the years. UG: What initially spurred you to leave Puddle of Muddle in 2005? Paul Phillips: When I departed in the first place, it was as we started to write the third record, which eventually became the Famous record. There was a lot of tension and a lot of bad vibes. No one was really getting along or talking. I live in Florida, and I was in L.A. and we weren't really working. Nobody was talking and I was just sitting there being miserable. It was just something I had to do. I had to get my head straight because it got to the point where it wasn't fun anymore and nobody was happy. Greg, our original drummer, left, and we were the only two talking at the time. As soon as he left, that was pretty much the nail in the coffin. I took off a month after that. Did you just casually start talking to Wes, and those chats led to you returning to the band? Yeah, pretty much. I was just sitting at home in Jacksonville. The band came through and was playing the radio show there, the all-day festival. I wasn't going to go, obviously, because of the bad vibes. All my friends talked me into going because it's something we do every year. So I said, All right. I'll go. Whatever. I ran into Wes and the guys, and we hung out. We went to a bar afterward, actually had a great time, and had a lot to talk about. Me and Wes started talking on the phone a lot. It wasn't anything about coming back to the band. It was just kind of natural. We were just talking and checking in with each other. Next thing I know Wes says, We have a show next week and we want you to come play. I was like, All right. Cool. I'm there. So I flew out to L.A., did the first show, started writing, and worked on the record maybe three months later.

"This is the first time that me and Wes wrote well together. We usually write completely separate."

Talk a bit about those songwriting sessions. I read some stories about late nights and a bottle of Southern Comfort. Was it a pretty easy-going experience? Yeah! I really had to adjust my sleeping schedule to match Wes! I'm up at like 8 o'clock and go into the gym and stuff. I had to adjust to him. We would go to the world-famous Rainbow, have drinks, and then close that down. We would head to house, and that's where we started writing. We would sit there, drink, and write songs. I had a hand-held recorder, and I would just hit record when we had a good idea. As the night went on, it kind of got sloppier and sloppier! I would check the tape the next day and be like, Did I write this? He would be like, I have no idea. Did you write that part? He would be like, I don't know. I think you wrote it. Luckily a lot of times as we listened the next day there would be something that we liked. A lot of them were garbage, but some of them were good. That's literally how we did it. We would go into rehearsal, work it out, and then finish the whole project. I know that you left during its making, but were there any songs on Famous that you personally wrote? I wrote one song on Famous, and then I took off. A lot of the stuff that we were working on at that time, it didn't end up making it on to the Famous record. Maybe only two songs or so from when I was still in the band ended up making it. We had a lot. Then a lot of different songwriters got pulled in. They kind of went that route, which is the reason that record is a little more poppier and polished than our other records. I think that's the main reason. Do you write most of your songs on acoustic? Are there cases when songs develop from jam sessions? It's pretty much always acoustic. The reason being is that we don't really write together as a unit. I know some bands do the jams. That rarely happens to us. I don't know if it's because we all have ADD or what! Normally when we're jamming, it's going in so many different directions that we don't get anything done. We don't hone in on anything. We write separate a lot. This is the first time that me and Wes wrote well together. We usually write completely separate. This is the first time that it was the two of us. It's almost always acoustics. We do it in our homes, in our basements or rehearsal room. What equipment are you using on Songs in the Key of Love & Hate? Did you experiment with anything that you might have not used in past setups? I've been with Paul Reed Smith from the beginning. In the studio we used a combination of my favorite single-cut Paul Reed Smith as well as two of Wes' Les Pauls: a gold top and then a really nice sunburst. Also there were a couple of Strats involved for shinier overtones, light stuff. Other than that, we didn't go too crazy. It was mainly what we had, but the Strats the producers brought in. On the production credits, there are a few different people that were listed. Was there a reason that other people were brought in after Brian Howes? On this one we had planned on going with Brian Howes. He's a songwriter and we had planned on focusing on what we thought were a couple of really good songs that we believed in. We had really wanted to visit with John Kurzweg again, who did our first one. We obviously had a lot of success with that. Unfortunately he's gone into semi-retirement right now, and he's just kind of got over the hours. So we got ourselves Brian Virtue, who did the Chevelle record and we share the same management. We worked with him, and then during that process Kurzweg came and said, Ah, I wouldn't mind doing a couple of songs. So we did the last two songs that we recorded with Kurzweg. It's kind of weird how it all played out being three producers, but through the process we made it sound pretty cohesive. I can tell a little bit, but I think the average fan wouldn't be able to recognize the difference in their sounds. Do you feel any pressure from your label at this point in your career? The label doesn't really pressure us per se verbally. With the industry as fickle as it is, you kind of put that pressure on yourself. Executives, bands, and record stores everybody is dropping like flies. Here today, gone tomorrow. You've got to keep being viable and give enough reasons for your record label to keep invested with the band and keep invested in you as well. In buying the record or buying the single from iTunes and buying concert tickets, that's keeping your shit going. I used to get really caught up with where we were on Billboard and how many records we had sold and where the single was and how much MTV was playing us. Honestly, I don't even look at that. I have no idea where the single is. I have no idea how much they are playing our video. As long as I wake up and play a show and people are there and they know the words to the song and they're having a good time and we get to do this for a living, then I'm happy. I'm extremely happy that we can do that. Success isn't the charts anymore. As long as I can keep doing this for a living, I'm extremely happy.

