Interview: Melvins

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I sat down with Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover of Melvins before their July 6th show at The Observatory to talk about their new album, A WALK WITH LOVE & DEATH (out July 7th, via Ipecac Recordings), touring, their favorite movies, and TWIN PEAKS. Don’t miss a chance to catch them on the road with Spotlights this summer, and be sure to pick up their latest album.

Thank you guys for being here with me, it’s a really great pleasure. And thank you on behalf of Crossfader Magazine.

B.O. Crossfire?

Crossfader. I think that’s trademarked by CNN.

D.C. Probably, yeah.

So this is day two of a three-month tour in support of the new album, A WALK WITH LOVE & DEATH.

B.O. It’s actually less shows than we did last year.

D.C. Is it?

B.O. Yeah.

D.C. The whole thing? Really?

B.O It’s like 25 shows less.

D.C. Wow, how’s that?

B.O. We did more last year.

D.C. How did we do more?

B.O. Europe, and two big U.S. tours.

D.C. But aren’t we doing the same thing now? We’re even throwing in Australia and it’s still not as many? Oh well.

You guys had the Glen Helen Amphitheater show like two weeks ago. How was that?

D.C. It was warm.

B.O. The people working there weren’t prepared at all. They did okay loading and unloading our gear, that was it.

D.C. The playing part was fine, but I mean—and I knew that this was happening—we were kind of like the walk-in music. It was one road getting into that place.

B.O. And to get 30,000 people coming from L.A. to go.

I think you kind of already answered my question, but is there a big difference between playing a huge amphitheater like that and a smaller venue like this? Or do you have a preference between the two?

D.C. I’d rather play where there’s people at least, you know?

B.O. I’d rather play a place that I would actually go to for a show. I would never go to that place. I don’t like those kinds of venues. It’s not for me. Not as a fan.

Well, luckily there are places like here.

D.C. This place is great! We like playing places like this.

B.O. Yeah, much more.

Photo Credit: Emily Kirsch

I’d like to ask you guys a little about the new album. It’s your first double album.

B.O. We’ve never done anything like this before.

Have you guys previously entertained the idea of a double album, or was this kind of a spontaneous move?

B.O. Not really, we never entertained the idea much. I mean, we did a single a month for a whole year in ‘96, and put that out as a double album.

This is also your first soundtrack to an upcoming short film. And you’re producing it, too, right? How did that come to be?

B.O. Well, I shot a bunch of it, a bunch of my pictures are going to be in it. I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to end up, but it will be weird. We like HOLY MOUNTAIN and David Lynch, all of that stuff.

All that old surrealist stuff?

B.O. Oh yeah, we’re big fans of that sort of thing.

D.C. It’s somewhat in that vein. Musically, too.

Musically, to me it sounds kind of like some of the real old-school Industrial Records stuff like Throbbing Gristle.

D.C. Yeah, exactly!

Was that where you guys were coming from with that?

B.O. Oh, clearly. We’re fans of all that kind of thing, no question.

I’m not sure if this was intentional or what, but I know you’re [Buzz] a big John Huston fan, and he had a movie called A WALK WITH LOVE AND DEATH –

B.O. He did?!

D.C. Wait.

I had no idea!

B.O. It could have just as easily been called REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE, too.

D.C. That’s a good one, too.

I get the feeling that it’s going to be similar in name only, the subject matter is going to be drastically different.

B.O. Oh yeah, it’s nothing like that. That was Anjelica Huston’s first movie.

Was it?

B.O. Her dad’s John Huston.

D.C. Do you know the movie?

I’m vaguely aware of it. I came across it researching for this, but I’ve seen quite a few of his movies.

B.O. I have almost all of his movies, but there are a few that aren’t available.

Like which?

B.O. SINFUL DAVEY. I don’t have that one.

I don’t even know that one. See, I know like THE AFRICAN QUEEN, CASINO ROYALE, MOBY DICK. All the usual suspects. But hey, I’ve come across a few of your favorite movies, Buzz, but I don’t think anyone has ever asked you about your favorite movies, Dale.

D.C. I like John Waters a lot. I just met him the other day for the first time.

Really? How cool! How did you meet him?

D.C. Well, I play in Red Kross with Steven, as well, and we played this thing up in Oakland called the Burger Boogaloo. It’s by Burger Records from around here, they put on a concert. They’ve done a couple festivals up there; in the last couple years they’ve had John Waters as the M.C. So he introduced the band, and we got talking for a few minutes.

Photo Credit: Joseph Simpson

That’s pretty freakin’ cool!

D.C. Yeah! But yeah, I like Stanley Kubrick’s movies quite a bit. David Lynch, of course.

B.O. Cheech & Chong.

D.C. ANIMAL HOUSE. Cheech & Chong’s first movie. A couple of Cheech & Chong movies are really good.

B.O. BLAZING SADDLES.

That one’s a classic!

D.C. There’s some of those movies where if I come across them on TV I’ll watch it, even though I’ve seen it a billion times. There’s a few of those like that. You a David Lynch fan at all?

Yeah, a little bit. I haven’t seen the new take on TWIN PEAKS yet.

D.C. It’s pretty weird.

Weirder, or as weird as the original?

D.C. It’s more like ERASERHEAD than TWIN PEAKS.

Oh, he just went completely—no more soap, just plain weirdness?

D.C. Not really, no. I think some people are like, “Well, I kind of miss the soap opera aspect,” but a lot of those I realized he didn’t direct. But he did direct all of these.

Yeah, and the problem I had with the original TWIN PEAKS was just how soapy it got. I wanted to see the weirdness.

D.C. I know, same here. And after a while I was like, “Oh, it’s just going to continue.” The “it never ends” story.

You guys are both fans of the classics, obviously. Have you seen any recent movies that you really liked?

B.O. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. I liked that.

D.C. That was good!

B.O. Yeah, that was good. I liked it a lot. And did you realize that the creep in that movie was Kick-Ass?

No shit, really? That little, green-suited Kick-Ass kid?

B.O. Was the creep, yep. That’s him, same guy.

Now I’m not going to be able to look at him the same way.

D.C. Yeah, I know, but you wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t have known had he not mentioned it.

B.O. It’s Kick-Ass! Which I liked; I like KICK-ASS, too. Any time I can watch a 10-year-old kid get shot in the chest, I’m in!

Dale, you have an upcoming solo album, THE FICKLE FINGER OF FATE. Anything you can tell us about that?

B.O. It’s an album.

D.C. It has songs on it. It has a mixture of weird little drum songs, and little short things almost like commercial jingles. Sort of like THE WHO SELL OUT, but without the sell out.

Are you going to have a tour for that one, too?

D.C. That’s what we’re doing now. This is it.

All right! We gonna hear some new material?

B.O. As soon as this one’s over, he’s going out on his own, karaoke-ing it.

D.C. No, I figured I’m on tour, I’m selling the record. Maybe someday I’ll be able to play some of it live or something, we’ll see.

Well hey, I don’t want to keep you guys too much longer, do you have anything else you’d like to add?

B.O. You could make something up!

Joseph Simpson

Joseph Simpson prefers to be called Jack; yes, he knows that's not the actual nickname for Joseph. He is the only person in his family who can grow a beard.

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