THE DARKNESS singer Justin Hawkins has weighed in on PUDDLE OF MUDD‘s cover version of a NIRVANA classic which went viral two years ago.
The 47-year-old British-born rocker who currently lives in Switzerland offered his assessment of PUDDLE OF MUDD frontman Wes Scantlin‘s 2020 rendition of “About A Girl” via his YouTube series “Justin Hawkins Rides Again” where he shares a mixture of serious musician analysis and fun hot takes to his 112,000 subscribers.
PUDDLE OF MUDD‘s acoustic performance of the track at the SiriusXM studios was uploaded to YouTube in January 2020 but didn’t blow up on the video-sharing platform until three months later, with detractors blasting Scantlin‘s off-key take on the iconic song.
Earlier today (Sunday, April 24),Hawkins took to his YouTube channel to share a nine-minute reaction to PUDDLE OF MUDD‘s version, explaining in the accompanying notes: “Today I’m reacting to a video that has received a lot of ridicule. It’s the PUDDLE OF MUDD cover of NIRVANA‘s ‘About A Girl’. However, I’d like to react to it from a more sympathetic point of view and tell you why maybe it’s not that funny at all. What do you think? Is it wrong to laugh at this or is it just funny?”
In Justin‘s video reaction, which can be seen below, he says in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I don’t know enough about this band, I don’t know what’s going on with him, but it looks like when he’s gearing up to sing even the first line, it kind of looks like he’s in a bit of pain. When it gets inside your head like that, you’ve got no chance.
“You can really see the singer from PUDDLE OF MUDD, his face is like this [adopting a pained expression], and that’s before he’s even sung a note,” Hawkins continued. “So his head’s in the wrong place, as it were. He’s already sort of playing out how these challenging high notes are gonna be, how they’re gonna feel. And I imagine his voice is tightening up. When you get that sort of tension that manifests itself [in the throat] when the problem is actually in [your head].”
After listening to more of Scantlin‘s attempt at some of the high notes, Hawkins added: “I think he’s ill. Maybe he’s tired. Maybe it’s one of those ones where he’s in the middle of a tour and he’s really, really overtired. Maybe he’s damaged his vocal cords a little bit and he can feel he’s not in the right place… And you can see in his face that this is excruciating for him. He’s getting nothing from his bandmates. He shouldn’t be doing this, basically — he really shouldn’t. I find it really difficult not to sympathize with him… I can’t even listen to it. He shouldn’t be doing it. Poor guy. Give the man a day off — or 365. Give him a year off. That’s it. Have a year off.”
Hawkins then listened to some more of PUDDLE OF MUDD‘s performance, with Wes straining to hit the notes originally sung by Kurt Cobain.
“When I listen to it, I can almost hear stuff shredding,” Justin said. “It actually hurts me to hear him do it — not just because it’s bad, and obviously it’s bad. But the poor guy.
“I’ll tell you what it’s like. For those of us who have testicles, you know when you see somebody getting booted or somebody runs up to somebody else and boots him in the testicles, you can feel it. When I watch this, there’s something that gets to me. I just wanna hold him. Not like that — not from behind or anything, but I wanna let him know that I feel for him.”
Hawkins went on to speculate that Scantlin was suffering from a medical condition in his throat at the time of the SiriusXM taping. “This must be prior to a surgical procedure on his voice or something like that,” he said. “I’m not saying it to be cruel. I’ve been in exactly the same position myself. He just shouldn’t be working. Ugh, this is horrible.”
As for how he would have handled the situation differently, Justin said: “I think if I was [Wes‘s] guitarist, I think I would put my guitar down, I would walk over to the cameraman, I would invite him to switch the camera off. I would take the microphone away from [Wes] and I would say into it something like this: ‘Dear listeners and viewers of SiriusXM, our singer is valiantly defying the odds and he has a medical condition, which you can probably hear. He really ought to have a note from his doctor to not be present here. I’m calling a halt to this because he needs rest, he needs medical attention, and we all need to pray for him and sympathize with him. And we’ll be back just as soon as his voice is mended, however long that takes.'”
Back in April 2020, Scantlin fired back at critics of his “About A Girl” performance, writing in a social media post: “Rise above others who try and take you down… I’m at my BEST NOW… and that’s all that matters. I pray for all of you because we care. Jealousy is toxic, and toxic people are a waste of time. We walk away with nothing but a SMILE”.
As of this writing, PUDDLE OF MUDD‘s version of “About A Girl” has surpassed 1.7 million views on YouTube with just around 4,600 likes.