It has been a long road to sobriety for Wes Scantlin. As the lead singer for Puddle of Mudd, he followed the well-worn footsteps of many rock stars: booze, drugs, jail. He didn’t handle his rock stardom well and left a slew of headlines in his wake.
In January 2016, about 45 minutes into Puddle of Mudd’s set at the Adelphia Music Hall in Ohio, Scantlin singled out a fan who’d been laughing at him. “This guy stole my house,” he said, dropping the mic and taking a few minutes to put on his black leather jacket and walk off stage in a video viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube.
A couple of months later, his band abandoned him onstage at a concert in Doncaster, England. Billboard reported that the audience was berating Scantlin for his performance.
The group was last in Dallas in April 2017. Scantlin was onstage at Trees, singing “She Hates Me” when he stopped midway through the song, said a few words to the drummer and walked off stage and through a crowd that seemed to say collectively, “Come on, man.” He handled his walk off far better than he did a few years earlier at Trees when he had a meltdown onstage, threw his microphone and a beer at the audience and tried to fight a few crew members.
Now Scantlin says he’s walking a new road and trying to change his rock star life. He’s finishing sets and having a blast onstage with a few new playmates, including Matt Fuller, Dave Moreno and Michael Adams. He’s also releasing Puddle of Mudd’s fifth studio album, Welcome To Galvania, next month and will be performing on Thursday night at the House of Blues in Dallas to support it.
“It’s a blessing from God,” Scantlin says. “Glad to be rockin’ shows.”
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He’d been rocking a courtroom since 2012. He picked up a couple of warrants. He was arrested for missing a court date and on a couple of charges for domestic abuse and felony vandalism after he allegedly attacked his ex-wife, dragged her across the floor and swung a sledgehammer at his neighbor’s brick wall. He’s been picked up for disorderly conduct and driving under the influence. He once had a standoff with 30 armed police officers, according to an Aug. 11, 2016, Houston Press report.
Over a three-year period, the same publication claims that Scantlin had “thrown things at audience members, destroyed his band’s instruments and been alleged to have drunkenly lip-synced a concert in Ohio.”
For those not familiar, the band hit the scene when rock acts such as Limp Bizkit and Drowning Pool were dominating the charts. Scantlin and his ever-changing crew of musicians have sold more than 7 million albums with a string of No. 1 singles mostly from 2001's Come Clean, their triple-platinum-selling debut album.
The band's hits shot up to the No. 5 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Welcome To Galvania is a decade in the making. It’s named after a feeling Scantlin’s father would get whenever he hears one of his son’s better songs. Every song on the album, Scantlin says, was picked by his father’s goosebumps.
“He’s been the best dad you can have,” he says.
Scantlin wrote lyrics for the new album over the years, and then joined a few other songwriters and put together 11 tracks, one of which, “Uh Oh,” is a cleaner version than an earlier track of the same name. Scantlin had loaded the previous track with F-bombs.
“Uh Oh” brings to mind “She Hates Me” from the band’s first album. It’s also a radio-friendly ballad and seems to be the unofficial anthem to Scantlin’s life. The chorus is basically, “Uh oh, I fucked up again” repeated more times than anyone has said it over the years.
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Scantlin says he put the song together with a few other songwriters, Christian Stone and Doug Ardito and a mystery woman named Leann. They were sitting around the room, sharing tales of misery. “Everyone had their own little story,” he says. “We meshed them together (into a song).”
Track 3, “Go to Hell,” seems to capture Scantlin's religious beliefs. He wrote it at John Denver’s studio in Malibu. He says he was going through a breakup when he wrote it. In the song, he assumes everyone wants to go to heaven but points out that most of us are going to hell.
Most of his new songs deal with some kind of loss, and several fall into the ballad spectrum circa early 2000s, such as “My Kind of Crazy,” “Time of Our Lives” and “Just Tell Me.”
Scantlin discovered sobriety a couple of years ago. He credits God and one judge for saving his life. He says he’s been winning back fans one show at a time, and he’s hoping to win back a few more Thursday night at the House of Blues. “We’re going to come out there and rock the house and emit some positive energy,” he says.