Buzz Osborne

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Buzz Osborne
Osborne performing with the Melvins in 2006
Osborne performing with the Melvins in 2006
Background information
Birth nameRoger Osborne
Also known asKing Buzzo
Born (1964-03-25) March 25, 1964 (age 57)
Morton, Washington, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • producer
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1983–present
Labels
Associated acts

Roger "Buzz" Osborne (born March 25, 1964),[4] also known as King Buzzo, is an American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. He is a founding member of the Melvins, as well as Fantômas and Venomous Concept.

Biography[edit]

Born in Morton, Washington, Osborne is of English, Italian and Jewish descent.[5] He moved to Montesano, Washington at the age of 12.[6] He first started listening to the music of Aerosmith and Ted Nugent, then became greatly interested in punk rock after a few years.[7] In the early 1980s Osborne founded the Melvins with Matt Lukin and Mike Dillard who all attended Montesano High School (Wheeler Building) where he graduated in 1982. The Melvins began playing fast hardcore punk after Osborne was introduced to bands such as Black Flag, Flipper, and MDC by a friend from out of state. When Dillard left the band in 1984, Dale Crover was recruited, and the band's rehearsals moved to a back room of Crover's parents' house in Aberdeen, Washington. They began to play slower and "heavier" songs.

In 1986, the band released their Six Songs EP on C/Z Records (later re-released as Eight Songs, 10 Songs and as 26 Songs in 2003 on Ipecac Recordings) that was recorded live to a two track at Ironwood, February 8, 1986. In October 1986 they recorded their first full album, Gluey Porch Treatments, at Studio D in Sausalito, California, which was released in 1987 on Alchemy Records (and later re-released as a bonus on the CD version of their second album Ozma on Boner Records and in 1999 on Ipecac Recordings with some garage demos).

In 1988, Osborne, with Crover, relocated to San Francisco where the band recorded their next album, Ozma, in May 1989. It was released later that year.

Osborne, along with the rest of the Melvins, knew the members of Nirvana. When Dave Grohl's previous band, Scream, disbanded, he approached Osborne for advice. Osborne, in response, introduced Grohl to Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic.

In 1997, Osborne appeared in the promo video for The Offspring's video "All I Want", as a masked pianist. Osborne also appears in the 1994 video for the Beck song "Beercan" which samples the Melvins' song "Hogleg".

Osborne joined Tool onstage during their tour for Ænima. The Melvins also opened for Tool on the tour. In 1998, Osborne joined a new band known as Fantômas with Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, a band which he remains involved with to the present day.

Fantômas' latest studio album release is 2005's Suspended Animation. That concept album focused on the theme of holidays, featuring a frenetic punk rock sound. A commercial success, the album hit the No. 7 spot on Billboard's 'Top Heatseekers' chart and #12 on its 'Top Independent Albums' chart.[8]

In 2014, Osborne announced his first solo acoustic tour along with a 10" EP entitled "This Machine Kills Artists" and an album to follow in June on Ipecac Recordings.

Osborne makes a cameo in the 2014 video game Sunset Overdrive as himself, and performs a song for the soundtrack.[9]

In 2017 he played as part of Crystal Fairy with Teri Gender Bender, Dale Crover and Omar Rodríguez-López.[10] In that same year, he also co produced the full length album Orenda by Arizona based psychedelic progressive band With Our Arms to the Sun.

Artistry[edit]

Influences[edit]

Osbourne telling a story about Iggy Pop in 2014

Osborne has remarked, "From a very early age I was interested in underground music. I never appreciated the big stadium shows in the first place—I cut my milk teeth musically on smaller shows. A much more intimate basis. That's the lessons I learned from punk rock that I never forgot. That extends to today." As referred to before, he had a very wide set of musical influences since his childhood, ranging from arena rock to glam rock to punk to power pop and more. Osborne has called himself a lifelong "musical anthropologist" and stated that "since I never grew up around people who gave me any indication of how one was supposed to act, I was equally excited seeing the Kinks as I would be by seeing a punk rock band. Or Cheap Trick." In terms of hip hop music, he has stated that his favorite rap album is Run-D.M.C.'s Raising Hell.[11]

Legacy and praise[edit]

[Osborne] has more music in his little finger than we all have in our entire bodies.

