Seattle’s burgeoning music scene in the early 1990s was a melting pot of influences that helped create one of the most iconic genres in modern rock, but it was Australian sounds that caught the ear of seminal grunge band Mudhoney.

Formed in 1988 after the demise of Green River, which included future members of Pearl Jam, Mudhoney are headed back to Australia next month for an extensive tour, and frontman Mark Arm is keen to reconnect with local fans who first saw the band perform in 1990.

Mudhoney (left to right) Steve Turner, Guy Maddison, Mark Arm and Dan Peters, are touring Australia in April.Credit:Emily Rieman

“Those first couple of times we came to Australia, we’d park ourselves in Sydney or Melbourne for a week and do shows, so we’ll go a little further afield this time,” he said. “We’re spending the money to travel all the way there, so we might as well make it a good one.”

Mudhoney’s first album on the Sub Pop record label was released in October 1988, eight months before Nirvana released their debut album, also on Sub Pop. It was more than two years later, in September 1991, that Nevermind topped charts globally and Seattle’s music scene became the focus of mainstream media attention around the world.

By that stage, Mudhoney had released three albums and were at the vanguard of the grunge scene that ushered in a wave of new bands and had major record labels circling.

“I don’t really think about it, unless I’m asked about it,” Arm told this masthead. “I don’t look back, like it was the best time of my life, but I’m not a very nostalgic person.”

Mudhoney in 1998 with (far left) Matt Lukin.Credit:Anthony Saint James

A month before Nirvana’s massive international breakthrough, Pearl Jam released debut album Ten and would soon be pictured on the cover of Time magazine.

Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard played in Green River with Arm, alongside future Mudhoney guitarist and founding member Steve Turner, whose memoir about those heady early days is being released later this year.

“I haven’t read it yet, so I’m not sure how he rakes me through the coals,” Arm said of his bandmate’s book.

I don’t look back, like it was the best time of my life, but I’m not a very nostalgic person.

“The attention that came on Seattle started out in fanzines, and every once in a while it would be in a magazine like Spin or something. Once Nirvana and Pearl Jam broke, it wasn’t just music magazines.

“Suddenly, it was mainstream news … and when [Pearl Jam singer] Eddie Vedder ended up on the cover of Time, it was like ‘well, that’s weird.’”

In his memoir, Mud Ride, Turner pinpoints Seattle venue Metropolis “as the place where the first seeds of grunge were planted” by bands including the U-Men, Malfunkshun, Deranged Diction and the first band he played in with Arm, Mr Epp & the Calculations.

The Scientists’ 1983 album Blood Red River made a significant impact on Mudhoney.Credit:

He also refers to the Australian bands that later played a part in Mudhoney’s own fuzzy, psychedelic style, with a focus on keeping “the sound sleazy and swampy”. It’s a potent formula they’ve stuck with for 35 years.

“Mark and I were so excited to go to the birthplace of so many of our favourite bands,” Turner says about Mudhoney’s first Australian tour.

“The Scientists had a profound influence on Mudhoney … we also tried to look like them”.

The Scientists were a post-punk, and later swamp rock, band from Perth led by Kim Salmon, who went on to help form Beasts of Bourbon.

“In my constant quest to dig up interesting music, I discovered a lot of cool bands from Australia that I played for Mark … it started with the New Christs, and then it was all about Feedtime and the Scientists (that was a big one),” Turner says.

On January 1, 1988, bass player and former member of the Melvins Matt Lukin first joined Turner, Arm and drummer Dan Peters (who was briefly in Nirvana before Dave Grohl joined the band) for a rehearsal, and the original Mudhoney line-up was settled.

A decade later, Australian bass player Guy Maddison – who Arm played alongside in Seattle-based Australian band Bloodloss – was recruited to replace the retiring Lukin.

“I’d been playing with Guy for several years and thought he’d be a great fit for the band,” Arm said.

Maddison recorded his sixth album with Mudhoney during the COVID pandemic, and has since relocated back to Melbourne.

“We’re just finding out how that will work,” Arm said.

The band’s new album, Plastic Eternity, will be released in Australia a week before Mudhoney’s tour begins in Queensland on April 14.

The group’s 14 shows around the country will include six in Victoria, which still holds a special place in Turner’s heart after 35 years of touring the world.

“It’s a bit of a home away from home,” he writes in Mud Ride. “If I could move to Melbourne, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”

More information on Mudhoney’s tour is available at

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