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Thursday April 17th 2014

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Freak Puke

By Kate Peterson

No, we are not calling you a name, that is the title of the Melvins Lite album released this year. It says it all about the punk metal band. They have been ripping up the music scene for a long time.

Currently, they are on state 27 of a 51 state tour—a different state each night. The tour started in Anchorage, Alaska. IN was able to catch up with founding member, Buzz Osborne, during a brief moment of down time in Dover, N.H.

According to Osborne, “Everyone is doing good on the tour, nobody’s dead and we haven’t killed each other yet.”

Throughout our conversation the band Tweak Bird, Melvins Lite’s favorite band in L.A., was sound checking.

“We really wanted them to tour with us,” Osborne said.

The Melvins formed in 1983. In the beginning, they were a trio, but today they are a four-piece band sporting two drummers. Original members are Buzz Osborne, lead vocals and guitar and Dale Crover, drums (who also played drums with Nirvana). They added Jarred Warren, bass and Coady Willis, drums.

“We started playing music because our families were not into music, and we were rebellious teenagers, railing against our parents,” Osborne said. “We thought it would be cool.”

Despite having never studied music formally—“We make it up as we go along”—boy, have they made up a lot of music.

To date they have recorded 19 albums. Their most recent is “Freak Puke,” on Ipecac Records.

It is hard to categorize their music, heavily influenced by bands such as Black Flag, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath. In turn, they have gone on to influence many others like Tool and Mastodon.

“I cannot venture to guess what genre we are, heavy art metal?” Osborne said.

The Melvins were signed by Atlantic Records, and in 1993 they released “Houdini,” which entered the Billboard Heatseekers Chart at 29. This was all because Nirvana was a major supporter of the band.
Gene Simmons of Kiss was also a big supporter. Simmons played bass with The Melvins at Lollapalooza in 1993 and 1994. He also played bass with the band in 1993 at a concert with Primus, on the song “Goin’ Blind,” a Kiss song that was covered on the album “Houdini.”

Osborne never thought he would be making music this long.

“I did not think we would be alive this long,” he said. “We didn’t care. We lost faith in humanity a long time ago. I didn’t think anyone would take care of me under any circumstances. We put it in forward, and drove until we broke the mirrors off. All we do now is worry.”

That statement comes from a place of sink or swim. He and the band have been swimming along just fine.

The Melvins have become Melvins Lite, because while on tour they are: Osborne, Crover and Dunn.

Osborne could have just played music, but he decided to perform publicly.

“No one makes a conscience decision to jump on to the stage,” he said. “We thought it would be cool, be strange. Initially, we wanted to play a show somewhere, now all our dreams have come true, it’s all cake.”

Then Osborne asked us a question, “You are from Pensacola, right?” Yes, we said.

“Oh, we buy all of our guitars from a dude in Pensacola, he builds them, Kevin Burkett. He builds them for Pearl Jam and Cheap Trick, too. Great guitars,” he said.

Sure enough, Burkett owns a company called Electrical Guitar Company, builder of all aluminum guitars, right here in Pensacola.

Osborne considers the ability to make money a highlight of his career.

“Being able to make music work. It has been a long slow road,” he said.

Next for Melvins Lite: finish this tour, get some saran wrap and end it all. Not really the case, this was the statement from a musician on a 51 states in 51-day tour.

MELVINS LITE
WHAT: Melvins Lite with Tweak Bird
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 15
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $14-$18
DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com; themelvins.net