Melvins, Napalm Death and Melt Banana US Tour: Interview As Messy As the Music

If you live in the sunny southwest of the USA, but generally despise both the sun and living, then this week is your week.  Napalm Death, the Melvins and Melt Banana will begin their triumphant month-plus trek across the States (and a couple Canadian cities) this Saturday, March 26th in Phoenix, AZ.  It’s a show destined to rule, made up of bands that have made the stage their home for decades, and have looked good doing it.

When we found out about this lineup, we got immediately excited.  And when ND’s Shane Embury twisted our ear about a possible oddball interview between himself and the Melvins’ own King Buzzo, there was no question.  All it took to jumpstart the process was Embury’s hilarious memory of a time when the hairy pair was in Venomous Concept together and discussed the possibility of a Pick the Fro EP.

If you haven’t already gotten tickets, then make sure you check out the show dates here, then strap in for an unnerving (and occasionally confrontational) three-way word-wrastle featuring Buzz, Shane and an unwary Decibel.

dB:  West USA or West England… Which rocks?  Which sucks?

Shane:  Although I am from the West Midlands, I would say West USA.  Far better weather – the UK this time of the year is very uninspiring.  Perhaps Buzz and I should make more music together? Nothing better than heavy riffs and a healthy diet of burritos to cure the mind and feed the soul!!

Buzz:  West England? Wouldn’t that be Wales? My favorite city in England is Hull. The Who recorded a live album in Hull the night before they recorded the Live at Leeds album. Little known fact:  The Melvins and Napalm Death are also recording a live album in Hull, it will be called Live at Hull.

dB:  Shane, what’s Buzz’s deal with playing slow music? 

Shane:  I don’t think early Melvins was that slow – not as manic as ND but still very upbeat and quirky – but they are never afraid to play what they want and it’s probably a natural style Buzz feels comfortable with!  You can certainly tell a Melvins riff when you hear them and when a band rips them off the same applies as well!!

dB:  Buzz, what’s Shane’s deal with playing fast music? 

Buzz:  You call that fast? I call it snail paced.  I guess it’s fast, but I do remember the first time I saw Napalm Death, I spent the whole show screaming, “Faster! Faster! Play fucking faster!”

dB:  Whose hair is more likely to be slapped with a restraining order?

Shane:  Thats tough one…bits of mine have been starting to fly off randomly in various parts of the world which could potentially blind someone, so maybe me?? 

Buzz:  Probably Dale [Crover]’s. He looks like a fucking undercover cop anyway.

dB:  Whose hair should probably be gifted to the science community for exhaustive research?

Shane:  Most Definitely Buzz.  I think.

Buzz:  I’m going to donate someone else’s body to science, maybe even before they’re dead! Maybe even yours!

dB:  If your hair made demands of show promoters, what would they be?

Shane:  They would definitely require their own dressing room, a few ladies and decent supply of M & M’s and Blu-Ray copyies of old universal horror movies! Oh, and more M & M’s.

Buzz:  Something to get rid of lice.
dB:  On the upcoming tour, in which towns is the other guy’s band most likely to tank?

Shane:  Probably Albuquerque, New Mexico!

Buzz:  I know the Melvins can tank in any city in the world.  I’m not sure about Napalm, but it’s probably the same.

dB:  If Buzz took Shane’s place at a Brujeria show, would anybody notice?  Why or why not?
Shane:  I doubt they would notice.  I also doubt Buzz would want to, but as we know he has a great sense of humour!!

Buzz:  I’ve been playing in Brujeria for years already.  In fact, I’m making them change their name to “Witchcraft.” Why or why not?  It seemed to make sense at the time.

dB:  Who’s more punk, and why?  Dissertation-length answers encouraged.

Shane:  Man, that’s a tough question to answer in some ways without sounding like I am kissing ass.  I am not too sure I can, although if I am pushed I think Buzz is really.  Perhaps.  Maybe?? Oh yeah, for sure, I reckon.  I am going off on a weird tangent – since becoming pretty good friends with the guy, I like his stance; he most certainly comes from the old school but doesn’t  need to brag about it, almost a silent identity that speaks volumes.  But I am looking forward to this tour.

Buzz:  I’ll spend as much time answering this question as you did thinking it up…

dB:  Will you charge Melt-Banana for the hair improvement tips they will inevitably require?  Which currency will you accept?

Shane:  I wouldn’t charge them for my valuable advice on hair tips, but I am always in need of some yen as Godzilla toys can be expensive.

Buzz:  We’re going to charge Melt Banana $7000. We will accept US currency.

Shane (to Buzz):  Have you ever considered  playing a 45-minute version of the song “Night Goat”?   Or did you ever?  And which version is your favourite one you recorded?  Mine is the AmRep single –  a classic bass tone beyond all bass tones…

Buzz:  We COULD do a 45-minute version of “Night Goat” but it would seem like an hour and a half.  Ha!  I’ve always enjoyed playing that song, and we’ve preformed it live hundreds and hundreds of times. My favorite version might be the AmRep original which we rereleased a year or so ago. I’m glad you appreciate it!

Shane (to Buzz):  Pick  a favorite:

A) Peter Cushing
B) Christopher Lee
C) Vincent Price
D) Bela Lugosi
E) Boris Karloff

Buzz:  That’s REALLY tough! Probably Christopher Lee because he was the classic Dracula in all those excellent Hammer Horror films. I saw a lot of those as a kid in the theatre because my parents didn’t give a rat’s ass what kind of movie we went to. I remember seeing Drink the Blood of Dracula and watching a drunken teenager projectile vomit right into the center aisle. Memories.  Peter Cushing was wonderful! He’s a big favorite of mine as well. He starred in a ton of Hammer films including The Hound of the Baskervilles – which I’ve been obsessed with as of late – AND was in Star Wars and Dr. Phibes Rises Again!  Vincent Price WAS Dr. Phibes! Dr Phibes has always been one of my heroes! A vengeful and interesting murderer. Perfect. He also starred in The Pit and the Pendulum which is one of my all-time favorite gothic horror films! Also starring Barbara Steele who should have been on this list. Ha!  Bela Lugosi’s best movie might be White Zombie but he’s clearly better remembered for his performance as Dracula. His praise is well deserved.  My favorite Boris Karloff movie is The Bride of Frankenstein. My God what a great film! It’s like a crazy art house movie except weirder.  Sadly now they’re all dead.

Buzz (to Shane):  Since the interviewer failed to ask about anything current and instead for some insane reason seem to only be fixated on our hair, I’d like to inquire about any new records Napalm have coming out in the near future. The Melvins have two albums coming out this year. The first one comes out April 1st with Mike Kunka and it’s called Mike and the Melvins: Three Men and a Baby. The second one comes out in June and includes SIX different bass players! It’s called, appropriately enough, Basses Loaded. What are you guys up to?

Shane:  We have a few songs left from the last recording session that we want to put [out] as splits, but apart from that we will be touring a lot over this year.  I will though take this opportunity to say that I will be putting the finishing touches to new Lock Up studio album and also the new Brujeria album finally, and those will be out this year.  I have a bunch of stuff written for the new Napalm album which we will no doubt start at the end of this year also.

Buzz (to Shane):  The last time I saw Napalm you weren’t using a bass amp onstage. Is this still happening? I’ve always admired this kind of outside-the-box thinking from you. Is there anything else of this nature you guys do that’s outside the box that I may have missed?

Shane:  I have not been using a bass amp for a long  time.  It really suits me fine.  I like the look on traditional bass players’ faces when they check it out, as some bass players are far too serious.