The Melvins live in October 2006. Left to right: Buzz Osborne, Coady Willis, Dale Crover (behind drum kit) and Jared Warren.
|Origin||Montesano, Washington, United States|
The Melvins are an American rock band that formed in 1983 in Montesano, Washington. They have mostly performed as a trio, as well as a quartet with two drummers in recent years. Since 1984, vocalist and guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover have been constant members. The band was named after a supervisor at a Thriftway in Montesano, Washington, where Osborne also worked as a clerk. "Melvin" was despised by other employees, and the band's members felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name. Their early work was key to the development of both grunge and sludge metal.
- 1 History
- 2 Musical style and influence
- 3 Legacy
- 4 Members
- 5 Discography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early years (1983–1987)
The Melvins were formed in early 1983 by Buzz Osborne (guitar, vocals), Matt Lukin (bass) and Mike Dillard (drums) who all went to Montesano Jr./Sr. High School in Montesano, Washington. In the beginning they played Cream and Jimi Hendrix covers, and also began playing fast hardcore punk. When Dillard left the band, Dale Crover took his place, and the band's rehearsals moved to a back room of Crover's parents' house in Aberdeen, Washington. Soon afterward, they started to play songs slower and "heavier" than nearly anyone else at the time.
In 1985, C/Z Records was created to document the Washington music scene, the label released Deep Six, featuring four songs by the Melvins. In 1986 the band released their debut, the Six Songs EP, on C/Z Records (later releases expanded and retitled this as 8 Songs, 10 Songs, and eventually 26 Songs in 2003 on Ipecac Recordings). The album was recorded live to a two track at the now closed Ironwood Studio in Seattle on February 8, 1986.
In December 1986, they recorded their first full-length album, Gluey Porch Treatments, at Studio D in Sausalito, California. The album was released in 1987 on Alchemy Records. Gluey Porch Treatments was later coupled with their second album Ozma for the Boner Records CD release. It was expanded again for the 1999 re-release on Ipecac Recordings with some garage demos.
Boner Records era (1988–1992)
Crover played drums with Nirvana when they recorded a ten-song demo on January 23, 1988 in Seattle, which later formed part of their debut LP Bleach, and played a live show in Tacoma later that year. Osborne would later introduce Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic to Dave Grohl. Later that year Osborne and Crover relocated to San Francisco, California. Lukin stayed and formed the band Mudhoney. Lori "Lorax" Black (daughter of Shirley Temple) replaced Lukin on bass. The band recorded Ozma in May 1989, and released it later that year. The album was produced by Mark Deutrom, who later joined the band on bass.
In 1990, the band recorded Bullhead, which marked a slower, more drone music style for the band. The band then toured Europe; their show of January 23, 1991 in Alzey, Germany was released by Your Choice Records as Your Choice Live Series Vol.12. When they returned to the U.S., they recorded the Eggnog EP, which was released the same year on Boner Records.
Lorax left the band, and was replaced by Joe Preston. Preston appears on the Salad of a Thousand Delights (1992, Box Dog Video). The Melvins then released three "solo" EPs, following the concept and imitating the cover artwork inspired by the four Kiss members' solo albums released in 1978. King Buzzo, Dale Crover, and Joe Preston were all released in 1992 on Boner Records. Later in 1992, they released the full-length album, Lysol, which had to be renamed Melvins because Lysol was a trademarked name. Preston departed from the band, and Lorax briefly rejoined.
Atlantic Records era (1993–1997)
When Nirvana's Nevermind became a massive and unexpected success, the Melvins were one of many groups to benefit from Nirvana's support. They were signed by Atlantic Records, and their first major label release, 1993's Houdini, entered the Billboard Heatseekers chart at 29. Mark Deutrom replaced Lorax on bass shortly after the album's release, as she was facing trial for drug possession and was struggling with heroin addiction. Gene Simmons of Kiss played bass with the Melvins in 1993 in a concert with Primus, on the song "Goin' Blind", a Kiss song that the Melvins had covered on Houdini.
The Melvins released their second album for Atlantic in 1994, Stoner Witch. Due to its experimental nature, the Melvins took their next album, Prick, to Amphetamine Reptile Records. Record label conflicts prevented the band from releasing any records under the name "Melvins", so the album was released with the band name written in mirror. They returned to Atlantic one last time for 1996's Stag, which entered the Heatseekers chart at number 33. The band was dropped by Atlantic Records in 1997 after three albums.