Mike Patton, 2004[12]

From their earlier slow metal style, the Melvins have been attributed with providing the framework for what would become the grunge, sludge metal[13] and drone doom genres.[14] Buzz Osborne's seminal influence on grunge have sometimes led him (and his band) to be dubbed as the "Godfather of grunge".[15][16][17][18][19]

Labelled as an "icon of the alt-metal world",[20] Osborne has been named a key influence by guitarists such as Kurt Cobain (Nirvana),[21] Adam Jones (Tool),[22] Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters),[23] Kim Thayil (Soundgarden),[24] Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher (Mastodon),[25][26] Matt Pike (Sleep),[27] Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O),[28][29] Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod),[30] Hank Williams III[31] and Nate Garrett (Spirit Adrift).[32] Adam Jones said that Osborne possesses the two most important qualities for any guitarist, i.e. "attitude and discipline", and compared his artistry with King Crimson co-founder Robert Fripp. Jones added: "Where I do more of a shoe-gazer thing onstage, Buzz will microwave a crowd."[22] Scott Kelly of Neurosis stated that Osborne's non-cyclical approach to riffs was a massive influence on his band, wherein he plays a section once or at most twice in a song without repeating it again.[33] Kim Thayil cited that same aspect as highly inspirational,[34] in addition to Osborne's drop D tuning and slower compositions.[24] Dylan Carlson, leader of the drone metal band Earth, has constantly cited Osborne's personal advice as a guide for his career path.[35][36][37] The bands Earth and Sunn O))), which were heavily influenced by Melvins' slower pieces, based their amplifier choices on those of Osborne,[38][39] as did Clutch as well.[40]

After Corrosion of Conformity original singer Mike Dean left the band in 1987, they contacted Osborne to join in.[41]

Emma Ruth Rundle called him "a worthy hero in all regards and a very genuine man."[42]

Reaction to grunge's influence[edit]

Although the Melvins had a massive influence on the "Seattle sound", Osborne has constantly expressed negativity toward that scene.[43] He has denounced what he calls the romanticization of it, which he instead describes as a "horrendous nightmare"; Osborne was a childhood friend of Kurt Cobain and remained close to Chris Cornell of Soundgarden until both singers committed suicide following their struggles with drug addiction.[44] At the time, Osborne and his Melvins bandmates also used drugs, including toluene,[45] but by 2014 he had been around twenty years sober.[46] In a 2018 interview, asked if his feelings about that period changed after the deaths of Cobain and Cornell, Osborne replied:

It's totally tainted. Absolutely. I'll never get over that stuff, ever. I think it's hard to people to imagine that [he doesn't agree that] things like that can just happen and you just move on, "it's ok." ... It's a horrible, horrendous nightmare, ending in tragedy and I honestly I wish none of it would have ever happened and [they] would be still alive. That'd be a lot better, a much better ending. ... I'm not much in denial with my own emotions. I pretty much say whatever I think, ... And if people want to look at that with some kind of nostalgia, good old days type of thing, I just don't see how suicide and heroin addiction are romantic in any way. ...[44]

Personal life and beliefs[edit]

Osborne performing in San Francisco in 2010

Osborne has been married to graphic designer Mackie Osborne since 1993.[47] They are dog owners, having kept several rescued dogs.[48] The couple decided not to have children.[49] Osborne does not believe rock musicians should make political statements and that people "should look for higher sources than entertainers for their political beliefs".[50] He is an avid golf fan and player.[51]

Osborne does not drink or use other recreational drugs.[52]

Political and social views[edit]

In a 2011 interview with the music magazine L.A. Record, Osborne stated when asked about American politics that "I hate conservatives, but I really hate liberals. Here's the thing. I have my own opinions about everything, and it's basically classic liberalism."[11] In 2008, he told the magazine Alarm that he opposes what he sees as both modern socialist and fascist thought, stating that he's "into true liberalism, which means you mind your own goddamn business; you take care of yourself."[13] In a 2014 interview with Tonedeaf, Osborne expressed that American economist, Thomas Sowell, has been a major influence on his career. "I consider Sowell the greatest philosopher of all time." Osborne explained. "He is a PhD economist and he's written more than 30 books about everything you can imagine, from social commentary to how economics works."[53]

In a 2008 interview with City Newspaper of Rochester, when asked about his collaboration with Jello Biafra on two albums, Osborne stated that "I don't relate at all to his politics. I believe in personal freedom, personal responsibility. And nobody tells you what to do more than the left wing. They're a bunch of fascists."[54]

In terms of issues covering copyright and illegal file-sharing of songs, Osborne's remarked, "The internet downloading—people need to get over it". He's also added, "Is it stealing? Sure, yeah—but it doesn't matter. It's over. Things have changed. We have to move on."[13] In an earlier interview, he argued, "For me musically, I wish I woulda had something like YouTube when I was a kid so I could go, 'Oh, what's this Captain Beefheart?'"[11]

Musical equipment[edit]

Osborne primarily used Gibson Les Paul guitars from the 1960s and 1970s played through BOSS effect pedals and variety of vintage amplifiers and cabinets.[55]

Discography[edit]

