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THE MUD CITY MANGLERS

an interview with ted tarka from the mud city manglers


by shane jesse xmass
The Mud City Manglers "Heart Full Of Hate" (Stolen Records/International Trash)
This is the sound of rock & roll at its optimum best. This three-piece are fuell
ed from a steady diet of alcohol, white pills, sociopath behaviour and a honest
disgust for just about every aspect of life. The Mud City Manglers herald from m
iserable Pittsburgh and they utilise the word MOTHERFUCKER more times than Dirty
Bastard does ordering McDonalds. The songs are intimidating in all their glorie
s - the sense of a band outrunning each other to see who can finish the songs fi
rst, which leads to the listener getting a direct current into their eardrums. T
he album is interspliced with soundbites from Rocky & Bullwinkle, which came to
the band one day during a blizzard while they were smoking hash and watching the
old cartoon. OK - the songs,standout tracks - well most of them, to paraphrase
Ted Tarka "you don t like me, I don t mind,. to think I m fucked up all the time
". I could get really lazy and describe The Manglers by saying they sound like a
nother band, who wants to sound like every other band, ripping of every other pu
nk band, but they don t. They play from their hearts rather than emulate a style
, which is great - they expose the goddam phonies - ya hear that Jay Maker. Two
instrumentals are included - they sound like The Ventures being murdered to a th
ree-piece and then hanging out in Death Valley with The Family. Believe or not b
ut this album is total FUN: booze, boredom, hate, cheap motorcycles and shit job
s. It s also out on Stolen Records from Prahran, Melbourne Australia, which real
ly doesn t mean anything except maybe they should get a pat on the back. Tell yo
ur friends to come over, then play them the song I wanna kill my friends . As o
ne of the samples says "No bodies happy living in Pittsburgh". - Heart Full Of H
ate indeed! - with a touch of humour.
So tell me more bout the curse of the mangler ?
Basically, it s a "Murphys Law" kind of thing - everything that can go wrong, wi
ll - but it s more viscous; I m sure most bands have typical bad luck, but somet
imes it s like some fucked up higher power just doesn t want this band to exist,
and dumps heaps of bad stuff on us accordingly. The list is long and painful, b
ut this shit is typical: tour vans breaking down THE NIGHT BEFORE a tour, losing
our practise space twice, in two separate places, due to greedy realty companie
s buying our houses and kicking us out, weird hospitalisations...it s too ugly t
o even think about.
Pittsburgh - does it give you the shits or what? - What s it like? - Heart Full
Of Hate indeed!
There are some good people in Pittsburgh, and some decent bars, but Ive just abo
ut had it with the recent crop of "rock rollers" that s popped up lately. It s l
ike they all read "Please Kill Me", then went out and bought their flame covered
rock roll outfitsand claim to have listened to AC/DC and the STOOGES since they
were in third grade (and the reality of it is that most of them - but not all,
mind you - were CRASS political punks or SCREACHING WEASEL wannabes up until a y
ear or two ago.) Im sure it s the same in every town. Pittsburgh does have some
cool shit, though:dingy "old man" bars and abandoned industrial sites (which are
sadly being overtaken by chain stores like TARGET and WAL-MART).
Tell me about the lyrics - Dan Kritch helped write 1234 MOTHERFUCKER - They ha
ve a great tongue in cheek - fuck off - cynic quality - Who usually writes the s
ongs? - lyrics? - What s the story there?
I ve written 99% of the stuff. Dan (he wasn t ever in the band, but has been a l

