GRUNGEREPORT.NET INTERVIEW WITH THE MELVINS
Note from Brett: This is the first article from our new reporter Whip. Welcome to the GrungeReport.net staff Whip! All photos in this article were taken by him.
Almost halfway through their record breaking tour (yes, there is at least one other band claiming to have done this) the Melvins had made their way into New England. The weather was probably something reminiscent to a typical day in Seattle where almost 30 years ago they had spent the beginning of their careers playing alongside Kurt Cobain as Fecal Matter before Nirvana had formed in 1987.
Once I heard about this insane and “stupid” tour I knew I had to make it to at least one of the shows. While the Melvins were part of the Seattle grunge scene, and were even colleagues with Nirvana, they never gained the notoriety that a lot of the other bands achieved. Call it a blessing or a curse, but they were never tainted by the fame and fortune like some of other bands were. I used this to my advantage and a couple months before the show got in contact with Melvins’ PR rep to ask about shooting the concert. I got my permission and on Friday night I went in to “work,” for GrungeReport.net. I did some test shots with the opening band, trying to find the best vantage points. I found a nice little balcony left of the stage, bullshitted my way past security, and went upstairs.
That’s where things got interesting. I made my way down a dark, empty corridor and realized I was right outside the Melvins’ dressing room. After wiping the perspiration from my palms, I opened the door and walked in. Seated to my left was bassist, Trevor Dunn, and straight ahead, Dale Crover was standing, beating the hell out of a big black gig case, labeled MELVINS with his over-sized drum sticks which seemed to be half mallet, half drumstick. I introduced myself and walked through to the balcony, trying to make sense out of what just happened. Not a minute later another door opened, and Buzz sauntered out to where I was for a moment. He walked to the balcony’s edge, peering down at the stage for a moment like the wise old owl of the forest then went back to the dressing room. I decided that it was time to assume the role, so I went back into the dressing room and asked Dale and Buzz if I could get a couple shots before they went on. They were both really accommodating to it, and just really nice guys– average Joes, if you will. Dale just kept drumming on his case, while Buzz says, “Sure, what do you want me to do?” Instantly I thought, what do I want you to do?? This is fucking King Buzzo, the Godfather of Grunge!
“Just be Buzzo, man.”
“OK, I’ll do my best,” he laughed.
I took 2 shots, the first of which was slightly out of focus, as I anxiously fumbled with the focus ring.
At this point I figured I’m in a 10×10 room with the Melvins and no one was asking me to leave, so I just started talking. Keep in mind, I had no idea that the course of events that night would lead me to hanging out with the Melvins behind closed doors, and I had nothing prepared to talk about. With the new Soundgarden single still in my head from listening to it all day, I figured I’d talk about that.
GrungeReport.net: What do you think about Soundgarden getting back together and putting out a record after 16 years?
King Buzzo: I don’t really care about it [laughs]. I didn’t like their last record. Badmotorfinger was good, but it was overproduced. I haven’t really liked them since Chris was playing drums.
GrungeReport.net: Wow, that’s going way back.
King Buzzo: Yeah. He’s better than the guy that replaced him on drums.
GrungeReport.net: Matt Cameron? I’m sorry, I’ve never heard that before. Matt’s always been one of my favorite drummers. He’s a beast.
King Buzzo: [shakes head] Chris Cornell is a better drummer than him.
GrungeReport.net: That’s insane. I’ve never heard that before.
King Buzzo: [still shaking his head] Chris Cornell is as good as a drummer as he is as a bad guitar player.
GrungeReport.net: Oh my god. I love it.
King Buzzo: He was a good drummer. I think he was a good drummer, didn’t you?
Dale Crover: He was fucking good.
GrungeReport.net: I thought he was OK with his rhythm [guitar].
King Buzzo: No, Chris. Did you ever hear him play drums?
GrungeReport.net: No, I never heard him play drums, but you’re talking about his guitar.
King Buzzo: No, no, no, no, no. It’s like a typical, music-typical drummer who wants to play guitar. [Smiles, laughing] Not very good.
Dale Crover: Then you’ve got Dave Grohl, it’s like great drummer…
King Buzzo: Dave Grohl’s not going to be a better guitar player than a drummer.
Dale Crover: No way. He’s not saying he can’t play guitar, but…
King Buzzo: He’s not exceptional at all.
GrungeReport.net: The drumming he did on the Queens Of The Stone Age record was ridiculous.
King Buzzo: Yeah.
GrungeReport.net: He was almost as heavy as Dale.
Dale Crover: And that Killing Joke record he played on.
King Buzzo: That Killing Joke record was the best thing he’s ever played drums on– by far. I mean, he’s a good drummer, and a very, very mediocre guitar player.
GrungeReport.net: What about the singing though?
King Buzzo: I don’t like it.
Dale Crover: Who? Dave or Chris?
King Buzzo: It’s ookay.
GrungeReport.net: He’s lost a bit of it over the years, but still sounds pretty good.
King Buzzo: His scratchy vocals might be better now [Dale laughs].
King Buzzo: Maybe [laughs]. Might be. (Exit King Buzzo)
GrungeReport.net: It’s too bad you guys didn’t do Philly this tour.
Dale Crover: Yeah, we did PA last night. We were in Allentown. The drive was a little easier from there. Otherwise, the Philly crowd is great. I like the TLA.
GrungeReport.net: Thanks for the interview, Dale. Have a great show, man.
Dale Crover: Thanks.