THE MELVINS Love and death

A Walk with Love and Death is the new double album by hard rock Pacific Northwest band Melvins. Melvins first formed in the early 80s, and went on to pioneer the ‘grunge’ sound. Along with Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Tad and Nirvana, Melvins influenced an entire musical genre. They continue to experiment with line-ups and sounds, testing the edges of heavy rock sounds. The new release is a split LP with Love the soundtrack for a forthcoming film by Jesse Niemenen, and Death the ‘normal’ album release by Melvins. Ahead of their double bill with Red Kross at Capitol on Friday, November 3, PAUL DOUGHTY caught up with lead singer and guitarist Buzz Osbourne, aka King Buzzo, to talk about the new album and their visit to Australia.

When you guys tour, you’re capable of being several of different kinds of Melvins including ‘Melvins Lite’, with several ‘Basses Loaded’, the non-stop gigging… So what sort of version of yourself are you bringing to Perth in November?

In Perth it will be the same version of the band that was on the new album, it will be me, Dale Crover who I’ve played with since ‘84 and whose been in the band for 99.9% of the time, and Steve McDonald from Red Kross, who’s on the new album.

And Dale and Steve will be playing with Red Kross, so there’ll be a bit of shape-shifting there?

Yes. That’s true.

And just one drummer this time?

Just one – just back to one.

The new album is really great. When I first got the album all the tracks were scrambled so it sort of spaced me out a bit, but then it was like – “oh these are the Death tracks and this is the soundtrack. Ah ok, now I get it.” I was wondering how was the recording of the soundtrack and the Death album – were they done at the same time?

Yeah they were done at the same time. Some of them we had pieces of before at the start of the record, so we elaborated on those, but most of it’s new. And then we would record some of one record and some of the other record, kind of went back and forth. That’s kind of how it worked, we didn’t work on one and then work on the other one, ya know?

OK, so it’s a true double album…

A true double album – they sound different.

And for the soundtrack itself, did you have the full visuals, or was it just the concepts from the filmmaker?

Yeah it was just an idea, ya know? A little thing. Didn’t have any visuals at all. The visuals… actually, the idea, to do all that stuff came after we finished, well after we were in the middle of the recording. And then we decided it should be a movie. Most of it wasn’t written for a movie, it was the other way around. Backward…

What’s the movie about given the sounds on the recording?

Ah, it’s not done yet. So it’s difficult to say. It’s not done, so when it’s finished… then we’ll know. There’s a trailer – if you look online there’s a trailer for it and that will give you kind of an idea. (It) came up great, should be really cool.

And do you think you’ll do more stuff like this?

Yeah we’d love to do it but takes up a lot of time. But yeah – who knows? I wouldn’t mind. I’m up for the challenge.

So when you’re in Australia will you have a bit of time to see some sights or is it going to be pretty much head down touring as usual?

Well you’re in Perth what do you suggest we look at in Perth?

Oh well there’s a bit of nature here, you’ll be in springtime, so if you have a day or so there’s some bushwalks, you can hit the water, you can go to Rottnest. There’s lots of silly tourist things which you can avoid too.

Snakes. Lots of poisonous snakes though.

Oh yeah – tiger snakes, dugites all pretty venomous. So if you come out on a walk we’ll clear them out of the path so you don’t get bit.

Thank you. I think I would just kill any snake on sight (laughs).

Oh no you can’t do that. Respect the snake! Respect the serpent.

I don’t want to get bitten so… (laughs)

Last question, so because you’re from the Northwest… Twin Peaks Season 3, what do you make of it? Are you watching it or what do you think?

I don’t really watch TV, but I have seen one episode and I think it’s really cool. From what I’ve seen I’ve liked it. Weirder the better as far as I’m concerned. And as far as our movie goes, it’s a lot nearer to that sort of thing so it will definitely have some of that element.