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Saturday, May 27

The Mugs Rock

Charivarious presents The Mugs. This Brooklyn-based band just released their first full-length album, entitled Paper Scissors Rock, on SkinnyFat Records. Aside from jazz and reggae influences, their music is a blend of various styles, however raised to a very specific sound.

'Firm Ground', being one of my favourite tracks on the album, heads off with a nice bass riff and uptempo drum rhythms, then a zigzagging guitar joins in and the vocals burst open the song in the chorus. 'Reunion' contains some Air-ish rhodes moods. 'Many Times, Many Ways' is like a great alligator-sharp wawa riffing trip through the swamps...

If you're in the mood for alternative rock, with great melody and dito rhythm sections, you gotta check these promising songwriters out. Definition of Charivariety!

Small e-mail tête-à-tête

(Donwload this song while reading)

Fist off: who are you and where are you from?

Brett: “We're The Mugs. We've been playing around NYC for about 4 years now and we've built the band into something we think is ready to take to the streets. So far we've gotten a lot of good feedback and recently some regular airplay on KEXP. I hope you enjoy it. If you'd like, feel free to share it. We're our own label, and we're proud of it.”

What is the band's setup?

Jeremy Gough: vocals, Rhodes/keyboards
Brett Tieman: bass
Nick Moy: guitars, vocals, keyboards
Ryan Raffa: drums, percussion

What are your major influences and what was the first album to make an impact?

Jeremy: "Violent Femmes’ Violent Femmes, purchased at Princeton Record Exchange. Brett turned me on to this when we were maybe 14, 15. Up until then I’d listened to all classical music, with the exception of Harry Connick Jr.’s Red Light, Blue Light. And I grew up with two older brothers playing early U2 in the house, which was nice, but my first real discovery was Violent Femmes. The frustration fit my quiet adolescent rage like a glove, sure, but the vocals had a pure quality where you understood immediately that: here was a guy turning himself completely over to the words, the music, the band, and the audience. The same vocal quality I recognized when I heard Neutral Milk Hotel for the first time. You can’t help but connect, sing along, and release."
Nick: “Michael Jackson's Thriller. I remember we had a basement with thick green shag carpetting and wooden panelling on the walls. One of the walls had a large console that was also wood panelling. In the center, one of the panels lifted up and inside was a turntable. We used to play Thriller real loud and dance all over the place on the green shag carpetting. That and Born in the USA.
Brett: “Bruce Springsteen's Born in The USA and the St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack, were the first tapes I ever owned, got them and a tape deck for christmas back in 1984. My first major listening experience was Billy Joel's Greatist Hits Vol. 1-2, on the first Sony Walkmen headphones.”
Ryan: “One of my dad's records that he bought when he was a kid. It's called Krupa and Rich. One side is Gene Krupa, and the other side is Buddy Rich. Battling at its best. The record still has the $1.99 price tag on it. I had this really cheap all-in-one phono/tuner/tape Panasonic thing, and it had a headphone jack. I'd try to fall asleep, and listen to two of the best drummers of all time freakin' lay it down. This was the first album that I copied to another format (i.e. tape cassette) so I could enjoy it whenever I wanted.”

You're called The Mugs, when did you come up with that name and what does it mean? The dictionary refers to 'a cup' , 'a photo for police files' or 'a silly face'? What does The Mugs really stand for?

Ryan: “No real secret meaning behind this one. We're pretty much a million light years away from when we picked the name, but I feel we still get some identity from it.”
Brett: “The name doesn't really mean anything. We like the open interpretation of all the meanings of the word 'mugs'. I would say that we most clearly allign ourselves with the idea of the mugs as being a collection of persons that are and can't help to be serious and ridiculous at the same time. Different personalities that work together.”
Jeremy: “It’s everything you think it means, and less, then more again. We came upon it after exhausting ourselves with 10,000 other names. It’s a face, it’s a vessel, it’s a derogatory term for someone that can’t be trusted, it’s being knowingly ridiculous without really caring if someone else plays along.”

What is Paper Scissors Rock about?

Brett: “From my perspective, Paper Scissors Rock is about finding one's voice and letting that voice enjoy itself. We all have things to say, don't be afraid to say and don't be afraid to be happy with what you say.”
Jeremy: “There’s a pretty clear sense of fate and chance in the album name, which would suggest a lack of free will, ego, and decisiveness on our part. If we had to name the album now, it would probably be: do it this way.”
Ryan: “I think it's about great tragedy, joy and celebration of the highest order, and love. Our lives are basically wrapped right around this thing, and we have all experienced some bit of all three life events since we started making music together. I'd recommend anyone who hasn't seen or met us to come out and see a show because you're going to understand the album much more after you've seen us.”

Download Album

The Mugs
Paper Scissors Rock EP
all songs © 2003/5 The Mugs
dropped with permisson of The Mugs

The Mugs Links

Gossip, glossy, paparazzi, nudity @ Myspace
Pics, bio, purchase, mp3, shows @ Official Site
More brilliant mp3's @ Mugs Miscellany
Photo credits & moody pics @ Sam's personal and flickr site