If you’re looking for a new wave of 90’s punk rock, look no further: Cruel Mule’s debut self-title album will bring you that. Cruel Mule is a one-man band created by Daniel Taddeo, whose passion for rock grew when he found a live music sanctuary in New Orleans. The entire album took Taddeo four years to put together.
“It was a bitch and a half” he laughed. “But, it was pretty fun. I started writing the riffs really early on, and the lyrics came after.” What’s even more impressive about Cruel Mule is that all of the drums, bass, guitar, and vocals were done by Taddeo himself. Taddeo’s interest in music began with taking piano lessons as a kid, but his passion didn’t truly emerge until he was taught how to play the drums. To Taddeo, the drums were more engaging, and he soon found his services in high demand, so he began playing with groups at a young age. Once he mastered the drums, Taddeo aspired to branch out his musical abilities.
“I realized I couldn’t communicate with anyone outside of the rhythm section,” Taddeo explained. “So I picked up the bass so I could learn notes. The bass is just a simpler version of guitar, you know, so then I picked that up as well.”
He went on to explain how his experience as a drummer expanded his music career even further, encouraging him to record music. “If you’re a good drummer, you get every gig in town. And so as the drummer, there’s a lot of people that look at you and are like ‘he’s the dumb one’. Everybody thinks you’re just there to hold the beat and do nothing else,” Taddeo said. “Part of that actually forced me to go and record the shit that everyone was telling me wasn’t worth any time or any effort. And then, you finally record the ideas that you have in your head, and they’re like ‘oh! I’m sorry we didn’t listen to you!’ or ‘Oh let’s play that!’”
For Taddeo, Cruel Mule has provided him with the chance to show off his abilities along with controlling every aspect of his music on his own. To him, pursuing a career as a solo artist is “real tough, but very exciting.” When he plays live, he wants a band accompanying him, but it’s hard to find people that are willing to learn and play songs that aren’t their own. “Everyone wants to do their own thing,” Taddeo explained. “You know, in the age of instant gratification people’s attention spans are very minimal.”
Taddeo went on to talk about a few songs on his eight-track album. Cruel Mule as a whole is upbeat and energetic, with a slower, more relaxing break during Relaxing Interlude (Try & Fly). He considers all the songs to be pretty motivational. “Space Brain is a song about, you know, the kid that everybody thinks is a dumbass, so basically me.” Taddeo laughed as he discussed the first track on Cruel Mule. “But you’re actually pretty smart, and people underestimate you a lot, but you don’t care ‘cause as long as you know it, you know, fool the fools.”
Taddeo explained the second track, Living Easy, as “I was kind of going through a little bit of a rut, and I was like man it would be fucking awesome if I had wings and could just go anywhere in the fucking world.”
Cruel Mule’s style is notably influenced by earlier bands such as Jane’s Addiction, Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana, and coincidentally, Taddeo was born the same day that Kurt Cobain died. Cobain’s death had a far-reaching impact on the music community during the 90’s that still carries into today. Being born when the impact of Cobain’s death was still at its height, Taddeo had been influenced by Nirvana at an early age, shaping the music he plays and creates today.
To aspiring musicians, Taddeo advised, “never give up. You keep playing till ya fucking die. You play ‘til it hurts, and then you play two more songs. Stay in the game. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about staying in the game for as long as possible.”
You can listen to Cruel Mule on Spotify or Soundcloud:
PHOTOS: Cruel Mule on Facebook