The Melvins' Buzz Osborne: No one's dead, no one's in jail, and everyone's still on heroin

Categories: Q&A
Photo by Mackie Osborne
The legendary sludge-punk metal band the Melvins return to Grumpy's Downtown Minneapolis, making their 15th stop in as many days! They'll perform in the lot out behind the establishment, as the Minnesota stop on a 50 states (plus Washington D.C.) in 51 days tour. If completed, it would put the band in the Guinness Book of World Records. The tour features the Melvins Lite line-up of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Trevor Dunn.

This intense tour -- on the heels of their excellent Freak Puke, released in June -- is exemplary of the Melvins' relentless work for a nearly 30-year career. Gimme Noise caught Buzz on the road between Columbia, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska, where they'll team up with other members of their various configurations, Big Business.

See Also:
Review: Melvins Lite at Grumpy's, 9/19/12

Steve Albini on 20 years of Shellac, handling hecklers, and AC/DC's brilliance
Big Business at Triple Rock Social Club, 9/17/12

Gimme Noise: How's the tour going?

Buzz Osborne:
Its going good! No one is dead, no one is in jail, and everyone is still on heroin.

GN: Whose idea was it to do the 51-city tour?

BO: I just thought it would be a big stupid thing for us to do and we're perfect for that, big and stupid.

GN: How will you get through it?

BO: Well, we're going to take a lot of vitamins, and we're going to do our best, and do good shows in every city. But god knows what will happen!

GN: What do you do on your breaks?

BO: We don't take breaks. No days off. We drive, and we eat. Then we get to the show and play. Then we go to the hotel room and sleep. That's our day -- that's it. We're professionals, you know. Nose to the grindstone. One hand in the air, and holding on to the brass ring.

GN: Any crazy incidents so far on your shows or during tour?

BO: We had a guy gushing blood out of his face in Denver -- through no fault of our own. He was so oblivious and drunk; he acted as though he had no problem at all, or really knows about it. I had to calm him down from the stage, so that was weird. We walked him through it, and hopefully he was arrested.

GN: How has the reception differed from city to city?

BO: We get about the same reaction everywhere. It doesn't matter if I'm playing Cheyenne, Wyoming or New York City. I play the same shows in every city. The show tonight we play in Omaha will be the same as in Chicago. Every show is important. No question

GN: How do you feel about playing Minneapolis?

Update: Review of the Grumpy's show and photos are here.

BO: We like Minneapolis. We love Grumpy's. Grumpy's is a great place to play. Tom [Hazelmyer] is a great guy -- he puts out a lot of our releases [via AmRep Industries], which we are really happy about. He's not really a label anymore, I don't think. He just does stuff like he does with us. All the stuff we do are very hands-on and a pain in the ass. So we're always happy to be part of a pain in Tom's ass. At Grumpy's we know we probably aren't going to get as burned as we would at a normal club [laughs]. We can trust Tom a little bit more than a normal promoter. He's a good guy.
Photo by Dan Raymond

GN: How would you describe the artistic progression of Minneapolis compared to Seattle?

BO: What happened was, people in Seattle started wearing flannel. As they did in Minneapolis. When that all happened, that's when I decided I was going to start wearing a dress. And the only thing I could do to worsen that was wear a flannel dress. Then I'd be accepted in Minneapolis and Seattle. I figure there are just as many heroin addicts in Minneapolis as Seattle. If not more. I think that actually improves most of those boring bastards there. You wanna improve something, develop a monstrous heroin habit. That's the way to do it.

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