The U-Men

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The U-Men
Background information
OriginSeattle, Washington, United States
Years active1980 (1980)–1989 (1989)
MembersJohn Bigley
Tom Price
Jim Tillman
Charlie Ryan
Past membersTom Hazelmyer
Robin Buchan
Tony Ransom

The U-Men was an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1980 and active until 1989. They toured extensively across the United States. Their musically "dirty" sound and off-the-wall sense of humor were a forerunner for the later grunge bands to come out of Seattle.[2]


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

The U-Men were fronted by vocalist John Bigley[3] and included Tom Price,[3] Charlie "Chaz" Ryan,[3] Robin Buchan,[3] Jim Tillman,[4] Tom Hazelmyer[5] and later Tony "Tone Deaf" Ransom.[5] 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.[6]

Butthole Surfers named the song "The O-Men", from the album Locust Abortion Technician, in their honor.[7]

Tom Price moved on to form Gas Huffer,[4] 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.[4] Mark Arm from Mudhoney noted on Sub Pop's anthology release announcement that the band was never the same after Tillman's departure.[8]

Tom Hazelmyer briefly played with the band[5] 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.[citation needed]

Band members[edit]

  • John Bigley – vocals
  • Tom Price – guitar
  • Robin Buchan – bass (1980–1982)
  • Jim Tillman – bass (1982–1986)
  • Charlie Ryan – drums
  • Additional bassists include:
  • Tom Hazelmyer – bass (1987)[5]
  • Tony Ransom – bass (July 1987 – 1989)[5]


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


Singles and EPs[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Solid Action (Chuckie-Boy Records, 1999)
  • U-Men (Self-titled anthology, Sub Pop, 2017)[8]

Compilation and soundtrack contributions[edit]

  • "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" on the Hype! soundtrack (Sub Pop Records, 1996)


  1. ^ "1987: U-Men - "Dig It a Hole"". Tiny Mix Tapes.
  2. ^ Gray, Julia (October 26, 2017). "Hear Grunge Forebears The U-Men's Previously Unreleased "Trouble Under Water"". Stereogum. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Segal, Dave (October 26, 2017). "Sub Pop Is Releasing the Entire U-Men Catalog". The Stranger. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Ham, Robert (November 11, 2017). "U-Men". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e Yarm, Mark (2011). Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge. Crown Archetype. pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0307464439.
  6. ^ "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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Howell, Stephen. "U-Men | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  8. ^ 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[edit]

External links[edit]