A rerun sure, but a worthy one.-ed
King Buzzo’s always scared the Beezus and Ramona outta me. The giant hair, the snarl, the onstage brutal stomping and crazy eyes, not to mention his pit-of-despair howls—e Melvins in my youth were way more frightening to me than any goofy Scandinavian Theater Metal. Twenty summers later the guy is still going on some kind of blood rush. A couple years ago, just when the attention of press and casual fans had started to wander, they brought the duo Big Business into the band permanently. Their sound didn’t radically change, though it gave Buzz and drummer Dale Crover more writing options (both new guys sing), and with two amazing drummers, made their shows even more nut-rattlingly loud. They’re like the Celtics of heavy music now, it just seems unfair.
Except Buzz isn’t going to win one championship and retire. The records he’s made with the Big Business guys “(A) Senile Animal” and this year’s “Nude with Boots,” have launched the bands signature grindy polyrhythm and dirge distortion to realms faster, quirkier, and (in my opinion but not, as you’ll see in Buzz’s) catchier than ever before. Nothing can stop this dude, not time or overhype or being ignored or picked on by grudge-waving reporters (not even Sharon Osbourne apparently) which makes it pretty obvious that he is a Dracula, draining the life blood out of his audience by making them rock and using it in some unholy ceremony to extend his creative powers and continue the endless cycle of brutality. For this reason I probably sound somewhat nervous in this interview. That and because I had to do it while walking around outside on the phone and birds and planes kept drowning him out while I was pretty sure he was cursing (at) me. Oddly, his voice is the opposite of his music—saying about one word every microsecond, constantly changing subjects, dropping aphorisms and denouncements, never quite clear if he’s being sarcastic or dead sincere, even when he’s obviously kidding. You thought I was going to end this intro saying something about how I’m not afraid of him eating my soul anymore right? You thought wrong, kid.
T: You’re skipped DC on your last tour…did we do something to piss you off?
KB: ah we hate you guys. Totally. No-one could hate DC more than I do. [pause]
BYT: Wait, really?
KB: Nah, it’s all time restraints. We only have so much time, some things aren’t available, we have to do one or the other. We can’t play everywhere. Not in a row. Not and stay systematically employed. There’s no reason for me to do it. There’s no profit in it. We’re also not playing: Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Oklahoma City. I didn’t lay down the law and say I hate Oklahoma City…
T: I saw you all at the Black Cat
KB: Not really. I don’t know if DC is worse than anywhere else…maybe they stand and stare I don’t know. I don’t if people are going crazy. To tell you the truth I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it, I got my hands full out there. Usually I can’t see what’s going on in the audience. You got lights in your face, a big shiny light that hits you right in the eyes, you can’t see three feet. You can see the first few rows of people, that’s about it.
BYT: Do they kind of blur together after so many years on the road too, one place is as good as the other?
KB: I don’t know. It’s a roll of the dice every night. We don’t want things to get too predictable. And they never are, believe me. That’s why you’re never going to be able to download the live experience. But I can pretty much garuntee we’ll play DC next summer.
KB: We’re playing Baltimore, what is that, thirty miles?
BYT: Yeah, it’s really close, I’m just messing with you. I wanted to ask about Big Business playing with you guys. Do you write songs specifically for Jared (bass) to sing now?
KB: I guess you can’t really write songs specifically for somebody. I try to stay out of the way of the songs. They’re going to happen, one way or the other. I try not to be stupid enough to miss something. I trust my own instincts. I’ve written a lot of songs. A whole lot. I try to make things interesting, to make a point to what you’re doing. Not to sit there spinning your wheels like some dork.
BYT: Do you home record stuff when you’re writing, I know you’re not against pro-tools and newer technology stuff.
KB: It’s very primitive documentation process is all that amounts to. Just so I can remember what I’m writing. I don’t count on myself to remember exactly how I just wrote it. So I want to make sure I catalogue all that stuff as soon as possible. But I don’t want a bunch of recording stuff at my house; that sounds horrible.
BYT: It sounds awesome to me.
KB: I don’t want a bunch of loud music in my house anyway. My mom says I have the quietest house she’s ever been in: she can hear a pin drop.
BYT: You live in LA right?
BYT: It’s funny that people think of the Pacific Northwest when they think of the Melvins, but you’ve been in LA for a while…
KB: enty-two years.
