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Melvins live 20061013.jpg
Melvins live in October 2006. Left to right: Buzz Osborne, Coady Willis, Dale Crover (behind drum kit) and Jared Warren.
Background information
Origin Montesano, Washington, U.S.
Years active1983–present
Associated acts
Past members

Melvins are an American rock band whose early work was key to the development of both grunge and sludge metal. [1] The band formed in 1983 [2] in Montesano, Washington. They have mostly performed as a trio, as well as a quartet with either two drummers/bassists in recent years. Since 1984, vocalist and guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover have been constant members. The band was named after a supervisor at a Thriftway in Montesano, Washington, where Osborne also worked as a clerk. "Melvin" was disliked by other employees, and the band's members felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name. [3]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Grunge is a rock music genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle's independent record label Sub Pop and the region's underground music scene. By the early 1990s its popularity had spread, with grunge bands appearing in California, then emerging in other parts of the United States and in Australia, building strong followings and signing major record deals.

Sludge metal is an extreme style of music that originated through combining elements of doom metal and hardcore punk. It is typically harsh and abrasive, often featuring shouted vocals, heavily distorted instruments and sharply contrasting tempos. While the Melvins from the US state of Washington laid the groundwork for both sludge metal and grunge in the 1980s, sludge as a distinct genre emerged after 1990 through the work of Louisiana bands such as Eyehategod and Crowbar. Later bands often border on stoner rock or post-metal.



Early years (1983–1987)

Melvins were formed in early 1983 by Buzz Osborne (guitar, vocals), Matt Lukin (bass) and Mike Dillard (drums) who all went to Montesano Jr./Sr. High School in Montesano, Washington. In the beginning they played Cream and Jimi Hendrix covers, [4] and also began playing fast hardcore punk. [5] When Dillard left the band, Dale Crover took his place, and the band's rehearsals moved to a back room of Crover's parents' house in Aberdeen, Washington. Soon afterward, they started to play songs slower and "heavier" than nearly anyone else at the time.

Matt Lukin is an American musician, best known as a bassist and founding member of the Melvins and Mudhoney.

Mike Dillard is a drummer and one of the founding members of the Melvins. His only known recordings with the original lineup eventually saw release in 2005 as Mangled Demos from 1983. He left the band in 1984 and was replaced by Dale Crover. In 1986 he briefly played in Kurt Cobain's first band, Fecal Matter, before they disbanded.

Cream (band) 1960s British rock supergroup

Cream were a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The group consisted of lead vocalist/bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), is the world's first platinum-selling double album. The band is widely regarded as the world's first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold more than 15 million records worldwide. Their music included songs based on traditional blues such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", and modern blues such as "Born Under a Bad Sign", as well as more current material such as "Strange Brew", "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Toad".

In 1985, C/Z Records was created to document the Washington music scene. The label released Deep Six , featuring four songs by the Melvins. In 1986 the band released their debut, the Six Songs EP, on C/Z Records (later releases expanded and retitled this as 8 Songs, 10 Songs, and eventually 26 Songs in 2003 on Ipecac Recordings). The album was recorded live to a two track at the now closed Ironwood Studio in Seattle on February 8, 1986.[ citation needed ]

C/Z Records

C/Z Records is a Seattle-based record label that was established in early 1985 by Chris Hanzsek and Tina Casale with the release of Deep Six which collected the earliest recordings what later came to be known as grunge. The label was acquired by Daniel House, to whom Hanzsek and Casale sold it after Deep Six proved commercially unsuccessful.

Washington (state) State of the United States of America

Washington, officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Named for George Washington, the first U.S. president, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by Britain in 1846 in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle. Washington is often referred to as Washington State to distinguish it from the nation's capital, Washington, D.C..

<i>Deep Six</i> (album) 1986 compilation album by Various artists

Deep Six is a compilation album featuring six Seattle-based alternative rock bands and was released in 1986. It was the very first release by C/Z Records with a catalogue number of CZ01 for 2,000 copies. The album was reissued as a joint C/Z Records/A&M Records release on April 5, 1994.

