Category: Melvins

Melvins to attempt Guinness World Record on U.S. tour

The Melvins are attempting to break a Guinness World Record for fastest tour of the U.S.: 50 states in 51 days

This post has been corrected, as indicated below.

Los Angeles rock band the Melvins has been one of the hardest-working acts in show business for going on three decades now, and for at least the last two they've been on the road almost annually, touring the U.S. and the world.

In fact, during a world tour last year, they lived through two massive earthquakes in two different countries -- New Zealand and Japan -- one of the more impressive feats for a band whose durable but constantly evolving take on hard rock has earned them a devoted cult following and critical acclaim.

It turns out they were just in training mode for this year's tour, during which the band will attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the fastest tour of the United States. Starting at the Bear Tooth Theatre and Pub in Anchorage, Alaska, on Sept. 5, the Melvins will attempt to perform in all 50 states in 51 days. The tour is to conclude on Oct. 25 in Honolulu, a day after they perform in the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

The band's new album was put out under the moniker Melvins Lite -- a three-piece, rather than four, featuring longtime members Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, with Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn in place of the duo known as Big Business -- and is a departure. Though it has its moments of heaviness, it shows a more experimental, and at times even ethereal, side of the band. 

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Safe in L.A., Buzz Osborne of the Melvins talks surviving two earthquakes during one tour

Melvins Six days removed from a tour marred by two devastating earthquakes — first in New Zealand, then in Japan — Los Angeles' the Melvins are hoping that Mother Nature will steer clear of them for a while. For lead singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne, experiencing three major earthquakes on three continents is enough natural disaster  for one lifetime.

“I’ve got to be in some kind of weird club,” said Osborne, who was also around for the magnitude 6.7 Northridge quake in 1994. “I hope my ticket has been punched on the natural disaster front.”

Friday’s 9.0 earthquake hit Japan during the band’s sound check on the afternoon of its final show in Tokyo with tour-mates High on Fire, Osborne said. After racing off the stage, the band struggled to find an unlocked exit door to get outside. In the melee, drummer Dale Crover fractured and dislocated his left pinky finger on his snare drum hand, a fact he didn’t notice until the band members had reached safety outside the venue.

“He got outside and looked at his hand and said ‘oh my god’ and didn’t even remember doing it. He was in a state of shock,” Osborne said.

Crover ended up walking to a hospital to get X-rays and emergency treatment before the band’s six-hour van ride to the airport to board a turbulent flight back to the States. The band’s March 19 show in Mexico City has been cancelled due to the injury, Osborne said.

It had already been a shaky tour for the Melvins, who’ve been on the road with High on Fire since Feb. 20, when the tour began in Dunedin, New Zealand. A day after they landed in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 21, a 6.3 earthquake slammed the city.

Rattled nerves and bone breaks notwithstanding, the band plans to return to Japan eventually to play another show. For now, Osborne and company are holding off on gigs until late spring, when they embark on U.S. tour from mid-May to early June. Hitting Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Boston, and New York, the band will play two nights in each city with full-album shows, similar to their recent residency shows in L.A. at the Satellite.

-- Nate Jackson

Photo: The Melvins. Credit: The Melvins

First New Zealand, now Japan: The Melvins experience second earthquake in as many months [Updated]

BuzzOsborne 

Amid the natural disaster unfolding in Japan right now are Los Angeles band the Melvins and San Francisco band High on Fire, which are currently in Tokyo and experienced Friday's massive 8.9 earthquake. The Melvins posted on their Facebook page the following message: "Another big earthquake in Tokyo! Melvins' members and crew are fine."

It's been quite a tour for the Melvins, who have been on the road with High on Fire since Feb. 20, when the tour kicked off in Dunedin, New Zealand, for the first of five shows across the country. On Feb. 21, the tour landed in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the next day they were in the airport when a 6.3 earthquake rocked the city. 

"We were at the airport just seconds away from checking our bags when the first big rolling quake hit. If the building would have came down at that point we would have been crushed like dumb chickens," Melvins guitarist and singer Buzz Osborne told Spinner.com. "As soon as that one was over, we grabbed all of our bags and passports and ran for the door. I'm a serious quake coward. [This one] was plenty big, as were the aftershocks. I stayed outside for the next five hours."

The Melvins toured Australia during the end of February, reunited with High on Fire in Japan and gigged in Osaka on Wednesday, followed by Nagoya on Thursday night. The 8.9 earthquake hit at 2:46 p.m. Friday Tokyo time, the afternoon of the bands' show, the final stop of the tour. It's not yet known whether the show took place.

The Melvins' next show is scheduled to be in Mexico City on March 19. The band's spokeswoman told Pop & Hiss this morning that the Melvins were supposed to be leaving Tokyo on Saturday to return to Los Angeles, no doubt relieved to have the tour -- which was bookended by the two earthquakes -- over. Whether they'll be able to is not yet known.

"I don't like earthquakes, or fires, or floods, or tornadoes, or hurricanes, or any natural disaster whatsoever," Osborne told Spinner last month. Here's hoping the band doesn't bring its bad tour vibes back with them.

Pop & Hiss is trying to get the band on the phone. We'll keep you posted.

[Updated, 3:40 p.m.: Buzz Osborne is at the Tokyo airport with intermittent phone and email access. He sent the following statement via his spokesperson: "What are the odds of us being in TWO major earthquakes on TWO continents in about TWO weeks? In the billions?"]

-- Randall Roberts

Photo: Buzz "King Buzzo" Osborne. Credit: Mackie Osborne

King Buzzo talks about the Melvins' January residency at the Satellite

BuzzOsborne 

As Buzz Osborne (a.k.a. King Buzzo) rattles off a list of tours, albums and weird artistic collaborations he's been involved in, it's hard to imagine anything he hasn't done with his band, the Melvins, over their 28 years. Until now, one of those things was an L.A. club residency. 

Starting Jan. 7, the Melvins descend on the club every Friday for a month, melding blistering full-album sets with their newest atonal material. That means two sets per night with no opener. For Osborne, the band's gray, mop-headed commander, the ability to showcase the Melvins'  sprawling discography is something he's been waiting to do for quite a while. 

Pop & Hiss: Since we’re just days into 2011, what’s the Melvins' main goal or resolution for the new year?

Buzz Osborne: The first goal is to actually survive as a band. That’s the first goal, which it is every year. We're just continuing to work and continuing to make music is another. And that encompasses a whole lot of things. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I don’t necessarily trust the outside world and their opinions. So it’s having the faith to be able to thrust yourself forward and make sure that as long as you think it’s good, everyone else will. And if you don’t, there’s nothing you can do about that.

Looking at the residency schedule that you guys have, the show seems to evolve every week. What conscious decisions went into planning the residency at the Satellite (formerly Club Spaceland)?

It’s one of the things I thought might be kind of a cool trend to get into, is this trend of bands playing whole albums. It gets people excited about the bands for one reason or another and it makes people feel like they’re gonna see something they don’t normally see. We’re always looking for something new and weird to do. So a residency for us at a club in L.A. is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

To me, the only way to make that make sense is to have it be a little different [each week]. So this is one way to do it. So we’re gonna do normal Melvins stuff as well as specific records. We’re doing the specific records as normally as we would [laughs] … which is to say not exactly how everything is [on the record].

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