Solo King Buzzo albums
Release date Title Label Catalogue number
June 3, 2014 This Machine Kills Artists (as King Buzzo) Ipecac Recordings IPC-159
March 13, 2020 Six Pack (as King Buzzo) Amphetamine Reptile Records AMREP 133
The Melvins albums
Release date Title Label Catalogue number
1986 Six Songs C/Z Records CZ002
1987 Gluey Porch Treatments Alchemy Records VM103
1989 Ozma Boner Records BR16-2
1991 Your Choice Live Series Vol.12 Your Choice Records YC-LS 012
1991 Bullhead Boner Records BR25-2
1991 Eggnog BR28-2
1992 Salad of a Thousand Delights Box Dog Video BDV002
1992 King Buzzo Boner Records BR32-2
1992 Lysol (aka Melvins) BR35-2
September 21, 1993 Houdini Atlantic Records 82532-2
August 5, 1994 Prick Amphetamine Reptile Records AmRep 031
October 18, 1994 Stoner Witch Atlantic Records 82704-2
July 15, 1996 Stag 82878-2
May 5, 1997 Honky Amphetamine Reptile Records AmRep 064-2
August 26, 1997 Singles 1–12 AmRep 063
1998 Alive at the Fucker Club AmRep 072
May 17, 1999 The Maggot Ipecac Recordings IPC-002
August 23, 1999 The Bootlicker IPC-004
February 7, 2000 The Crybaby IPC-006
November 27, 2000 Gluey Porch Treatments IPC-012
February 6, 2001 Electroretard Man's Ruin Records MR2002
April 16, 2001 Colossus of Destiny Ipecac Recordings IPC-014
April 1, 2002 Millennium Monsterwork 2000 with Fantômas IPC-019
April 15, 2002 Hostile Ambient Takeover IPC-020
March 11, 2003 26 Songs IPC-038
September 16, 2003 Melvinmania: The Best Of The Atlantic Years 1993–1996 Atlantic Records 5050466574428
March 9, 2004 Neither Here Nor There Ipecac Recordings IPC-047
August 23, 2004 Pigs of the Roman Empire with Lustmord IPC-054
October 19, 2004 Never Breathe What You Can't See with Jello Biafra Alternative Tentacles Virus300
May 31, 2005 Mangled Demos from 1983 Ipecac Recordings IPC-063
September 26, 2005 Sieg Howdy! with Jello Biafra Alternative Tentacles Virus350
May 16, 2006 A Live History of Gluttony and Lust
Houdini Live 2005
Ipecac Recordings IPC-076
October 10, 2006 (A) Senile Animal Ipecac Recordings IPC-082
2008 Melvins vs. Minneapolis Amphetamine Reptile Records/Burlesque of North America Records
July 8, 2008 Nude With Boots Ipecac Recordings IPC-105
June 1, 2010 The Bride Screamed Murder IPC-112
March 13, 2012 The Bulls & The Bees Scion A/V SA/V 18-12
June 5, 2012 Freak Puke Ipecac Recordings IPC-136
April 30, 2013 Everybody Loves Sausages IPC-144
November 5, 2013 Tres Cabrones IPC-150
October 14, 2014 Hold It In IPC-164
April 1, 2016 Three Men and a Baby with Mike Kunka Sub Pop SP 1147
June 3, 2016 Basses Loaded Ipecac Recordings IPC-178
July 7, 2017 A Walk with Love & Death IPC-195
April 20, 2018 Pinkus Abortion Technician IPC-201
February 26, 2021 Working with God
Fantômas albums
Release date Title Label Catalogue number
April 26, 1999 Fantômas (aka 'Amenaza Al Mundo') Ipecac Recordings IPC-001
July 9, 2001 The Director's Cut IPC-017
April 1, 2002 Millennium Monsterwork 2000 IPC-019
January 27, 2004 Delìrium Còrdia IPC-045
April 5, 2005 (Limited Edition)
June 14, 2005
Suspended Animation IPC-062 (Limited Edition)
IPC-065
Venomous Concept albums
Release date Title Label Catalogue number
June 29, 2004 Retroactive Abortion Ipecac Recordings IPC-051
Guest appearances by Osbourne
Release date Title Label Catalogue number
1998 Cows: Sorry in Pig Minor Amphetamine Reptile Records Producer
1999 Goatsnake: Goatsnake Vol. 1 Southern Lord Records Producer and mixing on Dog Catcher
December 12, 2000 Tool: Salival Volcano II Second guitar on You Lied
September 18, 2001 Tweaker: The Attraction to All Things Uncertain Waxploitation co-wrote/guitar on Swamp
2004 Various Artists: Spin the Bottle: An All-Star Tribute to Kiss Koch Records Vocals on God of Thunder
2007 Lustmord : Juggernaut Hydra Head Guitar and vocals
2008 Lustmord: O T H E R Guitar on Prime [Aversion]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]