Buzz (the Melvins)
by Matthew C. Albanese
Buzz- So why do you wanna interview me?
6.99- Well.... Iím a fan...uhhh...
Of what, Fantomas?
Yeah, and the Melvins.
Iíll have to trust you on that. Whatís this for?
(At this point, I pull out a copy of issue #2 from my bag)
Ohh, hand it over! 6.99 per pound, huh? Howís this doing?
Pretty good, distribution is a pain, but....
You need porn, then people will buy it. You gotta do something left-of-center.
Yeah, weíre still in the process of getting it more together. Iím not sure if pornís the answer though.
Pornoís always the answer. Is there anything more beautiful than a naked woman? Answer me that.
I guess youíre right.
Yeah, thatís the way weíre set up. As menóheterosexual menóthereís nothing more beautiful in the world. I see nothing wrong with that. Weíre not born with clothes on, or with an instruction manual. It all works out nicely. Anyway....
What do you see as the future of rock and roll?
I donít know.
Any comments on the state of music?
Nothingís changed, same as it always wasó99% crap. There are a little bit of things that are all right, that keep you going. But generally speaking, I donít like popular music, as much as Iíd like to. It just doesnít work that way [for me], but whatever. I suppose for the future of rock and roll...I donít really care. Let it kill itself off finally. Itís dead as far as Iím concerned, it has been. Was it ever alive? I donít know. Things arenít any different than they were a long time ago.
What about the future of the Melvins?
Where weíre at now is a lot better than Iíd ever thought weíd be. Itís surpassed my initial expectations of the band a long time ago. Iím very happy with where we are, and happy to be doing what weíre doing. Iím very appreciative of the whole thing.
Tell me a little about the three new records that are coming out (on Ipecac Records).
Different kind of music on each of the records.
Do you want to talk about that at all?
That was the point, three records that each had different types of stuff on them. Three albums in less than a year. I donít have any faith in the public to understand it, but thatís not really my job. I donít worry about whether they get it or not, I donít care. I donít cater to them, itís not my responsibility. I canít be concerned with whether they get it or not because thatís for them to decide. It speaks to enough people to make me happy.
What about ďCrybabyĒ (the third record)?
Well, we wanted to do guest stars for the third record. The first oneís different from the second one, and if we wanted to do a third one, weíd have to make that one different as well. So the guest stars thing was the angle. It was something that weíd never done before, territory we never went into. Then we just found people we wanted to collaborate with, one of which was Leif Garret. We liked the ironic nature of us doing a Nirvana song with a Ď70ís teen idol, it was perfect. It was great, Iím very happy we did it.
Who are some of the other guest stars on the album?
Well, we got Hank Williams lllówhich is Hank Williams grandsonódoing a Hank Williams song. We did two songs, one is a Hank Williams song and one is a Merle Haggard song. That was great. I donít know if people will really get the significance of us playing with a country legends grandson, in the traditional way, and pulling it off and doing a really good job of it. That will go over peoples heads I think, to a certain degree, how exciting it was for us to do that. It was quite amazing.
Youíre all Hank Williams fans?
Of course, we love Hank Williams. Hank Williams is amazing, heís one of my favorites. This was an absolute thrill, a high point, a definite bench- mark for us. And Mike (Patton), of course, is on the record. Letís see, who else? Toolís doing a song for it, David Yow from Jesus Lizard, Jim Fetus, the singer from the Pain Teens, the singer from Brutal Truth, the band Skeleton Key from New York. I think thatís it, but Iím probably missing somebody.
Could we talk about Fantomas a little bit?
What do you wanna know?
Whatís it been like?
Its a challenge, we play all that stuff live and pull it off. Itís incredible. Its difficult and very fun and exciting. Iím happy to be doing it, Iím happy to be involved in such an interesting project. We have virtually no help (with promotion) other than the print media, people such as yourself. Weíre doing very well, selling lots and lots of recordsó 30,000 plus.
Do you have any other projects that you do?
No, this is the only band Iíve been in other than the Melvins.
How did this come about?
Mike just asked me to do it. He called me up, and then sent a demo of the stuff. That was it. I certainly wanted to be involved in it. Itís weird and interesting and a challenge.
Whatís some of your favorite music to listen to?
I like the Fugs a lot,theyíre a `60ís band. Lately Iíve been listening to stuff like the Fugs, the Seeds, and the Gun Club.
Beside music, what do you enjoy doing?
So many things I cant even begin to tell you. Where do I start? I like to read. Readings good.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I donít even know where to begin. On this tour, so far Iíve read a book that Iím reading for the third or fourth time,The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Itís a good book to read, itís fun and exciting. Iíve read two books about Vietnam. The Red Neck Manifesto, which is kind of an easy read but sort of amusing, and a book about Malcom X, itís a book of some of his last speeches. Thatís just in the last three weeks. I read a lot, mostly nonfiction stuff. Iím not a big fiction lover myself, I prefer history books.
Is that where you get ideas to use in your music?
Well, it certainly plays a hand in it, but I donít talk about a lot of that stuff. Most people donít ask me about that, most people assume that people like me donít read.
Really? Any recommendations?
Everybody should read Upton Sinclairs The Jungle, itís a fun, light readóvery exciting.
What about visual artists, any favorites?
Edvard Munch is good. I donít know, itís hard to say.
I was just curious, because I like some of the images youíve used on your records. A lot of bands that play heavier music tend to use dark imagery, but with you guys...
Well yeah, thatís the whole point. It even starts with our band name. We wanted something that didnít say what the music was. We wanted something stupid, so people would make up their mind about something, and it would be different from that.
Who comes up with the music?
I write 99.9% of the music. I always haveóeverything.
How do the other band members feel about that?
They donít seem to mind. Itís not like a dictatorship or anything, thatís just the way itís been worked out. I just happen to have a lot of material and they like it, so itís not a problem. Itís not like Iím putting my foot down or anything. If they came up with great stuff Iíd be more than happy to play itóIíd love it.
To go back for a minute, who comes up with the concept of the album artwork?
Usually me and my wife. My wife has done all our records for about the last five or six years, ever since the Prick record. She does album covers for a living, she just did one for Oingo Boingo, a greatest hits thing. She did the new Mr. Bungle record, and she came up with that skeleton guy for Social Distortion. Sheís done shit-loads. Rancid, Vandalsólots of stuff.
After this Fantomas tour, what are you going to do?
Well, Melvins are gonna do a tour in April. Hopefully weíll go overseas, too. With Fantomas, when everyone can get together, weíll do more.
Whatís your message to the kids?
Fuck the kids. No, no. Umm... We hate the kids.
No, not really. Uhhh... Make up your own mind and stay out of my way. (laughs) No. No. The message is thanks. Thanks for just being you. $