Touch Me, I'm Sick

Album: Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles (1988)
  • "Touch Me, I'm Sick" can certainly be considered one of Grunge's first true classic anthems. Released as a single via Sub Pop on August 1, 1988, the song has had a long shelf life for both the band and label. The first release was in several different colored vinyl configurations, but only about 1,000 copies were printed. It was the first singles ever released by the label and one of its most successful - until Nirvana came along, Mudhoney was the biggest seller on Sub Pop. The limited release was a marketing ploy that built demand for the song and encouraged musicvores to join the Sub Pop "singles club," which gave them access to these limited releases.

    Mudhoney never hit the big time like Nirvana, but they did enjoy a long and fruitful career, mostly on Sub Pop. They left for Reprise Records in 1992, but returned to Sub Pop for their 2002 release, Since We've Become Translucent.
  • Musically, Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm told us that it bears a resemblance to a few earlier tunes by other artists. "The main riff of that song could be traced back to the Yardbirds' 'Happenings Ten Years Time Ago' - that riff also got appropriated by The Stooges in 'I'm Sick of You.' There was a local band called the Nights and Days, and I remember Steve [Turner] was saying that that main riff was kind of like this song that they had. I mean, the roots of that go back a ways."
  • The lyrics to this song have been deconstructed Dylan-style over the years, and if you really want to, you'll hear themes of nihilism and maybe even commentary on the AIDS crisis. Mark Arm, who wrote the words, told us a different story. "As far as the lyrics go, the line, 'Touch me, I'm sick' really struck me as being a funny thing to say, and we built verses around that," he said.
  • Mudhoney contributed the song "Overblown" to the 1992 movie Singles, which was set in Seattle and featured a fictional band (made up of real members of Pearl Jam) called Citizen Dick. In the film, this band performs a song called "Touch Me, I'm Dick," which is also the name of their album - a clear reference to this Mudhoney song.

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