Buzz Osborne on Marriage, Golf and 30 Years of The Melvins
Undeniably one of the most influential rock bands of the last thirty years, The Melvins roll through Dallas again this weekend, bringing their skull-crushing double drummer sludgey rock with them. Seeing them at Trees this Saturday night is a must.
Before they made it to town, I managed to grab a quick word with singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne, better known as King Buzzo, to get his thoughts on their longevity, Spotify, the '80s and '90s scene the Melvins were so prominent in that birthed so many famous rock bands, and golf.
Hey Buzz. How's the tour going?
Sweet. It's going good. We're a couple weeks into it and we haven't tried to kill each other yet, but there's still time.
What's your take on Spotify, and the music streaming services that are so popular?
Well, I dunno. The music industry's changing. I don't really know that much about that. I always think it's bad when people steal stuff for nothing, you know? But people tend to not agree, and there's nothing I can do about it.
How do you feel the music industry has changed since you guys started out?
Well people are interested in us now there's the internet, just like they were before. So no change there.I don't know where it'll end up. I don't think it'll be at all what people think. It seems to have given people a highly developed sense of entitlement, which I'm not 100% sure is a good idea. It gives a voice to people that never had it before. How that bears itself out is anyone's guess.
How do you mean a sense of entitlement? In the way that people feel like they have a right to listen to music for nothing?
Well, they always did. But I also have a right to not do music for nothing, you know? So two can play at that game.
As far as your new album goes, what would be your ideal cover album?
I don't know. I'll have to think about it. We could do the White album.
I would love to hear the Melvins' take on the White Album.
It wouldn't be that much different, I think.
So on this tour, as it's the 30th anniversary tour, can we expect you going into the back catalog?
No, not really, we do a wide variety of things from lots of different records, you know? We're not particularly concentrating on any of them. We'll give it our best, but it's certainly not a retrospective. Can you imagine that? That would be horrific.
On recent European tours, you played through some of the '90s albums, right?
Well, we do about 80-100 shows a year, every year, every part of the world. That's what we do. This time round we've got Honky with us, and our usual bass player's having a baby, or at least his girlfriend is, so instead we've got Jeff Pinkus from Honky and the Butthole Surfers to play with us. It's all good. Dale's playing drums for Honky this time round too. They're both putting in about two hours a not.
Any specific memories of gigging in Texas?
Well, we love playing Trees. We play there all the time. Texas is like its own country, you know? I kind of like that. We like Texas. Texas has always been nice to us.
What's it been like being married and touring so much?
Well I've been married twenty years, almost, and my wife knew the job was dangerous when she took it, you know? She agreed to marry me knowing I'm in this sort of thing as a way of making a living. I try and take her into consideration as much as possible, but she can't really get mad about it now, you know? Or, she can, but I'm not going to listen to that crap. She's very patient with me. I'm an eccentric weirdo, she's an amazing woman. It's not something I want to screw up.
I hear you're a big golf player?
That is true. I get into endless weird situations doing that. I can't get my rock and roll buddies up at the hours I like to play at.
Dale not such a big fan?
No, he plays, but never that early.
Do you think there's a secret behind the Melvins' longevity?
Oh man, I guess just not looking at it that way. We don't have a choice. We obviously won't do it forever.
What do you think you'd have done if the Melvins had never gotten off the ground?
I dunno. Work some shit job, you know. I'd probably do whatever I wanted. Whatever it was, I'd just go ahead and do it. I've no idea.
Do you think you guys will leave an enduring legacy?
I don't care about what happens when I die.
Do you think you guys are the bug survivors of the late '80s/early '90s rock scene?
I never had much faith in any of those people anyway. Not at all. It didn't really exist for me in the first place. I never felt like I was a part of any of that. Not at all. I never felt akin to it, or like I had anything to do with it at all.
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