In a new interview with The Underground Australia, MUDVAYNE frontman Chad Gray lamented the lack of originality of a lot of the newer hard rock and heavy metal bands, saying that there is “nothing separating one band from another”. Asked about the “rebirth” of the “late ’90s, early 2000s era of music” in recent years and the presence of fresh “nu metal”-inspired artists, Chad said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Dude, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I don’t give a fuck. Because I’m me and I’ve got stuff to say, and I’m gonna say it. Music now to me, God bless them, new bands, but they sound the same. All new music reminds me of the same fucking thing. There’s nothing separating it, one band from another. It’s, like, one band kinda does something, a hundred bands follow that band, then another band does something, then a hundred bands follow that band and sound just like that fucking band.
“I was on Ozzfest 2001. So you had SLIPKNOT, [MARILYN] MANSON, PAPA ROACH, DISTURBED, MUDVAYNE, DROWNING POOL… Every fucking band, every band I just named, none of them sound the same,” he continued. “None of them. And I think that’s why it was such a special time in music, because everybody was bringing what they were bringing to the table. You had SYSTEM OF A DOWN and shit-tons of bands, man. And all very original and all doing their own thing. We were part of that. We were more progressive than a lot of our counterparts from that era. So we were doing our own thing. Just a lot of really good fucking music and a lot of people really digging into what they were. Nobody was fucking following somebody else. We just didn’t see a lot of that. A couple bands here and there, maybe, you know what I mean? But for the most part, bands were doing their own thing and really pushing the boundaries, really challenging the listener. And that’s what music’s all about, right? It’s individuality.
“I am Chad Gray and what I do is me,” he added. “But the things that make me Chad Gray are James Hetfield, Layne Staley, Phil Anselmo, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I could fucking go down the list and name you probably 50 different singers that I — Chris Cornell —that I used to sing every fucking thing that they ever put out in their songs and on their albums. And I’ve taken all that influence that inspired me so much to want to do what I do and I’ve processed that inside of myself. And now all those people that I’m talking about, they come out as Chad Gray from me. You know what I mean? I feel like that’s what everybody was doing. I mean, the only way you can have it be music, be that pure and true is if people are drawing from their influence. All these influences create who they are and what they contribute to the musical equation. I did what I did and I contributed what I contributed, but I couldn’t have contributed what I contributed without the people that influenced me. And I couldn’t have contributed what I contributed if I didn’t learn and sing along with every single one of those fucking people that I mentioned. So I think there was a lot of that going on. I think there was a lot of people that weren’t looking like… What bands do when they look at this new band and everybody follows that new band, it’s not even an influence really because they’re current. My influences, even when I came out in 2001, with [MUDVAYNE‘s debut album] ‘L.D. 50’, my influences were from 1981, 1983 — like 20 years, almost 20 years prior of me dropping my first album. I wasn’t ripping off a band from 1999 and releasing my album in 2001. My influences were long — my influences were 18, 19, 20 years. The people that inspired me — James Hetfield with his ‘yellody’, the way that James — he basically yelled in key, which I do a lot in my music. And my scream. I definitely think of all the screamer people — Philip Anselmo. It’s my scream now, but it started being his scream. I just took it and twisted it and made it something else.”
Gray continued: “I think that that’s what was happening then. I think that everything that was happening in the late ’90s, 2000 was coming from a very pure place with all the musicians that were creating it at that time. I think it all came from old influence that over time had been cultivated and nurtured turned into something completely different. And it takes time in order to do that. I can’t be influenced by somebody that just came out with an album that’s brand new last year. I don’t have time to process that to be something different than probably what it was a year ago. But over 20 years, I can 100 percent absolutely process that and turn it into something that just now belongs to me, that’s Chad Gray‘s, what he offers the music world, which I think is very important.
“Music is truth. It should be truth,” Gray concluded. “It is for me. That’s where I get my fulfillment from music, is the honesty and the love that I put into it. So whether people like it or not, it doesn’t fucking matter to me. It is what it is. I do what I do. I’m honest about what I do. I love what I do. I care about it. I protect it. I nurture it. I cultivate it. And then I put it out. And if you like it, cool. If you don’t, eh, whatever.”
MUDVAYNE hasn’t put out any new material since 2009, which means we’re coming up on nearly a decade and a half without a single fresh MUDVAYNE song.
Last August, Chad told The Oakland Press that he and his MUDVAYNE bandmates had “four [songs] in the pipe. I’ve written each one of them probably three different times, ’cause it’s like nothing’s good enough,” he revealed. “We’re gonna keep pushing. We’re all getting along really good. We’re all talking. Hopefully we all want the same thing from our music, so we’ll see. It’s definitely the thing that makes the most sense to do now.”
MUDVAYNE kicked off its first headlining tour in over 14 years, “The Psychotherapy Sessions”, in July 2023. Support on the 26-city trek, which was produced by Live Nation, came from COAL CHAMBER, along with GWAR, NONPOINT and BUTCHER BABIES.
Previously, MUDVAYNE made waves in 2022 when they embarked on the “Freaks On Parade” tour co-headlined with ROB ZOMBIE. This 2023 tour, however, marked MUDVAYNE‘s first headlining endeavor since 2009.
Gray told The Oakland Press that his “main motivation for putting [MUDVAYNE] back together and coming back was our fans”, including those who discovered the band during its absence. “There’s so many younger kids that are coming up and coming into our world, the metal world, and they’re learning about MUDVAYNE,” he said. “So you have this, like, the ground’s kind of rumbling and it goes out and touches more and more people, but we weren’t out there to scratch that itch. You still have your actual fan base but you’re accumulating new people. So when we came back it was very exciting for us. It was about our fans and giving those new fans the experience.”
MUDVAYNE formed in 1996 and has sold over six million records worldwide, earning gold certification for three albums (“L.D. 50”, “The End Of All Things To Come”, “Lost And Found”). The band is known for its sonic experimentation, innovative album art, face and body paint, masks and uniforms. MUDVAYNE is Gray, Greg Tribbett (guitar, backing vocals),Matthew McDonough (drums, synthesizer) and Ryan Martinie (bass).
Gray spent 17 years fronting HELLYEAH, which released its sixth studio album, “Welcome Home”, in September 2019 via Eleven Seven Music. The disc marked the group’s final effort with drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, who passed away more than five years ago.
MUDVAYNE did not tour behind its fifth album, which was barely promoted and sold weakly upon release.