The Melvins have been at it for 30 years -- and to hear guitarist Buzz Osborne (better known as King Buzzo, natch) tell it, there's no point in stopping now. "We are entertainers. We are here to entertain you," he says rapidly, having just finished up the 14th show of 51 consecutively arranged dates.
The band plans on hitting every state (with a bonus stop in Washington, D.C.) in support of its latest record, Freak Puke, released under the slightly misleading "Melvins Lite" name. "We figure we have good taste," he says, "and since we have good taste, other people will appreciate our good taste." The record, which features a pared-down lineup of Dale Crover on drums and Trevor Dunn on bass, explores a slightly jazzier take on The Melvins' fuzzy sludge, with Dunn playing an amplified upright bass and Osborne utilizing a metal guitar to unique effect on songs like "Inner Ear Rupture" and a cover of the Wings classic "Let Me Roll It." The record is hardly "lite," in a sonic sense, and the insane touring schedule fits the ambitious sound.
"We're using the same exact instrumentation live. We play through smaller equipment; we try and work our way around the bass," Buzzo says. "It has its limitations, but it has [room] that our normal setup doesn't. It's really cool. You want to do some things differently -- some people don't like us changing, but if we didn't, they'd really hate it." If listeners feel challenged, that's for the best, Buzzo believes.
"I think that it's pretty significant that in our 30th year of our existence, we're taking on something like this," Buzzo says. "Why? Because it was just a big, stupid thing to do, not unlike Evel Knievel. It gets people talking about us, and we're trying to sell a new record, so that's the point. It's something that's big and stupid, and we're perfect for that."--Jason Woodbury