In October 1986, they recorded their first full-length album, Gluey Porch Treatments , at Studio D in Sausalito, California. The album was released in 1987 on Alchemy Records. Gluey Porch Treatments was later coupled with their second album Ozma for the Boner Records CD release. It was expanded again for the 1999 re-release on Ipecac Recordings with some garage demos.

<i>Gluey Porch Treatments</i> 1987 studio album by The Melvins

Gluey Porch Treatments is the debut album by the Melvins. The album was released in 1987 through Alchemy Records. The original release was vinyl only. This album was later released on tape with the Six Songs EP through Boner Records and appears as bonus material on the CD version of Ozma. Tracks 18–29 can only be found on the 1999 Ipecac Recordings re-release; these songs are taken from a boombox demo.

Sausalito, California City in California, United States

Sausalito is a city in Marin County, California, located 8 miles (13 km) south-southeast of San Rafael, and 4 miles (7 km) north of San Francisco.

Boner Records is an American independent record label in Berkeley, California owned by Tom Flynn. It has released recordings by Fang, Verbal Abuse, MDC, Boneless Ones, Duh, Steel Pole Bath Tub, Melvins, The Warlock Pinchers, Hell's Kitchen, and Superconductor.

Boner Records era (1988–1992)

Crover played drums with Nirvana (billed as "Ted Ed Fred") when they recorded a ten-song demo on January 23, 1988 in Seattle, which later formed part of their debut LP Bleach , and played a live show in Tacoma later that day. Osborne would later introduce Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic to Dave Grohl. [6] Later that year Osborne and Crover relocated to San Francisco, California. Lukin stayed and formed the band Mudhoney. Lori "Lorax" Black (daughter of Shirley Temple) replaced Lukin on bass. The band recorded Ozma in May 1989, and released it later that year. The album was produced by Mark Deutrom, who later joined the band on bass.

Nirvana (band) American rock band

Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting and best-known being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. Though the band dissolved in 1994 after the death of Cobain, their music maintains a popular following and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture.

<i>Bleach</i> (Nirvana album) 1989 studio album by Nirvana

Bleach is the debut studio album by the American rock band Nirvana, released on June 15, 1989 by Sub Pop. The main recording sessions took place at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, Washington between December 1988 and January 1989.

Tacoma, Washington City in Washington, United States

Tacoma is a midsized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Seattle, 31 miles (50 km) northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third-largest in the state. Tacoma also serves as the center of business activity for the South Sound region, which has a population around 1 million.

In 1990, the band recorded Bullhead , which marked a slower, more drone music style for the band. The band then toured Europe; their show of January 23, 1991 in Alzey, Germany was released by Your Choice Records as Your Choice Live Series Vol.12 . When they returned to the U.S., they recorded the Eggnog EP, which was released the same year on Boner Records.

<i>Bullhead</i> (album) 1991 studio album by The Melvins

Bullhead is the third studio album by the Melvins released in 1991 through Boner Records. This album has longer songs than previous Melvins albums. Before this, most of their songs were under two or three minutes.

Drone music, drone-based music, or simply drone, is a minimalist subgenre of ambient music that emphasizes the use of sustained sounds, notes, or tone clusters – called drones. It is typically characterized by lengthy audio programs with relatively slight harmonic variations throughout each piece. La Monte Young, one of its 1960s originators, defined it in 2000 as "the sustained tone branch of minimalism".

Alzey Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Alzey is a Verband-free town – one belonging to no Verbandsgemeinde – in the Alzey-Worms district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is the fourth-largest town in Rhenish Hesse, after Mainz, Worms, and Bingen.

Lorax left the band, and was replaced by Joe Preston. Preston appears on the Salad of a Thousand Delights (1992, Box Dog Video). The Melvins then released three "solo" EPs, [7] following the concept and imitating the cover artwork inspired by the four Kiss members' solo albums released in 1978. King Buzzo , Dale Crover , and Joe Preston were all released in 1992 on Boner Records. Later in 1992, they released the full-length album, Lysol , which had to be renamed Melvins because Lysol was a trademarked name. Preston departed from the band, and Lorax briefly rejoined.

