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The Melvins Interview: Filmmaking, Mike Patton & Extreme Music

The Melvins’ Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover chat to Christina Rowatt about their upcoming film project (currently in production) which accompanies their recent double album, “A Walk with Love and Death,” his secret plans for a new Mike Patton project, what extreme music can actually be in 2017 and more backstage at Max Watts in Melbourne during their recent Australian tour. Watch the interview on The Void with Christina YouTube channel, or listen to the conversation on The Void with Christina podcast via iTunes, Soundcloud or Stitcher.

In recent years The Melvins’ sonic impact has become even more apparent, with the band – who have existed in their own bubble, transcending any fleeting “scene” – are undeniably and indelibly the forefathers of the burgeoning doom, sludge and stoner rock musical movement, which has been burning down with a particularly fervent cloud of fuzzed out smoke over the last few years as likeminded bands across the planet join forces. Without Buzz Osborne’s intricate lyricism, mighty riffs and joyful artistic risks and Dale Crover’s bludgeoning drums, their bastard band children might never have been born.

Christina: Who do you think is the most extreme musician of history?

Buzz Osborne: Extreme? Jerry Lee Lewis … You have to think of it in these terms. Think of something like Throbbing Gristle in the mid-Seventies. In order to do something as weird as that now, what would you have to do? In order to do something as weird as The Who destroying all their gear in the mid-Sixties, what would you have to do now?

Dale Crover: Or Elvis being a big deal in the Fifties.

Buzz Osborne: So extreme now … there’s Merzbow, is that extreme?  No. Running a vacuum cleaner through guitar amps and stuff like that is not extreme. Not anymore.

Christina: What’s happening with Fantomas and other projects?

Buzz Osborne: We haven’t recorded with Fantomas in more than ten years. We would like to do something with him at some point, I’m not sure what. I’ve got some good ideas, but these are really weird ideas. I’ve got an idea that no-one would ever think we would do. [Dale] is not wrong, I have all kinds of weird ideas about things to do. Sometimes they sit there for a long time and finally happen.

Christina: What’s the wildest thing that on the page or in your brain seemed really wild and then it came to life and you were like, “whoa”?

We did all 50 states plus D.C. in 51 days in the U.S. It was long; 51 days.

Christina: Did you become better musicians as a part of being that hardcore? That’s like an army [experience].

Buzz Osborne: We didn’t become worse musicians.

Christina: The new record “A Walk with Love and Death” is like a car chase but a Doom Generation [car chase] with like good literature in the backseat and velvet. What drew you to making a filmic thing?

Buzz Osborne: We knew we wanted to do something big. And we knew we wanted to make a double album. And I knew I wanted them to be completely different.

Christina: Where is the film?

Buzz Osborne: We’re working on it … it’s going to be very strange. But not … it’s going to be surprising.  Its not traditional as far as a “movie.” It’s going to be about 30 minutes long, actually exactly 33 minutes. There will be a lot of travelling involved. It’s kind of a combination of [1973 Mexican surrealist film] “Holy Mountain” and found footage. [NOTE: Watch The Holy Mountain on YouTube.]

Dale Crover: It’s going to be a total mind fuck.

The Melvins’ Film Trailer: “A Walk With Love And Death” (due out in 2018)

Christina: How do you see Mike Patton? You’ve been involved with him via his record label [Ipecac Recordings] for a long time.

Buzz Osborne: Mike doesn’t have a lot to do with the day to day. That’s Greg Workman. But Mike is a far more eccentric weirdo than people would imagine, and if his fans knew him, I don’t know if they’d be fans of his … they don’t have any concept.

Christina: What makes a band awesome to you?

Buzz Osborne: It just has to appeal to me for some reason. It doesn’t have to be good technically. It just has to have an animalistic quality to it that feels human. You can’t throw technical ability at something and make it creative.

Christina: What did you first get into creatively? Did you draw or anything?

Buzz Osborne: I’m not good at drawing, I’m good at messy art, but I’m not good at making something perfect. The only thing I’ve really spent a lot of time on is music, that’s it. But I do a lot of art outside of that, and I’m always thinking in those terms – artistic terms.

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