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"MUD on Pacific Daily News"
- Guam Pacific Daily News


Ashkenaz Music Center

Thursday, 11/01/07
Doors at 8:30 pm; show at 9:00 pm

A trio of woman-powered San Francisco bands rocks the Ashkenaz dance floor in a rocking night of psychedelia, punk, ska, and funk. MUD, The New Up, and Phonofly are each making waves with their highly original sounds, and together converge for the third in a sequence of recent Ashkenaz “female-fronted� nights.

MUD’s raw guitar riffs and heavy bass grooves combined with intelligent lyrics make for a blending of punk energy and melodic hooks, drawing comparisons to such bands as Green Day and Blondie. In addition to working on a CD for San Francisco indie label Talking House Records, MUD has had a busy year, appearing at CMJ 2007 Music Marathon, SXSW, and the Warped Tour. Its members are natives of Guam now living in the Bay Area: Nikki Aclaro on vocals and guitar, Alan Kao on guitar and ukulele, Ralph Blas on bass, Jared Cruz on drums, and Aris Nicholas on keyboard and ukulele.

Described as “hip modern pop with a strong psychedelic streak� (Good Times) and “smoldering, post-punk-brushed dance-rock� (Isthmus), The New Up actively engage with the spirit of Radiohead, Pavement, and TV on the Radio, all bands that pump hot blood into modern chrome forms, dissecting and defusing today's too-much-information onslaught with hard-edged, hip-shakin’ fury. The Chicago Reader described this San Francisco band as “trippy new wave� with songs that “move with a seething, aggressive kind of dream logic.� The New Up is singer and guitarist ES Pitcher, Noah Reid on guitar and synthesizer, Hawk West on flute and automation, drummer Jack McFadden, and bassist Dain Dizazzo. Together they combine polished studio chops, hyper-intelligent compositions, and inspired musicianship in their riveting live performances. They call their new album, “Palace of Industrial Hope,� a manifesto for the confused, an ontological Molotov cocktail for modern primitives.

Phonofly mixes rock-soul hotness, intricate guitar riffs and reggae-ska rhythms to create its sound. Vocalist Steph Stolorow’s delivery varies from ethereal melody weaving to sultry lounge singing to rhyme-spitting, indicative of the varied styles which embody the group as a whole. Phonofly also features Doug Major on guitar, bassist Justin Miller, and drummer Jayme Arredondo. defines Phonofly’s style as a “snappy� blend of “the laidback, beachy mode [and] the zootsuited, lounge-lizard� style of ska with “crisp rim shots direct from the Caribbean, thrumming bass lines and tremulous vocals.�

"MUD MUSIC GROUP HITS 25k and beyond" - Guam Pacific Daily News

"Essentials" - San Francisco Chronicle


August 7, 2008 Noon - Guam's Mud to open for Linkin Park: Projekt Revolution Pacific Daily News Noon, Aug. 7 — The San Francisco based group Mud from Guam is set to open for the rock band Linkin Park in California this weekend. Mud was invited to participate in the MTV2 “Rock the Revolution” contest, competing for one of three slots to open for the Linkin Park: Projekt Revolution tour in Mountain View, Calif. Through the help of family, friends and fans, the band garnered enough votes to be considered for the opening slot, says Mud guitarist Alan Kao. MTV then chose three bands among the 12 top vote getters to perform at the concert, including Mud. “We would like to thank all our friends and family on Guam for all their loyal support — we couldn't have done it without all of you,” Kao says. “We are proud to be representing our island at Linkin Park:Projekt Revolution.” The concert is set for Saturday, California time at the at Shoreline Amphitheater. Mud will share the revolution stage with Lane Four, Crooked, Armor For Sleep, Hawthorne Heights, 10 Years, Atreyu, Street Drum Corps. Linkin Park will take the main stage with other acts including Ashes Ashes, Busta Rhymes, The Bravery, and Chris Cornell. For more information go to the official Mud Web site: or on Myspace: Link to the contest: - PDN


"MUD @ SXSW 2008"

Pandora's coverage of band area bands,mud,elephone,minipop and lovelifefire at sxsw 2008.three part series. - Pandora


MUD interview with Mikey Likes It Presents. - SFSTATION.COM

"Their Name is MUD"

by Jac Perry
It's 1:30 a.m. Guam-time and my cell phone rings a dedicated ring tone—the heavy riffs of AC/DC's "Back in Black" signaling MUD lead guitarist, Mr. Alan Kao, calling. I greet him to begin genuine, albeit sycophantic banter. After much laughter Kao elaborates for me what he briefly mentioned in an e-mail. "We went on our first tour, we rented a minivan that was a total piece of shit, and it died in the middle of the dessert. We had four cell phones and none of them worked! We had to sleep on the side of the road where all the huge trucks where flying by. We were afraid to go outside because of coyotes." Vermin never got the best of MUD that night. The next morning, highway patrol discovered the van, called a tow truck and the band was rescued.