"The label doesn't really pressure us per se verbally. With the industry as fickle as it is, you kind of put that pressure on yourself."

Do you have any techniques or ideas that you can pass along to guitarists who might be in the early stages of playing? As far as skill level, it's just practice, practice, practice. There are two ways about it for me. One is to practice by yourself with a metronome. Go and do your scales. I kind of think that those finger exercises that you'll never use are a waste of time. I would much rather break down riffs with a metronome or break down licks from your favorite artist. You can play them slow or even go faster than they do. See where your limits are. Also you have to play with other people. You've got to play with a drummer and get your feel down. Otherwise, you're just a robot. Constantly play. Practice at home. Get your chops up. Then you've got to play with people to get your groove down and develop your own style. What would you suggest for the business side? Do you think that touring as much as possible is still a viable approach to marketing? That may work for some people. I don't know. I really think that's a complete waste of time, going to all these cities where people don't know who you are. You go to a bar and play for 10, 15 people that are there for the drink specials. Maybe if you're really good, then there will be 30 people. I've heard that. It never worked for me! I was always like, Why did I take off work and spend money to go play at some show. I think nowadays it's completely different. There is so much you can do on your own now. That's what you have to do now as a band because no label has money to spend on breaking in an artist. The more you can do on your own as far as your MySpace, your Facebook, and your YouTube or your merch, the more you can do on your own and the less of a risk you are to a label, the better chance you have of getting it. The chance of a major label picking you up and wanting to spend a gazillion dollars on you are slim to none. Unfortunately that's the way it is. Buy a van. If you make enough money, buy a van and the label doesn't have to worry about it. Anything you can do on your own is going to give you more bargaining power with the label. Your next venture is the Carnival of Madness tour, which features Chevelle, Shinedown, Sevendust, and 10 Years. Have you toured with most of the bands on the bill? We've played with all of them before. We actually played with Shinedown in January and February. We've done several radio shows with Chevelle. I think us and Sevendust are always in the same place. They're one of my favorite bands to play with because they're down to earth and they like to drink and they like to hang out. They're not hiding on their bus or doing the rock star thing. They're like us, walking the buses, barbecuing, and hanging out. It's going to be like summer camp! I'm excited about it. I think it's going to be really, really fun as well as really, really successful. All the bands are great bands, so it's a win-win for everybody. Interview by Amy Kelly Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2010

56 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Seether_Dude123
    Puddle of Mudd is one of THE BEST bands out today, they have proved themselves worthy especially with their new cd, "Volume 4: Songs in The Key of Love and Hate," and they have definetly come a long way from "Come Clean," and I want Paul Phillips to know that he is one of the most influential guitarists to me, and I want him to know he needs to just keep playing!
    Snakeskin
    thats funny, he shouldnt nees to measure his success based on the top 40, he should memorize it based on his band name Puddle of mudd
    tony78
    They had some good songs off Come clean. I thought drift and die was a great song and one of my favorites off that CD along with Blurry and Control. I didn't care for any of their other releases. Not sure but maybe they need Fred Durst back in their life since he produced the album. Everything after that was crap.
    stndrdprcdre
    Contraband wrote: He makes a living pandering to a bunch of drunk teens and college hillbillies for a living. This is hardly a man we can revere in awe.
    Well said.
    `NeXxuS`
    Zeppelin Addict wrote: dalamas wrote: its a shame he isnt as musically elite as you all. poor guy.... +1 .. always gotta laugh at those bedroom rockers who have the ignorance to rip on someone whos been successful.. wheres all your outstanding material guys?
    http://www.myspace.com/anomalyca right there.
    timo96
    Hmmm... Maybe he doesn't measure success by record sales anymore because no one waist their money on bands that suck, and if there is anybody out there who still likes them they're probably too embarrassed to buy the album so they download it...
    r-bizzle182
    "UG: What initially spurred you to leave Puddle of Muddle in 2005? " Puddle of MUDDLE?
    Heavymetalholic
    as stated above, make fun of the guy all you want, but he is doing something most of you have not and will not, and that is make a living doing music.
