Melvins mix candor with clumsiness
Monday August 31st 1998
By David Conner
For Washington-based band The Melvins, touring means
often times coping with
less-than-desirable tourmates, crowds or
accommodations. The trio, formed in
1987 by current singer Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale
Crover, has taken to the
road this summer with Tool and Ozzy Osbourne's
Ozzfest. Playing a comfortable
45-minute set each night of their current shows with
Tool, Crover says they
are essentially playing for the fun of it.
"Tool are friends of ours," he said by phone from an
Oregon dressing room.
"Otherwise, we'd probably just be home working on new
The setup is quite nice for the band, which now
includes bass player Mark
Deutrom. After playing to capacity crowds in nearly
every city, The Melvins
have the option of relaxing on bean bags at the head
of Tool's stage while
the headliners perform.
Their musical style is a slow, grueling sonic cadence
that draws common
comparisons to Black Sabbath. It can be difficult for
a pop fan to endure,
and thus each show is not always a success.
"We've [gotten] stuff thrown at us every once in a
while," Crover said.
"Usually it's less panties and bras, more harmful
The most painful object to get trucked onto the stage?
Crover contends it was
a British pound. While Johnny Rotten would simply ask
for bills to be thrown
instead, The Melvins have a bit of American humility
"I don't think we're worth quite that much, though,"
he said. "We're probably
more pence material."
The Melvins got their start among the sprouting group
musicians burgeoning to explode onto MTV and
album-oriented rock as the 1980s
withered away. Osborne and Crover both went to school
with Nirvana's Kurt
Cobain in Aberdeen, Wash. Crover played drums on
several tracks on Nirvana's
Additionally, they played among the Seattle music
scene until it busted wide
open with Nirvana's success. They contributed to local
band Mudhoney's lineup
when original bassist Matt Lukin left The Melvins to
The band members have since relocated from Washington
to California and the
United Kingdom. Osborne haunts the streets of Los
Angeles, while Crover lives
near San Francisco. Deutrom carries a British
Following a quick record deal with Atlantic records,
The Melvins returned to
Indie status in 1996, and currently remain somewhat
outcasts of the pop music
While the band generally drew a respectable audience
to their Ozzfest
side-stage shows, Crover said they just didn't fit in
with the overall
"There seems to be a similar sound at Ozzfest," Crover
said. "Most of the
bands sound a lot like that band Korn. They all jump
around in unison."
While Ozzfest wasn't quite the rock 'n' roll summer
camp other veterans have
called it, Crover said that seeing Motorhead was a
great pleasure for him.
"I hung out with Lemmy some," he said. "We saw him
sunbathing in a pink
thong. No joke! I have pictures to prove it!"
The present situation for The Melvins gives them quite
presence. While they saunter in front of Tool's James
Maynard Keenan on their
way to snatch a beer from the ice chest precariously
set extreme stage-right,
Crover, Osborne or Deutrom might only get asked to
share a bottle with their
hosts. Not too shabby a proposition.
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