For recording artists MUDVAYNE, being name-dropped on an episode of "The Sopranos" was an unexpected plot twist in the band's evolution.
The episode — which premiered Sunday, March 28 — featured A.J. Soprano, played by actor Robert Iler, going to a MUDVAYNE concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. Singer Chad Gray, guitarist Greg Tribbett, bassist Ryan Martinie and drummer Matt McDonough were surprised when they found out that MUDVAYNE was mentioned on HBO's popular mafia-drama. "We heard that Robert likes MUDVAYNE and is the one responsible for bringing us into the show. It was really cool of him to do that," says Tribbett, who is a fan of "The Sopranos". "I was watching the episode and couldn't believe it when I saw Robert walking out of the Hammerstein Ballroom past a bunch of MUDVAYNE posters. It was like a pop culture stamp of approval on the band."
"What is especially gratifying for MUDVAYNE," McDonough says, "is that the band was not looking for recognition. We've been asked to be on television shows before but we've always said no because we don't want to debase our music by making a spectacle of the band," he explains. "It's much more satisfying to creep into public consciousness this way — on our own terms. "
"But don't expect MUDVAYNE to go Hollywood any time soon," Gray assures. "The glitz and glamour is the exact opposite of what we're about," he says. "We went to the premiere of 'Ghost Ship' a couple of years ago because our song 'Not Falling' was in the movie. It was a surreal, out-of-body experience standing on the red carpet talking to people like Paula Abdul and 'Entertainment Tonight'."
In other news, MUDVAYNE's music was recently the subject of a couple of different tribute albums, including "In the Chamber with Mudvayne". The album features a string quartet interpreting the band's catalog including "Dig" and "Death Blooms" from "L.D. 50" (2000), "Some Assembly Required" from "The Beginning of All Things to End" (2001) as well as "Silenced", "Not Falling" and "Trapped in the Wake of a Dream" from "The End Of All Things To Come" (2002).
Hearing MUDVAYNE's heavy riffing take a classical turn was flattering, Martinie says. The band agrees that "World So Cold" is the album's best track. "The way the musicians interpret Chad's vocalizations is pretty interesting," he says. "When it comes to people covering our music I'm a stickler for accuracy, but I thought these musicians did a great job. Our music isn't easy to recreate and you can tell they did their homework."
MUDVAYNE recently rented a ranch in Northern California where the band is writing and rehearsing songs for the band's third, as-yet-untitled Epic Records release, due out this Fall.