    Contraband
    He makes a living pandering to a bunch of drunk teens and college hillbillies for a living. This is hardly a man we can revere in awe.
    joey_cool19
    strange, just yesterday i found their come clean album under my bed after years, played it and remembered how awesome it is
    Music_Eater
    blueirishluck79 wrote: Puddle Of Mudd Rocks!! Good interview...Paul is awesome and a HOTT!! I think. Its funny people who Hates them and puts shitty comments!! Why the **** would u even read the interview if u don't like the band??? For the bands I don't care for or listen to I don't read there interviews or info about them!! IT WOULD BE A WASTE OF MY TIME!! I think people just like to be ****ing *****s/stupid!!!!!
    omfglolmao u teh singr?
    RockinZiemak19
    what the hell is up with everyone puttin Puddle of Mudd down? i have the album with "Blurry" on it and it kicks ass but who knows? i dont much of Puddle of Mudd now so idk
    oxymoronicman
    stompbox wrote: God bless you DIO rest in peace you will not be for gotton RIP DIO DIO passes away 7.45 an this morning he was 67
    stompbox
    God bless you DIO rest in peace you will not be for gotton DIO passes away 7.45 an this morning he was 67
    nikkisixx1993
    nashmanz wrote: The lead singer, Wes, had this band based in Kansas City until Fred Durst convinced him to ditch his mates and go to california and release his music, under the same name, with a totally new band... That's the lowest of the low.
    actually dude the old puddle of mudd broke up and then fred durst liked them and decided to give them a shot so wes put together a new line up. get your facts striaght
    rg_metal
    I saw puddle of mudd in concert reluctantly once... and it was the worst concert I have ever seen... congratulations for being the worst
    IronArc
    You know all of you guys should be ashamed. Rock is a brotherhood. There's not many of us left (fans and artists alike). We are a unique group of music fans. We actually pick up instruments - we buy albums - we work hard at jobs we hate and get threw them thanks to guys like this and their music. All negitive talk on here - all shit talk. Screw that. And if the crap talkers actually listened to this new record without listening for a "Blurry," you may find something you like. We have to shape up guys and be what we were and leave the crap talk for the rap loosers.
    reignofrock
    The headline just makes me laugh. Of course he doesn't measure success by the Billboard anymore, considering they've successively gone downhill on the Billboard. It just seems silly. If he wants to be a true musician that would have been his standpoint from the get-go, not just now because of their fleeting success. HA-HA.
    Zayrank
    cortes239 wrote: Saw Sevendust and Puddle of Mudd in December and I'm seeing both of them with 10 Years and Chevelle in July. It seems like the same bands always come to where I live.
    Carnival of madness tour? Im going to the concert in Charlotte, NC..and while I normally don't listen to music on the radio I do like Puddle of Mud, they are a good band, as for song writing and lyrics, some songs aren't really that great in that aspects but when we have suck bands like Nickle Back and Nickle Back Jr AKA Theory of a dead man dominating the radio Ill settle for bad lyrics and catchy melodies
    iquandty
    guys, guys, who cares? just listen to the music, if you don't like it, then don't. i'll have my opinion, and you can have yours
    taytay8b
    Good band. The new record sort of disappointed me. Famous was a great record, and so was Come Clean. They are also a good live band.
    Pus_Head
    fba217 wrote: get out of here puddle of mudd, your only big hit was essentially a gimmicky joke song (She hates me). I didn't know musical success was ever gauged by how many copies of an album you sell. what a prick. no more top 40 radio rock, go away... forever.
    I think you mean their only hit was a gimmicky joke song based off antother gimmicky joke song "I Saw Your Mommy - Suicidal Tendencies"
    threedaysgrace9
    They have a few good songs, like Blurry. I saw them live in 06, and they were ok, but they tried WAY TOO HARD to be Nirvana. This is one of the bands that got worse with age. Wes's songwriting skills are lacking.
    jean_genie
    Giorgi wrote: It's funny because in the US they apparently became famous with that "She Hates Me" song, which I admit is kinda lame and annoying. But I for one really liked "Blurry" when it came out, I really like "Control"... They certainly got couple of good songs by anyone's rock standards.
    Anyone? Really, anyone? Because I'm pretty sure Blurry could have been written by Linkin Park or three other bands from that era, and Control is ... well, let's say the only reason I listened to it (and learned it) was because I dated a girl at the time that was really into whatever was on the Rock Top 40. And was kinda' naughty.
    jhart08 wrote: dalamas wrote: its a shame he isnt as musically elite as you all. poor guy.... +1 This sh*t gets old
    I kind of agree. While some of my favourite music is done by people with very little understanding of theory, you have to admit that these songs are pretty formulaic. But Robert Johnson's tunes are the same, so I realize I'm being a little hypocritical here. People have the right to call out famous people for sucking at their job. It's why I can call Tom Brady a dumbass for whiffing a play that my smoker ass could never do in a million years. It's not like we're ragging on someone we actually know - that would definitely be wrong. Besides, it's a forum. As far as forums go, this is pretty tame.
