Grunge's Godfathers finally crack the Billboard Top 200
"Grunge is the ring around my bathtub." ~King Buzzo
The problem with achieving fame and fortune overnight is that it comes with a certain set of expectations that often leaves the artists in question scrambling to top their earlier success. Luckily, this has never been a problem for the much-overlooked hardcore musical act known as The Melvins — until now. Launched last month, the band’s latest album, The Bride Screamed Murder, defied the odds and startled the band by claiming the inglorious last spot on the Billboard 200 pop chart.
“It charted on the Billboard charts at 200, but the amount of records sold wasn’t that many — like 3,000, which we joke is about the number we used to give away and send out for reviews,” says Melvins frontman Roger “King Buzzo” Osborne with a chuckle. “It just means that bad things are on the way and you’d better watch out for other plagues, too, because the end of the world must be nigh. But we’ll be OK — we’re like cockroaches and Tupperware.”
The Melvins have certainly absorbed and digested the slings and arrows of an outrageous 25-plus-year career in the music industry, but King Buzzo is anything but jaded, especially when it comes to finding new and interesting material to conquer. Mining its collective experience for new ways to express its groundbreaking metal-meets-punk-meets-hard-rock sound, the band dug deep to carve this 20th studio outing into something out of the ordinary.
“If you watch The Who documentary The Kids Are Alright, there’s a version of ‘My Generation’ that’s not too much different than ours — and that was our inspiration to do it,” Buzzo says of the new album’s standout tribute. “We thought it was odd that they’d do a cover of their own song and do such a different version of it, you know? We were playing that live a couple of years ago on tour and we’d get our two drummers Dale and Coady to sing the song; we thought that’d be something interesting that we hadn’t done before. It came out good, so we decided to use it as the centrepiece of the new album and pretty much came up with the other songs around that.”
Geared up and ready to face another sweltering summer festival season, the Brillo-tressed Buzzo and company are eager to bring their slothcore goodness to Calgary audiences at Sled Island. Slated to take to the Olympic Plaza stage with a roster of sonic giants including Dinosaur Jr., The Bronx, NoMeansNo and Hot Water Music, The Melvins relish the opportunity to kick out the jams and upend the honey bucket.
“That’s it! That’s the cowboy’s outfit!” says King Buzzo; instantly drawing the parallel between The Melvins’ album Nude with Boots and Sled Island’s unofficial Cowtown-on-the-lowdown dress code.
“We haven’t been up to Calgary for a while, so we’re looking forward to it. It’s at the Saddledome right? Our booking agent said we were playing the Saddledome and that it was some kind of rodeo. I hope so, ’cuz we’ve worked out a special set just for the occasion; including ‘Okie From Muskogee’ and ‘Bob Durkee’s a Dick.’”
Originally published in FFWD Magazine July 1, 2010