The Melvins

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2000
The Melvins

Having at one point released a year-long series of monthly limited edition singles, The Melvins are no strangers to unusual release schedules. So it didn’t come as much of a surprise when they decided to release 3 new albums over the course of about a year.

“We had no concept’ other than wanting to do a large project of very different sounding records,” explains vocalist/guitarist Buzz Osborne. “Unconventional is nothing new to us, I’ve always felt out of place in the music world with both fans and other bands.”

The trilogy began last year with “The Maggot” and “The Bootlicker” and continues with the current “The Crybaby.” Of the first two installments, many fans have been surprised by “The Bootlicker” due to it’s clean sound and avoidance of distortion. One Internet fan review even went so far as to call it “‘heavy cocktail jazz.” According to Buzz, that disc was meant to be very different and is “what makes a trilogy of this nature work.” When asked what we can expect from the trilogy’s conclusion, the singer/guitarist promised a disc that would be “totally different in every way” from the others.

The Melvins released their first album, “Gluey Porch Treatments” ” in 1987. Since then, they’ve switched bassists several times, moved from indie to major label and back, and even opened for Kiss (“The weirdness factor alone made the whole thing worth it, it was insane,” proclaims Buzz.) The current line-up consists of Buzz, drummer Dale C, and bassist Kevin Rutmanis (formerly of Cows).

Currently, The Melvins record for Ipecac, a new record label started up by Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle (and formerly of Faith No More). It’s the second independent label the band has been on since recording 3 albums for Atlantic Records in the early 90’s. Although Buzz says that The Melvins’ time on a major label �was great,’ he always knew that they would eventually be back on an indie.

“It worked out about like I expected, but I figured we would be dropped after only one album,” says Buzz about Atlantic. “I never thought we would sell millions of records in the first place so we conducted ourselves as such. Most bands on majors just want to be stars and do whatever it takes or whatever the label says to try to become one. There’s nothing worse than a band that tries to sell out and have it not work. They are left with nothing.”

The Melvins may have never ended up on major label had it not been for the huge success of Nirvana, and the resulting rush of labels to sign up the next big �alternative’ band.

“The whole Nirvana thing was just a smoke screen,” says Buzz. “They sold themselves the same way Motley Crue did. The only thing that was different was they said they were different. The majors were fooled for a moment but now they’re running scared. It will be a cold day in hell before a band like us gets signed again. Things have reverted back to the way they were about 88. That’s good news for us. People will have to search us out again.”

And now that they’ve released their trilogy, what else will The Melvins try to avoid the standard cycle of releasing an album, touring, and the repeating the process the next year?

“Maybe putting out blank CDs?,” says Buzz. “God only knows.”

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