by Mark Allen
Staff Writer —
Crawling Out of the Mudd: An Interview with Jimmy Allen of Against All Will
Fans of that modern, post-grunge sound may instantly recognize Jimmy Allen’s name, but for the uninitiated, he is an original member of the band Puddle of Mudd, the award-winning genius behind hit songs such as “Blurry,” “Drift and Die,” and “She Hates Me,” all featured on the Come Clean album, which was directly responsible for breaking Puddle of Mudd into the mainstream. Jimmy’s Puddle days are now behind him and he has moved on and formed a new band, Against All Will, which sports all the earmarks of the modern commercial hard rock scene while retaining a metal-edged legitimacy.
Jimmy recently took the time to converse with Hardrock Haven about his Puddle of Mudd days, the challenges facing a rock musician in today’s musical climate, his collaboration with Cello Dias, and the lack of platypuses in metal music.
HRH: Jimmy, thanks so much for talking to me. Your new band, Against All Will, is definitely more radio-friendly than Puddle of Mudd. Was this a deliberate attempt at charting some songs or simply the natural outcome of where you are musically and creatively these days?
Jimmy Allen: It was just natural. I tend to write songs that I like and hope other people will enjoy too.
HRH: Just like celebrities always cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for divorce, it seems when members depart a band it is often blamed on “creative differences.” Was this the case with your departure from Puddle of Mudd, or did something else cause you to walk away?
Jimmy Allen: I walked away from the band before the signing with Fred Durst because nobody was on the same page and the deal was in favor of one person, not the whole band. I rejoined the band in 2004 and I was let go in 2006 for not signing a shady contract that would have made me a hired gun for the band I started.
HRH: Puddle’s loss is Against All Will’s gain. The band’s latest album, A Rhyme & Reason, has been out for awhile now; how is it performing, both from a critical as well as sales aspect?
Jimmy Allen: It’s been great! For not having a big push from a major label, we sold 50,000 downloads alone in 2011. We are very blessed to have such great fans and people spreading our music around.
HRH: While you yourself are hardly new to the rock music scene, Against All Will is technically a new band, despite the presence of veteran players. What are the biggest obstacles facing a new band trying to make it in today’s rock music world?
Jimmy Allen: Touring has been the toughest thing; making money when out on the road is pretty rough these days.
HRH: Will there be another Against All Will album and if so, when?
Jimmy Allen: Yes. We are shooting for spring sometime.
HRH: Cannot wait to hear it. Cello Dias is an absolute beast on the bass guitar on A Rhyme & Reason. How did your collaboration with him come about?
Jimmy Allen: Our good friend Roy, drummer from Stone Sour, played with Cello in Soulfly. He recommended him to us one day.
HRH: The modern hard rock/metal market is rife with banal, boring album covers, but A Rhyme & Reason has a cover that seems to be trying to convey a message. Can you tell us who designed it and explain the symbolism?
Jimmy Allen: The Aardvark brigade designed it. They do amazing work! I worked out my ideas with them for the artwork and we went back and forth until I was happy with it. I wanted it to show bits and pieces from the songs from the CD, so it has the bugs, needles, speakers, microphones, and a hidden message.
HRH: Since the album cover features beetles, not exactly a common avatar in hard rock, I was wondering if on your next release you would consider giving some love to another creature so often overlooked in metal: the duck-billed platypus. C’mon, nothing screams bad-ass metal like a platypus. What do you think?
Jimmy Allen: That’s totally bad-ass! Where do I send the check?
HRH: I would tell you to send the check to my editor, but he’d just use it to buy vodka, so you might as well keep it. Speaking of keeping things, every song on A Rhyme & Reason is a keeper, which leaves the listener begging for more. What made you decide to only release seven tracks?
Jimmy Allen: Thank you. Very simple—we ran out of money.
HRH: You are on your death bed with only seconds left before you have a personal experience with whatever lies on the other side of the grave. You have enough breath for maybe ten words and you want to tell everyone the most important thing they need to know about life in the rock and roll world—what would those words be?
Jimmy Allen: Be careful what you wish for, it may come true.
HRH: Good advice. Jimmy, thanks a bunch for speaking with me. We here at Hardrock Haven wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors, both rock-related and otherwise.
Jimmy Allen: Thanks for all the support and taking the time to do this interview.