The U-Men

The U-Men was an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1981 and active until 1989. They toured extensively across the United States. Their musically "dirty" sound was a forerunner for the later grunge bands to come out of Seattle.

The U-Men
U-Men at the Bat Cave Seattle
The U-Men performing live in Seattle.
Background information
OriginSeattle, Washington, United States
Years active1981–1989
MembersJohn Bigley
Tom Price
Jim Tillman
Charlie Ryan
Past membersTom Hazelmyer
Robin Buchan
Tony Ransom


Charlie Ryan Drummer U-Men
Drummer Charlie Ryan performing with The U-Men in a Seattle club

The U-Men were fronted by vocalist John Bigley and included Tom Price, Charlie "Chaz" Ryan, Robin Buchan, Jim Tillman, Tom Hazelmyer and later Tony "Tone Deaf" Ransom. Their alternative rock sound was credited by Allmusic for helping to inspire the Seattle grunge sound.

In 1983, The U-Men became the first band managed by renowned Seattle band manager Susan Silver.[1]

Butthole Surfers named the song "The O-Men", from the album Locust Abortion Technician, in their honor.[2]

Tom Price moved on to form Gas Huffer, and also play in The Monkeywrench. Bigley and Ryan co-founded The Crows. Jim Tillman, who is recognized as the main line-up bass player having played on the first two full releases which included the self-titled EP, "The U-Men" (1984), "Stop Spinning" (1985), and the Deep Six compilation (1986) track "They", went on to play bass for other local bands, most notably Love Battery. Mark Arm from Mudhoney noted on Sub Pop's anthology release announcement that the band was never the same after Tillman's departure.[3]

Tom Hazelmyer briefly played with the band but left to remain in his hometown of Minneapolis (performing live just once with the band when they opened for Big Black at the Showbox Theater in March 1987) to promote his record company (Amphetamine Reptile Records) and band, Halo of Flies.

Band members

  • John Bigley – vocals
  • Tom Price – guitar
  • Robin Buchan – bass (1981–1982)
  • Jim Tillman – bass (1982–1986)
  • Charlie Ryan – drums
  • Additional bassists include:
  • Tom Hazelmyer – bass (1987)
  • Tony Ransom – bass (July 1987 – 1989)


The U-Men performing at the Metropolis in Seattle in 1983. From L/R, vocalist John Bigley, bassist Jim Tillman, and guitarist Tom Price.

John Bigley vocalist U-Men
Jim Tillman Bassist U-Men 1983 Metropolis
Tom Price U-Men 1983 Metropolis


Singles and EPs

Compilation albums

  • Solid Action (Chuckie-Boy Records, 1999)
  • U-Men (Self-titled anthology, Sub Pop, 2017)[3]

Compilation and soundtrack contributions

  • "Blue Christmas" on the Christmas '84 compilation
  • "They" on the Deep Six compilation (C/Z Records, 1986)
  • "Shoot 'Em Down (live)" on the Woodshock '85 compilation (El Jefe Records, 1986)
  • "Gila" on the Sub Pop 100 compilation (Sub Pop Records, 1986)
  • "Bad Little Woman" on the Dope-Guns-'N-Fucking In The Streets, Vol. 1 compilation (Amphetamine Reptile, 1988)
  • "Bad Little Woman" on the Dope-Guns-'N-Fucking In The Streets, Vols. 1-3 compilation (Amphetamine Reptile, 1989)
  • "Dig It a Hole" and "Solid Action" on the Hype! soundtrack (Sub Pop Records, 1996)


  1. ^ "Susan Silver steers careers toward rock stardom". Chicago Sun-Times. April 27, 1997. Archived from the original on November 25, 2004. Retrieved December 30, 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Howell, Stephen. "U-Men | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  3. ^ a b Records, Sub Pop. "Sub Pop Will Release The Comprehensive Anthology From Legendary Seattle Band The U-Men on Nov. 3rd. Now hear "Dig It a Hole"". Retrieved 9 December 2017.

