milestones and straight up business
by More Betty
With a 30-year career of prolific output and touring, the Melvins are overwhelming to say the least. In a modern sense, the 30th anniversary in America is marked by a diamond, known as one of the hardest substances on Earth. If this sonic yield is a metaphor for their musical affluence, then this track record of ground-breakers and heavy-hitting collaborations is akin to one of the two circumstances necessary for the formation of these diamonds. That is, under intense heat and pressure deep in the Earth's crust; appropriate surroundings for these sludge rockers.
“We usually do between 80 and 120 shows per year, touring is part of the deal. That is how we make a living,” says Buzz Osborne, founding guitarist, adding, “it’s been like that for a little over 20 years.” The other condition for this mineral formation is from the intense impact of a meteorite. Brace yourselves appropriately, for the visceral properties of their live show does just that. “We really have no contemporaries, nobody is doing what we're doing,” he says.
This round they are touring as a four-piece with Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, Coady Willis and a different bass player because their normal bass player is on maternity leave. Jeff Pinkus from Butthole Surfers will be joining them. Also, the tour support is Honky, featuring Crover, from the Melvins. Buzz calls it an “inbred tour.” With an extensive history, this is their business. “We did it till we could make ends meet on the road,” explains Osborne with astute authority. “My advice to young musicians is to not lose money,” he says. “If you are going to do something that loses you money, then you are going to quit and that’s the end of it.” The same goes for making records.
Their latest album, Everybody Loves Sausages just came out this spring 2013. It features 13 tracks and recordings with guests such as Mark Arm, Jello Biafra, Scott Kelly and Clem Burke. This album includes songs by Queen, Roxy Music, Fugs, David Bowie and Venom. “A tribute to the bands that people might not have realized that we were influenced by,” says Osborne. “Then we have tribute 7-inches coming out for Everybody Loves Sausages, a little 7-inch with an extra song on it.”
These collaborative tentacles have also reached out to legendary U.K. grinders Napalm Death and this split release is expected out any time now. The “Napalm” side being a cover of a Cardiacs song, which Buzz assures us “turned out really well.” This project and series of collaborations came from their live record a few years ago, called Sugar Daddy. “We took each song of that record and made a split with another band that we liked, it didn’t matter if the band existed or not,” he explains. First two were with the U-Men and the Cows. Since those bands have broken up years ago, they will be releasing previously recorded material. They also worked with bands like Mudhoney, Butthole Surfers, Fucked Up, Off and more collaborations to be announced. “I like projects,” say Buzz.
A new album coming out in the fall called Tres Cabrones. “Which is me and Dale our original drummer, the Melvins 1983,” he says.
They do not stop. “You have to evolve or die like the dinosaurs,” he states firmly. “I hate stuff when they say things like the ‘good old days.’ I don’t believe in that. Why look backwards when you can look forwards. I am not into what happened yesterday. I am about what is going to happen.”
And look forward to the sonic impact of the Melvins at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver August 19th.