Aug 1, 2009
The Melvins were named after a much-despised Thriftway supervisor of band member Buzz Osborne.
The group started in the early 80’s by the members who attended school together in Montesano, Washington.
Throughout the years, the group has had trouble finding and keeping a permanent bass player. As a result, Buzz Ozborne and Dale Crover have been the only consistent members. Least you worry though, the bass players do not spontaneously combust like the drummers in Spinal Tap.
Many people have heard the group being credited as a huge influence of the Seattle grunge scene, but fewer people know that Kurt Cobain actually tried out to play bass in the group but he failed after forgetting all the songs because he was so nervous.
Image Via abux 77 [Flickr]
Kurt stayed good friends with the group, particularly drummer Dale Crover, and even worked as a roadie for them at a few shows. Later, he produced and played on two songs on the group’s album Houdini.
Aside from bands in the grunge scene, The Melvins have influenced a lot of other bands, including Tool, Crowbar, Mastodon, Eyehategod and Boris, the last of which were named after a Melvin’s song.
Dale Crover helped out Kurt Cobain in 1988, by playing drums for Nirvana on their ten song demo. Later this demo became part of their first album, Bleach. Dale later introduced Kurt to Dave Grohl, who would become the group’s long-term drummer.
Also in ’88, Osborne and Crover moved to San Francisco. This is when they lost their first bass player, Matt Lukin, who decided to stay in Washington. Matt later formed the band Mudhoney.
In 1992, The Melvins released three EPs based on the idea of the four Kiss albums each featuring a member of the group. Later in the year, the group tried to release a full-length album called Lysol, but the album had to be renamed Melvins because “Lysol” was trademarked.
The group was always a big fan of Kiss, so they were honored when Gene Simons played bass with them at Lollapalooza in ’93 and ’94. He also played on the song “Goin’ Blind” with them at a Primus concert in 1993. This track was a Kiss song that The Melvins covered on Houdini.
Atlantic refused to release the group’s highly experimental album Prick, so they released it under Amphetamine Reptile Records. Because they were still limited to releases under Atlantic, Prick was released with the band’s name in reverse.
Image Via Kent, J [Flickr]
A picture on the Tool website shows The Melvins in an image covered by lunchmeat that spells out “Melvins say…Tool Sux!”
In 1999, the group released three new albums and one of the highlights of these albums was a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” sung by Leif Garrett.
There was originally going to be a European tour supporting the group’s album with Dead Kennedy’s singer Jello Biafra, Never Breathe What You Can’t See, but it was canceled due to some problems with bassist-of-the-time, Kevin Rutmanis. Later, Dale Crover and Buzz Osborne admitted that their bassist had “disappeared.” He returned for a short time in 2005, but then officially quit the band.
In 2006, The Melvins became a four piece by adding a second drummer, Coady Willis, from the band Big Business. Dale Crover said, “we want to do this ‘mirror image’ type of thing. We’ve kind of fused our two drum sets together, and we’re going to try and do some crazy thing with it.”