The U-Men

I believe I was living in Tulsa at the time and I was pretty far removed from what was going on in the Pacific Northwest. I knew this girl who had the Sub Pop 2000 Box Set and it blew my mind. I became aware of Mudhoney, Green River, Nirvana from her. I thought the Northwest Sound started there. I started digging further, discovering Am Rep.

I first discovered the U-Men on the Dope Guns and Fucking comp released on Amphetamine Reptile sometime in 1988. It was a great 7inch with Mudhoney, Halo of Flies and The Thrown Ups. Somehow though amongst all those great bands, the U-Men stood out. I investigated.

I found out that the U-Men had been around in Seattle since the hardcore days, churning out insanely cool music that was very influential to the nascent “grunge scene”. It was also very reminiscent of The Birthday Party….one of the most incredible ensembles in the history of recorded music.

In the end, like the best rock-n-roll, The U-Men are impossible to categorize. Historically, I would place them alongside Scratch Acid, although The U-Men had a tendency to rock out harder.

For a group that many people are unfamiliar with, The U-Men has quite a discography. I have posted thier 2 7inchers for your listening pleasure. I personally think Solid Action is superior. Dig it baby!

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7 Responses to The U-Men

  1. Chris says:

    Awesome site, great music. I think maybe the file ‘Dig it a hole’ is corrupted?

  2. Mike L. says:

    I have live U-men shots from three different shows posted on my website.
    http://www.bestrockphotos.com

    U-men story: John came to my birthday party when I lived over Murphy’s pub in Wallingford. He was the only one nice enough to stick around after and help me pick up the mess. I gave him a bunch of photos of his band in return. I wonder if he still has them?

  3. Chilly D says:

    Cool posting. Public service, indeed.

    Tom Price, guitarist for this band went on to form Gashuffer. Was also a member of the Monkey Wrench.

    Forced Exposure loved them until they saw them live, deciding that Bigley’s antics/live theatrics were too much for them to stomach, which was as funny now as it was then, considering the party line those guys trawled…

    In 2000, Chuckie Boy Records released a collection culling most of the band’s discography onto one CD entitled “Solid Action” and which is apparently still available through Amazon and CD Universe:

    http://www.amazon.com/Solid-Action-U-Men/dp/B00004T2MT/sr=1-3/qid=1160550312/ref=sr_1_3/002-6347908-1204861?ie=UTF8&s=music

    Hazelmyer from Halo of Flies/AmRep was in the band for a spell as was Jim Tillman who went on to be in Love Battery.

    John Bigley the lead singer owns an exotic Vodka bar in Seattle called BARSA. Drummer Charlie Ryan’s a maitre’d at some fancy restaurant in Seattle last I heard. Tillman’s a professional photographer. Hazelmyer’s still an entrepreneur, owning and operating three bar/restaurants in the Twin Cities among other things.

    Charlie and John formed The Crows whose one and only full length release via AmRep was a sorely overlooked gem.

  4. Joe Stumble says:

    Yo Chilly D!

    The Crows were great. Future post maybe. I was aware of that U-Men re-release by chuckie boy. If none of it had been re-released I probably would have posted everything The U-Men ever did. I posted the 2 7inches in the hope that people would hunt out more by this great, overlooked band. Thanks for all the info as well as the amazon links!

  5. Anonymous says:

    great post

  6. zuzu says:

    Wow — loved the U-Men. Here is my U-Men story — they were playing at the Town Pump in Vancouver with barely anybody in the audience. Singer John came out in GIANT sized white Jockey undies over top of his clothes. I was the ONLY person on the dance floor, I kid you not. Happy to own Stop Spinning.

    ‘Ten of them, one of me’

  7. Joe Stumble says:

    I really should add a U-Men 45 to my “wall of shame” header. They are one of the greats.

    “Joker flipped a flatbed down on route 101…”

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