- - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Melvins are back with a new album. What, you’ve never heard of the legendary noise/grunge/sludge/experimental rock band that has released dozens of albums in their three-decade-plus career? Well, the group, led by Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover, still continues to make new music and tour.

While The Melvins may not be a household name, Mr. Osborne actually had a hand in creating one of the seminal groups of the 1990s when he introduced high school pal and onetime bandmate Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic to a drummer by the name of Dave Grohl. Thus, Nirvana was born.

Now that you know that little bit of history, you can actually see The Melvins perform Sunday at the Ottobar in Baltimore and Tuesday at The Broadberry in Richmond, Virginia. Until then, enjoy this exclusive chat with bandleader “King Buzzo” about dealing with jerks, touring then versus touring now and The Melvins’ new double album, “A Walk With Love and Death.”

Question: The new album comes out today. Do release dates still mean anything to you?

Answer: It never really meant much. We’ve been living with the record since last fall. By the time the records come out, you’re pretty much done with them.

Q: And on to the next one?

A: Yeah. The next one is almost done. It just has to be mixed.

Q: Is there ever a minute where you’re not making music?

A: We work pretty fast. We’re not big believers in letting things overcook. You could sit there and work on something for six months or work on something for six minutes, and nobody knows the difference. Chances are they’ll like the six-minute one better. Usually.

Q: How many records have The Melvins put out?

A: Just full albums? That’s 25 or 26. But if you count all the 7” singles, 12” and EPs? Probably close to 100. We have done 50 or 60 7” at least.

Q: Are you the most prolific band in the history of music?

A: No clue. There are probably bands that do as much as we do, maybe more. But maybe not as many bands do as many albums combined as live shows.

We work pretty hard. Actually, we only look like we work hard compared to most people. We’ve never stopped. Not really.

Q: With that vast of a catalog, how do you decide what to play live?

A: It’s never easy and comes down to whatever songs fit together best — in that order. Some songs don’t work well live, some do. We try to get a set that cohesively fits together for one reason or another. We figure that out in the practice place.

Q: You and drummer Dale Crover have been the only constant members of the band. What is the secret of you guys working together for decades? And what about bass players?

A: All the bass players we’ve played with are good. Not everybody can do it. There needs to be some reason we want him to play with us beyond, “Oh, he can play all the songs right.” I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in what they can contribute to it.

Dale and I don’t argue about anything. We pretty much have the same ideas of what we should and shouldn’t do. We’ve lost members to drug problems and alcoholism. Mental illness issues in general. There is a lot of that in music.

We’ve done it a long time. I think the key is not stopping if you can make that work.

Q: How has touring changed for you?

A: For us it has gotten easier because we are doing it how we like it. We don’t want to do the traditional way of touring of being on a bus. I don’t really like busses. So we drive and stay in hotels.

I can’t sleep on a bus. It’s not for me. We tried that kind of thing and I just can’t make it work.

Q: There are some quiet moments on the new album. Are The Melvins mellowing with age?

A: We’ve done stuff like that on other records. We did an album called “Bootlicker” that was all quiet stuff in ‘99. Us doing quite stuff is nothing new. It’s always been there. Slow. Fast. Quiet. Loud. In no particular order.

Q: What can people expect when they come to see The Melvins live?

A: Expect nothing and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I pride myself on playing with guys who are good musicians. It make my job easier.

Q: How did Steven Shane McDonald from Redd Kross end up as the band’s current bass player?

A: We’ve never had tryouts for the band. I can’t even imagine that. Dale played with him in OFF and said, “He might be good.” We were already fans of all the bands he’s played with before. We want to pick out a guy we like.

Q: Is getting along as people the most important thing?

A: It’s a big part of it. Being in a rock band is not an easy thing to do. It’s not as hard as a straight job. I feel blessed.

Q: Is it fulfilling still be able to do this with all the changes in music.

A: If you run into a**holes, all you have to do is wait. Eventually they’ll be gone. You just wait em’ out.

The Melvins play Sunday at the Ottobar in Baltimore. Tickets are available by going to Ticketfly.com. They also play Tuesday at The Broadberry in Richmond, Virginia.


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