The Continuing Saga of Mutiny Mutiny – TMI edition
Mutiny Mutiny began, like countless other bands, with a classified ad. The ad wasn’t quite as clever as the famous Pixies ad placed by Charles Thompson looking for someone who liked Peter, Paul and Mary in addition to Husker Du. Rather it was simply a probe sent out by Jason into the Seattle musicverse looking for like-minded individuals who shared an equal love of the post-punk/post-hardcore sound of 90’s Washington DC (Shudder to Think, Hoover, Jawbox, Nation of Ulysses) and Olympia (Unwound, Sleater-Kinney, Karp). Drummer Phil Bouie responded to the ad initially and he and Jason played a couple of shows as a duo, one show as a trio with one of Jason’s co-workers (who played bass when he wasn’t doing statistical analysis of global health data) under a nonsensical name suggested by Phil, Phoenician Barter System.
The band was short-lived, though, as Jason suffered a broken wrist from a bike accident on his way to practice one day. This resulted in not only the dissolution of Phoenician Barter System but also the death of DIY angular, post-punk heroes Petals Like Bricks which Jason played drums in (with Jenn Schmidt on cello and Dustin Fujikawa on guitar and vocals) as well as a missed opportunity for Jason to play guitar in one of Glenn Branca’s guitar symphonies for the Seattle Art Museum’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
After the long process of recovering from the broken wrist was complete, Jason again posted a similar classified ad to get the project started again. Drummer Marc Mazique answered and the two began playing together, working on pre-existing songs that Jason had lying around as well as improvising new ideas and writing together. After a few months of playing together as a two-piece, the search for a bass player was on. After some auditions with a few bass players didn’t lead to anything permanent, Jason suggested having Jenn - who previously played cello with him in Petals Like Bricks and had played bass off and on for a few years - over and see what happened.
The three musicians connected immediately. Jenn’s melodic bass playing, which was informed by several years of classical cello playing, meshed incredibly well with Jason’s sparse, angular, dissonant guitar playing and despite having only a passing knowledge of Marc and Jason’s post-punk influences she was a perfect fit for the band. Thus, Mutiny Mutiny version 1.0 was born in the Fall of 2009.
The band began collectively writing songs, and singing duties were decided to be split equally between the three members. As soon as the band had enough songs together to play sets around town they began playing out at as frequently as possible. This led to sharing shows with several local Seattle bands at a variety of venues, as well as opening for regionally-known bands such as Title Tracks (featuring ex members of Q and Not U), Screaming Females and Blake Schwarzenbach’s post Jawbreaker project, Forgetters at beloved all-ages venue, Vera Project's 10th Anniversary celebration. During this time the band also played sets at the farewell celebration for Seattle self-defense non-profit Home Alive, and the Noise for the Needy Festival which benefitted the non-profit Seattle Community Law Center.
In the Fall of 2010 Mutiny Mutiny began working on their first full-length album with producer/engineer Brandon Busch at Soundhouse studios in Seattle. The album was released in 2011 and found favor with local Seattle press like the Stranger, and tracks received airplay on both KEXP and 107.7 The End’s Locals Only show. The band was also featured in blogs around the country and found a particularly supportive advocate in the UK music blog, Real Gone which included the album as one of their top 5 albums of the year. The next couple of years saw the band grow as musicians and songwriters as they continued to play around Seattle as well as playing shows in Bellingham and Portland, and began the process of recording their second record in the Fall of 2012 (again with Brandon Busch). During the initial recording sessions for the second album the band parted ways with Marc.
Shortly after Marc’s departure the band posted a classified ad looking to find a new drummer. They were fortunate to receive a response from local session player Stormi King formerly of Shorthand For Epic and current drummer for Skates! and Jen Wood. At the time they had a show booked but no drummer to play it, as well as a record written that was waiting to be recorded. Stormi stepped in and was able to play live with the band for the remainder of 2012. Impressed with her drumming, the band asked her to join them in the studio in the first couple months of 2013 to record their second album. Stormi came in and wrote her own durm parts for 12 songs and the band quickly laid down basic tracks for the album over the course of a few days. Work continued on the record until Autumn of 2013 while the band played the occasional show with Stormi filling in and continued the search for a permanent full-time drummer to join up with the band.
Though marked by lineup instability and an extended period of work on the album that saw the band incorporating a multi-layered sound utilizing the capabilities of the studio and Brandon’s expertise more so than the live sound of Constellation, the release of Mutiny Mutiny’s second album Don’t Quit Your Day Job was celebrated in November 2013. A full press campaign was launched in early 2014 to support the album and band saw itself recognized and featured in national press outlets like the A.V. Club, Record Collector News as well as local press in the Seattle Weekly, the Stranger and more radio play on KEXP. In the midst of the press campaign the band was still actively searching for a full-time drummer. When Stormi was unable to play the record release show at Columbia City Theater due to a bike accident of her own, Jason contacted an old acquaintance, Mike Fox - who had been active as a guitar player in the band Way South - about potentially playing the show. While he was unavailable at the time, the band made a plan to get together with him in 2014 to play and see if the three of them would be a good musical fit. Mike’s background as a classical percussionist not only meshed well with Jenn’s background in classical music but his musical, compositionally-focused approach to the drums and quick study of linear, non-intuitive song structures turned out to be exactly what the band needed in a new drummer. Mike officially joined the band in the Spring of 2014.
During this time Mutiny Mutiny also made the acquaintance of Julie D, the drummer in Cryptobebelem, whose band played at the Don’t Quit Your Day Job record release show (and was a volunteer with Jenn at Rain City Rock Camp for Girls). At the time the band was unaware of Julie’s resume as a guitarist who was formerly active in the 90’s heyday of the San Diego music scene playing in the bands Drip Tank and Chinchilla. As Chinchilla was preparing for a West Coast reunion tour Julie asked Mutiny Mutiny to open up their first show back in Portland. Upon hearing Julie’s not-quite-lead, not-quite-rhythm post-punk guitar style, Jason immediately began devising a plan to get Julie over to the band’s practice space with him, Mike and Jenn to see how well the four of them might work together musically.
Within the very first practices the band was already writing new material based on improvisations and stray riffs and ideas brought in by various members that explored a new intricate, twin-guitar interplay that was pushing Mutiny Mutiny into previously unexplored musical territory - while the older songs in the band’s repertoire were sounding more ferocious than ever before with the addition of both Mike and Julie. After a couple of months of playing together and writing the band asked Julie to join the band. She played her first show with the band in August of 2014. Mutiny Mutiny recorded an EP of new material, but then became drummerless again in summer 2015 when Mike had to move because of his job. While looking for a drummer the remaining three have been playing shows around the Pacific Northwest area with a drum machine (named Hal 4/400, and nicknamed "Not Steve"), and continue to write songs faster than Jenn and Jason can come up with lyrics and vocal parts for them.