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The Weekly interview: Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne

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Buzz Osborne and his Melvins are coming to the Sayers Club.
Photo: Erin Broadley
Chris Bitonti

You played here last as three-piece Melvins Lite. What’s the setup for this tour, and how will it differ sonically? The guys from Big Business are going to open, and then play with us for the rest of the show. With Melvins Lite, we had Trevor Dunn on stand-up bass so we featured that a little bit. Now we have the two drummers, so we let them do a lot. It’ll be great.

Does adding a second drummer make your sound more complex and heavier than usual? That is exactly it. It’s heavier as far as that end of it, drumming-wise, and we can play stuff that’s more complex. Coady [Willis] is a really great drummer, too. You just let them do their thing, sit back and enjoy.

One thing I’ve appreciated in your live performance is that you’re so willing to let songs develop before you really explode into fast parts. I’ve heard your music described as being run over by a big, slow truck. Would you agree? There are certainly aspects of that in what we’re doing, but it’s not all slow. Our tempos vary drastically from super-fast to slow as well. I think it’s all over the map—really dynamic. For some reason, over the years people have always picked up on this slow thing. I don’t know why.

In the last couple of months you’ve released the Chaos as Usual split with Le Butcherettes, and guested on the new Brothers Collateral album, toured twice and Kickstarted a documentary. Do you ever slow down? Well, the documentary isn’t us—that’s done by two other guys, but we’re endorsing it. I wouldn’t want to be involved in doing a documentary myself. We do a lot, but you’re also comparing it to a vast world of musicians that are by and large not very active (laughs). Most bands do a record, what, every three years? That means you have to come up with 8-12 songs in three years—wow! (laughs) How do they manage? That means you could work on one song a month and still have plenty of time.

Is that part of your creative attitude, that you could always be doing more? I’ve talked to my wife about stuff like this … I think maybe it’s that I’m not working hard enough, that there’s too much sloth going on, and she just looks at me and tells me I’m going crazy. I think it’s good, though; I really wouldn’t want to operate any other way, personally. I’ve always felt I have room for whatever I want to do.

You also spend a ton of time on the road. How do you keep from burning out? It’s part of the deal. If we can’t play live, then it’s difficult to make this work. We do it from that perspective and take it from there.

But it’s still enjoyable? Not always; not every day is enjoyable, but when you’re doing something as much as we do, the odds of every day not working out perfectly go way up (laughs).

Do you have it down to a routine now? There is nothing routine about going on the road. (laughs). There’s always some new thing, some fresh hell to mess you up, but you just soldier through it. I mean, I play with guys who are pros; they know what to do. I go out there to play as good as I can every single night. It’s part of the deal; I’m not afraid of it. Some people don’t want to do it, and that’s fine—don’t do it; that’ll just leave more room for the rest of us.

I noticed you’ve become a Major League Baseball correspondent on Fox Sports. Who do you like at this point? I was a correspondent with them until they just quit calling me. I don’t know what happened there. I did it for quite a few weeks, and then this thing with deflated footballs happened and they had no time for me. I just never heard from them again.

Who do I see as doing well? At the beginning of the year, I thought Seattle and Cleveland were going to do really good, and I thought the Dodgers were going to do really good. So far, the only one that’s true is the Dodgers. I think it’s really up in the air. Clearly, St. Louis has the best record in baseball, and I like St. Louis fine but I’m really getting bored of them and the Giants in the World Series or in contention for it. I’m not as interested in American League baseball; I think it’s boring.

Because of the designated hitter? Yeah, I hate the DH. They gotta get rid of it; it changes the whole aspect of baseball. There’s always people who’ll say, “Who wants to watch a pitcher bat?” We’ve got guys batting well under .300 on the Dodgers—how exciting is that to watch? It should be part of the strategy, and it leaves rooms for pinch hitters, who are also utility guys. I think it’s just better baseball.

Do you ever bet on baseball? No, the only thing I bet on is golf, and that’s when I’m betting on my own ability to play. I’ve helped other people place bets on baseball, but I don’t particularly care.

Melvins with Big Business. August 29, 9 p.m., $22. The Sayers Club, 702-761-7618.

The Bunkhouse Series at the Sayers Club at SLS is sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits, Live Nation, Downtown Container Park and Greenspun Media Group.

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