“Their country/folk/Americana/punk sound — a mix of scrappy, stein-swinging anthems peppered with a few slow tracks — is grounded by the band’s constant energy, string talent, melodic harmonies, and strong rhythm section. By way of visceral folky lyrics, the Mutes offer happy music about hard times and the people living through them; these characters, like those in Springsteen’s and countless other folk songs, represent those groups oft overlooked in today’s media landscape and viral marketplace.” —Santa Barbara Independent
Singer and guitarist Brian Mathusek has roamed from East to West and many places in-between. Along the way, he has gathered stories of hope and fear, love and loss. If there is one constant theme throughout Mathusek's songwriting, it's an openness and honesty that comes straight from the heart. He began performing his early songs as a solo artist, but when lifelong friend Michael Astudillo joined in on acoustic guitar and then later his not-yet wife Merry Young picked up the drums, The Mutineers were born.
The trio's first EP, Tidal Wave (2008), was well received on the West Coast with radio play on a few stations in California and Oregon. It wasn’t long before they began to share stages with such artists as Langhorne Slim, The Devil Makes Three, The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band and The Tallest Man on Earth. Their second EP, Nihilisteria (2009), soon followed, revealing a more dynamic, slightly heavier sound, reminiscent of bands like X, The B-52s, The Pogues, and The Velvet Underground. In 2011, Terry Luna joined the band on stand-up bass and they recorded From the Dirge to the Dance, an eight-song album that more fully explored the musical and vocal range of the newly expanded four-piece sound. Lyrically, songs like "Home" have a healthy dose of cynicism, while "Can't Quit" shows hope and determination. And of course, it wouldn't be The Mutineers without a strong spirit of rebellion against the powers-that-be ("Hell No").
In the years that followed, the band built a loyal following in their home base of Santa Barbara, CA, and expanded their tour route to include stops in Las Vegas, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and a short string of shows in New York and New Jersey. They played to bigger crowds and most memorably shared stages with The White Buffalo, Murder By Death, Larry and His Flask and The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. In 2013, the band returned to its original three-piece lineup and continued playing in Southern California, frequently touring up the West Coast to Portland, Oregon. Brian and Merry got married after a 15-year courtship and Michael became a bar owner, opening Seven Bar & Kitchen in Santa Barbara. In October of 2014, however, The Mutineers suffered a serious blow with the tragic loss of founding member, best friend and guitarist Michael. "It's been difficult to pick up the pieces. It is very hard to hear some of our songs without Michael's presence, not to mention the enormous vacancy left by his larger-than-life personality and boundless optimism," said Mathusek.
Brian and Merry returned to Merry's home state of Oregon and continued making music and running their graphic design and screen printing business, Mutiny Studios. Now performing as a duo, they've honed their harmonies, tightened up their sound, built a bed in their van and released a new album, Live at B-Side (Nov. 2016). They spent the majority of the following years traveling across the country with appearances at Treefort Music Fest, Wildwood Music Festival and 27 states from Oregon to New Jersey. They plan to follow up with another new release in 2018.
“Their live show delivers a potent and buoyant mix of Americana, folk, and good ole-fashioned bar rock.” —Santa Barbara Independent
“The Mutineers blend a variety of music styles into their own brand of rock and roll which transcends pretty much every label you can hurl at it.” —SWAP ZINE
Also visit Mutiny Studios for design and screen printing by Brian and Merry.