Switching labels and continued experimentation (1997–2004)
The band signed with Amphetamine Reptile Records and released their next full-length album, Honky, in 1997. They recorded an August 1997 concert in Richmond, Melbourne, Australia as Alive at the F*ckerclub in 1998. The same year, the Melvins opened for Tool. (A humorous picture on the Tool website depicts the Melvins along with the words "Melvins say...Tool Sux!" spelled out in lunch meat. The photo was taken while on tour with Tool in 2002 in Australia.) In 1998, the Melvins played the second stage at Ozzfest.
1999 saw the beginning of a partnership with Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings, which began remastering and reissuing much of the band's back catalog. The band also released three full-length albums dubbed (and later packaged together as) The Trilogy: The Maggot, The Bootlicker, and The Crybaby. The latter featured a number of guest vocalists and musicians. Kevin Rutmanis, formerly of The Cows, was bassist during this era.
In 2001, the band returned to their experimental tendencies for Colossus of Destiny, a live set of synthesizer and sampler experiments presented as two tracks (one clocking in at 59:23 and the other at five seconds). The album was described approvingly by one critic as "more like avant-garde electro-acoustic than anything else."
In 2003 Atlantic Records (UK) released Melvinmania: The Best of the Atlantic Years 1993–1996, a compilation of recycled tracks from the band's three major label releases. This release was unsanctioned by the band who had no input into the track selection or (occasionally inaccurate) liner notes.
In 2004, Osborne and Crover toured to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, and also released an art book Neither Here Nor There. The book is a collection of art by creators of their cover art as well as friends of the band, and also contained retrospectives on the past twenty years of the Melvins. The book included a CD with selected tracks from their albums.
Later period and collaboration albums (2004–2010)
In 2004, the Melvins collaborated with ambient artist Lustmord for Pigs of the Roman Empire and with Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra for Never Breathe What You Can't See and Sieg Howdy! released in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Never Breathe What You Can't See was supported by a mini-tour with Jello Biafra and Adam Jones from Tool. A planned European tour was canceled in early October 2004 reportedly due to unknown complications involving Rutmanis. Following the tour cancellation, the Melvins finished the year playing a few shows with David Scott Stone supporting the work of filmmaker Cameron Jamie in Europe and the United States.
When asked about Rutmanis and the canceled portion of the tour Osborne and Crover stated that Rutmanis had "disappeared". Fans feared that Rutmanis had departed like so many bassists before him; however, Rutmanis returned temporarily in early 2005. In June 2005, Rutmanis officially left the band with drug abuse rumored as the major cause. When the Melvins toured with Jello Biafra in October and November 2005, David Scott Stone filled in on bass. However, in more recent years, Rutmanis has reconciled with his former bandmates, appearing on their 2013 album, Everybody Loves Sausages and a 2014 7" single.
In early 2006, Crover confirmed rumors of the members of the band Big Business joining the Melvins. Commenting on adding another drummer, Crover said this about Big Business drummer Coady Willis: "He's left-handed, so we want to do this 'mirror image' type of thing. We've kind of fused our two drum sets together, and we're going to try and do some crazy thing with it. We're sharing these big toms in between us."
The band toured the U.S. in the fall of 2006 in support of their album, (A) Senile Animal. The Melvins also toured briefly the United Kingdom in mid-December 2006. Two new songs entitled "Suicide in Progress" and "Billy Fish" were played during the 2007 tour, and appear on their next album Nude With Boots.
On June 16 and 17, 2008, a lineup of Osborne, original drummer Mike Dillard, and Dale Crover (playing bass) played two shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in honor of Jello Biafra's 50th birthday. Both sets were composed of songs from The Mangled Demos, a collection of early material released on the Alternative Tentacles record label in 2005.
In July 2008, their new album entitled Nude with Boots was released. In December 2008, along with Mike Patton, the Melvins co-curated an edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas festival. They chose half of the lineup and also performed themselves.
