Ten years – and over 1,000 shows – strong, Chicago, IL’s Mutts define perseverance. Hey, We Are All Mutts is more than a collection of favorites from their catalog. It’s a testament to maintaining unfettered creativity in the face of adversity. In their time myriad bands have exploded – and then just as quickly imploded. Over the course of these fifteen selects – and new single “Your Love” – Mike Maimone (keys, vocals), Bob Buckstaff (guitar, bass), and Ian Tsan (drums) remind us that a gritty determination to chase your dreams, damn the odds, is as American as it gets.
Mutts’ saga begins with the release of three Eps: Pretty Pictures, We Float and The Tells of Parallels. These records gave an early taste of Mutts iconic blend of rapturous melodic art-pop and muscular alt-rock. Their first LP Pray for Rain was released in late 2011 and spent over a month on the college radio Top 200 chart – starting a trend that would be followed by each of the band’s subsequent full-length releases.
Then to now (the short version): In 2012 and 2013 the band released a matched set of LPs titled Object Permanence and Separation Anxiety; and played 205 shows. In 2014 Mutts recorded and released their 4th LP – Fuel Yer Delusion vol. 4 while playing 152 shows and appearing at Riot Fest, Musikfest, SXSW, and WFPK Live Lunch. In 2016 they released a 7″ single and a covers EP called Ghoul Yer Delusion. 2017 is notable for (at least) three reasons: Ian Tsan formally joined Mutts, they released the Stick Together EP, and frontman Maimone became one of a few to play all five Mile of Music festivals, performing with his brass band at Mile 5.
That distinctly positive EP springs from some of the most trying times of Maimone’s life. Leading up to the release of Fuel Yer Delusion, vol. 4, he was kicked out of the house by his partner of nearly 6 years. After recording the record, drummer Chris Pagnani left the group. Soon after, the bar that Maimone played every week when home closed. And then the tour van died. Despite the adversity, Maimone and Buckstaff decided to go ahead with the release.
Glide is proud to premiere “Your Love” from Mutts, a stormy and edgy track that is cryptically electric and lyrically scalding. Mutts make like true rock veterans, with a throbbing swagger that is akin to Sebadoh and Mudhoney.
“We wanted to include something new on our 10-Year retrospective release, so we wrote three new songs to pick from,” says the band. “‘Your Love'” felt like it did the best job of representing both our early sound while hinting at what’s happening on the next album we’re putting out in the Fall. I recorded us playing live in our practice space, we did some overdubs there, and then I mixed it. So it also feels like this track is opening a next phase where we can make records on our own. I’m really excited to see where that freedom allows us to go creatively, entering our 2nd decade as a band.”
That ability to smile and charge head-long into difficulty is a common thread in the fabric of Mutts songwriting, and with good reason. As Maimone puts it, “my songs are born from a life of contradictions.” Growing up in rural Ohio, he didn’t come out to his Catholic parents until age 30. An all-state athlete in high school (he played against LeBron), he developed a profound love for the arts. Shortly after graduating Notre Dame business school he walked away from corporate life. Maimone explains, “Through my songwriting, I try to turn these disparate life experiences into music that helps us discover commonality.”
“Mike’s unyielding adoration of the craft that is record making and performing is a feat in itself” says Buckstaff. “I’m perpetually grateful for the ongoing experiment that is Mutts. I’ve learned to lay myself bare. I’m proud of the commitment I’ve made to something, to music, that matters. I take that sense of purpose everywhere.”
Immerse yourself in this sonic portrait of a decades’ hard work, and you’ll come away with a profound appreciation for this resilient, tenacious band of brothers. Built on a shared love of connecting with others through music, Mutts are doggedly determined to continue their musical evolution. “I’ve heard “no” a million times. I’ve sent a million emails never get returned” says Maimone. “You can’t let the business side pollute the creative side. We remain fully focused on our own artistic expression.” Ultimately, Mutts want to remind their listeners to “remember to just try to sit back and enjoy everything” as Tsan puts it. “Patience is crucial – but life is short.”
Mutts Tour Dates
5-10 St. Louis @ Sinkhole
5-11 Newport, KY @ Southgate House
5-17 Indianapolis @ Healer
5-18 Nashville @ Five Spot
5-31 Appleton @ Mill Creek
6-6 Louisville @ Kaiju
6-7 Fort Wayne @ Ruin
6-13 Milwaukee @ Cactus Club
6-14 Madison @ The Winnebago
6-15 Minneapolis @ 7th St. Entry
6-29 Chicago @ Cobra Lounge
8-8 Davenport @ Raccoon Motel
8-9 Kansas City @ miniBar
8-10 Des Moines @ Gas Lamp