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

March 11, 2011 | 11:00 am


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