The long rumored (since 2003) remix CD Chicken Switch was released on September 29, 2009 via Ipecac Recordings. Unlike usual remix CDs where the remixer is given a single track to work with, for Chicken Switch each remixer was given a full album to work with and pull from to create their track. The Melvins joined with New Orleans' super group Down and Weedeater for a North American tour in the summer and fall of 2009. The Melvins released their follow up to Nude with Boots, entitled The Bride Screamed Murder, on June 1, 2010.
Melvins Lite, reunion with Mike Dillard and more albums (2011–present)
The Melvins started 2011 with a series of unique shows. Four of the shows were every Friday at Spaceland's in California. January 7 featured the current line-up playing Colossus of Destiny, Lysol, and Eggnog. Jan 14 featured a Melvins 1983 set followed by the band playing Houdini. Jan 21 featured a two-piece Melvins set followed by the current lineup playing Bullhead. Jan 28 featured the band playing a normal set followed by Stoner Witch.
In early 2011 they had the unfortunate distinction of being on tour first in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake then in Tokyo, Japan at the time of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. They supported Slayer at the All Tomorrow's Parties 'I'll Be Your Mirror' festival at Alexandra Palace, London in May 2012. The Melvins also formed a lineup called Melvins Lite (Buzz, Dale, and Trevor Dunn) that toured through parts of 2011. This line-up released an album entitled Freak Puke on June 15, 2012 on Ipecac Recordings. The main four-piece lineup remains active as well and released a digital EP, The Bulls and the Bees, in March on Scion a/v.
In 2012, the Melvins Lite completed a record-breaking  tour, having performed every night for 51 straight days, once in each of the 50 United States and once in the District of Columbia. The tour started on September 5 in Anchorage, Alaska and ended in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 25, 2012.
In 2013, the Melvins marked 30 years as a band with an extensive summer tour supported by Honky, Die Kreuzen and Negative Approach. Grunge pioneers Mudhoney also joined the band for two shows on the 30th anniversary tour.
The Melvins were featured on the 2013, Joyful Noise Recordings flexi-series. On August 5, 2013, the Melvins announced a new album, Tres Cabrones, featuring their "Melvins 1983" lineup with Osborne and Crover joined by the band's original drummer, Mike Dillard. Crover replaced Dillard in 1984 and plays bass on the album. Tres Cabrones was released on November 5, 2013 on the band's longtime label Ipecac.
On July 31, 2014, the band announced the album, Hold It In, with a release date of October 14, 2014. The lineup for this album was Osborne and Crover joined by Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus of the Butthole Surfers. Pinkus had joined the band the previous year as a touring bassist, filling in for current member Jared Warren.
On September 10, 2015, the band announced they would finally be releasing their collaboration with godheadSilo's Mike Kunka, Three Men and a Baby, on April 1, 2016 through Sub Pop. The album, started in 1999 and shelved, was recently finished. Another album, Basses Loaded, was released on June 3, 2016, which features a rotating cast of bass players including regulars Dale Crover, Jared Warren, Jeff Pinkus and Trevor Dunn as well as Steven McDonald (of Redd Kross), and Krist Novoselic (of Nirvana).
On December 19, 2016, the Melvins announced on their Facebook page that they were in the studio recording new material.
On July 7, 2017, the band released the double album A Walk with Love & Death. One of the discs, Love, is a 14 song soundtrack to a short film of the same name, by Jesse Nieminen. The other disc, Death, is made up of standard Melvins songs.
Musical style and influence
Generally considered as a sludge metal, grunge, experimental rock, alternative metal and doom metal band, Melvins explored a variety of different styles throughout its career, including noise rock, dark ambient, noise, jazz-rock, avant-garde music, electroacoustic music and punk country. Initially starting out as a hardcore punk act, their sound eventually started to absorb influences by Black Flag's mix of punk and metal on their My War and Slip It In albums, the Butthole Surfers, slow punk acts like Flipper and the Wipers, and also by hard rock and metal bands such as Kiss and Alice Cooper. Buzzo has stated that his guitar playing is more influenced by Black Flag than Black Sabbath, with whom they are often compared.
Melvins' sludgy sound was a strong influence on grunge music, especially Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green River, and many other bands from Seattle. These bands, however, tended to use more conventional musical structures with this sound. The Melvins have also influenced many artists outside the grunge scene, including Tool and Mike Patton of Faith No More (both of whom are friends with the band), Boris (who took their name from the title of a Melvins song), Pig Destroyer, Helmet, Full of Hell, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Earth, Sunn O))), Mastodon, Neurosis, Eyehategod and Isis. AllMusic wrote "their ability to combine punk with a strong Black Sabbath influence had a major impact on everything from grunge to alternative metal to doom metal and stoner rock." In 2017, Metal Injection ranked The Melvins at number 2 on their list of "10 Heaviest Grunge Bands".
