For fans of a long-defunct band the prospect of a “lost” album arriving unexpectedly is exciting news. Seattle second-wave grunge lords Gruntruck were riding a crest of surging popularity in the early ’90s when record label trouble brought their career to a grinding halt before they had a chance to release a follow-up to their breakthrough second album, Push. Though the band continued on through various rhythm section changes, guitarist/vocalist Ben McMillan (ex-Skin Yard) and guitarist Tommy Niemeyer (the Accused) were never able to secure the major label deal they sought. Additional material was recorded, but never issued, and with McMillan’s passing in 2008, it seemed that Gruntruck’s legacy would end with its relatively meager 90s’ output.
Thankfully, producer Jack Endino kept track of the band’s “lost” recordings and assisted in finding a label, Found Recordings, to release them as the band’s belated, self-titled swansong. These eleven “new” songs showcase a quartet with incredible potential. Had so many things gone differently, this would be an essential part of the Gruntruck’s canon. Today it stands as a bittersweet epilogue.
“This material represents two long lost periods in Gruntruck’s existence that the band members were sure, until now, would remain a muffled if not silent memory of times and sounds of the past,” Niemeyer explains. “Both recording sessions, despite the lengthy gap of time between them, and perhaps due to that gap, capture perfectly the passion that fueled us. Our passion to create. Passion to live, to love, to fight, to fuck, to forge ahead no matter what the obstacle. Listening to this stuff for the first time since we recorded it reminded me of why we chose the name Gruntruck; we were a fucking 18-wheeled, turbo-diesel semi truck plowing through road blocks and crashing past tollways, billowing-out thick, sooty, acrid, toxic clouds of smoke in the form of songs. Just like in real life, you may not like it, but it keeps getting pumped out as that truck flies by you; and every now and then, you get a whiff and you gotta admit, it smells kinda good, doesn’t it?”
We’re celebrating its release today with the premiere of a new video for the song “Noise Field,” featuring animation by Jack Anderson. Original drummer Norman Scott describes the video this way: “Noise Field speaks to Ben’s timeless existence where he somehow knew and felt the chaos in everyday living—all the while being king ambassador. Stepping into the ‘Noise Field’ you can lose your compass and your soul; then reemerge with a point of clarity. Ben was such an artist.”