Atlantic Records era (1993–1997)

When Nirvana's Nevermind became a massive and unexpected success, Melvins were one of many groups to benefit from Nirvana's support. It was signed by Atlantic Records, and its first major label release, 1993's Houdini , entered the Billboard Heatseekers chart at 29. Mark Deutrom replaced Lorax on bass shortly after the album's release, as she was facing trial for drug possession and was struggling with heroin addiction. [8] Gene Simmons of Kiss played bass with the Melvins in 1993 in a concert with Primus, on the song "Goin' Blind", a Kiss song that the Melvins had covered on Houdini. [9]

Melvins released its second album for Atlantic in 1994, Stoner Witch . Due to its experimental nature, Melvins took its next album, Prick , to Amphetamine Reptile Records. Record label conflicts prevented the band from releasing any records under the name "Melvins", so the album was released with the band name written in mirror. The band returned to Atlantic one last time for 1996's Stag , which entered the Heatseekers chart at number 33. Melvins were dropped by Atlantic Records in 1997 after three albums.

Switching labels and continued experimentation (1997–2004)

The band signed with Amphetamine Reptile Records and released their next full-length album, Honky , in 1997. They recorded an August 1997 concert in Richmond, Melbourne, Australia as Alive at the F*ckerclub in 1998. The same year, Melvins opened for Tool. (A picture on the Tool website depicts the Melvins along with the words "Melvins say...Tool Sux!" spelled out in lunch meat. [10] The photo was taken while on tour with Tool in 2002 in Australia.) In 1998, Melvins played the second stage at Ozzfest.

1999 saw the beginning of a partnership with Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings, which began remastering and reissuing much of the band's back catalog. The band also released three full-length albums dubbed (and later packaged together as) The Trilogy: The Maggot , The Bootlicker , and The Crybaby . The latter featured a number of guest vocalists and musicians. Kevin Rutmanis, formerly of The Cows, was bassist during this era.

In 2001, the band returned to their experimental tendencies for Colossus of Destiny , a live set of synthesizer and sampler experiments presented as two tracks (one clocking in at 59:23 and the other at five seconds). The album was described approvingly by one critic as "more like avant-garde electro-acoustic than anything else." [11]

In 2003 Atlantic Records (UK) released Melvinmania: The Best of the Atlantic Years 1993–1996 , a compilation of recycled tracks from the band's three major label releases. This release was unsanctioned by the band who had no input into the track selection or (occasionally inaccurate) liner notes.

In 2004, Osborne and Crover toured to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, and also released an art book Neither Here Nor There . The book is a collection of art by creators of their cover art as well as friends of the band, and also contained retrospectives on the past twenty years of the Melvins. The book included a CD with selected tracks from their albums.

Later period and collaboration albums (2004–2010)

In 2004, Melvins collaborated with ambient artist Lustmord for Pigs of the Roman Empire and with Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra for Never Breathe What You Can't See and Sieg Howdy! released in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Never Breathe What You Can't See was supported by a mini-tour with Jello Biafra and Adam Jones from Tool. A planned European tour was canceled in early October 2004 reportedly due to unknown complications involving Rutmanis. Following the tour cancellation, Melvins finished the year playing a few shows with David Scott Stone supporting the work of filmmaker Cameron Jamie in Europe and the United States.

When asked about Rutmanis and the canceled portion of the tour. Osborne and Crover stated that Rutmanis had "disappeared". Fans feared that Rutmanis had departed like so many bassists before him;[ citation needed ] however, Rutmanis returned temporarily in early 2005. In June 2005, Rutmanis officially left the band.[ citation needed ] When Melvins toured with Jello Biafra in October and November 2005, David Scott Stone filled in on bass.

In early 2006, Crover confirmed rumors of the members of the band Big Business joining the Melvins. Commenting on adding another drummer, Crover said this about Big Business drummer Coady Willis: "He's left-handed, so we want to do this 'mirror image' type of thing. We've kind of fused our two drum sets together, and we're going to try and do some crazy thing with it. We're sharing these big toms in between us."

