Melvins: Gnarly & Dangerous

(Meaningless pleasantries started off this interview.)

Doug: Okay, real quick before we start, I am going to say – hopefully without sounding like a sycophant – I’ve always loved you guys. You’ve been a big musical influence on me.

Buzz: Oh, thank you.

Doug: So, hopefully it won’t sound too much like sucking up when I ask you questions.

Buzz: Oh, I hope not.

Doug: Well, I guess I’ll jump right into this because I’ve got a couple of things that Gray Matter wanted to hit and then I tried to tap into my reasonable knowledge of your history.

Buzz: Uh oh!

Doug: How would you say your first few albums compare to your more recent work? Do you consider it building block stuff and you’ve gotten more complex or has it been an evolution of your playing?

Buzz: Well, that was a long time ago. It’s hard to remember what I did and what the hell was going on. I believe my motivations are the same as they were then. As far as how interested I was in doing what I was doing. However I think I am a lot better at it now, you know? That’s the difference.

Doug: So, you’ve developed more talent to back up what you were doing?

Buzz: I think so. I was far less focused then. Even though I was seriously interested in what I was doing, I think I have a much better ability at crafting all the song stuff. Then again, who knows? Your attitude can change relatively quickly.

Doug: How has going through a string of bass players influenced the band? Has it had an effect on what you do?

Buzz: It always has an effect on what we do; because I certainly let them put their stamp on their playing, even though I write 99% of the material. A lot of people think that the bass players have a lot more to do with what we do than they do, you know? And the one constant that people tend to forget that is happening is me. You know? But as far as song writing goes, that’s the one thing that continues.

Doug: So, why are you guys not more famous? I’ve been listening to you forever. You’ve got a great sound and you’ve had some hits that could have made great radio play… have you not pushed for that?

Buzz: I don’t know. I’m not against… well, as far as fame goes, I couldn’t care less about that. I’ll take half of that in cash, please! Fame doesn’t do anything for you, you know? I’d rather have the rest of it. Fame is just a big pain in the ass.

Doug: So, fame plus money then maybe?

Buzz: Less fame, more money. How about that?

Doug: How about just lots of money?

Buzz: Yeah, but why? I don’t know; the world’s not in the right place. People’s musical taste is generally crap. I don’t know. There’s a million reasons. We’re not cute wounded junky-looking guys, you know? We’re big ugly guys. It’s probably a number of things along those lines. Little of which has to do with music.

Doug: You think you could have hung on American Idol if you’d tried that?

Buzz: American Idol? I’ve never even seen it.

Doug: Consider yourself lucky.

Buzz: I am aware of it, but I don’t know what goes on or what motivates that whole thing. I mean, I know enough about it to realize I don’t understand how people can’t see that you could make somebody, anybody famous by putting them on television.

Doug: So, going from bass to drums… Drums have always been an important part of your sound. Dale is an awesome drummer and now that you guys are playing with two drum kits, it’s really a cool and interesting sound. How has that freed up your recording, or has it complicated it?

Buzz: It’s really made it more complex. We’ve gotten a lot crazier with that kind of stuff. It’s just and extension of what we are doing. I mean, we’re not afraid of it, that’s for sure. We’re certainly not afraid of adding that element to what we’re trying to do. I like it and we are happy to have that be the case. We’re wise enough to let it do its own thing, you know? I think we’ve only just begun to realize what is possible with this sort of line up, you know? I have high hopes for the future. Hopefully we can come up with a lot more interesting stuff, which would be great.

Doug: What do you think about the music industry of today? I know it has changed a lot since the late 80s and early 90s…

Buzz: Has it changed?

Doug: It seems like it has with the availability of music, there is a lot more distribution, smaller bands can “get out there” more but it may hurt big record companies. Does this have any effect on you or is it still the same for you?

Buzz: Well, you obviously have to adjust to that kind of stuff, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about that, I mean you can use that technology, and take it from there. I am certainly not afraid of it. I never thought the music industry ever had a golden era or was “perfect.” I am kinda looking forward to things changing and people who can’t change, dying like the dinosaurs which they probably are. That sounds good to me!

Doug: Speaking of dinosaurs, have you had a good relationship with big record labels?

Buzz: Well, we only had a relationship with one record label and it was fine. They always did what they said they were going to do. I would do all of that again in a heartbeat, but I am not going to go looking for it and nobody’s asking. We’ll continue to make the records that we want to make and put out what I consider to be top notch “A number 1” quality music. But that can happen on any label. Our fans… if you are used to a band like us, you are used to not finding music in the traditional sense of the world, like where “normal” people find it. Wherever that is, you know? On talk radio or television or something. I don’t even know what’s on MTV; I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff.

Doug: I don’t think there is any music on that anymore.

Buzz: No “M”? Just “TV”? Yeah, I haven’t had any interest in that in a long time – probably since its inception. We made some videos when we were on a major label but mostly it was just a waste of time. It’s a played out medium as far as I am concerned.

Doug: A question about the new album, the title track is kind of pop-y sounding. I love it. So I’m not saying that in a bad way. It’s possibly the most “un-Melvins” traditional soundtrack on the album… if that is possible on a Melvins’ album.

Buzz: That we’ve ever done?

Doug: On that album. It’s the one that sounds least like I would expect. Is there one song on it that you’ve done throughout your career that I might know of that doesn’t fit the current mold or at least the mold that you envision as your own?

Buzz: No, I think we’re capable of and have left ourselves wide open to do whatever we want to. I don’t feel like we have any kind of mold or solid idea of what we are doing. Or that it has to be one way or another at all.I’d like to think we do anyway.

Doug: The feel of the new album seems possibly a bit more experimental than the prior one…

Buzz: Yeah, I think it’s weirder.

Doug: I know before you e said that you’ve got tons of music that you haven’t had a chance to flesh out and get recorded.

Buzz: I’ve got an absolute shitload.

Doug: So, hopefully we’ll be hearing that stuff from you for years.

Buzz: I hope so. Nobody wants that more than me. Believe me.

Doug: And it looks like I will be seeing you guys in Atlanta, Aug 17 at the Drunken Unicorn.

Buzz: That’s right. And then we are playing Athens as well.

Doug: Well, I hope you guys have a great tour with much success.

Buzz: Thanks so much, thanks for your interest.

Doug: I appreciate the interview. I don’t know if there is anything else you want to chat about in particular?

Buzz: Go Braves!

Doug: Chop, chop.

Buzz: I am totally down.

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