FLASHBACK: Melvins

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Forming in 1983, Aberdeen bred band MELVINS have seen not only frontman Buzz Osborne’s hair grow bigger and wilder, they’ve also produced and nurtured a rambunctious post-punk sound over an impressive 30 years! In saying that, we thought we’d take a look at the band’s discography.

An important thing to know about the Melvins is that they never really had a permanent bassist. It was always Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and another guy. Their career saw many a walk-in and walk-out for the rhythm section role, with the original member being Matt Lukin who would later play in Mudhoney.

Although an EP was delivered in ’86, the debut Melvins LP was released in 1987, titled Gluey Porch Treatments via Alchemy Records. It was this album that would ignite the Melvins flame, proving to burn through a rowdy, successful future of slow but gritty rock and roll.

They released their sophomore, Ozma just two years later, before a series of other albums including 1991’s Bullhead, and their KISS inspired solo Eps released in 1992; with King Buzzo featuring Nirvana‘s (and now Foo Fighters) Dave Grohl who was credited as “Dale Nixon” thanks to Black Flag‘s My War.

It was up until this point that Melvins would earn a major label sign to Atlantic Records in 1993. They released their next three records, Houdini, Stoner Witch and Stag on the label, before being dropped in just as many years. This saw the three piece tumble back into an independent status, eventually signing to Amphetamine Reptile Records in 1996. Two years from this date saw their live record Alive At The F*cker Club, which was actually recorded at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel a year prior to its release, and features the tracks, ‘Boris’, ‘The Bloat’ and ‘Lizzy’.

The next three releases by the Melvins were inextricably linked as Maggot, The Bootlicker and Crybaby were separately released over several months as a trilogy. Maggot was strangely executed as its 7 tracks were cut up and tracklisted as 16 tracks. This meant that the listener could skip to the middle of a particular song by simply hitting “next” on their CD player. Maggot was also the first Melvins record to be released through Mike Patton’s label Ipecac.

Electroretard was released through Man’s Ruin Records, and is one that definitely suits its early slot in the new millennium. After you get past the noisy first track ‘Shit Storm’, you’ll find that this record is comprised solely of the band’s previous work reimagined as well as covers with an electronic approach.

The Melvins released their next four records, The Colossus Of Destiny, Hostile Ambient Takeover, Pigs Of The Roman Empire and Houdini Live 2005: A History Of Gluttony And Lust again through Ipecac.

The Colossus Of Destiny was an interesting release, which saw the Melvins continue on with their experimenting, pushing out the release as just a two-track album. That may sound short, but upon listening you’ll soon realise the longevity of the first track’s 59 minute duration.

In retrospect, 1993’s Houdini is viewed as a cult album, due to its undeserving slip of hitting its full potential. Thanks to this albums dedicated following, the Melvins decided to re-release the record in a live soundscape in May of 2006.

Like many other bands, the Melvins are one of those outfits who have found themselves amongst a family of sibling bands. Lead singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne joined Ipecac founder Mike Patton and others to form experimental project Fantomas. Patton also joined Big Business bassist Kevin Rutmanis to form another side project, Tomahawk. Rutmanis’ Big Business band mates Jarred Warren and Coady Willis would eventually find themselves as the Melvins‘ bassist and second drummer in 2006.

The four members went on to release 2006’s A Senile Animal, 2008’s Nude With Boots, 2010’s The Bride Screamed Murder and 2011’s Sugar Daddy Live all of which were released through Ipecac.

After working with Warren and Willis for all these years, the Melvins returned in 2012 without the two, instead recruiting Fantomas bassist Trevor Dunn filling in on such thick stringed duties and released their next LP Freak Puke.

Just this year, the Melvins released a 13-track covers album titled Everybody Loves Sausages that features Queen, Ram Jam and Venom renditions. Rather than changing the songs to suit their own style, it has been noted that these covers have been recorded by the band in a way that they interpret the sound of each song on the record. So in saying that, we’re able to dive into the sonic minds of the Melvins members for almost an hour of pure magnificance.

To help celebrate the Melvins‘ 30th year of existence, Australia have invited the band to play Melbourne’s Meredith Music Festival! We’re just that lucky! Co-leading the first announcement with Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, we’ll be treated to information on the rest of the lineup in the next coming weeks.

Words by Hannah Galvin.

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SEE ALSO:

FLASHBACK: EELS
FLASHBACK: PETER HOOK
FLASHBACK: THE BRONX

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An avid fan of Sydney’s jazz and found sound scene, as well as eating peanut butter from the jar.