Further reading

External links

Amphetamine Reptile Records

Amphetamine Reptile Records (or AmRep Industries) is a record label which was founded in 1986 by US Marine Tom Hazelmyer in Washington state. The label specializes in noise rock and also released Strap It On, the debut album by alternative metal band Helmet which sold more than 40,000 records. According to Hazelmyer, the success of the album was vital to keeping AmRep going throughout the 1990s, as it "helped support the other things that sold less." The label was the subject of the 2014 documentary The Color of Noise.

Angel Salvadore

Angel Salvadore, also known by her codename Tempest, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Zoë Kravitz plays the character in the film X-Men: First Class.

C/Z Records

C/Z Records is a Seattle-based record label that was established in early 1985 by Chris Hanzsek and Tina Casale with the release of Deep Six which collected the earliest recordings what later came to be known as grunge. The label was acquired by Daniel House, to whom Hanzsek and Casale sold it after Deep Six proved commercially unsuccessful.

Cat Butt

Cat Butt was a Seattle, Washington rock group formed in 1987. The band did a short west coast tour, and then went on to record their first full-length album, "Journey to the Center Of." It was produced by Jack Endino of Skin Yard. To promote the album the band did a large U.S. tour, before disbanding in late 1990. Although not achieving the success of other Sub Pop bands, they maintained a loyal cult following in the Pacific Northwest.

Chris Hanzsek

Chris Hanzsek is an American musical engineer and record producer currently living in Snohomish, Washington. He was co-founder, with then partner Tina Casale, of C/Z Records and their recording studio, Reciprocal Recording, in 1984. Many of the bands he produced in the mid-1980s are regarded as the foundation of Seattle’s “grunge” scene, such as, The Melvins, Soundgarden, The U-Men, Malfunkshun, Skin Yard, and Green River who can all be heard on C/Z’s landmark compilation album, “Deep Six”.

Although he is best known for his work with grunge bands, he has also recorded and produced for acts in numerous other styles (Robyn Hitchcock, Jeff Greinke, Sun City Girls, Bill Frisell, The Fastbacks, etc.) and he has recently turned much of his business focus to include video post-production endeavors.

Deep Six (album)

Deep Six is a compilation album featuring six Seattle-based alternative rock bands and was released in 1986. It was the very first release by C/Z Records with a catalogue number of CZ01 for 2,000 copies. The album was reissued as a joint C/Z Records/A&M Records release on April 5, 1994.

The album was compiled by Seattle locals Chris Hanzsek and Tina Casale of CZ Records to showcase what was going on in the Seattle rock community at this time by drawing on the talents of six like-minded bands. The album was not a commercial success, however it is vital to the history of grunge. It represents the early recordings of a handful of bands that would later become legendary, and dictated what grunge was by establishing its concepts and nuances of sound.In the early 1980s, the Seattle branch of the indie movement was influenced by punk rock, however it removed its speed and its structure and added elements of metal. The Melvins slowed down punk rock to developed their own slow, heavy, sludgy sound. When they contributed four tracks to Deep Six they were regarded as one of Seattle's top bands. Soundgarden provided the most abrasive sound on the album after having formed only a year before. The U-Men contributed minimalist punk with "Sabbath" style metal. Skin Yard's guitarist, Jack Endino, would go on to record and produce many of the grunge bands, and helped to establish Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and Nirvana. He was able to bring a similar sonic quality to some of the tracks recorded by bands who had diverse sounds.Green River had released its debut EP Come On Down several months before Deep Six, therefore Come On Down is considered the first grunge record. This EP would later influence Pearl Jam and Mudhoney, two bands that would become internationally famous.


Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is a rock music genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle's independent record label Sub Pop and the region's underground music scene. By the early 1990s its popularity had spread, with grunge bands appearing in California, then emerging in other parts of the United States and in Australia, building strong followings and signing major record deals.

Grunge was commercially successful in the early to mid-1990s, due to releases such as Nirvana's Nevermind, Pearl Jam's Ten, Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger and Alice in Chains' Dirt . The success of these bands boosted the popularity of alternative rock and made grunge the most popular form of rock music at the time Although most grunge bands had disbanded or faded from view by the late 1990s, they influenced modern rock music, as their lyrics brought socially conscious issues into pop culture and added introspection and an exploration of what it means to be true to oneself. Grunge was also an influence on later genres such as post-grunge (such as Creed and Nickelback) and nu metal (such as Korn and Limp Bizkit).