The band toured the U.S. in the fall of 2006 in support of their album, (A) Senile Animal . [12] The Melvins also toured briefly the United Kingdom in mid-December 2006. Two new songs entitled "Suicide in Progress" and "Billy Fish" were played during the 2007 tour, and appear on their next album Nude With Boots .

On June 16 and 17, 2008, a lineup of Osborne, original drummer Mike Dillard, and Dale Crover (playing bass) played two shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in honor of Jello Biafra's 50th birthday. Both sets were composed of songs from The Mangled Demos, a collection of early material released on the Alternative Tentacles record label in 2005. [13] [14]

In July 2008, their new album entitled Nude with Boots was released. In December 2008, along with Mike Patton, the Melvins co-curated an edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas festival. They chose half of the lineup and also performed themselves.

The long rumored (since 2003) remix CD Chicken Switch was released on September 29, 2009 via Ipecac Recordings. Unlike usual remix CDs where the remixer is given a single track to work with, for Chicken Switch each remixer was given a full album to work with and pull from to create their track. Melvins joined with New Orleans' super group Down and Weedeater for a North American tour in the summer and fall of 2009. Melvins released their follow up to Nude with Boots, entitled The Bride Screamed Murder , on June 1, 2010. [15]

Melvins Lite, reunion with Mike Dillard and more albums (2011–present)

Melvins started 2011 with a series of unique shows. Four of the shows were every Friday at Spaceland's in California. January 7 featured the current line-up playing Colossus of Destiny , Lysol , and Eggnog . Jan 14 featured a Melvins 1983 set followed by the band playing Houdini . Jan 21 featured a two-piece Melvins set followed by the current lineup playing Bullhead . Jan 28 featured the band playing a normal set followed by Stoner Witch .

In early 2011 the band was on tour first in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake then in Tokyo, Japan at the time of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. [16] Melvins supported Slayer at the All Tomorrow's Parties 'I'll Be Your Mirror' festival at Alexandra Palace, London in May 2012. [17] Melvins formed a lineup called Melvins Lite (Buzz, Dale, and Trevor Dunn) that toured through parts of 2011. This line-up released an album, Freak Puke , in June, 2012 on Ipecac Recordings. The main four-piece lineup remains active as well and released a digital EP, The Bulls and the Bees , in March on Scion a/v.

In 2012, Melvins Lite completed a record-breaking [18] tour, having performed every night for 51 straight days, once in each of the 50 United States and once in the District of Columbia. The tour started on September 5 in Anchorage, Alaska and ended in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 25, 2012. [19] [20]

Everybody Loves Sausages , an album of cover songs performed with special guests, was released by Ipecac on April 30, 2013. [21] [22] [23]

In 2013, Melvins marked 30 years as a band with an extensive summer tour supported by Honky, Die Kreuzen and Negative Approach. Grunge pioneers Mudhoney also joined the band for two shows on the 30th anniversary tour. [24] Rutmanis reconciled with his former bandmates, appearing on the 2013 album, Everybody Loves Sausages and a 2014 7" single.

Melvins were featured on the 2013, Joyful Noise Recordings flexi-series. [25] On August 5, 2013, Melvins announced a new album, Tres Cabrones , featuring the "Melvins 1983" lineup with Osborne and Crover joined by the band's original drummer, Mike Dillard. Crover replaced Dillard in 1984 and plays bass on the album. Tres Cabrones was released on November 5, 2013 on the band's longtime label Ipecac.

