by Anthony Cross
Maxwell Mud, when you hear the name, somehow it’s familiar yet brand new. When I first saw the trio, it was at last year’s FoCoMA Peer Awards ceremony. If I am being honest, I had never listened to their material, and was at first confused. I didn’t know this act and didn’t know what to expect. Suddenly there appeared on stage three dapper gentlemen in snazzy suits and this was my introduction to Maxwell Mud. After seeing some of the other bands with relatively modern and certainly more “Fort Collins mainstream” attire, it was intriguing to see the black suits, skinny ties, and pressed pants. This confusion, however, was cast aside when Maxwell Mud laid into their first song. Rock and roll was clearly now in the house, in full force, in one of its most timeless incarnations.
A band that has remained relatively under the radar until quite recently, Maxwell Mud are a self-described “power trio,” comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Brian Kittrell, bass player Kenny Jones, and drummer Kevin Johnson, with somewhat mysterious origins. Don’t be mistaken; the trio all have played in various different acts prior to this manifestation. “Brian was a creative writing major, so the lyrics can cut pretty deep at times,” shared bass player, Kenny Jones. This distinction is important to make aware, especially on the cusp of their first album.
The recording process can often create headaches especially with musicians who are not well practiced. “We prepared like crazy, and our goal was to knock an album out in three days,” Jones added. This is an ambitious goal for any artist. Maxwell Mud, however, had the experience to make it happen.
When recording an album, there are multiple methods and ways of achieving a finished product. Recently the tendency has been to lean towards multi-tracking (recording one instrument at a time and mixing the final product), perfect for budget-conscious projects and artists who are multi-instrumentalists. Live tracking, on the other hand, requires the whole band to record at once, with overdubs usually for solos and vocal takes. Maxwell Mud utilized live tracking, which is certainly an older but more genuine sound, and one that gives the listener a sense of what a live show will sound like. It comes with true raw and unhindered authenticity. In an age where the roots of rock music have been distorted beyond recognition, Maxwell Mud adhere to their simple formula: “If you turn blues up loud enough, you get rock.”
The next few months are going to be exciting for Maxwell Mud. Having just completed recording their album at The Recordium, (the studio recently opened by Jasco of The Symbols), they have a release show planned for the 21st of November at Road 34, where The Symbols will play on the bill. Armed with hard copies of the self-titled debut album, they are bringing a lost element of timeless rock back into Fort Collins. In addition, they have an LSC-Live at the (CSU) Ramskeller show November 4 and just made it into the Fresh Talent Showcase at the Downtown Artery, which happens November 15. With scattered shows between now and the CD release party at Road 34, they are carving out their place in our scene in a big way.
Ever since hearing Maxwell Mud in that first show, I have been nothing but impressed with their musicality and ability to capture a lost essence of rock and roll music. I can only see a bright future for a band with these simple, yet focused values. If you are not convinced, come to the Fresh Talent Showcase at the Downtown Artery November 15 and see for yourself what I am on about; Maxwell Mud beat out multiple acts to make the showcase lineup this year and are strong contenders on the bill. If you are a lover of the timeless sound of rock and roll, you will not be disappointed.