However, given the group's status in 2001, both of those statements bear redefining. Whereas Puddle of Mudd was once merely a "hot draw" locally, now it's filling major venues to capacity while sharing the stage with the platinum-selling likes of Godsmack and Staind. And while the group was "pretty happening" with the area's hard-rock connoisseurs back in the day, now its appeal stretches to the MTV crowd, which quickly embraced the band's debut video "Control."
"I was watching TRL yesterday and that's when I discovered POM," shares Krista, one such awestruck fan, in her post to the group's bulletin board. "They're so amazingly talented." "That vid was awesome!" concurs Ozone. "I love the little deal of throwing the keys to the truck and them landing in the Puddle Of Mudd." This visual stunt impressed many viewers ("The keys in the Mudd! A visual euphamism [sic], if you will," notes RavenDove), as did lead Mudd-slinger Wes Scantlin's naughty lyrics about bondage and ass-smacking ("That song is like... probably a GREAT song to have sex to," opines KinkyKitty69). Finally, like the majority of TRL's top vote-getters, the members of Puddle of Mudd are apparently "fuckin' hotties," as Allie Kat testifies, "so it makes it better to listen to the song and look at a picture of them, he he."
How did a group that ground out noisy post-grunge nuggets in the area's dirtiest, most beer-stained bars end up as pin-up boys for giddy Mudd honeys? Well, for starters, it's important to note that only one of them has made this transition. Scantlin, the lone hometown hero in the current lineup, claims the group as local fans knew it was nearing its end a couple of years ago. "Everyone was going their separate ways anyway years before this even happened, man," Scantlin asserts in a slow, surfer's drawl that suggests he fits right in with his new surroundings in Los Angeles. Still, Scantlin had his dreams for the band, so using a phony backstage pass given to him by a stranger at 1999's Family Values Tour, he weaved his way to Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and gave him a Puddle of Mudd tape. "I didn't even know the pass was bogus, man," Scantlin claims. "If that guy hadn't made that damn thing, dude, I don't think we'd be talking on the phone right now."
By the time Durst finally called back, Scantlin had moved to New Orleans. "I moved down there because I wanted to be able to take care of my kid [four-year-old Jordan] and actually make some money in my life," he explains. "You know what I'm saying, dawg? You can't make enough money to support your kid just playing in Kansas City in a band, so I had to get out of there. I knew too many people, and there was too much trouble for me to get into." When he got Durst's message, he immediately packed his bags and headed out to Los Angeles. He summarizes this whirlwind of activity thusly: "Pretty trippy, man."
The wacky times continued as Scantlin started meeting new musicians, several of whom coincidentally had links to Durst. First he teamed up with Doug Ardito, a bassist originally from Concord, Massachusetts, who was working as an intern at Limp Bizkit's label Interscope. "The guy can play guitar better than me, like Jimmy Page or something, and he's the bassist, man," marvels Scantlin. Guitarist Paul Phillips, who hails from Durst's hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, was "recommended by a friend." That left Houma, Louisiana-born drummer Greg Upchurch, who was chosen after an audition process. "We had to go through, like, fifty drummers in two days," Scantlin recalls. "He was the guy in the end who was the bomb, man."