Jeff Pinkus had aided the band in 2013 as a touring bassist, filling in for current member Jared Warren who was on paternity leave. Afterward Pinkus joined the Melvins full time to begin a collaboration with fellow Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary. The collaborative album Hold It In was released in October, 2014. The lineup for this album was Osborne and Crover joined by Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus of the Butthole Surfers. [26]

A collaboration with godheadSilo's Mike Kunka, Three Men and a Baby , was released in April, 2016 through Sub Pop. The album, started in 1999 and shelved, was recently finished. Another album, Basses Loaded , was released in June, 2016, [27] which features a rotating cast of bass players including regulars Dale Crover, Jared Warren, Jeff Pinkus and Trevor Dunn as well as Steven McDonald (of Redd Kross), and Krist Novoselic (of Nirvana). [28]

In July, 2017, the band released the double album A Walk with Love & Death . One of the discs, Love, is a 14 song soundtrack to a short film of the same name, by Jesse Nieminen. The other disc, Death, is made up of standard Melvins songs. [29]

The band released Pinkus Abortion Technician in April 2018. [30] The album features dual bassists, Melvins' regular bass player Steven McDonald as well as Butthole Surfers' Jeff Pinkus. The title of the album resembles the Butthole Surfers album Locust Abortion Technician , and the album features a cover of the Butthole Surfers tune Graveyard, which can be found on the aforementioned disc.

Musical style and influence

Variously described as a sludge metal, [31] [32] [33] [34] [33] grunge, [35] [36] [37] [38] experimental rock, [39] [40] [41] alternative metal [42] [43] [44] [35] [45] and doom metal band, [46] [47] Melvins explored a variety of different styles throughout its career, including noise rock, [48] dark ambient, noise, jazz-rock, avant-garde music, electroacoustic music and punk country. [49] Initially starting out as a hardcore punk act, [50] its sound eventually started to absorb influences by Black Flag's mix of punk and metal on their My War and Slip It In albums, the Butthole Surfers, [51] slow punk acts like Flipper and the Wipers, industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle [52] and also by hard rock and metal bands such as Kiss and Alice Cooper. Since the 1990s, the band has occasionally touched on electronic music, as on Prick (1994), Colossus of Destiny (1998) and Pigs of the Roman Empire (2004) -- the latter a collaboration with dark ambient pioneer Lustmord.

Though the band are often compared to Black Sabbath, Buzzo has stated that his guitar playing is more influenced by Black Flag. [2]


Melvins' sludgy sound was an influence on grunge music, especially Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green River, and many other bands from Seattle.[ citation needed ] Melvins have influenced artists outside the grunge scene, including Tool [53] and Mike Patton of Faith No More [54] (both of whom are friends with the band), Boris [55] (who took their name from the title of a Melvins' song), Pig Destroyer, [56] Helmet, [57] Full of Hell, [58] Corey Taylor of Slipknot, [59] Earth, [60] Sunn O))), [61] Lamb of God, [62] Mastodon, [63] [64] Neurosis, [65] Eyehategod [66] and Isis. [67] AllMusic wrote "their ability to combine punk with a strong Black Sabbath influence had a major impact on everything from grunge to alternative metal to doom metal and stoner rock." [68] In 2017, Metal Injection ranked Melvins at number 2 on their list of "10 Heaviest Grunge Bands". [69]


Current members
Former members
Touring members




1986 Melvins (EP, aka "Six Songs") C/Z Records
1987 Gluey Porch Treatments Alchemy Records
1989 Ozma Boner Records
1991 Bullhead
Eggnog (EP)
1992 Lysol
1993 Houdini Atlantic Records
1994 Prick Amphetamine Reptile Records
Stoner Witch Atlantic Records
1996 Stag
1997 Honky Amphetamine Reptile Records
1999 The Maggot Ipecac Recordings
The Bootlicker
2000 The Crybaby
2002 Hostile Ambient Takeover
2004 Pigs of the Roman Empire (with Lustmord)
Never Breathe What You Can't See (with Jello Biafra) Alternative Tentacles
2005 Sieg Howdy! (with Jello Biafra)
2006 (A) Senile Animal Ipecac Recordings
2008 Nude with Boots
2010 The Bride Screamed Murder
2012 The Bulls & the Bees (EP) Scion A/V
Freak Puke (Melvins Lite)Ipecac Recordings
2013 Everybody Loves Sausages
Tres Cabrones (Melvins 1983)
2014 Hold It In
2016 Three Men and a Baby (with Mike Kunka) Sub Pop
Basses Loaded Ipecac Recordings
2017 A Walk with Love & Death
2018 Pinkus Abortion Technician

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