AS one of the forefathers of grunge, Mudhoney are used to having their name bandied about with rock icons like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
But even they weren't prepared for the honour the people of Seattle bestowed upon them in 2021.
Over 30,000 people voted in a poll to choose "MudHoney" as the name for the city's tunnel boring machine.
At 5.4 metres in diameter and weighing 408 tonnes, the $US15 million MudHoney is boring a massive tunnel along Seattle's Lake Washington ship canal to store sewage and stormwater.
An underground band in more ways than one.
The press conference to announce the naming of the machine was actually the first time the members of Mudhoney - Mark Arm (vocals), Steve Turner (guitar), Dan Peters (drums) and the Australian-born Guy Maddison (bass) - came together since the start of the pandemic.
"It was hilarious," Arm says over Zoom. "It was such a weird out-of-the-blue thing.
"That was the first time we got together after everything got locked down.
"We were outside, there weren't vaccines yet, but we were out getting photos taken together and it was great to see everyone at that point."
During the pandemic Maddison played an important role in Seattle's response to COVID.
The registered nurse held a supervisory position at the Harborview Medical Centre, bringing him in direct contact with the virus regularly.
"Despite them having insanely good protocols in the hospital, I think the rest of us were a little scared of getting together with Guy at that point," Arm laughs.
Eventually Mudhoney got back together and recorded the album Plastic Eternity, due for release on April 7 through iconic label Sub Pop.
Since forming in 1988 following the demise of Green River - which featured Peal Jam's Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard - Mudhoney have plotted an original path, forgoing commercial success for authenticity.
Tracks like Touch Me I'm Sick and Suck You Dry are grunge anthems and their albums Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988) and Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (1991) are mandatory listening for anyone wanting a full understanding of how Seattle's insular scene reshaped rock in the '90s.
Unlike the nihilism and self-loathing of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain or the brooding seriousness of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, there was a sarcastic humour interspersed within Arm's angst-riddled lyrics.
Asked why Mudhoney survived, unlike their grunge contemporaries Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, the 61-year-old says: "One thing is we probably don't give a shit about having a career.
"All our eggs aren't in this one basket.
"For us, we take our music seriously, but the trappings of the music biz and shit like that, we don't.
"We like each other, we're old friends and getting older by the minute."
Australia has always factored in Mudhoney's story. Australian bands like Beasts Of Bourbon, Cosmic Psychos, Celibate Rifles, The Birthday Party and The Scientists were constants in the rehearsal room.
"We got to go to Europe, which was an exciting thing, but going to Australia in 1990 that was like, 'holy shit, we're in the f--king land where a lot of shit is happening' and a lot of good stuff has happened for a long time at the underground level."
Arm also names the second Big Day Out in 1993 as one of the most surreal moments for the band during the height of grunge.
"That was with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, The Hard-Ons and The Beasts Of Bourbon," he says.
"It was so much fun. All the bands kind of hung out with each other. It was like, 'is this really happening?' I was pinching myself. 'I can't believe we were amongst this'."
The upcoming Australian tour is Mudhoney's first here since 2014, but fans might be seeing more of the Seattle lads in the future.
Maddison, who replaced original bassist Matt Lukin in 1999, was born in Perth and recently moved back to Australia in Melbourne.
The band will rehearse in Melbourne for a week before kicking off the tour on April 14 in Coolangatta.
Mudhoney play The Northern, Byron Bay (April 15); The Gum Ball, Hunter Valley (April 21); Uni Bar, Wollongong (April 22); Kambri, Canberra (April 23); HABA, Rye (April 25); Theatre Royal, Castlemaine (April 28) and the Torquay Hotel (April 29).
Mudhoney's album Plastic Eternity is out on April 7.
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