If you're in Springfield, Illinois, on March 2, 2005, don't be surprised to find townsfolk reflecting on Puddle of Mudd. After all, according to a proclamation delivered at Tuesday's show by Springfield Mayor Timothy Davlin, from here on out that day will be known as Puddle of Mudd Day.
Davlin hopped onstage after the band's regular set and in addition to making the declaration, presented frontman Wes Scantlin with the key to the city.
"I didn't know it was gonna happen, man," Scantlin said. "I just walked offstage and wiped myself off. And then I walked back up, and slam. The mayor is standing onstage with a big scroll, and he gives us the key and says, 'You guys rock. Thanks a lot for coming.' "
Scantlin said the band was awarded the key because its concert sold out in an unprecedented five minutes and was considered an important cultural event for the city's youth. For Scantlin, the presentation marked a welcome shift from the abuse that's been flung his way since he was arrested in Toledo, Ohio, on February 22 for disorderly conduct (see "Puddle Of Mudd's Wes Scantlin Arrested After Drunken Performance").
During that show, Scantlin's bandmates left the stage in disgust after four songs, but the singer remained and slurred his way through another half-hour of virtually unrecognizable material. When he finally walked off, Scantlin was arrested by police.
"I guess they wanted to make an example out of somebody, so they picked me," he said. "But I didn't do anything violent. I wasn't possessing any type of substances. I just got a little too buzzed to play my guitar and sing at the same time. And I apologized to the crowd 10 times before I walked offstage."
Scantlin said police arrested him because they thought he threw a glass beer bottle at the crowd. When they realized they were mistaken, they dropped the charges. "I dumped a plastic bottle of water on my head, and then I just tossed it into the crowd," the singer said. "You could hit yourself in the kneecap 100 times with that bottle and it wouldn't do anything."
After the arrest, a Toledo newspaper reported that Scantlin received additional charges of criminal mischief and misconduct involving a public transportation system for allegedly spitting in a patrol car on the way to his booking, claims Scantlin said are completely inaccurate. "I just can't believe they said I spit on people, man. They're just looking for a story. They want to make the story interesting or demented, so they have to make up something and put it out there. And the next thing you know, I'm the scapegoat and I'm the guy that they blame."
In the wake of the Toledo incident, the University in Minnesota canceled a Puddle of Mudd concert and fans were left wondering if Scantlin is battling personal demons or turning into a loose cannon. The singer insists such theories are absurd and claims he's happier than he's been in a while. "Out of playing over 400 shows in the last four years of my life, one of them kind of didn't go very well and I had a bad day," he said. "And I feel really bad for all the fans who had to come to the show to see the bad day happen."
To make amends, Puddle of Mudd plan to play a benefit show in Toledo for the police and fire department. "I've got nothing against the police, and I will redeem myself at the show," Scantlin said. "I just want to tell everybody that we're coming back and the next time we'll be 650 percent better."