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The Melvins are an Americanmarker band that formed in 1982. They usually perform as a trio, but in recent years have performed as a four piece with two drummers. Since 1984, singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne ("King Buzzo") and drummer Dale Crover have been the band's constant members. They have made contributions to creating grunge music and sludge metal. The band was named after a supervisor at a Thriftway in Montesano, Washingtonmarker where Osborne also worked as a clerk. "Melvin" was despised by other employees, and the band's members felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name.

Originally formed as a hardcore punk band, Melvins' music is influenced by Black Flag's mix of punk and metal on their album My War, and other slow punk acts like Swans and Flipper; however, their idiosyncratic approach, bizarre sense of humor, and experimentation make neat categorization difficult. Osborne has also stated that his guitar playing is more influenced by Black Flag than Black Sabbath, whom they are often compared to. They often favor very slow tempos, and their sludgy sound was a strong influence on grunge music, especially Nirvana, Soundgarden, and many other bands from Seattlemarker. Their protegés, however, tended to use more conventional musical structures with this sound. Melvins have also influenced many bands, including Tool, who are personal friends with the band; Crowbar, Mastodon and Eyehategod, who participated in a Melvins tribute album, and Boris, who took their name from the title of a Melvins song.

History

Early days

Melvins was formed in the early 1980s by Buzz Osborne (guitar/vocals), Matt Lukin (bass) and Mike Dillard (drums) who all went to Wheeler High School in Montesano, Washingtonmarker. In the beginning they played The Who and Jimi Hendrix covers, and also began playing fast hardcore punk. When Dillard left the band, Dale Crover joined, and the band's rehearsals moved to a back room of Crover's parents house in Aberdeen, Washingtonmarker. Soon afterward, they started to play songs slower and "heavier" than nearly anyone else at the time.

Fellow Aberdeen resident Kurt Cobain (a good friend of Crover and Osborne since high school) was a huge Melvins fan and helped them transport their equipment to a few shows. Cobain also auditioned to join the band on bass, but he didn't make it, reportedly because he was so nervous that he forgot all the songs. Later he produced and played on some songs (guitar on "Sky Pup", percussion on "Spread Eagle Beagle") on the band's major label debut, Houdini. Cobain maintained his relationship with the band until his death in 1994.

In 1985 C/Z Records was created to document the Washingtonmarker music scene, the label released Deep Six, featuring four songs by Melvins. In 1986 the band released their debut, the Six Songs EP, on C/Z Records (later releases expanded and retitled this as 8 Songs, 10 Songs, and eventually 26 Songs in 2003 on Ipecac Recordings). The album was recorded live to a two track at Ironwood, February 8, 1986.

In December 1986 they recorded their first full-length album, Gluey Porch Treatments, at Studio D in Sausalito, Californiamarker. The album was released in 1987 on Alchemy Records. Gluey Porch Treatments was later coupled with their second album Ozma for the Boner Records CD release. It was expanded again for the 1999 rerelease on Ipecac Recordings with some garage demos.

Crover played drums with Nirvana when they recorded a ten song demo on January 23, 1988 in Seattlemarker, which later formed part of their debut LP Bleach, and played a live show in Tacomamarker later that day. Osborne would later introduce Cobain and Krist Novoselic to Dave Grohl. Later that year Osborne and Crover relocated to San Francisco, Californiamarker. Lukin stayed and formed the grunge band Mudhoney. Lori "Lorax" Black (daughter of Shirley Temple) replaced Lukin on bass. The band recorded Ozma in May 1989, and released it later that year. The album was produced by Mark Deutrom, who later joined the band on bass.

The early 1990s

In 1990, the band recorded Bullhead, which marked a slower, more drone-oriented style for the band. The band then toured Europe; their January 23, 1991 show in Alzeymarker, Germanymarker was released by Tobby Holzinger as Your Choice Live Series Vol.12. When they returned to the U.S., they recorded the Eggnog EP, which was released the same year on Boner Records.

