“What is in a name?” The members of Mustard Plug must have considered this when they casually came up with the title of what seemed at the time to be a short-lived distraction. While also considering the equally ridiculous “Wanker Daddies,” “Shrinky Dinks,” and “Cookie Puss,” it was the title “Mustard Plug” that was chosen as the masthead to carry forth in the band’s crusade to bring ska-punk to their humble abode of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Twenty years, 1500 shows and 200,000 album sales later, it can not be denied that the band has surpassed all expectations and permanently staked their claim in contemporary music.
Mustard Plug started out in the punk clubs, basements and dive bars of the Midwest, playing punk influenced ska music during a time most people in the U.S. had never even heard of ska. They clung to a DIY work ethic that had been ingrained in them from growing up in the 1980’s hardcore punk scene and applied it to everything they’d do for the next 20 years. They released their first cassette tape themselves (1992’s Skapocalypse Now!), and played constantly to earn enough money to record their first cd. 1994’s Big Daddy Mulititude was released on legendary NYC label Moon Records and with their new found national distribution and exposure, the band climbed into their van and performed their music to new fans across North America.
In 1996 the band went to the Blasting Room in Ft. Collins, Colorado to record their second cd with their hero, punk legend Bill Stevenson, who at that time had been mainly known as the drummer for the Descendents and Black Flag. This album, Evildoers Beware, was quickly picked up by the then up and coming L.A. punk label, Hopeless Records, and released just as ska-punk music was finally gaining mainstream exposure in the U.S. Evildoers Beware exposed the band to a broader fan base, outside their midwest roots and the international ska die-hards who had thus far rallied around the band. The late 90’s became a blur as they hit the road, playing 150 shows a year and opening tours for the likes of Face to Face, The Bouncing Souls, Hepcat, MXPX, Less Than Jake, and many more.
In 1997, the band recorded their version of the Verve Pipe’s “The Freshmen” for a local radio compilation. Their version infused ska-punk energy in to a top 40 pop classic and immediately got picked up by several large commercial radio stations coast to coast and became a fan favorite.
The band’s momentum continued to grow, allowing them to headline tours throughout North American and eventually Europe, Japan, and Brazil, and play to huge crowds at seminal clubs like CBGB’s in NYC, the Metro in Chicago, Emo’s in Austin and The Whiskey in L.A.
Towards the end of the 90’s the band returned to the Blasting Room to record the critically acclaimed Pray For Mojo and continued to hit the road constantly.
At the beginning of the new millennium, the band continued their mission of bringing their music to the masses. Despite ska music’s fall from grace, the band returned to their grass roots base and continued to tour. In 2003, they released the ska-punk gem Yellow #5, this time going to Detroit to self produce and record it. In 2004 the band turned the public’s perception of ska on it’s head by co-headling the initial run of the Ska Is Dead Tour, playing in front of packed concert halls from coast to coast.
In 2007, the band returned to the Blasting Room to record In Black and White. The album was hailed by many as a return to form, while creating a modern take on the ska-punk genre. Since then the band has continued to tour internationally and write new songs. Several new singles have been released including split 7 inches with Bomb the Music Industry and Montreal’s The Beatdown. During the past year, the band has continued to hit the road, including a tour of Europe that saw them at Belgium’s massive Groezrock Festival and conquering the 1500th show benchmark in the U.S. The band continues to write songs for an upcoming album.
As Mustard Plug looks back over their twenty years of relentless touring and recording, they are proud of their accomplishments and see no reason to slow down.