- Current members
- Buzz Osborne – lead vocals, guitars (1983–present)
- Dale Crover – drums, percussion, vocals (1984–present); bass guitar (2008–present, with Melvins 1983)
- Steven Shane McDonald – bass guitar, vocals (2015–present)
- Current alternating members
- Mike Dillard – drums (1983–1984; 2008–present, with Melvins 1983)
- Trevor Dunn – bass guitar (2005, 2007, 2009; touring only); upright bass, vocals (2011–present, with Melvins Lite)
- Jeff Pinkus – bass guitar, vocals (2013–present)
- Former members
- Matt Lukin – bass guitar (1983–1987)
- Lori "Lorax" Black – bass guitar (1987–1991, 1992–1993)
- Joe Preston – bass guitar, vocals (1991–1992)
- Mark Deutrom – bass guitar, guitars (1993–1998)
- Kevin Rutmanis – bass guitar (1998–2005)
- Jared Warren – bass guitar, vocals (2006–2015)
- Coady Willis – drums, vocals (2006–2015)
- Touring members
- Tom Flynn – bass guitar (1990)
- Dave Sahijdak – bass guitar (1993)
- Billy Anderson – bass guitar (1993)
- David Scott Stone – guitars (2000–2001), bass guitar (2004–2006)
|1986||Melvins (EP, aka "Six Songs")||C/Z Records|
|1987||Gluey Porch Treatments||Alchemy Records|
|1994||Prick||Amphetamine Reptile Records|
|Stoner Witch||Atlantic Records|
|1997||Honky||Amphetamine Reptile Records|
|1999||The Maggot||Ipecac Recordings|
|2002||Hostile Ambient Takeover|
|2004||Pigs of the Roman Empire (with Lustmord)|
|Never Breathe What You Can't See (with Jello Biafra)||Alternative Tentacles|
|2005||Sieg Howdy! (with Jello Biafra)|
|2006||(A) Senile Animal||Ipecac Recordings|
|2008||Nude with Boots|
|2010||The Bride Screamed Murder|
|2012||The Bulls & the Bees (EP)||Scion A/V|
|Freak Puke (Melvins Lite)||Ipecac Recordings|
|2013||Tres Cabrones (Melvins 1983)|
|2014||Hold It In|
|2016||Three Men and a Baby (with Mike Kunka)||Sub Pop|
|Basses Loaded||Ipecac Recordings|
|2017||A Walk with Love & Death|
- "The Melvins' King Buzzo Lays Down the Rules on Guitar Playing, "Hot Topic" Punk, and What You Ought to Know About Music". Gibson.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "Melvins Buzz Osborne - Wikipedia Fact Or Fiction". youtube.com. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Sludge Special". Terrorizer. No. 187. August 2009. p. 44. ISSN 1350-6978.
