Puddle Of Mudd
Michelle LaRose talks with Wesley Scantlin for Garage Radio Magazine
Photographs by Michelle LaRose
Puddle Of Mudd exploded onto the rock scene in 2001 with their major label debut album, Come Clean. Come Clean had the mega-hits: Blurry, Control, Drift And Die, and She Hates Me. The album went triple platinum and was number five on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and number one on the mainstream rock charts.
We were able to sit with lead singer Wesley Scantlin before a show and talk about the new album ‘Famous’, visiting the troops in Iraq and his lifetime ban from Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
GR: The new album ‘Famous’ was originally titled ‘Living On Borrowed Time’. Why was the title changed?
Wes: Well you know what? I don’t know. [Nervous laughter]
GR: How can you not know this?
Wes: Someone else changed it and really, I’m just happy that the record is out finally. And I’m going to get up on stage and rock it as hard as I can for everybody.
GR: I hear there’s a story behind ‘Living On Borrowed Time’.
Wes: Yep. Christian our guitar player’s brother who is serving in the war… He’s got ‘Living On Borrowed Time’ time on his chest but it’s backwards so when you’re looking at it in the mirror it is straight. So we wrote a song called ‘Living On Borrowed Time’ but he didn’t know we wrote the song and we didn’t know he had the tattoo so it was very cool.
GR: The new album was due to drop July 24th but it was only released four days ago. What was the hold up on the release?
Wes: There are a lot of different issues that had to deal with that and I’m just fully psyched and stoked that the record is out now and I worked my butt off and I love everybody.
GR: He’s taking the middle of the road approach.
GR: He’s not going to piss anybody off!
GR: You performed for our troops in Iraq. Weren’t you concerned going into such a hostile environment?
Wes: Um, it was a little weird. We had to wear flak jackets and kevlar helmets and stuff like that. We flew in on a C-130 and we flew in some black-hawks, it was really fun. The troops are seriously taking care of business. It was definitely a learning experience and my hat’s off to everybody that’s over there sweating their brains out. I hope that everybody makes it home safely
GR: I knew you were a gum chewer! Every time I saw you, you were chewing gum. I just about brought you a pack of gum.
Wes: Its Nicorette gum.
Wes: Yep. [Pulling the pack out]
GR: It is!
Wes: Its cinnamon flavor.
GR: You’re trying to quit?
Wes: I am on the road to no-smoking.
GR: Have you quit or your ‘trying’ to quit?
Wes: I’m quitting.
GR: Your trying to quit. You haven’t quit.
Wes: I have quit. What are you trying to do over here? [Laughing]
GR: [Laughing] When was the last time you smoked?
Wes: No comment. All I know is that I’m chewing Nicorette gum and its really good. Cinnamony.
GR: Sorry, the gum really threw me off. Now back to Iraq. What kind of feedback were you getting from our troops? What kinds of things were you hearing from them?
Wes: The soldiers over there are doing a really great job. It’s very hot over there. It was a lot of fun playing for all of them. We played for all the troops and the soldiers and were just hanging out with them and bringing a little piece of America, of home to them. They miss their families a lot and their friends. Hopefully they will make it back in one piece. We went to a lot of hospitals where stuff didn’t look so great but they’re pulling it together and they’re taking care of business and I hope everybody makes it home safe.
GR: You have also helped build homes for Hurricane Katrina victims. What can you tell us about that?
Wes: We did Habitat For Humanity. It was an amazing experience. I used to build houses… or I used to carry wood.
Wes: I used to carry two by fours for five bucks an hour but you know, it was well worth it I guess. Habitat For Humanity is great because the people from Katrina. The disaster that happened it wasn’t all about New Orleans. New Orleans got wiped out, Biloxi got wiped out, there’s several others places that got wiped out completely. If I can just put a couple of nails in some wood to put some shelter over some peoples lives then I was really proud to do it. And all the people that were involved in the whole situation were very kind and we had a good time that day. Actually we just saw the guy in the airport that was the main construction guy last night in the airport so my hat’s off to all those people and we are going to try to take care of sheltering people. Everybody’s been through a hard time so were going to try to pull it back together for everybody.
GR: That’s great you went to Iraq and you worked with Habitat For Humanity. Not a lot of bands do stuff like that.
Wes: We like to help people out.
