Melvins Lite Interview with Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Trevor Dunn at The Dover Brick House on September 29, 2012. Assisted by Cliff Lazenby.
You are about halfway through this full US tour.
Buzz Osborne: One and half shows from the halfway point.
What’s been the highlight so far?
BO: Cheyenne, for me.
Wyoming? Dick Cheney town, eh?
BO: That didn’t come up when we were there, but yes…that’s why (laughs).
What about low points?
BO: Landing in Anchorage. Dale, tell them why.
Dale Crover - There were 75 mph winds and it was like this (gestures like a plane flying sideways) in the plane.
Yeah, I think I saw the photo in the first tour diary entry that was published on Spin. You were looking a little green.
BO: As usual. I don’t like to fly anyway.
What’s been the George Thorogood tape that you’ve been playing most in the van? (Trevor laughs)
BO: We’ve just been listening to the bands that he rips off.
DC: Muddy Waters, Hank Williams.
BO: John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, we just go right to the source.
DC: Mannish Boy
Have you guys arranged for him to be there when you break the record?
BO: Sure. Yeah he’s gonna be there.
Trevor Dunn: We’ll break his neck.
He’ll hand you the trophy?
BO: First off, he has to have a trophy, which he doesn’t have.
He didn’t really do it, right?
DC: They’re saying they’ve done it. And they said we’d have to do 51 shows in 50 days to tie the record. But he doesn’t have the record. There’s no record to tie. We’re going to set the record.
BO: We are going to be the first band to do it. We’ve already talked to Guinness, and he’s not in it.
You’ve already talked to Guinness and you’re locked and loaded, everything’s clear?
BO: Guinness still has to approve it. They could say no for whatever reason. They’re not the government. The government would really say no.
DC: And then we’d really be tied with Thorogood.
BO: But we’ll have proof that we really did it, whether Guinness accepts it or not. We have contracts with William Morris, all the way through. We have photos, ticket stubs, everything we need. All we need are signed contracts with the promoters, we have all that already. Now we just have to do it. That’s the catch.
So you’re halfway there. It’s all downhill from here, right?
BO: Yeah, south. Getting into Jackson Mississippi, we’ll report back from there and tell you what it’s like.
This is your first time in NH, right?
Yeah, we’ve never been here. (To Trevor) Have you ever played here?
TD: I don’t remember, probably not.
BO: This is the best part. Trevor also plays in Mr Bungle and we were at this place last night [Higher Ground in Burlington VT] and he’s saying “I’ve never played here before, I’ve never even been here before” and I find a poster on the wall saying Mr Bungle played here. (everyone laughs)
TD: It was also a different venue space,
BO: Yeah, now he’s coming up with excuses.
TD: Well, that’s why I didn’t recognize the building
BO: You didn’t recognize the town, let along the building.
Eh, Vermont kinda all looks the same, bunch of white people.
TD: Actually if we went back there right now I wouldn’t recognize it.
BO: What exactly would they do?
I don’t know, that’s a good question.
TD: I thought that it was amazing that of that I wrote, they picked out the five sentences I wrote about Armstrong. Honestly I don’t give a shit.
BO: We are not particularly concerned. If those guys shut off their support now for us, that we’ve always gotten over the years, everything would change. (everyone laughs).
They’ve been cool to us every step of the way. What would we do without those guys supporting us?
DC: Everyone’s been making fun of him throwing that big tantrum, so what’s the difference? It was silly.
BO: Are we supposed to apologize for millionaire assholes? Where is that written?
A few years ago we saw you interviewed at All Tomorrow's Parties and –
BO: (mockingly guarded) What did I say there?
You were talking about putting people in prison for being stupid.
BO: Still a good idea.
Do you think people are getting dumber?
BO: I think they are every bit as stupid as they ever were, don’t you?
I feel like when you watch stuff like the election campaigns, the Romney convention, it feels like there’s more stupidity, but there’s stupidity on both side of the aisle.
TD: It’s more accessible now, thanks to the internet.
DC: I think there should be windows you can roll down in airplanes too, just fly lower.
BO: That’s a nice refreshing breeze. I think in my last tour diary I talked at length about entertainers making political statements.
We aren’t looking for you to endorse a candidate.
BO: If I have to endorse a candidate it would be Muhammad Ali. He’d make a great president. He’s not gonna be cheating on his wife, that’s for sure. He’s not even moving around.
Well, he’s got Parkinson's Disease so he moves around a little.
BO: I think it’s called Punchinsons. If you take that many punches from George Foreman, we’d all be dead. He’s still alive. He survived it!
What’s after the 51 shows?
BO: We are going to enjoy taking shits in our own toilet.
Maybe you could try playing all the countries in Africa, since there seems to be a new one every two months.
BO: Do you think there’s anywhere for us to play in Africa?
Probably not too much.
DC: We had a hard enough time getting a show in Mississippi. Actually next year we’re gonna do 52 shows, but it will be one show a week for a whole year.
BO: It’ll take a little longer but it will be a lot easier. Actually so far it hasn’t been too bad.
Not too different from a regular tour, but just with no days off?
BO: I think it might be a little easier.
DC: It doesn’t feel any different.
TD: For example, today we left the hotel at 1:00 PM, went across the street and ate lunch and drove three hours to get here.
DC: What’d we say when we got back to hotel? “Gosh, we gotta be in the van in thirteen hours.” (laughs)
BO: The most we can get is twelve hours of sleep. How are we going to make this work?
DC: And now that we’re on the East Coast –
BO: How far is it to Portland?
About an hour.
BO: We have to drive an hour tomorrow. Can you imagine? Do you guys have any No Doze? And then Boston, another two hours. From there we have to go to Pawtucket. Do you know how far that is? Forty miles. Miles!
What’s the longest stretch you have to drive on this tour?
BO: We have to drive between Oklahoma City and Albuquerque (550 miles), but we don’t really care about that show.
Which one, the OKC or the Albuquerque show?
BO: Actually we always have good shows in Albuquerque, it’s good. It’s a long stretch of road and it’s all interstate. You can just bomb your way there. We’ll just wake up early and leave, it’ll be fine. But here, after Connecticut we have to drive all the way to Brooklyn, and then it’s Hoboken.
BO: I think it’s eleven miles. We have to be there by the next night!
I think you guys should walk to the gig.
A quick question about your last two studio records (The Bride Screamed Murder and Freak Puke, which had limited pressings featuring several different artists); how did you go about choosing the artists?
BO: My wife comes up with that. We work pretty closely together. She’s a graphic designer by trade, and what happens is that I come up with an idea, and she’ll show me how it should actually look.
DC: But you mean the [Freak Puke] picture discs?
BO: Oh, my wife did one of those and then the others were people that either we or Hazelmyer [Tom, head of Amphetamine Reptile records] knew, people we liked. Gary Taxali, I have one of his paintings. He’s amazing. That might be my favorite one. Don’t tell the other artists that. We’re really happy with all of them.
We have to go the extra mile these days and do something that you can’t download. There’s still a small percentage of people who appreciate things you can hold. Whatever they may be.
Trevor, do you feel slighted at all that when you join the Melvins they call it 'Lite'?
TD: (laughs) No, still tasty. I guess it's just less filling.