Knitting Factory Presents
Mutts, The End Men, Motor Teresa
Mutts rang in 2017 celebrating their inclusion on WXRT Chicago’s local “Best-of” list for the 2nd time. When they made it in 2013 it was on the acclaim of their acoustic album, Object Permanence, which quickly sold out of 2 vinyl pressings. This time just two singles were strong enough: “Let’s Go,” which was played in Wrigley Field during the Cubs’ historic World Series run, and “Neighbor,” offering a message of togetherness directly after the election.
On September 12 Mutts released both songs on a 5-track EP entitled “Stick Together,” recorded and mixed at Audiotree Studios by Rick Fritz (The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Regina Belle, Destiny’s Child).
This distinctly positive EP springs from some of the most trying times of singer/songwriter Mike Maimone’s life. Leading up to the release of their 4th LP, “Fuel Yer Delusion, vol. 4” in late 2014, Maimone was kicked out of the house by his partner of 5 years. Around that time, several bands that Mutts had been friends with called it quits. The trio decided that the next record would be a complete about-face from the sardonic “Fuel v4,” instead offering a sincere message of strength. After recording it, drummer Chris Pagnani had his first child and decided to leave 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 bassist/guitarist Bob Buckstaff decided to go ahead with the release. Regarding the title, Maimone says, “2016 felt like the laying down of a worldwide gauntlet; the eruption of a lot of deep-seeded divisions. So, I wanted to abandon all the satire and cynicism and just come out and say what needs to be said."
The End Men experience harkens back to a smokey sideshow tucked away on the bayou; captivating and eccentric in its intensity. Comedic interludes offset the energetic musical onslaught as they play anything within reach in an ever-evolving and seemingly barely-controlled musical chaos. Homemade and customized instruments and found objects litter the stage all adding to the “who knows what may happen next” vibe that often engages and always entertains their crowds. Don’t let the reckless abandon fool you however as just behind the facade sits talent and musical skill that has been decades in the making.
With raw, rasp-soaked vocals, multiple amp guitar-splits, and a rock solid drum pocket peppered with percussive elements, the band rides a wave of dirty blues rock and vaudevillian stomp, all accented by a searing horn section.