Suppose you're a little kid on the island of Guam - that's right, Guam.
And suppose you're in your room with a beat up old acoustic guitar and some bongos your parents gave you, practicing cha-cha and jitterbug music with your cousins because that's all anybody ever showed you how to do.
And suppose you glance up at your Ramones poster and have a vision of yourself on stage with long hair and sunglasses, blasting a Les Paul through a rumbling Marshall stack, gaping at the seething audience in front you - elbows spinning in circles, fists punching the air, and kids flopping around like crash test dummies, all to the beat of three beautiful power chords.
And suppose at that moment you decide that you want to someday, somehow, realize that rock n' roll vision -- even though you're just a kid playing cha-cha and jitterbug music and living on the tiny tourist-driven island of Guam which rarely sees mainstream touring acts, probably only has a couple rock clubs on the whole chunk of land, has an entire population smaller than that of an urban city, and which most Americans probably couldn't even find on a map.
<p>You'd probably think, Okay, there's no way I'll ever realize my rock n' roll vision.
<p>But you're not any of the five members of Mud.
If you were, you'd have figured out a way to migrate thousands of miles across the ocean to San Francisco, build up a large enough fan base to pack venues like Slim's and Bottom of the Hill, perform with noted local acts like The Matches, the Lovemakers and The Dodos, land spots at SXSW, the CMJ Music Marathon and the Vans Warped Tour, and join forces with the Bay Area's most promising young label, Talking House Records.
<p>Flash forward to 2008, and Mud has released their first full-length, Yearbook.
It's an album that fuses the accessibility of punk with the acumen of progressive and indie, and does it all with an I-just-wanna-rock attitude.
<p>The pages turn rapidly on Yearbook, some of them in full color, others in eerie black and white.
On tracks like "Should've Known" and "Tomorrow," vocalist Nikki Aclaro sings clever pop musings on love and loss.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are tracks like "Psycho," a clash of Alan Kao's heavy guitar against a full-on brass-and-string arrangement -- an explosive cinematic mixture of film noir and spy movie.
Meanwhile, bassist Ralph Blas, keyboardist Aris Nicholas and drummer Jared Cruz crash and rumble in a tight rhythm section.
<p>Last year, Mud returned to Guam to do a small tour and inspire a new generation of island kids who just wanna rock.
Blas says the cha-cha and jitterbug music he played on the island as a kid continues to influence Mud.
"I still feed off of that stuff - rhythmic, groove-oriented music," he says.
Lonely This Christmas