The Melvins close in on 3O years together, and about as many albums
:: The Melvins ::
By Joe Kovack
The Melvins have permeated the musical collective subconscious for nearly 30 years, bringing with them a controlled chaos that’s always fresh.
The concoction that’s kept them so volatile year after year, centers greatly around Buzz Osborne, or “King Buzzo” as he’s affectionately called, the eccentric lead singer/guitarist who’s the creative catalyst of the group.
Dale Crover is Osborne’s right-hand man and partner in crime, drummer extraordinaire and the only other original member who has stood the test of time and weathered 26-plus years with Buzz. And then there are the boys of Big Business — a like-minded sludge metal band who recently began to lend their talents to support the Melvins with another drummer and bassist.
It may not sound like much, but as any fan of the Melvins will tell you, it isn’t their flash that has sustained them through all these years. It’s their uncompromising approach to rock music and creative extremes that make them one of the longest running cult bands in existence.
Hailing from outside of Seattle — the grunge capital of the world — the Melvins started originally as a punk rock band in the early ’80s, eventually influencing bands such as Nirvana and Mudhoney, to name just a couple. But if they influenced such pivotal grunge/alternative bands in the ’90s, how is it that they are not world famous, with throngs of fans throwing themselves at their feet?
“We’re thousandaires, that’s what we are. Money rolls in by the hundreds every year.” laughed Osborne in a recent interview with The Marquee. It’s that kind of statement that shows the character of the band — they could give a shit about the money, just as long as they’re able to sustain and create almost indefinitely.
It may also be the extremes of King Buzzo’s creativity that has kept the band from the limelight and out of the crosshairs of MTV and whatever pop music radio station that happens to be shoveling out mindless drivel by the minute. His creative sound is, first and foremost, heavy rock mixed with a grunge-like sound no one ever heard in the ’90s. Many label the band sludge metal, or stoner rock, but as you may hear those characteristics in their albums, so you may hear a melodic pop styling or even what could be considered a bedtime lullaby, as long as you don’t mind the lyrics. This is how Buzz creates, which he admitted is a nonstop affair. “I’m constantly writing songs, I have a lot of stuff, a lot of material I haven’t even sifted through yet. I mean it’s what I do. So I work on it as hard as anyone in a normal career would work on what they’re doing,” he said.
With nearly as many records as years they have been playing, the Melvins are a creative entity that can’t be contained. In an age where your favorite band may put out a record every two to three years, the Melvins have consistently released an album a year, sometimes two, since their inception. And though their primary sound stays consistent, the ability to add new and experimental material every time is a testament to their love of creating music.
With their new album The Bride Screamed Murder, the band brings 45 minutes of straight rock and roll, leaving behind the tomfooleries and noise that often times defines a true Melvins album. “Oh I don’t know, I mean, you throw it all in a mix-master and you see what comes out,” said Osborne. “I like to think that I make records that are well rounded and fun and an enjoyable 45-minute listen. It takes you places. That’s always been the goal. Now, if you don’t make it interesting in the first 10 minutes, the places that it will take you is your CD player and your CD will be taken out. So you have to hook them in and drag them along.” Osborne said.
The Melvins don’t spend too much time looking into the past, only focusing on the present and what may lie in the future for a band that has seen the music industry change before their eyes. “I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the past, believe it or not. We’re contemporary; we’re not an oldies act, because new music has always been the focus for us. So I don’t look at it as a rich tapestry of music, even though that’s what it is, I usually spend more time thinking about what I’m gonna do next,” said Osborne.
What’s next is this tour where fans will see the godfathers of grunge in all their glory. “Expect nothing and you will be pleasantly surprised. Come with no expectations and a clear mind and you’ll have a great time,” said Osborne.
:: The Melvins ::
:: Ogden Theatre :: June 29 ::
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• Big Business
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