Four gentlemen and a beauty are the framework of MUD, the latest in creative rock/metal/punk whose members are native to Guam and famed in San Francisco, but gaining attention everywhere.

With our island in their hearts and their music on their minds, Kao, along with Ralph Blas, Jared Cruz, Nikki Aclaro and Aris Nicholas embarked onto the San Francisco music scene—an impressive attempt in a city where music acts grossly outnumber venues. Over the years, MUD's popularity landed them gigs at major Bay Area venues like Slim's, Bottom of the Hill and The Warfield, along with a title in the lineup of the 2006 Vans Warped Tour and the headline act at San Francisco Live 105's Official Warped Tour After-Party.

While MUD describes their sound as, "A blending of punk's energy and the edge of metal," it has been compared to such well known acts as Jawbreaker, The Deftones, Letters to Cleo, Green Day and The Foo Fighters. To this, Blas responds, "Isn't it all just Rock and Roll?" Without being subversive, the story of MUD is the mettle of Rock and Roll.

Each member of the band is grounded in our island's spirit of generosity, humility and hospitality, even while their popularity is hurling America's attention to Guam's position on the proverbial map. Kao and Blas moved from Guam to California with their band, Acid Jazz, whose music can still be heard on Guam's THE ROCK 105.1 FM. When Acid Jazz broke, MUD was created.

Kao, who has an affinity for cats, James Bond and Adam Sandler films, titled the band. "I saw an African tribal design called 'Mud Cloth' on a coffee cup. I liked the 'Mud' part but not the 'Cloth,'" he said. Kao can be caught on stage wielding a pink Hello Kitty axe or a ukulele.

Principal songwriter and bassist Blas, described as the shyest member of MUD, moved to California with Kao while together in Acid Jazz. In photographs, Blas appears not shy but very comfortable in rock star persona. He is careful, thorough and intelligent. Blas was in the middle of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera (no easy read) at the time of this interview, which gives you an idea of the creative thinker behind the band.
Blas comes from a musical family and background. "My personal biggest influence is probably the pala-pala bands that I grew up with and played in. That scene taught me a lot about music and playing. Like everyone else, though, I got caught up in the MTV thing. The cha-cha and jitterbug thing started to fade for me. Then I discovered the Ramones and Nirvana and I got hooked," Blas says.

Although Blas experienced what he called a struggle, his dedication soon paid off. He recounts a night the band was playing a show at a large venue and MUD arrived early. While waiting for the show to start, Blas sat down and had a drink with a group of guys who said that they had seen MUD perform and told Blas how much they liked the band. "It turned out they were members of the band that opened that night. As they were setting up, one of the guitarists started playing one of our songs, 'Apartment 4.' I thought that was kind of cool. You know? Someone else, other than you, playing a song that you wrote. There's a nice feeling you get when you here your music being played on some stranger's radio," he says. Very cool, indeed.

Drummer Jared Cruz played with Acid Jazz in Guam years before, "When MUD's drummer quit, we asked Jared to join. Jared is the fourth drummer to play for MUD," says Kao.

Resident joker and former radio traffic personality for Power 98, Cruz has been playing the drums since age three (if flailing on Tupperware counts). "I've known Alan and Ralph since I was a wee tot of 18 or so. We played in Acid Jazz together for many years. That's when I learned how to fake song playing with such expertise and finesse. There was no better venue to showcase my lack of musicianship than in front of a hundred underage drinkers at Port Authority Beach. Playing before many a drunken mosh pit made me think about actually doing it long term," Cruz remembers.

"I initially wanted to play piano or guitar but thought that drums would get chicks. I couldn't be more wrong," laments Cruz. "After a show, the drummer is always the grossest, so there went that theory. And a piano player at any party or whatever is always scoring."
"I had played in different cover bands on island and found out that Alan and Ralph had something going that only played originals. This intrigued me. Their constant haranguing to come check them out in San Francisco also had a lot to do with it. You realize that orchestras and symphonies are all cover bands, and of old dead guys, too," reminds Cruz.

