The Melvins Don't Give a Fuck About Chickens
Buzz Osborne Talks Hair Care, Vegetarians, Abortion, and Earthquakes
On the night of May 1, 2011, the band known as the Melvins shot and killed Osama bin Laden. They landed a helicopter in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as part of a Navy Seal strike force, stormed Bin Laden's compound, and band leader/prophet Buzz Osborne raised a guitar-rifle and shot the world's most wanted man above the left eye with a single shot. Osborne then got back in the helicopter, flew the Melvins to California State Prison, Corcoran, in Kings County, and they broke Charles Manson out of jail, just to hunt him down and kill him for sport. Manson was singing a Kris Kristofferson song (horribly) while hiding behind a Jack in the Box Dumpster when Osborne again raised his guitar-rifle and shot him dead with one bullet through the swastika tattoo on his forehead. Why? Because the Melvins are one of the greatest bands the world has ever seen or heard, and they can do whatever they want.
Since 1983, the Melvins have been showing us the heavier, louder, weirder way of rock music. King Buzz Osborne and drummer/vocalist Dale Crover are metal missionaries, founding a proto-punk grunge sound and delivering it to the thicker sands of sludge. Hailing from Montesano, Washington, the Melvins have influenced many, including Tool, Boris, Mastodon, Nirvana, and Lil Wayne. The Melvins constantly progress, never rehashing what they've done before. In 2006, they added Big Business's Jared Warren on bass and Coady Willis as a second drummer. Seeing Crover and Willis play together is a thing of pure, synced beauty. Their dual drumming is a left/right pile-driving metronome, engulfing pinpoint beats and shooting them out of a dual core, Siamese rhino-cannon wood chipper.
The Bride Screamed Murder is the Melvins' 20th studio album, out on Amphetamine Reptile Records. Not surprisingly, there are surprises, such as a sludged-out cover of the Who's "My Generation" and a serenely bizarre version of the Canadian folk song "Peggy Gordon," where a little girl's voice counts off into a section that sounds like a psychedelic serial-murderer soundtrack. The opening song, "The Water Glass," goes from thundering dual drums into a snare-rolling US Airborne call-and-response cadence. Vocal harmonies run throughout, sometimes four deep, as in "Hospital Up." The songs are hard, tight, and complex toy-devil odes. Noisy transitions link songs and, as always with the Melvins, you don't know what will be next.
In a confusing, muddled attempt to criticize the album, Pitchfork says something to the effect of the Melvins are content to stay the course of not staying the course, and that their constant switching of gears isn't a shocker because they're always switching gears: "After all, it's following counterintuitive impulses... that makes this band worth a damn as it proudly trudges into its third decade." The Melvins are worth a damn because they make great rock music. Their sound aims for nothing other than itself. They're loud, they're heavy, and they're strange. And we shouldn't want them any other way. Buzz Osborne spoke from his compound. No Kris Kristofferson songs were sung.
May I call you Lord Buzz? I'm promoting you from "king."
Sure. Why not?
Did you ever see the dot-to-dot of your hair in the Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book?
I did. It's very inventive.
Did you do the dot-to-dot?
I didn't. I already know what my hair looks like.
You do the dot-to-dot every day.
Actually, I don't do anything to it. I let it do what it wants. It's a hairdo, not a hairdon't, depending on how you look at it.
Give us some hairstyling tips. What foods should we eat?
Take a lot of acid and drink a lot of whiskey.
And you meditate three hours a day.
I masturbate three hours a day. Sometimes more.
Do you believe in love?
Sure, why not.
What are your love tips?
When in fear or in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout.
If you were Dan Savage giving sex advice and an 18-year-old wrote to you saying, "Lord Buzz, my girlfriend and I are having problems. All she wants to do is eat bacon and have sex." What would you tell him?
That seems relatively harmless to me.
What if he's a vegetarian, though?
If he's a vegetarian, that's his problem. I mean, how can you not eat meat? I've never understood what they're getting at. Generally speaking, and I love to generalize, it's people who are pro–animal welfare who don't eat meat, but every single one of them is pro-abortion. The way I've always looked at it is if I'm pro-abortion, which I am, how the fuck can I give a shit about a chicken? Those two don't mix. How you can care about a goddamn cow if I'm pro-abortion? Which I am.
And you like to eat chicken.
Yes I do. I care about babies—I don't care about chickens. You have to be really fucking stupid to think about the fair treatment of a fucking chicken if you're not thinking of the fair treatment of a fucking baby. I'll go you one better—I think it should be no-choice. I think you should have to have an abortion.
But what about the continuance of the human race?
What, are we almost out of people?
Talk about the different album art for The Bride Screamed Murder vinyl, where you have 10 different artists doing 10 different versions of artwork. Who were some of the artists?
Tom Hazelmyer, Mackie Osborne, Adam Jones from Tool, me, Dalek, Junko Mizuno, Gary Baseman, Aesthetic Apparatus.
Did you give the artists guidelines or any kind of instruction?
No. I believe in artistic freedom.
Which one is your favorite?
I don't know. The Gary Baseman one is really good. There's something about all of them I like.
They're vanishing quickly, too. Becoming collectibles.
We have about 400 more to make, then it'll be finished, and you'll never see this album again, thank God. I collect all kinds of junk, so I understand the collecting mentality. I like cool, weird stuff. We're doing it all ourselves.
You are a collector. What do you collect?
I like this toy called the Great Garloo from the 1950s. I have a few of them. It's my favorite toy of all time.
What's a Great Garloo?
It looks like a cross between the Jolly Green Giant and the devil. It's from the Marx Toy Company. They didn't make very many of them. They're very hard to find and they're very expensive.
Do you play with them? Like make them have love scenes and stuff? Or lightsaber battles?
I have a few of them sitting around, you know, in a variety of different modes of working.
What's the Melvins' deal with earthquakes? Y'all have been in two now. Christchurch, New Zealand, and then Tokyo, Japan.
I don't know. Bad luck, I guess. I've lived in California for 27 years, so I've been in major earthquakes now in three different parts of the world. How weird is that? That's not normal.
When the quake hit in Tokyo and you felt it, what did you think? Did you think, "This can't be happening again"?
We couldn't believe it. We just panicked. It was a huge earthquake. Where we were in Tokyo, it was a 6.9.
What did you do?
Shit our pants. Tried our best to get the fuck out of the building.
Aren't you supposed to get under a desk, though?
There weren't any desks around. I just wanted out. I don't want to be inside—fuck that. It was a brutal one. Not good.
Now you're going to get struck by lightning three times.
I can't wait. If only.
You're going to have some special things available at these shows at the Crocodile.
Yes. I can't wait. It's going to be a blast. It's a residency tour. The first night, we'll play songs from Lysol, Eggnog, and Houdini, and the second night, we'll do the entire Bullhead and Stoner Witch albums. And we'll have some merchandise available that you can't find anywhere else. Handmade stuff, special packaging of a bunch of different things specific to Seattle.
Will your Great Garloos be available?
No, my Garloos are staying safely at home.