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

March 17, 2011 |  7:59 am

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