GR: I saw you cooking ‘Heavenly Jalapeno Chicken’ on the internet. Do you cook often?
Wes: I cook all the time. I love grilling. I’m from Kansas City Missouri and if anybody out there thinks they can out-grill me man, step up!
GR: Is it really your own recipe?
Wes: Yes, I invented that but I had help from one of my dad’s friends from when I was a little kid. He called it ‘Hella’ Jalapeno Chicken’ now its ‘Heavenly Jalapeno Chicken’ because it makes you say hallelujah!
Wes: With the corn… if you actually see the video…
GR: Yeah with the corn on the cob.
Wes: Yeah. I usually do it with the grill but that day I had a hot kind of surface but there’s no steaming aspect at all so it wasn’t like the real deal. I had to kind of fake it for the show.
GR: What is ‘Search With Puddle Of Mudd dot com’?
Wes: Search ‘with’ Puddle Of Mudd dot com? I have no clue. What is it?
GR: It’s a search engine that has your name all over it and the more you search the better your chances are of winning tickets to see you or get autographed stuff.
Wes: Oh really?
GR: Am I giving you the scoop?
Wes: Scoop? I like Scooby-Doo.
Wes: Shaggy’s pretty awesome too.
GR: You would be a good Shaggy.
Wes: Yeah. Shaggy’s my bro.
GR: You know this question was coming. You were wondering where it was. Here it is… We here you were kicked out of Graceland. How did you manage that?
Wes: We did the tour of Graceland and Elvis’s house is very nice. It was very hot out that day. I fortunately had swimming trunks on. Me and Ryan, my drummer … he triple-dog-dared me and then I went for it, you know. I didn’t hurt anybody and I didn’t break anything but I had nice form on my cannon ball.
GR: [Laughing hysterically] You jumped into the pool! Elvis’s pool!
Wes: Yes I did. If it hurt any of the Presley families feeling I’m really sorry. But it was hot out you know. I had good form at least.
GR: The Germans gave him a ten!
Wes: Yeah. As long as you have good form. I could have gone in long and then it would have really been wrong.
GR: What a rock star thing to do!
Wes: I just work here man.
GR: The ‘Psycho’ video was actually filmed on the set of the Bates motel. Where is that at?
Wes: That is at the Universal back lot at Universal Studios in Los Angeles California. It’s amazing. Its weird, the hotel, the house and the stairs then you have War Of The Worlds behind it. We had a good time and everybody that helped out on that video, my hat’s off to them. I thank them very much.
GR: It was a great video. Now you know you cant bludgeon someone with a banana! You guys seem…
Wes: Is that your question?
GR: No! [Laughing] Well… can you bludgeon someone with a banana? [Laughing]
Wes: It depends on you interpretation of banana.
GR: But you guys seem like practical jokers. Do you play pranks on the road?
Wes: Oh my Lord.
Wes: No. I don’t do anything bad.
GR: Not according to the face I’m looking at.
Wes: Ah. I don’t know I just work here.
Wes: What? I’ve got nothing to say.
Wes: What happens on the road stays on the road.
Wes: Like Vegas.
GR: The ‘Famous’ video is riddled with famous faces. Lets play the word association game. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I mention… Michael Jackson…
Wes: Michael Jackson rocks.
GR: Paris Hilton.
Wes: Didn’t do it.
GR: Britney Spears.
Wes: Would have never done it!
GR: Do you think people are crossing the line in search for fame?
Wes: Ahhhhhh Lord. Sheesh that’s a tricky question. As long as they don’t hurt themselves I guess. Go for it. Go big. Go huge. Get psyched out as long as you don’t break your head. I guess it’s worth it. I don’t know.
GR: Are you hoping to be famous some day? [Laughing because Wes is very famous]
Wes: I just sit in a room and play a guitar and sing into a mic. That’s all I do you know. Take care of my family and my friends. I miss all of that, taking care of my family and my friends and having the best life I can have.
GR: Not if you keep jumping into peoples swimming pools!
Wes: Wha-wha. [Speaking into microphone] Hello? Hi everybody how are you? This is Wes Scantlin hanging out, and guess what? I like to party too.
GR: Ok Wes I’d like to thank you for speaking with Garage Radio today.
Wes: I love garages.
Wes: Thanks a lot.