- Azerrad, Michael. Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday, 1994. ISBN 0-385-47199-8
- "Melvins – Mangled Demos From 1983". Punknews.org. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "Seattle Weekly: Krist Novoselic: We All Owe Something to The Melvins". Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Taylor, Lewis (May 17, 2002). "Melvins blazing new trails". The Register-Guard: 5–6. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
- Collman, Ashley (February 26, 2014). "Shirley Temple helped daughter Lori Black get sober from heroin". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- "The Melvins "Bassist Morgue"". Themelvins.net. October 17, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "Melvins photo on the Tool website". Toolband.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Schulte, Tom. "The Colossus of Destiny - Melvins". AllMusic. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
- "Blabbermouth article on the release of ''(A) Senile Animal''". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on December 23, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "Biafra Five–O". Alternative Tentacles. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
- "Mangled Demos from 1983". AllMusic. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
- "MELVINS To Release 'The Bride Screamed Murder' In June". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "First New Zealand, now Japan: The Melvins experience second earthquake in as many months [Updated] - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. March 11, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "I'll Be Your Mirror London 2012 curated by Mogwai & ATP - All Tomorrow's Parties". Atpfestival.com. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- Wise, Lauren. "The Melvins' Buzz Osborne: "I Could Care Less About Legacy"". Phoenix New Times. Kurtis Barton. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
- "Melvins Attempt Guinness World Record: Play 51 Dates in All 50 States". Spin. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
- "Melvins Lite finish world record attempt in Hawaii". Honolulu Pulse. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
- "Ipecac Recordings Releases extras". April 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
- "Melvins 'Everybody Loves Sausages'". The Sleeping Shaman. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
- "The Melvins Unveil 'Everybody Loves Sausages' Covers Album". Loudwire. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
- "Melvins announce 30th anniversary tour". Consequence Of Sound. April 25, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
- "2013 Flexi-Disc Series". Joyful Noise Recordings. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- "The Melvins To Release 'Hold It In' In October". Blabbermouth.net. July 31, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- "Melvins Recruit Krist Novoselic for New Album, Blast Dave Grohl for Blowing Them Off". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Melvins to release Mike and the Melvins and Basses Loaded, interview Protonic Reversal". Radioneutron.com. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- "Melvins In The Studio". theprp.com. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
- Coughlan, Jamie (July 3, 2017). "The Melvins Podcast | Creative Process Podcast | Overblown". Overblown. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- Coplan, Michele (September 24, 2014). "Melvins-Butthole Surfers supergroup release new song "Sesame Street Meat" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- "The Melvins '51 States in 51 Days' Tour Diary, Day 51: Buzzo's Epilogue and Van Thoughts". Spin. November 6, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- "The Melvins' U.S. Tour May Not Be Record-Breaking After All". exclaim.ca. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "The Melvins' Power Disinfectant". Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Melvins - Biography, Albums, Streaming Links - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Grunge pioneers the Melvins play 2 nights at the Crocodile". May 12, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "10 Best Grunge Bands of All Time". Loudwire. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Melvins to Release Long-Lost Collaboration with Mike Kunka via Sub Pop". exclaim.ca. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Melvins: Tres Cabrones". November 8, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "The Melvins : Hold It In". www.treblezine.com. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "The Quietus - Features - Escape Velocity -". Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "The Melvins Release New Song "What's Wrong with You" - mxdwn.com". music.mxdwn.com. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "The Melvins playing the Stone Pony in Asbury Park". Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "The 10 essential alt-metal albums". December 14, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Jello Biafra / Melvins: Never Breathe What You Can't See Album Review - Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "The Melvins on Exclaim! TV Aggressive Tendencies". exclaim.ca. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Earles, Andrew. Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981-1996. Voyageur. pp. 191–193. ISBN 0760346488.
- "Melvins, 'Christ Hammer' - Exclusive Song Premiere". Loudwire. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Wise, Lauren (July 11, 2013). "The Melvins' Buzz Osborne: "I Could Care Less About Legacy"". Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Melvins: Mangled Demos From 1983 Album Review - Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Buzz Osborne's guide to the greatest Melvins albums ever made". June 28, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Tool interview in Alternative Press from March 1997". Toolshed.down.net. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- ngd138 (April 4, 2013). "Mike Patton guest programming "RAGE" (Intro segments) - March 2013 [Australia]". Retrieved November 27, 2017 – via YouTube.
- York, William. "Boris". AllMusic. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- "Decibel Magazine". February 9, 2008. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Helmet's Page Hamilton Breaks Down 'Betty' Track by Track". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
- "Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) Talks the Melvins' Hold It In". Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Earth". September 27, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- "Sunn-O))) Interview - Thrashpit.com". Rocknworld.com. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- "VOL. 1, Issue 20, FREE LIKE YOU". Rank and Revue. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- "Kerrang! - Dave Grohl's Wembley preview - May '08". Fooarchive.com. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- "Interview with Scott Kelly of Neurosis". Ram.org. October 17, 2000. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- Huey, Steve. "Eyehategod". AllMusic. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
The misanthropic sludge metal outfit Eyehategod was [...] heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, Black Flag, and the Melvins.
- Caramanica, Jon (September 20, 2005). "The alchemy of art-world heavy metal". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- Henderson, Alex (August 23, 2005). "We Reach: The Music of the Melvins - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- "10 Heaviest Grunge Bands". Metal Injection. Retrieved June 16, 2017.