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Interview: The Melvins

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Anyone who is a fan of rock music knows about the Melvins and their legacy. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, you have undoubtedly heard their influence throughout modern music.  Forming in 1983, the Melvins are credited as the forefathers of grudge and sledge music; influencing the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon, and Tool, among countless others. Drummer Dale Crover joined the band in 1984 and has been one of two consistent members, alongside singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne, throughout the band’s 30+ year history.  Dale sat down with us on the band’s current tour in support of their latest release, A Walk With Love & Death, at Denver’s Gothic Theatre on August 15th.

Groovey.TV: Your album A Walk With Love & Death came out a little over a month ago and is the band’s first double album release. How did this concept come about?
Dale Crover: We did! As far as I know it’s our first double album. Buzz just said ‘lets do a double album’. We had enough songs, so we thought ‘lets do it!’

GTV: The Death album is considered to be a traditional Melvins album while Love is a soundtrack. Why was it important for the band to release these together?
DC: We wanted to do a double album but we didn’t want it to necessarily be traditional. We’ve always gone against doing things the way most people think are the right way. We weren’t trying to remake an album; we wanted to make each one different. The Death album is more traditional songs; they’re new and different than other stuff we’ve done before. The other disc is more noisy and chaotic in some spots. It seriously challenges the listener’s senses. It’s also a soundtrack; it’s not just a bunch of noise cobbled together, as far as anyone knows. There’s a movie that goes along with that, but of course, we did the soundtrack first, which laid out the blueprint for the movie. Once again, we don’t do things in the traditional sense.

GTV: How did the band become involved with the movie?
DC: This friend of ours that we’ve known for a really long time named Jesse Nieminen, he’s a visual guy, he does website stuff for us sometimes, and other things. It seemed right up his alley, especially the musical side of things. He’s really into odd, weird electronic things, and does his own stuff as well. He did a trailer for it and we thought, great, lets keep going.

GTV: Is there a release date for the movie yet?
DC: There is a trailer! But the release date is all a mystery to me.

GTV: You guys have been around for over three decades. What do you attribute the bands longevity to?
DC: Not going off the rails on drugs. Keeping a logical sense of what we’re doing. Not spending a bunch of money. Being realistic about everything. Our goal when we first started was to play live shows and we continued to build off that. Plus, we like what we’re doing, we make money off this, there’s no real reason to quit. We’ve burned every other bridge we could possible have in work opportunities. It’s working, so why break it?

GTV: You guys have released a ton of covers including 2013’s Everybody Loves Sausages. Any plans to release another cover album?
DC: There’s some secret kind of stuff in the works that may or may not be cover songs. We’ve always done cover songs and I’m sure we’ll continue to. We’re playing an unreleased one; it’s a cover of a cover. It’s The Beatles ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ via The Moving Sidewalks, who are a great psychedelic band out of Texas.

GTV: All members have other musical projects outside of the Melvins. Do you find that you write a song for one project and it ends up fitting another project better?
DC: It depends. I just had a solo record that came out [2017’s The Fickle Finger of Fate] and I wrote with that in mind, but they easily could have been Melvins’ songs too. There’s also the Crystal Fairy thing that Buzz and I did. From what he said, he was trying to write more simplistic songs, which he has a hard time doing. He always throws some hiccup in the music or something.

GTV: The band has gone through several lineup changes through its history. Is it refreshing to have a new addition to collaborate with?
DC: It can be, it wasn’t always necessarily by choice. Everybody plays different and we’ve always allowed them to do their thing. We always like people’s take on stuff like that too. It has sort of been a rotating position that we’ve left open. We kept it like that because we’ve had problems in the past and we didn’t want to be that emotionally invested in someone. Just keep the band as Buzz and myself and then whoever we might want to play with. That way there is no hard feelings and it does open up these doors for more possibilities. That’s how we started playing with Steve [McDonald}; I was filling-in for his band Red Kross and I’ve always liked his bass playing.

GTV: The band recently had a documentary filmed about them titled The Colossus of Destiny: A Melvins Tale. Was it a humbling experience to see your career play out before your eyes?
DC: It’s weird to watch a movie about yourself. It’s hard to have an opinion on it. The guy did a good job, he wasn’t ever a filmmaker before and he took it on and did it. We did interviews for him, but it’s his thing. We may have steered him towards a couple people to talk to, some people he may not have known. He’s a pretty big fan so he got a lot of good people in it that we never would of thought of. He got Gene Simmons in it, which is pretty cool. It’s almost out; we don’t have a release date for it. But it will be any day now.

GTV: You guys have had a big year already. What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
DC: We’re going to Europe after this. We’re taking Red Kross with us, who I play drums in now. Then we go to Australia from there, Red Kross is going to go to Spain for a few shows. Then we’re done for the year, maybe. Unless something else comes up. I’m sure we’ll do something again next year. We’ll probably be back here eventually.

AWWLAD

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