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Puddle Of Mudd’s Wes Scantlin: “I just have to block out controversy”

The in-and-out-of-trouble frontman of the American rock band on touring India, airports and their new album

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Anurag Tagat Sep 30, 2015
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[front] Wes Scantlin with Puddle of Mudd.

[front] Wes Scantlin with Puddle of Mudd.

The irony is not lost on us when American rock band Puddle of Mudd’s vocalist-guitarist Wes Scantlin says their next album is called Wiping The Slate Clean. For the last five years, the band ”“ best known for early 2000s hits such as “Blurry,” “Control” and “She Hates Me” ”“ has been going through lineup changes, resorting to a covers album [again, the cleverly-titled 2011 album re:(disc)overed] and several allegations of Scantlin lip-syncing at the band’s live shows [as recently as their last concert in Sri Lanka earlier this week]. Add to that Scantlin’s run-ins with the law ”“ from drunk driving to riding an airport carousel in Denver earlier this year ”“ and you’d wonder what they’re doing here in India ahead of a five-city Hard Rock Café tour.

But Scantlin is upbeat and excited to come to India and later, release Wiping The Slate Clean in March next year. He says over the phone from Mumbai, where they kicked off their India tour, “At this point in my career, I just have to block it [controversy] out. Just move on, that’s it. If it goes well, it goes well. If it’s bad, I’m not going to sit here and dwell on it for the rest of my life. You can, but I ain’t doing that, though. Fuck that.”

Ahead of their India tour, Scantlin spoke to ROLLING STONE India about their hits, coming to India and their upcoming album.

Rolling Stone India: How’s India treating you so far? 

Wes Scantlin: We’re good to go.

You were supposed to play here earlier in the year, what happened then?

What happened? Well. It was a little messy. I had to get a new passport. We had to wait on that.

How’s the new album coming along? What does it sound like? 

It’s pretty much done… It’s gonna be great rock & roll music, very inspirational. We hope to send it across the world and inspire kids to become musicians and remain musicians. That’s about it. We want to make sure the children keep on playing music. Get them to pick up a guitar, a tuba, anything. Just keep music alive, man.

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Do you have a day off to do some sight-seeing?

Yeah, we do. We got a couple of gigs now and then a day off. We’re just gonna go have some fun. I was told not to venture outside the hotel, but I did just today. Thought I’d get run over or robbed or something, but it didn’t happen.

Do you still get in trouble at airports [Scantlin was arrested at Denver International airport and later in April at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport]? 

That was a while ago, and I got fined by the Air Marshals but you know, whatever. There’s enough money out there. God made enough paper. It was the best ride I’ve ever been on, I guarantee it. I did have fun and you gotta have fun, otherwise I’m gonna get nowhere.

Airport carousels sound like fun. 

Best time I ever had, dude. The airhostesses are my girlfriends now.

Coming to the new album, what are you singing about? 

You write lyrics ”“ you just need a paper and a pencil, you know. That’s it. Then you start jotting stuff down, you get a beat. Something about your life with a bit of emotional content and there you go. That’s what songwriters do. That’s it, man. It’s a very simple process.

What’s that one hook that everyone’s going to sing off the new album? 

The big songs are going to be”¦ there’s tons of them. We got a song called “Effed It Up Again” ”“ that’s pretty catchy. I can’t get it out of my freaking head. There’s another couple of songs that are super-duper catchy. We got a lot of good new songs on this new record and we’re really proud of ourselves for actually attaining that goal. Again [laughs].It’s going to reach people emotionally and it’s going to change people’s lives. We’re gonna save people.

When are you planning to release it?

I think March. Yeah, it’s a long time away but we’re going to let everybody re-up on their money. They usually spend everything on Christmas presents for their little baby kids and stuff like that. We figured we’ll release the record after everybody starts going back to work and shit.

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We’re sitting on it, but you’re going to have a lot of buyable material. It takes 10 years to write the first record, and then, you get a little bit of a shot and write some other songs. Then the record companies give you a little extra time to make a better record. We’re pretty happy for that kind of opportunity because it’s like trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip, you know?

We have 12-13 songs we’ll release on an LP and then we have a few extra material as well. We’re really proud of this album. Most of the material is actually done. I gotta get my punk ass in front of a microphone and do the vocals. It’s really a big process. I did like 18 takes. It’s a really crazy role. I’ve done it and I will do it again.

Are you playing any songs off the new album in India?

We’re probably going to bust out a couple of new songs but we’ll stick to our best ”“ our artist management has just told us, ”˜Play the hit songs, play the hits and then when you’re done, we’ll put you in front of a microphone and you can record the new songs and then play those.’ It’s been nearly a month since I’ve been in front of a mic, actually. It’s going to be great and I think the people here are going to enjoy it.

Puddle of Mudd sounds like a perfect fit for Hard Rock Café, though. Have you played a lot of HRCs?

Actually, we are now, thanks to India [laughs]. They’re treating us really well and we’re enjoying it here. We adore the agriculture, the inspirational music you guys got going on here. We’re really happy to be a part of this, it’s incredible.

Puddle of Mudd India Tour 2015

September 30th ”“ Hard Rock Café, Pune

October 1st ”“ Hard Rock Café, Bengaluru

October 3rd ”“ Hard Rock Café, Hyderabad

October 4th ”“ Hard Rock Café, New Delhi

Entry: Rs 2,000 (general, including cover charge) and Rs 3,000 (VIP). Buy tickets here.

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