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 Mudvayne go from sick Clark Kents to bloody, screaming Supermen ...

Page 2

 "It was all rotted and liquefied and it was the most disgusting odor you could ever
imagine." ...

Page 3

 The aliens are dead, and the truth can only be known in silence ...

Mudvayne Photos: Onstage And Backstage

 Follow the masked crusaders through a night of music

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"Getting ready to perform is one of those little blasts you get. It's like having your nipple pierced," Chüd said after the show. "You draw a lot of energy from the people you surround yourself with and the stage becomes this endorphin dump."

For Spüg, the band's conceptual architect, the process of getting made up before the show provides a greater energy rush than a box of power bars.

"In a ritualistic sense, it depicts us going into battle," he said, scratching his tattooed calf. "The four of us dissociate from our everyday personality and we're able to reach a higher state of consciousness that breaks down limitations and lends us a real resource of energy and freedom."

Unlike Slipknot or Buckethead, who hide behind their bizarre masks both onstage and off — at least when they're out mingling with the public — Mudvayne have no worries about being seen out of costume. For them, the theatrics end the moment they step off the stage. Even so, their character portrayals have been negatively criticized and earned them more than a few comparisons to Slipknot, who first brought Mudvayne on tour.

"They're a great band and good friends," Chüd sighed. "But anybody who has really listened to the two bands without paying any attention to the looks, knows we're very, very different."

  "I have my own personal vision about what art
is ..."
"We're both definitely anomalies," Spüg added with a touch of annoyance. "But I have my own personal vision about what art is, and how to go about expressing that and incorporating it into my day-to-day life. And I would ask, 'Why aren't more artists and bands focused on personal expression instead of worrying about sales, making money or addressing some sort of market expectations?' This image is part of something we love, and we haven't profited from it at all. In fact, it has cost us."

Mudvayne are not who you think they are, and they'll have it no other way. Since they emerged from Peoria, Illinois, in 1996, they've reveled in pushing sonic and visual boundaries and thwarting rock protocol. And their offstage behavior is most unfitting of a metal band with gold sales.

Their backstage area resembles a secondary school bake sale. The counters are lined with pastries, cookies and a variety of beverages, but no bottles of booze. Various friends and crewmembers hang out, but the area is devoid of adoring young women.

"That rock and roll party thing isn't our scene at all," Spüg grumbled. "We might have a couple beers when we get offstage, but I've never in my career had a drop to drink before going on. And we have a sober bus. I am definitely motivated by a different sort of nihilism."

At the same time, Mudvayne have been known to partake in some pretty odd stuff. When they were touring with Slipknot, a fan gave Chüd a jar containing a dead crow, and every night before they went onstage Chüd and Clown from the Knot would screw open the top and sniff the contents.

"It was all rotted and liquefied and it was the most disgusting odor you could ever imagine," the singer recalled. "But sometimes you've gotta smell a little death to appreciate life."

Various dark images color The End of All Things to Come like graffiti on a church wall. On "(Per) Version of a Truth" Chüd sings, "Born into a world, never asked to be here/ Try and forget truth doesn't exist." And on the equally bleak "World So Cold," he sings, "Hold the hand of your best friend/ Look into their eyes then watch them drift away." However, as despairing and negative as Mudvayne seem to be, the band insists its messages are positive.

"The inherent truth that every human being feels is the pursuit of happiness and peace," Spüg explained, eyes pointed ahead in a fiery stare. "Unfortunately, that route is not necessarily the most comfortable experience. Anybody that's ever had the desire to change or grow or transform their lives has realized that you have to shed certain habits or past patterns or personality traits, and things have to come to an end to initiate a new thing in life, and sometimes that can be filled with pain."

Unlike L.D. 50, which abounded with personal stories of abuse and neglect, The End of All Things to Come addresses more universal themes of confronting frustration and adversity. For Chüd, the shift in songwriting was largely a matter of survival.

"On the last record I wore my life on my sleeve, and I thought that would be good exorcism of things that had been haunting me for a long time," he said, reaching for a bottle of mineral water. "But it kind of backfired and I had a lot of psychological problems on the road because each time I'd sing the songs, I'd take myself back to the moments that I was writing about."

NEXT: The aliens are dead, and the truth can only be known in silence ...
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Photo: Nitin Vadukul

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 "Not Falling"
The End of All Things to Come

 "Death Blooms"
L.D. 50

L.D. 50