The Muggs formed in February of 2000. Guitar player Danny Methric and Bass player Tony DeNardo were playing in two bands at that time: The Detroit Underground Blues Band and Fat Belly Brown. Danny was hanging out at The Music Menu in downtown Detroit when he ran into Matt Rost, a local drummer that had actually been in Fat Belly Brown for about two weeks before leaving, as he decided his band workload at the time was too heavy. They got to talking and Danny found out that Matt had just quit his...
The Muggs formed in February of 2000. Guitar player Danny Methric and Bass player Tony DeNardo were playing in two bands at that time: The Detroit Underground Blues Band and Fat Belly Brown. Danny was hanging out at The Music Menu in downtown Detroit when he ran into Matt Rost, a local drummer that had actually been in Fat Belly Brown for about two weeks before leaving, as he decided his band workload at the time was too heavy. They got to talking and Danny found out that Matt had just quit his main project, The Immortal Winos of Soul. Danny mentioned that he was looking to do something different than Fat Belly Brown, something more "bluesy", and Matt said he'd be interested.
All dressed up for the Detroit Music Awards, 2001
It didn't take long for the band to start gelling as all three players had been musicians for at least seven years. DeNardo and Methric have always played together in every band they were in and Rost was a consummate drummer in his own right. In October 2000, the Muggs recorded their first EP demo so that they had something to play bar owners to get gigs. "They were good enough for the money that we spent, but keep in mind, those songs are only demos," says Tony.
In March 2001, the Muggs were invited to play the Hamtramck Blowout, a music festival that involves hundreds of Detroit bands at about twenty different bars in the city of Hamtramck, a city contained entirely within Detroit. This show, played at Paychecks to a packed house, seemed to solidify the group as an established act in Detroit. From March to September 2001, the Muggs continued playing more and more shows, gaining a solid fan base in the process. In August of 2001, they were asked to play the very last show ever in the famed Gold Dollar before it went out of business. Neil Yee, the owner of the Gold Dollar, asked the Muggs to play to "sell me out of my remaining imports." The Muggs accepted and played by themselves to about sixty guests. On September 2nd, 2001 the Muggs played a high energy show to a packed tent outdoors at the Cadieux Café's "Mussel Beach Music Festival." They did not know that this would be their last show for quite some time.
On Tuesday, September 4th, 2001 bass player Tony DeNardo suffered a hemorrhagic stroke that nearly ended his life. He was completely paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. DeNardo survived his stroke but was in bad shape.
Not wanting to replace DeNardo on bass guitar, Danny and Matt decided to get involved in different bands and other projects while Tony was recovering. Methric spearheaded a project called Over Under Sideways Down (named after a Yardbirds' song), playing with Muggs' drummer Rost and three other prominent musicians from around the Detroit scene: Brett Lucas, consummate lead guitarist and young bluesman, Ross Westerbur from 500 Ft. Of Pipe fame on piano, and Chuck Bartels, a local bass legend. Danny also played with The Kingsnakes for about six months until The Go asked him to join their band and record an album with them. The Go was a short lived experience for Danny as The Paybacks were looking for a lead guitarist and Methric seemed a perfect fit. Matt Rost also participated in other bands as well, including Colic and several jazz ensembles.
On December 8th, 2002, DeNardo had a fund-raiser at the Cadieux Café (in eastside Detroit) to raise money to send him to to California for some medical treatment that he hoped would speed his recovery. That night turned out to be magical; everybody who's anybody showed up for the fund-raiser as DeNardo had his favorite bands in Detroit play. The bands included Mod Orange, Stunning Amazon featuring Audra Kubat, Blue Song, Climax Divine, Over Under Sideways Down, and many others. The place was packed with tons of generous people, and included an auction of dozens of local artists' CDs, donated for the event.
photo by Doug Coombe
DeNardo had two more fundraisers shortly thereafter, at Jacoby's in downtown Detroit and Nancy Whiskey's in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. He now had enough money to go to Southern California, where he stayed with his father, Frank, and attended daily physical therapy. From January until June of 2003, Tony worked hard and kept in close contact with Methric. In February 2003, a friend of the Muggs, Matt Smith from the band Outrageous Cherry, mentioned that Tony could, if he wanted to, play his bass lines on a piano. After a discussion between old friends Tony and Danny, Tony decided to give it a shot.
After months of practicing two to three hours daily, DeNardo returned to Detroit, still unable to use his right arm but ready to start rehearsals again, using his new instrument. "I bought a Fender Rhodes Mark I to perform the bass lines that I used to do on the bass guitar." After about a month of rehearsals together, the Muggs returned to the Cadieux Café‚ almost two years to the day after their last show together, to play their comeback show at the Cadieux Café's Mussel Beach Party 2003. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.