Mudslide: Girls, Happiness, and Not Holding Back

Seattle's last great rock-’n’-roll warriors.

The demo arrived in the Showbox box office with a note attached: "Best demo ever." As the booker of the Green Room, the intimate lounge in the Showbox's basement, I see my fair share of local press kits. On first glance at this band's unassuming one sheet, I was thrown by the high asking price: Mudslide would take no less than $500 for an "appearance."Mudslide may be one of the oldest continuously gigging bands in Seattle. Unbeknownst to me, they had been rocking stages from Seattle to Olympia since 1980, playing venues such as Studio Seven, The Central, and many other bars and clubs which they've long since outlasted. I, for whatever reason, was chosen to receive their Radioactive EP demo. It was a true blessing in disguise. It was an instant hit with Showbox employees: Mudslide were clearly making music for themselves, and didn't give a fuck what other people thought.I decided to book Mudslide to play the Green Room this past March 20. (I didn't pay them $500, but they made $30 in door money.) I and all in attendance still agree that the show was unforgettable, to say the least. The front man's guitar prowess and natural stage charisma are matched only by the greats of rock and roll. His nervous energy was reminiscent of Daniel Johnston, mixed with the rock-and-roll swagger of David Lee Roth. The percussionist presented himself as a heavenly host of hard-rock drumming—between songs, he bowed to the audience as a sign of his greatness, reminding them to buy CDs. The bass player—the newest member of the band—was able to make it through an entire set using a shard of glass as a pick. The band seemed on the verge of chaos throughout much of their set."I just thought I needed to invent a way to create a hit song," says Mudslide drummer Kevin Schultz. At 42, he is the sole surviving member of the original Mudslide lineup, and he's put out an estimated 30 to 40 albums of Mudslide material in the band's three-decade existence. Schultz's current leather-clad partner in crime is 24-year-old singer/guitarist Steven Koenigsberg, who first appeared in our lives back in early January as the bearer of that now-legendary demo. Together they make up the Mudslide songwriting team, claiming the songs on the EP are about, "love, girls, happiness, peace, and not holding back."After seeing the band terrorize the Green Room, I was so impressed by their assault on rock and roll and their tireless devotion to their craft that I decided they'd make a great documentary subject. During interviews for the film, I found out the band has a penchant for metal. "I'm definitely metal, all forms of metal," says Koenigsberg. "Glam metal, thrash metal, black metal, just not death metal." Schultz, however, looks further back, to "the early hits of KISW," citing such influences as Steven Tyler and Roger Waters. Both seem to find common influences in the realm of bands such as Ratt, King Crimson, and Mötley Crüe, and together they create a sound unique in today's music. To call it chaotic would be an understatement.But the anarchy that is Mudslide extends into their personal lives, which is the other half of their charm and mystique. Schultz works long hours to afford brief studio time at Avast! He also splits his days between stadium catering, arena load-ins, and part-time work at the Washington State Convention Center. Koenigsberg, on the other hand, works administering TSA tests to future airport employees. Craig Sheppard, the bassist and the newest addition to the lineup, has had trouble finding a stable living situation and staying out of trouble with the law. (The night of their Green Room performance, Sheppard had just been released from jail after harassing a shopkeeper who'd sold him the wrong guitar strings.) Koenigsberg and Schultz met Sheppard—the self-described "Jesus freak" of the group—while he was busking near Westlake Center.Mudslide may be the last bastion of true, unadulterated rock and roll. They don't regurgitate anything that would register on the modern-music radar. Instead they harken back to the days of rock-and-roll excess, and revitalize that which we treasure. The band will soon release Secret Right to Rock and Roll Reloaded, Schultz's 10-years-in-the-making magnum opus. In addition, the band will release Ebony Dragonfly of Passion and Four Anvils later this month. Their determination to self-release and create as much music as possible is a testament to their incredible work ethic.As in all great rock-and-roll sagas, Mudslide is not short on dreams. Some of their dreams are simple: Schultz simply wishes the band could provide him a steady living situation (he was evicted from his apartment the night of the Green Room show); Koenigsberg just wants "to be able to pay my own medical insurance and live independently." But they also dream of making it big: "I want to get a record deal," says Schultz. "We've been in contact with the (Bob) Dylan crew. I want to get on a Mudslide tour and make it to Europe. I want KISW to play our music. We want to go somewhere and excite the world."

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