Melvins: “The Water Glass”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/melvins_thewaterglass.mp3|titles=Melvins: “The Water Glass”]
Last year, sludge-rock band the Melvins released its 20th album (and third since linking up with Big Business members Jared Warren and Coady Willis). That album, entitled The Bride Screamed Murder, is emblematic of what the band has done its whole career: tweak its signature sound — part anthemic classic rock, part avant-garde heaviness — to present something entirely new yet quintessentially Melvins. That willingness to shake things up has been a major factor in the band’s longevity.
After last year’s release, the band undertook a tour in early 2011, playing a different album from its back catalog each night. As the saying goes, you get what you give, and in this case, the Melvins’ 30-year history of experimentation has continually rewarded the band with new experiences. Dale Crover, drummer and founding member, recounts the band’s some of the most memorable recent experiences below.
Endless Residency Tour
by Dale Crover
The Melvins did a residency every Friday night last January in Los Angeles. To make each show unique, we decided to play a different record from our ever-growing catalog of releases. It seemed to go over really well, and since we took the time to learn all these records, we decided to take it on the road. Here are some highlights from the “Endless Residency” tour.
Austin Texas: Austin shows are always great, except for the heat. It’s 100 degrees out, and of course we’re playing outside! The show goes well, but by the end, the “costume” that I’m wearing feels like a soaking-wet sleeping bag. The next day we meet up with our friends from the band Honky to get lunch. Everyone I know that lives in Austin says that the BBQ downtown is average, and they know where the best is. We drive miles out of town to a place in Spicewood, Texas, called Opie’s BBQ. We’re greeted by a guy who opens a large trough with 10 different kinds of smoked meat. We let the Honky boys order for us, then sit down to stuff our faces. It was certainly worth the trip, and I highly recommend the spicy corn! After the feast, we stop by Willie Nelson‘s recording studio. Honky just recorded there. No Willie, but we got the full tour, including seeing the tape vault with Red Headed Stranger master tapes! I was also highly impressed by the nine-hole golf course next door. Maybe we’ll do our next record there!
Chicago: Last time we played the Double Door in Chicago, we were challenged to a Wiffle Ball home-run derby. We’ve been playing what we call “Hall Ball” for a few years now. The Double Door staff took notice and started their own version. Last year, we clearly won, but they wouldn’t have it, so they cheated and claimed victory. Just like the 1919 Chicago Black Socks, who cheated in the World Series! I guess it runs in the family. These guys take their Wiffle Ball games seriously. Star Spangled Banner before the game, announcer/commentator — they even made Double Door Liquor uniforms this year! Unfortunately, we lost! We did end up talking them into letting Buzz [Osborne] pitch to them in the last inning. Fastball, inside: plunk! Fastball, inside: plunk! “Ooops, it got away from me!” We’ll get you next year, ya bums!
Brooklyn, NY: Really? We’re doing a photo shoot with Mick Rock? Wow! Iggy & the Stooges, Bowie, Queen and now Melvins! Wait a minute? This guy is a full-blown kook! We were warned that he will probably scream obscenities at us while shooting. Sure enough, “Buzz, you cunt, cunt, cunt! Suck it! Suck it! Suck it! Aaaaggghhhhh! Whew! I got off on it, I really did!” “You motherfucker, motherfucker, motherfucker!” Click, click, click. It was like a dirty version of an Austin Powers photo shoot. I was laughing my ass off the whole time! Our bassist, Jared [Warren] was visibly annoyed. “Your Hugh Grant charm isn’t quite working for me.” “Oh, please! Hugh Grant is a wanker!” True, if he weren’t who he was, we probably wouldn’t have tolerated it. It would’ve been over in about two minutes. Also, we’re not ones for embarrassing outdoor photo shoots. You can tell he comes from different times, obviously trying to get some kind of reaction, or whatever. I ended up really liking him. He told us that, at one time, David Bowie would do “anything, and I mean anything!!!!” People like Mick always have great stories.
Things seem to get weirder and weirder the longer we’re a band, but fuck it! It beats the hell outta working at a pizza joint!