Lorax left the band, and was replaced by Joe Preston. Preston appears on the Salad of a Thousand Delights (1992, Box Dog Video). Melvins then released three "solo" EPs, following the concept and imitating the cover artwork inspired by the four Kiss members' solo albums released in 1978. King Buzzo, Dale Crover, and Joe Preston were all released in 1992 on Boner Records. Later in 1992, they released the full-length album, Lysol, which had to be renamed Melvins because Lysol was a trademarked name. Preston departed from the band, and Lorax briefly rejoined.

The Atlantic years

When Nirvana's Nevermind became a massive, unexpected success, Melvins were one of many groups to benefit from Nirvana's support. They were signed by Atlantic Records, and their first major label release, 1993's Houdini, entered the Billboard Heatseekers chart at 29. Mark Deutrom replaced Lorax on bass shortly after the albums release.

Gene Simmons of Kiss played bass with Melvins at Lollapalooza in 1993 and 1994 for a full set. He also played bass with Melvins in 1993 in a concert with Primus, on the song Goin' Blind, a Kiss song that Melvins had covered on Houdini.

Melvins released their second album for Atlantic in 1994, Stoner Witch. Due to its experimental nature, Melvins took their next album, Prick, to Amphetamine Reptile Records, and it was released with the band name written in mirror. They returned to Atlantic one last time for 1996's Stag, which entered the Heatseekers chart at number 33. The band were dropped by Atlantic Records in 1997 after three albums.

Late 1990s-mid 2000s

The band signed with Amphetamine Reptile, and released their next full-length album, Honky in 1997. They recorded an August 1997 concert in Richmond, Melbourne, Australiamarker as Alive at the F*ckerclub in 1998. The same year, Melvins opened for Tool. (A humorous picture on the Tool website depicts Melvins along with the words "Melvins say...Tool Sux!" spelled out in lunch meat. The photo was taken while on tour with Tool in 2002 in Australia. In 1998, Melvins played the second stage at Ozzfest, along with System of a Down, Incubus, and others.

1999 saw the beginning of a partnership with Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings, which began remastering and reissuing much of the band's back catalog. The band also released three full-length albums dubbed (and later packaged together as) The Trilogy: The Maggot, The Bootlicker, and The Crybaby. The latter featured a number of guest vocalists and musicians. One unexpected highlight was a faithful rendition of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", sung by 1970s teen idol Leif Garrett. Kevin Rutmanis, formerly of The Cows, was bassist during this era.

In 2001, the band returned to their experimental tendencies for Colossus of Destiny, a live set of synthesizer and sampler experiments presented as two tracks (one clocking in at 59:23 and the other at five seconds). The album was described approvingly by one critic as "more like avant-garde electro-acoustic than anything else."

In 2003 Atlantic Records (UK) released Melvinmania: The Best of the Atlantic Years 1993-1996, a compilation of recycled tracks from the band's three major label releases. This release was unsanctioned by the band who had no input into the track selection or (occasionally inaccurate) liner notes.

In 2004, Osborne and Crover toured to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, and also released an art book Neither Here Nor There. The book is a collection of art by creators of their cover art as well as friends of the band, and also contained retrospectives on the past twenty years of Melvins. The book included a CD with selected tracks from their albums.

Mid 2000s-present

In 2004 Melvins collaborated with ambient artist Lustmord for Pigs of the Roman Empire and with Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra for Never Breathe What You Can't See and Sieg Howdy! released in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Never Breathe What You Can't See was supported by a mini-tour with Jello Biafra and Adam Jones from Tool. A planned European tour was canceled in early October 2004 reportedly due to unknown complications involving Rutmanis. Following the tour cancellation, Melvins finished the year playing a few shows with David Scott Stone supporting the work of filmmaker Cameron Jamie in Europe and the United Statesmarker.

When asked about Rutmanis and the canceled portion of the tour Osborne and Crover stated that Rutmanis had "disappeared". Fans feared that Rutmanis had departed like so many bassists before him; however, Rutmanis returned temporarily in early 2005. In June of 2005, Rutmanis officially left the band with drug abuse rumored as the major cause. When Melvins toured with Jello Biafra in October and November of 2005, David Scott Stone filled in on bass.

