By Ellen Eldridge
I took a deep breath and a heaping dose of “get over it” advice when conquering the overwhelming feeling of trying to come up with insightful questions for a band that has influenced and acted as the undercurrent for so much mainstream music over the last three decades. The Melvins’ own Buzz Osborne took a healthy dose of good humor and perseverance in answering those questions. The sludgy, abusively heavy and unapologetically creative punk band plays The Loft on April 25. It’s never too late to learn to love these punks.
What does it take to keep a band together for decades?
Insanity toned with anarchy. You need to play with good musicians. You can feed off their energy. Or something. I don’t know really. Has it really been DECADES? Jesus!
What do you think about all the line-up changes in The Melvins, and what do you think about bands like Guns N’ Roses where only the singer is an original member?
What do I think about the lineup changes? I think it was for the better every time. We HAD to change members or I would’ve just quit. At this point, I couldn’t be bothered with worrying that much about those sorts of things. As for Guns and Roses, I never cared about that shit from the beginning, why would I care about it now?
Do you think the internet makes it easier or harder to build “street credit”?
Sure it does. Nothing says “street credit” like the internet. I really have no idea. I think you need to play live most of all.
What’s the last CD you bought? Last live show you bought a ticket to see?
Last CD was a Miles Davis live in Japan album. Last live show I BOUGHT a ticket to see? I have no idea. I usually only PLAY live shows and I do a shit load of those a year.
With consideration to the singles, covers and splits The Melvins band is doing, and in consideration of all the mainstream bands you’ve inspired or helped along the way without seeing the same public recognition, what do you think of the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know”?
I suppose that’s true. What do I THINK of it? I think it’s groovy.
From your experience, is it better for a new band to try to get signed to a bigger label and deal with having to bend artistically to get the music heard or would you advise a band to build a following more organically and stay with smaller labels that get the mission of the band?
Bending artistically is insane. It’s always better to be as weird as possible. Smaller labels are by and large a total rip-off. As for their being able to understand a band’s “mission,” I’ve never found that to be the case. If anything, they are even MORE tiresome than a big label, so good luck!
How important is maintaining creative control? Quality or quantity, Buzz?
I have no experience with someone at a label telling me what to do creatively. Ever. I’ve seen bands ASK for plenty of advice and direction from labels, and I’ve seen a great deal of crazy elitism coming from indies. As for quality over quantity, who cares how much stuff you put out if it all blows.
How will you know when it’s time to retire?
How about never. Never know when to quit.
The Melvins play The Loft on April 25. Download “The Bulls & The Bees” for free HERE.