UNIVERSAL CITY, California — During Puddle of Mudd's club tour last fall, the band regularly dropped into rock stations along the way to perform a live acoustic song or two.
The downside: "If it's before 4 o'clock, it's gonna be sketchy," drummer Greg Upchurch admitted. "You can't just wake up and start going."
The upside: Puddle of Mudd liked what they heard. So much so that an acoustic album is in the works for later this year.
"Most of our songs were written on acoustic guitars, so you're inevitably gonna have to record 'em [that way]," singer Wes Scantlin said backstage during KROQ-FM's recent Almost Acoustic Christmas show. "And it's a cool, raw way to record your music."
The acoustic album is one of several projects Puddle of Mudd want to release as fan treats prior to their third studio record. It's also a way, as guitarist Paul Phillips put it, "to buy ourselves some time, so we can actually take a break." A live album and DVD are in the works as well.
"It's what the fans want to see," Scantlin said. "Actually, a lot of times fans want to see backstage stuff more than [performances]. But you've gotta have some guts to release that stuff."
Before concentrating on other albums, though, Puddle of Mudd will continue to promote Life on Display, released in November (see "Puddle Of Mudd Benefit From Parental Guidance").
The band is close to choosing "Spin You Around" over "Heel Over Head" as its next single, but is hesitant to call it final.
"This is how this happened," Phillips joked, holding up the hand he broke during a stage fall in December. "I wanted one song and [bassist] Doug [Ardito] wanted another. And you may think I lost, but I actually won."
"Personally, I think we should let the fans decide," Scantlin said, more seriously. "We should just do a poll on the Internet. Because we have no clue what song to release next. They're like your little babies and you don't want to send any of them to the corner. They might stare at you, like you're their father and they're mad."
One reason Puddle of Mudd are leaning toward "Spin You Around" is the positive reaction it got on tour. And it happens to be especially close to Scantlin's heart.
"I was with this person and I would have done anything for her," he explained. But I knew that when I went on the road, it was all going to end, just like it always has. And it just did. I felt desperate. But it's a good love song, and there's nothing wrong with that."
Scantlin joked that video ideas were being "spun around," and Upchurch shared one of his own. "I still want to do animation stuff," he said. "I just want to sit at home and say, 'Send me the reel!' "
Along with "Spin You Around," Phillips said "Think" has been a fan favorite during recent shows.
"It's weird, 'cause 'Think' is a mellower song. It's the type of song you kind of have to hear the lyrics and feel to understand," he said. "But every night it happened, like, instantly. By the last chorus, everybody was feeling the vibe. It was really weird, man, but it was cool."
And speaking of touring, Puddle of Mudd have booked another couple of months of club and theater dates beginning January 23 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and ending March 19 in Sayreville, New Jersey.
"We're going back out to do some markets we didn't hit before," Phillips said. "Same style show, bringing out Smile Empty Soul again, kind of finishing up where we left off."