In early 2006, Crover confirmed rumors of the members of the band Big Business joining Melvins. Commenting on adding another drummer, Crover said this about Big Business drummer Coady Willis: "He's left-handed, so we want to do this 'mirror image' type of thing. We've kind of fused our two drum sets together, and we're going to try and do some crazy thing with it. We're sharing these big toms in between us."

The merged bands toured the U.S. in the fall of 2006 in support of their album, Senile Animal. Melvins also toured briefly the United Kingdommarker in mid-December 2006. Two new songs entitled "Suicide in Progress" and "Billy Fish" have been played during the 2007 tour, and appear on their next album Nude With Boots.

On June 16th and 17th, 2008, the original (1983) lineup played two shows at the Great American Music Hallmarker in San Francisco in honor of Jello Biafra's 50th birthday. Both sets were composed of songs from The Mangled Demos, a collection of early material released on the Alternative Tentacles record label in 2005.

In 2008 the band collaborated with the Italian band Zu on a track. In July 2008, their new album entitled Nude With Boots was released . Some of the recording sessions have been documented on a Japanese blog by Toshi Kasai. In December 2008, along with Mike Patton, Melvins co-curated an edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas festival. They chose half of the lineup and also performed themselves.

The long rumoured (since 2003) remix CD with a twist has been announced with the title "Chicken Switch", to be released on September 29 via Ipecac Recordings. Unlike usual remix cds where the remixer is given a single track to work with, for Chicken Switch each remixer was given a full album to work with and pull from to create their track.

The Melvins joined with New Orleans' super group Down and Weedeater for a North American tour in the Summer and Fall of 2009.

Members

Current members

Also known as "King Buzzo". Plays guitar in Fantômas and played guitar for Venomous Concept on their first album. Founding member of Kurt Cobain's first band, Fecal Matter. Sings and plays guitar in the band Altamont, and drums for the band Porn. Former Member of The Murder City Devils. Plays drums in Big Business. Former member of Tight Bro's From Way Back, Karp and The Whip. Plays bass and sings in Big Business.

Additional touring musicians

  • David Scott Stone - second guitar, bass guitar (1999 - 2005)
  • Adam Jones - second guitar (2004, 2008)
  • Trevor Dunn - bass guitar, backup vocals (2005 - present)
  • Jello Biafra - vocals (2004 - 2005, 2008, when touring to support their collaborations)
  • Dave Sharp — bass guitar (1993)
  • Tom Flynn - bass guitar (1990)
  • Guy Pinhas — bass guitar (early 1990s)


Former members



Discography

See: Melvins discography for the complete Melvins discography.

Year Title Label
1987 Gluey Porch Treatments Alchemy Records
1989 Ozma Boner Records
1991 Bullhead Boner Records
1992 Lysol Boner Records
1993 Houdini Atlantic Records
1994 Prick Amphetamine Reptile Records
1994 Stoner Witch Atlantic Records
1996 Stag Atlantic Records
1997 Honky Amphetamine Reptile Records
1999 The Maggot Ipecac Recordings
1999 The Bootlicker Ipecac Recordings
2000 The Crybaby Ipecac Recordings
2001 Electroretard Man's Ruin Records
2002 Hostile Ambient Takeover Ipecac Recordings
2004 Pigs of the Roman Empire (w/ Lustmord) Ipecac Recordings
2006 Senile Animal Ipecac Recordings
2008 Nude With Boots Ipecac Recordings
2009 Chicken Switch Ipecac Recordings


References

  1. Gibson Lifestyle, "The Melvins' King Buzzo Lays Down the Rules on Guitar Playing, 'Hot Topic' Punk, and What You Ought to Know About Music"
  2. Tool interview in Alternative Press from March 1997
  3. Interview with Brann Dailor from Mastodon
  4. Azerrad, Michael. Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday, 1994. ISBN 0-385-47199-8
  5. Punknews.org | Melvins - Mangled Demos From 1983
  6. The Melvins "Bassist Morgue"
  7. Melvins photo on the Tool website
  8. AllMusic Guide review of the album Colossus of Destiny
  9. Blabbermouth article on the release of (A) Senile Animal
  10. toshimanaki.pics Japanese blog by Toshi Kasai featuring Melvins session photos 2008


External links




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