BYT: Does that make you an LA songwriter, an LA band? Is there some influence that city has on your music?
KB: I suppose. That’s where I live. People give me all kinds of shit about it, I’ve never been able to figure it out. It’s horribly unfounded. They’ll say something ridiculous about it being “plastic.” Oh really? As opposed to reality where? Where exactly would it be more real? LA’s an amazing place; I would never live anywhere else. That’s it, I’m committed, done. I’m done living in the sticks, living with the hicks, where all the bad weather is. I’m over it.
BYT: You’ve said that Nude with Boots is weirder than your other records. Is one of the new weird elements major pop chords?
KB: Maybe, I wouldn’t count on that. If you think so sit down and play them. Then report back to me. Play Billy Fish. Not a lot of major chords going on there.
BYT: Not all of them for sure, but I hear a stronger, like, 70s Hard Rock thing going on there. I was wondering what you meant by weirder…
KB: don’t know if I’d agree with that. I think it’s cool that you’re thinking of it, but, I said it was weirder than our last one. That’s what I said. I don’t think I meant it was weirder than anything I’ve ever done. That would be a pretty tall order, you know?
It’s a great progression from what we’ve done in the past and I’m really happy with it, without a doubt. I’m always trying to circumnavigate what I’ve done, you know? I’ve never had writer’s block, I don’t know why. I consider myself a song writer primarily. I’ve written as many songs as anybody. That’s what I want to do and I always want to do something different. People don’t get used to it, it’s very strange. I also don’t know why people consider us as the enemy. There’s a lot of that shit. I did an interview earlier today where the guy was taking me to task for saying bad things about, of all people, Sharon Osbourne.
KB: Who the fuck cares about her? Who gives a fuck what she thinks? I’ve had on numerous occasion people say “Doesn’t it worry you when you talk shit about Sharon Osbourne?” What the fuck is she going to do to me? Does she even know who I am? Who cares? Isn’t this obvious? My wife says my weakness lies in the fact that I can’t see the weaknesses in others.
BYT: Speaking of press failures, what do you think the biggest extant lies are about the 90s Seattle scene or your place in it?
KB: Not sure. Maybe that we don’t matter. That’s one. Regardless how much you’ve influenced somebody else or how much work you’ve done or if you’ve sold millions of records, you don’t get any respect. They don’t believe you anyway. I learned that lesson a long time ago. Oh well. You just move on. I’m certainly not waiting around for someone to do something else for me, I’d be sitting here with nothing. We dig our own grave, I don’t need any help.
BYT: Do you’ll think they’ll be an Iggy-style turnaround with that eventually, everyone jumping on your bandwagon and getting mainstream acceptance?
KB: Well, we do just fine; I don’t want to complain about that. I hope I don’t come across that way. I feel very fortunate to be doing what I’m doing. My point wasn’t that I didn’t feel that I was getting any respect. I just don’t get it along those lines, in reference to Sharon Osbourne—nobody cares what I think because I’m not rich and famous. As far as waiting around to get our just desserts, I’ll be working a straight job if that happened. The world’s just not a right place, you just got to go out and make it happen for yourself.
T: It seems like people from your generation are better at making vital music than any other before…bands that started in the 80s seem to stick around making records that don’t suck for a lot longer than from other eras…is that a function of coming from hardcore punk, sticking with certain values, or what?
KB:t bands did you mean?
BYT: Err, Mission of Burma, or Mudhoney…Sebadoh, different types of bands, but they came out around the same time and they all used to be in hardcore bands…
KB:on’t know if it’s any different. I’ll have to think about that. I know that out of all of those bands we’re the only one that continued to put out records. Most of those bands had some long layoff or broke up and got back together. We’ve never done that. I’m kinda afraid to.
BYT: Afraid of what?
KB: I’m a creature of habit along those lines and I’ve always worried that what we were creating would evaporate if we didn’t continue to do it, or get taken for granted. Once we were going and doing OK I wanted it to stay that way. Essentially. I don’t think a big long layoff for us would be a good idea. Unless we just didn’t want to play anymore. But I’ve never felt that way.
BYT: I don’t see any reason to, you guys are still going strong. Thanks for your time.
KB: OK man, talk to you later.