Mudvayne's "Dig" is simply outlandish. The song crackles and pops like the Red Hot Chili Peppers being spit-roasted over the open flames of Slipknot's "Psychosocial" video. It's funk from hell. Nu-metal meets "math metal," the band's own somewhat tongue-in-cheek descriptor of their sound. And the "Dig" music video? It's a Technicolor nightmare starring what appear to be four Dr. Seuss characters gone very wrong, as if the toxic apocalypse of The Lorax spawned a quartet of demonic punked-out mutations: Kud, Gurrg, Ryknow and sPaG. For better or worse, both the L.D. 50 lead single and its iconic visual are forever embedded in the subconscious of all who have partaken in them. Mudvayne may never get back together, but at least we will always have "Dig." Here are five things you might not have known about the song and video.
1. "Dig" is about the dark side of the music industry
Mudvayne had already been around for four years and self-released an EP, 1997's Kill, I Oughta (which was later re-released as 2001's The Beginning of All Things to End) before they signed with Epic and offered up their proper debut, L.D. 50. By that point, they were all too familiar with how much of a dirty business the music industry can be, and "Dig" was the sound of them lashing out. "It was that introduction to the music world," singer Chad "Kud" Gray told Songfacts of the song in 2015, "seeing the business and being so green you didn't understand it. You had to learn the hard way. You're starting to get a very clear idea of what the business is, how corrupt it is. People putting their two cents worth into your art that have nothing to do with art on any level; they're completely business, but they think they know the best thing for you. It's, 'I would love to beat the face of any motherfucker that's thinkin' they can change me.' That's the opening line."
2. Mudvayne were under extreme pressure while recording "Dig" and L.D. 50, and the studio sessions were all work and no play
Holed up in Vancouver's The Warehouse Studio with producer Garth "GGGarth" Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, L7), Mudvayne worked their asses off while making L.D. 50. "It was the most horribly beautiful experience I've ever had," recalled drummer Matt "sPaG" McDonough. "It was very, very straining, very psychologically straining, but it was also awesome to realize your vision on that level, to have that kind of equipment available to you, and the expertise from a producer like Garth. We worked around the clock, and some of the engineers we had with us literally went for days without sleep. It was very, very time-intensive. We didn't party. We were recording in Vancouver but didn't get to see the town — we were just there and we worked and that was it. It was very intense, and Garth ran a tight ship." Gray agreed: "Making the record was crazy. It was all about work."
3. The "Dig" video was directed by the same guy who directed the videos for Slipknot's "Wait and Bleed" and Sepultura's "Roots Bloody Roots," and was shot over two very long days
Mudvayne worked with director Thomas Mignone — who has also helmed music videos and concert films for Ozzy, Slipknot, System of a Down, Sepultura, Type O Negative and many more — on the "Dig" video, shooting it in L.A. across two 11-hour-plus days. Much of the time was spent getting the dudes into their elaborate makeup, and each band member shot multiple takes, to the point that McDonough's left hand was bruised and swollen by the morning of the second day from banging against his high hats so much while filming his drum parts. The band gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video in the "Dig a Little Deeper" featurette below, taken from the 2001 "Dig" DVD single.
4. Frontline Assembly's Rhys Fylber created two "Dig" remixes, one of which charted in Canada
In addition to containing Mudvayne's 1997 EP, The Beginning of All Things to End also featured two exclusive remixes of "Dig" by Frontline Assembly's Rhys Fulber, who has also remixed Fear Factory, Machine Head, Megadeth and a slew of other metal bands. One of his dancey, industrialized new versions, "Dig (Future Evolution Remix)," even charted in Canada, hitting No. 23 on the singles chart. As for the other, the "Dig (Everything and Nothing Remix)" would appear on the 2002 Resident Evil movie soundtrack alongside remixes of Slipknot, Marilyn Manson and more.
5. The "Dig" video beat out clips by the Gorillaz, Alicia Keys, Jurassic 5, Craig David and India.Arie at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards
Airing live from NYC's Metropolitan Opera House on September 6th, the 2001 MTV VMAs saw the very of-the-era lineup of Gwen Stefani, Moby and Eve take the stage to present the first-ever, fan-voted MTV2 award (remember MTV2?). Mudvayne took home the Moon Man, beating out Gorillaz, Alicia Keys, Jurassic 5, Craig David and India.Arie, and accepted the trophy in snazzy white suits with bloody bullet holes in their foreheads. "It's all about that right there: the fans," Gray said in his acceptance speech, expressing a sentiment that McDonough reiterated: "This is for the fans. It's not ours." See the award presentation below, an almost otherworldly flashback to the halcyon days when makeup-slathered metal maniacs regularly shared the mainstream spotlight with rappers and pop stars.