More than two decades into the Melvins' career—Kurt Cobain, a close friend of drummer Dale Crover, acted as sometime roadie and even once tried out for the bass slot—one looming question still abounds about the Seattle group: What are they? Punk? Grunge? Alternative? Metal? Avant-garde? Or some unholy, sludgy mishmash of it all? Founding singer/guitarist King Buzzo (he of the gray, Sideshow Bob hair) probably couldn't give a shit, as long as their music is loud and heavy and takes unexpected, out-there turns. Their influence on later acts like Nirvana, Tool and Mastodon outweighs any popular success they've seen on their own, and their hardcore, dedicated fans wouldn't have it any other way; they'd just as soon die as see a Melvins T-shirt in Hot Topic. Currently a quartet with Big Business members Jared Warren on bass and Coady Willis as second drummer, they're supporting last year's hard-hitting (A) Senile Animal. Oh, and about that name: it's the moniker of a despised store supervisor where young Buzzo once worked as a clerk. Somewhere, this Melvin and infamous Jacksonville gym teacher Leonard Skinner might be having a laugh together.
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