“I’m trying to make a living doing what I’m doing, and remain true to what I believed in…and mission accomplished!” So says King Buzzo, aka Buzz Osborne, the leader of the perennial crunch of the Pacific northwest, The Melvins.
For those of you who don’t know, The Melvins are…well, it’s hard to formally categorize them. Are they a metal band, or just very heavy rock? Sure, they were part of the grunge scene in a way and their legacy will always be associated with Buzz’s friendship with Kurt Cobain, but they’d still blanch at having the word applied to them. Whatever they are, they’ve been incredibly influential on doom metal, sludge metal, stoner metal and all array of heavy and mean sounds. From their origins on the legendary Deep Six compilation (along with Soundgarden), the Six Songs EP, classics like Houdini and Stoner Witch and their consistent and uncompromising career since, The Melvins are the ultimate DIY success story.
For those of you who want to know more about this story, the Melvins have a documentary out called The Colossus of Destiny: A Melvins Tale. Along with the band itself, it features commentary from Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Mark Arm (Mudhoney), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Krist Novaselic (Nirvana) and many more.
It shows how a stubborn commitment to principles, when combined with actual talent, can really pay off – when the easier thing would have been to create some 1995-light-alt slop and cash in. The Melvins are also a case where risk taking can coexist with consistency, something extremely rare in all forms of music.
Oh, and don’t forget to read our article about the album with the same title.