Number 69: An Interview with Melvins
Metal, punk, rock, noise, or whatever genre you want to attempt to label them in, the Melvins have been a powerful influence in the music world for the past 30-plus years and they will continue to release the most skull-crushing combinations of sound until the band is no longer together. Melvins has released one record as Mike And The Melvins — with bassist Mike Kunka of godheadSilo — called Three Men and a Baby on April 1 and will release the latest Melvins album, Basses Loaded, on June 3. Following their recent show at Numbers, Free Press Houston was honored to grab a chat with guitarist and vocalist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover.
FPH: First off, congratulations on one of your new records with Mike and the Melvins, Three Men and a Baby, which came out April 1. What was the process of recording with Mike of godheadSilo?
Buzz Osborne: Oh, thanks. Well, it was a long seventeen year process. Actually, we worked on it seventeen years ago, and we worked on it again about a year ago.
FPH: You seem to work exclusively with the Electrical Guitar Company; they make awesome guitars. You have a new one for this tour? Is it the same wiring as the previous that you have used?
Osborne: Yeah, but I ordered it about a year and a half ago. I am using the new one tonight, actually. But I used the older one last night. The new one has different material: it has a wooden top and a pan back body of aluminum. You play guitar?
FPH: Yeah, I’ve been playing for a while.
Osborne: If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
FPH: Your other new record, Basses Loaded, has six bassists on it. Why six bassists?
Osborne: The other new record. It was kind of an accident; we did not know that it ended up being six bass players, so we had it done. It wasn’t something we really counted on.
FPH: The Melvins’ go through their bass players, it seems. What is the process like of selecting a new bassist to go on tour with?
Osborne: Oh, yeah. Well, we already knew that we liked the guys we played with, so we didn’t have tryouts or anything like that, and we were already fans of what they did.
FPH: On this tour, you are splitting the bill with Napalm Death, but you are not headlining any of the shows. How did this powerhouse of a lineup come to be, when you guys are two completely different lineups, and why not alternate headliners?
Osborne: We have been friends with [Napalm Death] for a long time, and it just happened to make sense. Especially with Melt Banana. Yeah, that is what we wanted to do. It is cool headlining, but we haven’t been the middle since 2009, so we were excited to do it.
FPH: I believe that this was the first time the Melvins’ have played Number’s since 1997. Do you come to think of those shows when you have not played a venue in a long time?
Osborne: Yeah, but I don’t remember them. I think we played with Helmet the last time we were here, and I remember us being late. How old are you?
FPH: I was born in 1998.
Osborne: Ok, so you weren’t at the show- you would’ve missed it [laughs].
Dale Crover enters.
Osborne: Ask Dale a question.
FPH: Dale, first off, congratulations on being number 69. Were you impressed with the rest of [Rolling Stone’s] list [of the 100 greatest drummers]?
Crover: Yeah, isn’t that great? I insisted on it: if you are going to rate me, then at least give me a cool number! I was impressed with some of them [laughs].
FPH: Yeah, it was an interesting list. For example: Meg White was number 94.
Osborne: Enough said.
Crover: I think the premise was drummers that have influenced people, and I’m sure that she has inspired people that play drums. Although, all the drummers that inspired me to play drums were not on the list. People like Peter Criss, Clive Burr and Les Binks. None of them were on the list, even though they are all really good drummers.
Osborne: Nuh-uh [laughs].
FPH: Who was listed as number one?
Osborne: John Bonham. Every heard of him? Apparently he’s English.
Crover: Maybe the Napalm Death guys will know.
Osborne: Yeah, they might know. They’re English!