The Seattle grunge scene may have long ago dried up like the mop bucket in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, but the Melvins have defied the odds and, this year, are celebrating their 20-year anniversary. Well, "celebrate" isn't quite the word Melvins frontman/songwriter Buzz "King Buzzo" Osborne uses when reflecting on the band's longevity: "I fall back to my knees and start crying."
Still, this year has been a rather busy one for the forefathers of grunge they've released a coffee-table art book (Neither Here Nor There) and a studio album (Pigs of the Roman Empire, a collaboration with San Franciscan dark ambient technician Brian Williams, aka Lustmord), and are set to release another collaborative album, this time with Jello Biafra, by year's end. Then again, the Melvins have rarely taken too much time away from music, releasing what amounts to one album a year. Formed in Aberdeen, Wash. (where Kurt Cobain learned guitar from Osborne), the Melvins have never set their sights on success, preferring instead to forge a thoroughly individual path of low-end rumblings and decidedly nongrunge heaviness. While the band never reached a particular high in their career (except for a brief stint with major label Atlantic during the mid-'90s), the Melvins (Osborne, drummer Dale Crover and the latest bassist, Kevin Rutmanis), have built a diehard fan base.
"We have a long career as opposed to a short one, `where we` end up working at Home Depot while dusting off platinum albums," Osborne says.
Setting reachable standards aside, being content with what one does has served Osborne well. "We make records that we would like as fans. The main objective is to do something that at least interests the person who's doing it. If you can't even do that, then you should probably give up."
"I'm going to wait a couple more years before I embrace the heroin addiction," Osborne quips. "That's my next big plan."