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Jimmy Allen - Last updated July 2007
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Puddle of Mudd co-founder Jimmy Allen has done his fair share of band rotations since he first picked up the guitar at the age of 15, paying his dues in cover bands, new bands, rejoining an old band, and even breathing a second life into one of his own creations. This two-time ASCAP winner is the drive behind the band Cutout and in early 2007 was actively writing and recording, initiating new band members, and bringing his 20 years of music experience along for the ride as he takes the next step in the journey of his career. Take a minute to find out more about Cutout Band at www.cutoutband.com and MySpace Cutout Band.
It has been just over a year since Ryan Wilson of The Chanute Tribune covered the story; in 2005 Chanute, Kansas native Jimmy Allen had rejoined his former bandmate Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd and was set to perform in New York City’s Times Square on New Years Eve, December 31, 2005, complete with a television broadcast of the band’s performance on ESPN2.
Allen had finally come full circle with the band he had helped create more than a decade earlier, and his position as Puddle’s guitarist seemed solid and permanent. With time spent writing new songs and touring on the road with Puddle during 2005 and early 2006, it gave the new fans the unlikeliest of chances to witness history, a ghost of Puddle’s past, with an original founding member on board along with Wes Scantlin (singer/guitar), Doug Ardito (bass), and Moke Bistany (drums).
While Allen may have appeared to some Puddle fans as the ‘fresh new face’ in the band, to the contrary Allen has a long standing history in Puddle of Mudd dating back to 1993 both as a co-founding member of the namesake and with co-writing credits for several old Puddle songs that carried over into the 2001 reincarnation of Puddle of Mudd’s major label debut album release, Come Clean.
While a familiar Puddle lyric may ring, ‘some things never change,’ the Puddle reunion was short lived and the Mudd players did indeed change again, sadly with the departure of Jimmy Allen in early 2006.
Allen has tread the muddy road from that very first Puddle rehearsal space, the trials of keeping a local band on a path to success, to rejoining the band many years later. It’s a well-worn highway, one that has brought him recognition as a nationally known songwriter, he continues as lead singer/songwriter of his current band Cutout, and collaborates with many artists within the music industry. He has earned the respect of his peers on his own individual merit, and while many may believe his association with Puddle opened doors, Allen’s past and present successes encompass more than his tie to his former band, including accomplishments and awards that are the final product of his God given musical talents and his genuine gift with words.
He doesn’t appear road weary, he has that drive few musicians have, he’s always on the road to somewhere and for now it is at a crossroad that parts ways once again with Puddle. It’s rewind time, as we hitchhike along with Allen to find out what is next for the humble, singer/songwriter who is proud to call Chanute his hometown.
Near the intersection of US-169 and KS State Road K-39 lies Chanute, Kansas. By all appearances this could be Any Town, USA. Chartered in 1873 under its namesake Octave Chanute, it is a community that embraces Midwestern American living at its grass roots and its downtown district is reminiscent of the turn of the century with its architecture. Despite the city’s need to grow and keep pace with modern times over the last century, it hasn’t lost its quaintness and charm and still has that small town feel.
It is also where Jim and Rosie Allen call home, and on July 11, 1972 they welcomed their son James Christopher Allen into their household.
Given the nickname of Jimmy, he may have been the average teen while growing up and attending the local schools, but after a trip to Kansas City’s Kempner Arena 1987 to attend Motley Crue’s ‘Girls, Girls, Girls Tour’ concert, his musical gears were set in motion. From the age of 15, when Jimmy wasn’t in school, he was playing guitar and working on his songwriting.
By the time Jimmy turned 19, he was ready to try his luck in the outside world beyond Neosho County and in 1991 he made the move to ‘The City of Fountains’ - Kansas City, Missouri. Little did he know at the time, his decision to trek 110 miles to the Northeast would give him the distinction many years later of becoming one of Chanute’s most successful hometown natives.
While in Kansas City, his time was spent jamming with various cover bands and doing the local bar circuit. It’s a great way to get experience and exposure, but in essence the bands were weak, and in the end didn’t amount to a long-term placement. By then he had become an established guitar player and also did his share of work as a vocalist behind the mic, screaming out whatever came to mind as they played. It is one thing to practice with your bandmates in a garage or amongst friends, but that first paying gig in front of an audience is usually one that is remembered as is also the case with Jimmy who described that first gig as, “scary, nice, and fuzzy.”
One of Jimmy’s first bands though not longstanding, Gypsy Blue did have a bit of a local following and were even lucky enough to land opening shots for Quiet Riot and also The Grunge. For the most part it was “cool stuff,” according to Jimmy.
PUDDLE OF MUDD
By 1993, Jimmy had become part of the band scene in the warehouse district on Woodswether Road down by the Missouri River. The area was a local hang out for bands and musicians and a few of the warehouses were used as practice halls. Approximately five bands shared the same rehearsal space; and in one of those spaces upstairs happened to be occupied by Jimmy and Kenny Burkitt (drums). Bass player Sean Sammons and a few of his friends had a space downstairs. By chance Sean had heard Jimmy on guitar and thought he was the best he had heard and he wanted to play with Jimmy and Kenny. One evening Sean extended an invitation to Jimmy to come downstairs and jam with his band but Jimmy declined the offer for that evening but soon thereafter they set up a few jam sessions and rocked.
A few days after their jam session, Sean and his band who were in the process of looking for a new lead guitar player, had scheduled auditions and had someone coming over about 7PM. Jimmy and Kenny were also going to practice for their band that same night, but just a bit later at 8 PM.