ong-time friend of mine here in Pittsburgh) wrote the lyrics to 1234, one New Ye
ars Eve when we were shitfaced and just blasting away in the basement practise r
oom, and they fit pretty well so I kept them. That was pretty early on, when the
Manglers hadn t been together for that long. Since then, I ve written all the l
yrics and almost all the music. Brian (drums) and I have been playing music toge
ther since about 1987 or 88, so I m not downplaying him, or Tim (bass) either. T
im is from the same small town we were from, so asking to join was a given. With
out them, it wouldn t be the same band. We all drink together, and the fact that
we haven t killed each other or broken up the band proves how well the band wor
ks as a whole.
How would you describe The Mud City Manglers sound?
Well, I m not gonna use the typical trendy cheeseball shit you usually hear thes
e days. I hate it when a band tries to say that they re "influenced" by a certai
n band, when they re actually just trying to imitate them. I guess you could say
that the "Mangler Sound" comes from a steady diet of alcohol, sociopath behavio
ur, disgust for just about every aspect of life, and a love of HONEST music, reg
ardless of the "style". Honesty is what counts...were not doing this to get famo
us, or to do a shitty imitation of another band while trying to call it "origina
l". I d name names, but I m not drunk enough to throw stones.
Onstage whadya like?
Sweaty, drunk, and on good nights, we run like a goddamned finely tuned machine.
It s always nice when people send us free drinks from the crowd. Im usually bro
ke at shows, so free drinks are a definite plus.
What was it like recording "Heart Full Of Hate"?
Well, the basic tracks were done in a day. We just loaded in the equipment, dran
k a shitload of beer and wine, and went at it. The studio was hellishly cold bec
ause it s basically an old, drafty warehouse. We had to stand next to space heat
ers and the guitars would go out of tune from the temperature fluctuations about
every 4 minutes or so. The next day I did lead guitars...and then things got sl
ow because the studio does live shows in the evenings, so we had a problem tryin
g to get time slotted to finish it. It started to get to be a bit of a pain in t
he ass, and then I got sick and had to be hospitalised, which put me out of comm
ission for a few months. When we finally got back to the studio, I finished, I f
inished up some vocals and we mixed the fucker, and that was that. In reality, i
t could have been done in three days, but again, you can chalk it up to the "cur
se of the mangler".
What or who is the worst musician - music or band alive - fucking up today?
Anyone who is playing music that s all show and no go. Like I said before, I fuc
king hate bands that just try to emulate a style rather than actually playing fr
om their hearts. How many DEAD BOYS/STIV BATORS rip-offs are running around out
there as we speak? - I can think of at least one offending band, who are on a bi
g West Coast "indie label"...not to mention the shitheads who are trying to be "
Motor City Rock N Roll" when they re not even from The Motor City...that shit is
pretty out of hand too. Draw your own conclusions...it s really not too hard to
point out the bastards that Holden Caulfield referred to as "the goddamn phonie
s".
What are you all listening to now? - What would be some sounds that are influenc
es? - I can hear The Motards in there?
I was never too big on the MOTARDS...I m influenced by booze, boredom, hate, che
ap motorcycles, shit jobs, and the like. Sorry, I never did like that kind of qu

estion because I listen to a lot of crazy shit and it s kind of hard to narrow i
t down. (I m sure you can find some trendy motherfucker out there whos all too w
illing and ready to tell you how influenced they are by Johnny Thunders, The Sto
oges, AC/DC and The Dead Boys, so I ll spare you the hassle.)
What gives - you guys big fans of Rocky & Bullwinkle? - It adds a nice touch
One winter we had a blizzard and were stuck in the house for a couple of days, s
o we smoked some hash and watched Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons to stay entertaine
d. As soon as we heard the name "The Mud City Manglers", we knew it would make a
great band name. The fact that their coach was "Fearless Leader" made it all th
e better. Thanks for the compliment on the album samples; I thought that they he
lped break the album up a bit so that it didn t all run together, and they re al
l pretty goddam funny but someone reviewed the album and bitched about them. C m
on! That line from "Drugstore Cowboy" is classic, and it s precisely how I felt
when I got out of the hospital, so that s why I put it on there.
Stolen Records - Australian label - How d that all eventuate?
Chris Subarton from 007 records in New York City got me in touch with Craig from
International Trash/Stolen Records. Craig liked our first 7" and offered to put
out an LP, but at the time a friend of ours was supposedly talking to Get Hip r
ecords about putting an LP out for us, so the Manglers ended up doing a split 7
" with Craig s band THE SPOILERS...Then the Get Hip idea fell through so I told
Craig that if he wanted to do the LP, we were up for it...so then we drug our as
ses around really slowly trying to get the thing recorded, and it s finally out
now.
Any free rants - soothing words - general comments for Australian Mud City Mangl
ers people?
Supposedly Craig from International Trash wants me to comes down to Australia an
d do some shows with a backup band...but I told the other guys in the band, and
they seem willing to pay their airfare to come along too, so we might end up com
ing down there sometime this year. If it happens, make sure to come out and buy
us drinks - quality beer and good vodka & O.J. is always welcome!

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