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The Melvins


Buzz Osborne tells SHANE PINNEGAR to expect “a bit of everything” when he brings The Melvins 30th anniversary tour to Metropolis Fremantle on Friday, December 6.

With 23 studio albums to choose material from, Buzz Osborne says “You’re never gonna write a set list to please everyone – so you just write one to please you,” with a laugh.

“We’re doing probably one-third old, two-thirds newer,” he elaborates, “We don’t really have anybody complaining about almost anything we do. By and large everything’s positive – I don’t have any enemies. There might be people who look at us with total indifference, but that’s their loss, not mine! You don’t have to like us, and if you don’t I’m gonna think you’re an idiot – that’s okay.”

The Melvins have variously been described as sludge lords, doom metal, experimental or noise rock, drone or grunge, but Osborne says that creating music is just, “what I do. I don’t find it incredibly difficult to continue to write music,” he goes on to explain. “I mean, some if it is better than others, you don’t always hit a home run, but nobody ever does. That’s okay – if you end up trying something and not liking it, you just write some new stuff.

“I think it’s kind’ve just part of the deal. I don’t have a problem with that – a lot of bands do and I’ve never understood it. I’ve never had writer’s block, where I can’t think of anything to write.”

The big haired guitarist/vocalist was a school friend of Kurt Cobain and is cited by the likes of Mastodon, Tool, Isis and EyeHateGod as a primary influence. Osborne remains nonchalant but respectful in the face of such praise.

“Well if parts of what we do moves people to some degree,” he says plainly, “I’m happy about that. But I’m very much a ‘what have you done lately’ type of person – I want to mentally do new things, to take on a challenge – we’ve always done that, weird albums with different line-ups. I think we operate the band like we would want other bands to operate because we’re music fans first and foremost.

“Ahhh, well, we’re a lot better live than we were!” he laughs when asked how the band’s live performances have changed over 30 years. “It’s reverse entropy, that’s what it is! So it only gets better!”

Is he an eccentric genius?

“Am I an eccentric genius?” he repeats, bemused at the perception. “Well, you know… I would say I’m definitely eccentric, but compared to what? I don’t disagree with that. Genius? Well I dunno, once again, compared to what? I like to think I have good taste and I make good music. I like what I do, I stand behind it and I think other people should like it.

“I’m not trying to be part of an exclusive club. I’m way too much of a Groucho Marxist – meaning that I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. If they did, I would feel weird ‘cos I’ve never been a joiner-inner, you know?”

The Melvins play Metropolis Fremantle on Friday, December 6.

Get your tickets here.

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