    Zeppelin Addict
    dalamas wrote: its a shame he isnt as musically elite as you all. poor guy....
    +1 .. always gotta laugh at those bedroom rockers who have the ignorance to rip on someone whos been successful.. wheres all your outstanding material guys?
    nashmanz
    The lead singer, Wes, had this band based in Kansas City until Fred Durst convinced him to ditch his mates and go to california and release his music, under the same name, with a totally new band... That's the lowest of the low.
    Sen-si
    nashmanz : The lead singer, Wes, had this band based in Kansas City until Fred Durst convinced him to ditch his mates and go to california and release his music, under the same name, with a totally new band... That's the lowest of the low.
    Thats how 95% of music in the mainstream is made these days. Mass money producing bands with a limited lifespan based around current trends =
    Giorgi
    It's funny because in the US they apparently became famous with that "She Hates Me" song, which I admit is kinda lame and annoying. But I for one really liked "Blurry" when it came out, I really like "Control"... They certainly got couple of good songs by anyone's rock standards.
    stndrdprcdre
    These guys are the epitome of shamelessness. I know music is subjective and yadda yadda but these guys are complete bullshit artists and they know it. They write songs for drunk hillbillies to sing along to at the local biker bar. I've never seen somebody enjoying a puddle of mudd song who wasn't drunk and trashy.
    EpiExplorer
    I dont think anyone really cares anymore. Like, they had their day and everything and thats fine, but.. its just Drowning Pool with a different (and much softer) face.
    `NeXxuS`
    OH GOOD FOR HIM, he no longer measures his success by how many people like him... Thats good. Because i ****ing hate him.
    alles7
    `NeXxuS` wrote: OH GOOD FOR HIM, he no longer measures his success by how many people like him... haha you and me both! Thats good. Because i ****ing hate him.
    fba217
    get out of here puddle of mudd, your only big hit was essentially a gimmicky joke song (She hates me). I didn't know musical success was ever gauged by how many copies of an album you sell. what a prick. no more top 40 radio rock, go away... forever.
    DirkLance
    Spaceship is one of the worst songs I've heard in a long time. Nothing wrong with the music really, I don't have anything against this guitarist. But they have slowly gotten worse and Scantlin's ego has vastly expanded for some reason. I don't think he has it in him to write a decent song anymore. Oh how cool, you have a spaceship. Yeah, that's the best pick up line I've heard in ages, Scantlin. It's really gonna "get those panties on the floor."
    Patrijz
    dalamas wrote: its a shame he isnt as musically elite as you all. poor guy....
    This...
    Giorgi
    nashmanz wrote: The lead singer, Wes, had this band based in Kansas City until Fred Durst convinced him to ditch his mates and go to california and release his music, under the same name, with a totally new band... That's the lowest of the low.
    The real story is: Wes went to a Limp Bizkit show and gave Fred Durst his band's demo. Fred Durst called him up sometime later but at that point the band had broken up, but Durst decided to just have Wes and they started all over. Blurry and Control (my favourites) were written in collaboration with the newly recruited guitarist (the dude in this interview).
    AdenZerda
    blueirishluck79 wrote: Puddle Of Mudd Rocks!! Good interview...Paul is awesome and a HOTT!! I think. Its funny people who Hates them and puts shitty comments!! Why the **** would u even read the interview if u don't like the band??? For the bands I don't care for or listen to I don't read there interviews or info about them!! IT WOULD BE A WASTE OF MY TIME!! I think people just like to be ****ing *****s/stupid!!!!!
    Wow.
    stndrdprcdre
    blueirishluck79 wrote: Puddle Of Mudd Rocks!! Good interview...Paul is awesome and a HOTT!! I think. Its funny people who Hates them and puts shitty comments!! Why the **** would u even read the interview if u don't like the band??? For the bands I don't care for or listen to I don't read there interviews or info about them!! IT WOULD BE A WASTE OF MY TIME!! I think people just like to be ****ing *****s/stupid!!!!!
    Then don't read the comments.
    Firebreather01
    their first album is really good, everything after, i just like a handful of songs (away from me, famous, psycho), but i don't like their new stuff at all really. they are fun to see live though
    blueirishluck79
    Puddle Of Mudd Rocks!! Good interview...Paul is awesome and a HOTT!! I think. Its funny people who Hates them and puts shitty comments!! Why the **** would u even read the interview if u don't like the band??? For the bands I don't care for or listen to I don't read there interviews or info about them!! IT WOULD BE A WASTE OF MY TIME!! I think people just like to be ****ing *****s/stupid!!!!!
    travis_holland
    Fred Durst owned this band. Its weird when LB tanked, Puddle of Mudd went with them. It's what happens when your band is soulless and has no substance.