Frontwoman and lead vocalist, Nikki Aclaro played for several local bands before moving out to join MUD. "When Ralph and I decided that we could do more musically with a female vocalist, we called around Guam looking for one and Nikki's name kept coming up. I've known Nikki's dad, Mars Aclaro, while growing up in Guam so we asked her to join," Kao said. "Every member of MUD past and present is from Guam."

A dedicated and ambitious Aclaro spent most of her life learning and developing her style. "I went to the college of 'stay at home and practice,'" she says. Early in life, Aclaro had aspirations of becoming, "a ballet dancer, then a chemist, then later I figured out that I'm not that graceful or great at math but could play a tune or two, and set my heart on being a musician. I love it!" Aclaro's soft, sylphlike presence and angelic features are the background on the canvas of her vocal style that ranges from pretty fluid to "angry chick," according to Blas.
Aclaro remembers, "When I first started out with MUD, we played smaller shows, and sometimes the other bands on the bill did not fit us. In one instance, we played a hardcore festival and the crowd was not responsive. I actually caught a kid mocking me and I asked him if it was karaoke night and he shut up after I had embarrassed him in front of everyone."

Aris Nicholas is the latest addition to MUD. "I play the keys. I have been playing for about a year," he says. Nicholas played bass for a few other bands before MUD asked him to come on board.
"I was in another band called The Paper Planes. We played major San Francisco dive bars but Al and Ralph, the original members of MUD, came out to support. That was cool," he says.
Nicholas left Guam to pursue a music career, however, his parents encouraged him to go to college. "I took a few music industry courses at night to keep my interest fresh and new."

Between Nicholas and Blas, hands down, Nicholas is the crowned prince of shy. Amusing and clever, Kao has a business as well as an artistic attitude toward the success of the band. Last year, MUD was signed with San Francisco indie label Talking House Records and is currently working on material for a record due for release this year.

Talking House Records was not the first label to offer MUD a deal. Several other record labels approached the band in the past. "The reason we finally signed with Talking House Records is because they really believe in what we are doing. We are not just a tax write off for them. Most record companies don't take the time to develop their artists, it's all about how much money you can make for them now and when the buzz is over, they drop you and move on to the next hype. Talking House Records is all about developing the artist for long term success," Kao says. "It's hard work. It's all about writing cool songs, playing great shows, building a fan base and creating a buzz about your band."

Tracks from MUD's current CD, "Where is Tomorrow," have received domestic and international airplay on major stations including San Francisco's LIVE 105, UC Berkley's KALX 90.7 and Guam's THE ROCK 105.1 FM.

MUD is scheduled to shoot a music video sometime this year with filmmaker Alex Munoz who also is from Guam. "Our immediate plan is to complete recording on the new album, play the South by South West Music Festival, the 2007 Vans Warped Tour and maybe some shows in Japan .We plan to release two albums and tour a lot in the next three years," Kao said.

The nascent emergence of MUD onto the 21st century music scene deserves homage. Cheers gentlemen and lady. Biba MUD and Biba Rock and Roll!

MUD pays honorable mention to Paul Shimizu of Shimbros, Inc., Ray Gibson of Sorenson Pacific Broadcasting and Albert Juan of THE ROCK 105.1 FM for their instrumental roles in getting the band ignited. - GU Magazine


by Bill Picture
Sunday, October 22, 2006
If you missed Mud's recent opening set at the sold-out Camp Freddy show at the Warfield, you won't get another chance to check out the band live until 2007. The metal-edged punks, who recently signed with Talking House Productions' in-house label, are retiring to Talking House's South of Market studio later this week to begin work on their debut album. Get an earful in the meantime at - San Francisco Chronicle


Where is Tomorrow (EP) 2002
Springman Records "Punk Rock Strikes Volume 4" (Comp) 2003
2006 DIY Van's Warped Tour (Comp) 2006
Sticky (Single) 2006
Talking House Records "Family Album Vol.1" (Comp) 2006
Should've Known (Single) 2007
The Ant Show Compilation Vol.1 (Comp) 2007
SF x SXSW San Francisco Comes To Austin 2007 (Comp)
Live From SF x SXSW-San Francisco Comes To Austin 2007 (Comp)
A Foggy Holiday-Carols From the SF Scene Vol.1 (Comp) 2007
Yearbook 2008



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.

You'd probably think, Okay, there's no way I'll ever realize my rock n' roll vision.

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.

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.

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.

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.