Grunge fuses elements of punk rock and heavy metal, featuring the distorted electric guitar sound used in both genres, although some bands performed with more emphasis on one or the other. Like these genres, grunge typically uses electric guitar, bass guitar, a drummer and a singer. Grunge also incorporates influences from indie rock bands such as Sonic Youth. Lyrics are typically angst-filled and introspective, often addressing themes such as social alienation, self-doubt, abuse, neglect, betrayal, social and emotional isolation, psychological trauma and a desire for freedom.A number of factors contributed to grunge's decline in prominence. During the mid-to-late 1990s, many grunge bands broke up or became less visible. Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, labeled by Time as "the John Lennon of the swinging Northwest", appeared unusually tortured by success and struggled with an addiction to heroin before he died by suicide at the age of 27 in 1994.

Imperial (comics)

"Imperial" was the second story arc from Grant Morrison's run on the Marvel Comics title New X-Men, running from issues #118-126. It further explored the origin behind the character Cassandra Nova as well as giving more depth to the student body at the Xavier Institute, specifically the Stepford Cuckoos, Beak, and Angel Salvadore.


Malfunkshun is an alternative rock band formed on Easter Sunday in 1980 by Andrew Wood and his brother Kevin Wood and is often recognized as one of the "Founding Fathers of the grunge scene" or the "Godfathers of Grunge". They formed around the same time bands such as The U-Men (1981), Melvins (1983), Green River (1984) and Soundgarden (1984).

Mark Arm

Mark Arm (born Mark Thomas McLaughlin; February 21, 1962) is an American singer and songwriter, best known as the vocalist for the grunge band Mudhoney. His former group, Green River, is one of the first grunge bands, along with Malfunkshun, Soundgarden, Skin Yard, the U-Men, and others. He is also the manager of the Sub Pop warehouse and previously worked at Fantagraphics Books.

Marvel Anime

Marvel Anime is a series of four anime television series and two direct-to-video films produced in collaboration between Marvel Entertainment and Japanese animation studio Madhouse. The four twelve-episode series, based on Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men, and Blade, aired in Japan on Animax between October 2010 and September 2011. An English-language version aired in North America on G4 between July 2011 and April 2012. Each of the series, guided by writer Warren Ellis, largely features Japan as the setting for the storyline.

Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde)

Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He most often appears as an adversary of the X-Men. The original Mastermind was a mutant with the psionic ability to generate complex telepathic illusions at will that cause his victims to see whatever he wishes them to see. He was a founding member of the first Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and later a probationary member of the Lords Cardinal of the Hellfire Club, where he played an important role in "The Dark Phoenix Saga".

After Wyngarde's death from the Legacy Virus, his three daughters appeared, two of whom possessed his illusion-creating abilities (Martinique Jason uses his code name, while Regan Wyngarde calls herself Lady Mastermind) and third is the X-Man, Pixie.

In 2009, Mastermind was named IGN's 98th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.

Skin Yard

Skin Yard was an American grunge band from Seattle, Washington, who were active from 1985 to 1993. The group never gained a mainstream audience, but were an influence on several of their grunge contemporaries, including Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, and Green River.

Solid Action

Solid Action, is a compilation album released in 1999 by Seattle-based grunge band The U-Men. It was released by the label Chuckie-Boy. The name of the album is taken from track 10 on Step on a Bug.

Step on a Bug

Step on a Bug is the sole studio album by Seattle-based grunge pioneers The U-Men. It was released in 1988 on Black Label Records.

Stop Spinning

Stop Spinning is the second EP by the band The U-Men, released in 1985. It was produced and engineered by John Nelson at Crow Studio in Seattle.

Sublime (Marvel Comics)

Sublime, also known as John Sublime, is a fictional supervillain (a sentient bacterium), appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an enemy of the X-Men. Sublime first appeared as John Sublime in the New X-Men Annual 2001.

U-Men (album)

U-Men is the first EP by the band The U-Men released in 1984.The song "Gila" appears on a split with the Melvins for Sugar Daddy Live.

U-Men (comics)

The U-Men are a fictional group of villains, appearing in books published by Marvel Comics, usually as adversaries of the X-Men.

The U-Men
Studio albums
Compilation albums

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