The new lead guitar player auditioning for Sean’s band was Wes Scantlin. Wes brought his guitar and amp and did the tryout for Sean’s band. After two songs the band felt it just wasn’t working with Wes, he couldn’t do the leads. The band said ‘sorry.’ Kenny caught Wes on his way out and brought him upstairs. Jimmy and Kenny thought he was more of a ‘rock star singer’ type and ‘not a guitar dude’ to which Wes agreed. After finishing his band’s business for the night, Sean later joined Jimmy, Kenny, and Wes that evening for rehearsal and they were soon jamming. That night in the practice hall the cover song Would by Alice In Chains would be the first tune they would play together… and Mudd was born.
The moniker Puddle of Mudd is taken from the savage rains that had befallen Kansas City at the time, the Missouri River had overflowed its banks and soon the riverfront and their rehearsal space was full of mud and muck. They would wade in to rehearse and the name seemed fitting to this newly formed rock band.
began playing area clubs and bars and soon Puddle of Mudd earned a name for
themselves. Nightlife hotspots
Niener’s, America’s Pub, The Beaumont Club, Davey’s Uptown Rambler’s
Club, The Filling Station, and The Hurricane introduced the locals to this hip
new quartet who brandished their instruments as their battle armor.
They were heavy into self-promotion, creating the necessary homemade
flyers that could be posted at venues and around the city to advertise upcoming
Kansas City public access television station provided Puddle with a forum for
jumpstarting their image on a larger scale by appearing on the program Burning
Down The House in the mid-nineties.
time, they soon had enough material to record their first EP with seven original
tracks and pegged it the name Stuck. Puddle
was administrated under the entity of Mudd Dog Records and released their debut
CD in 1994. It was recorded in June
at Ed Rose’s Red House Studio in nearby Lawrence, Kansas.
Ed Rose and the members of Puddle of Mudd co-produced the album with the
following tracks: You Don’t Know, Used, Drift & Die, Harassed, Poke Out My
Eyes, Prisoner, and Suicide. John
Matousek, based in Hollywood, California of Master Work’s mastered the tracks.
Stuck was available at local record stores, they had officially arrived.
along with Wes, Sean, and Kenny had regional success with their debut CD.
You Don’t Know and other cuts from the album were being played on 98.9
KQRC The ROCK radio station in Kansas City.
Puddle was everywhere locally, and even played in 1994’s KQRC’s
Rockfest at Sandstone and another local event, Freaker’s Ball with Mortal
Reign and Strutter.
Local success proved to not be enough to hold Puddle together in its current configuration. Band members had quit and come back time and time again. Jimmy took the opportunity during one of these upheavals to start a side band. This decision didn’t sit well with Wes who had also had his times where he had quit then changed his mind. At this point it wasn’t worth the turmoil to Jimmy who gave up trying to please everyone and officially left the band in 1996, he was ready to move on.
His next project was a band called Cooker, which remained active from 1996-1997. Partnered with Troy McCoy on bass (who earlier also had a brief stint with Puddle) and Steve Nichols on drums, their first CD release Setting The Head On Fire contained nine tracks, Settle The Score, Robot, Choke UP, Bad Unit, Subconscious, Loop, Roach, Brown Girl, and Sugarmilk. Not only was Jimmy in the band as singer and songwriter, he also stepped behind the studio console and co-produced the album.
Despite several years passing since the release of Cooker’s first CD, GarageBand.com, an online listener voted ranking service that gives exposure to emerging bands, still ranks Cooker as one of their top bands on their website. The song Choke Up was featured as their track of the day on January 22, 2007 and is currently at #97 on their Alternative Rock Chart. This was a band that received great reviews from those who have seen them perform live, and even without active touring or releasing a new disc, they still remain popular with their fans.
Having dealt with the music industry, Jimmy’s next project fell more under his control, the band Cutout, which takes its name from the phrase, ‘cut out the middle man.’
Previous members of Cutout have included Jimmy on vocals/guitars, bassist Troy McCoy, guitarist Brian Hannah (formerly of Professional Murder Music), and drummer Phillip Bailey (formerly of Systematic). The band had recorded a four track demo and had spent the last few years knocking on industry doors to secure that all elusive record deal. They performed gigs on L.A.’s bar circuit, The Viper Room, The Whisky, The Roxy, and others.
In 2005, guitar player Paul Phillips departed the band. Jimmy Allen came in to fill the vacancy and during this stint with Puddle he performed at some solo acoustic shows with Wes, a short stretch of summer tour dates, as well as performing New Years Eve in Times Square on the rooftop of the Renaissance Hotel. The event was featured on ESPN2. Songwriting had been underway for the new album with Jimmy in the co-writing chair, but just a few months later and before the album came to fruition, Jimmy had departed the band.
Jimmy Allen has done his share of band rotations since first picking up a guitar at the age of 15, paying his dues in cover bands, new bands, rejoining an old band, and even breathing a second life into one of his own recreations.
Though Cutout was temporarily put on the back burner while he rejoined Wes and Puddle of Mudd in 2005, in early 2007 Cutout appeared to be off to a fresh start under Jimmy’s guidance having set auditions for a lead singer and a new guitarist. Jimmy is not one to sit around idly on his duff just waiting for things to happen, he’s getting ready for big things for the band this upcoming year, “I’m working with new guys for the band right now, new singer, new everything.”
Jimmy has since banded with former Puddle drummer, Moke Bistany, and lead singer Mizzy on a new project, Against All Will, pushing forward with new band members, new music and a positive outlook towards 2007.