Houdini (album)

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Studio album by Melvins
Released September 21, 1993
Recorded 1992–1993
Genre Sludge metal, stoner rock, alternative metal
Length 54:50
Label Atlantic
Producer Melvins, Kurt Cobain, GGGarth
Melvins chronology
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

Houdini is the fifth album by the Melvins, released in 1993 on Atlantic Records. The album was the band's major label debut after releasing their previous albums on the independent label Boner Records.

The album features a cover of the 1974 KISS song "Goin' Blind". The songs "Hooch", "Lizzy" and "Honey Bucket" were released as singles with accompanying music videos. "Night Goat" is a partial re-recording of a song the band had released as a single in 1992. Kurt Cobain is given co-production credit alongside the Melvins on six tracks, for guitar on the song "Sky Pup", and percussion on the song "Spread Eagle Beagle". Speaking to Kerrang! in 2008, King Buzzo remembered:

Houdini was the first album we did for Atlantic Records and certainly our biggest selling record, although not so much that I could put a down-payment on a new Rolls or something! It came on the whole tidal wave of Nirvana stuff and I'm sure if it weren't for that we wouldn't have had interest from a major at all. We wanted to do a record that wouldn't alienate our fans, but we wanted to do one that we would like. We also knew we weren’t gonna be dusting off a platinum album any time soon, you know? We did a bunch of sessions with Kurt Cobain [producing], but it got to the point where he was so out of control that we basically fired him and went our separate ways, which is unfortunate, because I think that would have been fun. Obviously that was a little snapshot of what would end up happening and I don't have a whole lot of fond memories of that – it was an absolute tragedy. But still, a lot of people like that record – it's not one of my favourites, but I like a lot of the songs on it.[2]

In 2005, the album was performed live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series. Subsequent performances of the album occurred over the next few years, such as their appearance at the Primavera Sound festival in 2007 and on the bands 25th Anniversary tour in 2009. A specially recorded live performance of the album was released as A Live History of Gluttony and Lust in 2006.

Though the album's liner notes list Lorax as the band's bassist, she does not appear to have played on the album at all. Says Osborne: "This album is mostly just me and Dale Crover. Either I played bass or he did on almost all of it regardless of what the credits say…"[3]

The song "Hooch" is rated as one of the best songs of the decade by Pitchfork Media in the book The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present.[4]

The album's cover art features an illustration of a two-headed puppy by graphic designer Frank Kozik.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by the Melvins unless otherwise noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Hooch"   2:51
2. "Night Goat"   4:41
3. "Lizzy"   4:43
4. "Going Blind" Simmons, Coronel 4:32
5. "Honey Bucket"   3:01
6. "Hag Me"   7:06
7. "Set Me Straight"   2:25
8. "Sky Pup"   3:50
9. "Joan of Arc"   3:36
10. "Teet"   2:51
11. "Copache"   2:07
12. "Pearl Bomb"   2:45
13. "Spread Eagle Beagle"   10:13

Some vinyl copies include a cover of "Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)", originally by the MC5, instead of "Spread Eagle Beagle". A Japanese CD release (catalog# AMCY-625) also contains "Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)" as the 14th track at the end of the disc, coming after "Spread Eagle Beagle".


  • Bill Bartell - bass & lead guitar (4)
  • Billy Anderson - bass (6 & 10); engineer (2-6, 8, & 10-12), mixing (3-6, 10 & 11)
  • Kurt Cobain - guitar (8), additional percussion (13); producer (1, 7-9, 12 & 13), mixing (1 & 7)
  • Al Smith - additional percussion (13); A&R
  • Mike Supple - additional percussion (13)

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Jonathan Burnside - engineer (1, 2, 7-9, 12 & 13)
  • Tom Doty - second engineer (1 & 7)
  • GGGarth Richardson - mixing (3-6, 9, 10 & 13), producer (6 & 10)
  • Joe Marquez - second engineer (3-6, 9, 10 & 13)
  • Wolf Kessler - second engineer (6, 9, 10 & 13)
  • Lou Oribin - engineer (8 & 12)
  • Barrett Jones - engineer & mixing (11)
  • Stephanie Wells - David Lefkowitz Management
  • Elliot Cahn - "Legal Beagle"
  • Jeff Saltzman - "Legal Beagle"
  • Peter Davis - booking
  • Don Lewis - band photo
  • Frank Kozik - art direction, illustration
  • Valerie Wagner - art direction, design
  • Stephen Marcussen - mastering



Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1993 Heatseekers 29


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Kerrang! magazine, issue #1214, June 14, 2008. Treasure Chest. An Intimate Portrait of a Life in Rock. King Buzzo. P.60
  3. ^ "PRIMER: Buzz Osborne Breaks Down 10 Crucial Melvins Records, Including Their Amp-Less Album and the One Kurt Cobain Ruined :: self-titled magazine". Self-titledmag.com. 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  4. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott; Schreiber, Ryan, eds. (November 2008). The Pitchfork 500. Simon & Schuster. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4165-6202-3.