SAN FRANCISCO — In a career spanning more than 35 years playing by their own rules, guitarist Buzz Osborne and monster drummer Dale Crover co-piloted founding underground rock band The Melvins through a hugely diverse exploration of heavy music. . Inspired by the slow tempos and down-tuned guitar sludge of Black Sabbath as well as the dissonance of punk iconoclasts Flipper and my war-era Black Flag, the Melvins became legends in Washington State during their formative years in the early to mid-1980s after being founded in the small town of Montesano.
The band’s combination of crushing riffs and heavy grooves would eventually influence the entire North West music scene. Aberdeen natives and early fans Kurt Cobain (who at one point auditioned for the band) and Krist Novoselic were inspired to form Nirvana, while other grunge heavyweights like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden also updated Sabbath model. The Melvins have been recognized as a fundamental inspiration for a number of heavy rock subgenres, providing the template for stoner-rock bands and experimental drone terrorists.
With a rotating cast of bassists, the Melvins produced a veritable landslide of experimentally-minded releases that consistently pushed the boundaries of alternative rock. Whether recording for the Atlantic major in the early 90s or releasing records on numerous independent labels, the group has forged a singular sound, immediately recognizable, without ever being afraid to take great experimental detours. The band have received numerous critical accolades since they began collaborating with the equally heavy duo Big Business of bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis a decade ago with the celebrated effort (A) Senile animal in 2006.
Powered by a massive two-drum attack (both players used a huge overlapping kit that shared some drums), this album and follow-up recordings nude with boots and The bride cried murder twisted, melodious riffs from Osborne and some of the band’s most catchy production to date. The band would also branch out with other collaborators, partnering with famed avant-rock bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, John Zorn) on a record-breaking album and tour that saw the trio play in 50 states and Washington. , DC in 51 days. with Dunn sticking exclusively to acoustic bass, reuniting with original drummer Mike Dillard (with Crover moving to bass), releasing a guest-packed cover collection (Everybody loves sausages in 2013) and recorded with Butthole Surfers members Paul Leary and bassist JD Pinkus (who had previously been a frequent member of the band on tour).
In 2016, the group succeeded in further accelerating its already prolific production. In addition to Sub Pop releasing a set of longtime recordings with GodheadSilo bassist Mike Kunka that were recorded in the late 90s (credited to Mike and the Melvins and titled three men and a baby), the band toured extensively with newest bass recruit Steven McDonald of Redd Kross and OFF! fame to promote their other newer version. The Ipecac Records effort loaded bass featured newer material recorded with McDonald as well as songs featuring a variety of recent bassists and a guest spot from Novoselic himself.
As well as playing a few shows in conjunction with screenings of the documentary The Colossus of Fate: A Melvins Tale by co-directors Bob Hannam and Ryan Sutherbyband members also found time to collaborate with vocalist Terri Genderbender (The Butcherettes) and Omar Rodríguez-López (The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In) in new band Crystal Fairy for a self-titled effort on Ipecac as well as recording their first double album, A walk with love and death.
The 2017 collection matched an album’s worth of more traditional Melvins material with a second set of experimental recordings that serve as the score for an avant-garde short titled To like directed by band friend and director Jesse Nieminen. Crover also released his first solo The wayward finger of fate through Joyful Noise Recordings. While he had already made a number of albums as the frontman of his side project band Altamont, the endeavor gave Crover a chance to expand on everything from drumming experiments to fractured pop tunes.
Having already introduced fans to the band’s explosive two-drummer line-up, the Melvins introduced another mutant version of the band with their 2018 album. Pinkus Abortion Technician which features both Pinkus and McDonald playing bass. A rare exception to Melvins’ releases that are usually dominated by Osborne-penned songs, the new effort features some reworked Butthole Surfers songs (including a twisted mash-up of the R&B/rock standard “Stop” with the Surfers song “Moving to Florida”), a distorted cover of the Beatles standard “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and a mix of originals written by Crover, Pinkus and McDonald.
Although the prolific band didn’t release a new album in 2019, the Melvins performed at an all-star tribute to the late Soundgarden frontman Christ Cornell at The Forum in Los Angeles in January before an extensive tour with the line. -up to two bassists. . They also released a new four-song collaborative EP recorded with the avowed inspiration Flipper which featured the Melvins covering a pair of Flipper songs as well as two tracks with members of both bands performing together. The Melvins also released a second collaborative EP with Swedish artist Sh-tKid (the stage name of punk songwriter Åsa Söderqvist).
The Melvins coped with the non-touring downtime during the pandemic by ramping up their work in the studio which released in 2021. In addition to releasing a new effort Work with God which featured the 1983 version of the group reuniting again, the trio also released five legged dogan extensive double-disc acoustic collection featuring new recordings of songs from across the band’s career plus new and reimagined covers of songs by the Rolling Stones, Harry Nilsson, the Turtles and Alice Cooper.
While December’s COVID surge forced the band to cancel a pair of shows in San Francisco that would have included a New Year’s concert, the Melvins hit the road again in 2022, joining Ministry and openers Corrosion of Conformity on a tour celebrating the landmark’s 30th anniversary The mind is a terrible thing to taste album. The band also released the first of new recordings they made during the hiatus, releasing the limited number lord of the flies EP featuring two new songs and a pair of covers (a version of Soundgarden’s “Spoonman” featuring Matt Cameron on drums and a medley of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop” and Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge”) ahead of their final album Rising bad mood. For this show at the Great American Music Hall on Labor Daythe Melvins are joined by Austin, Texas-based “freak rock” power trio WE Are the Asteroid – which includes former members of such notable bands as the Butthole Surfers, Ed Hall and Daddy Longhead – and Taipei Houston, a new local duo band consisting of drummer/guitarist Myles Ulrich and his bassist/vocalist brother Layne (they are the sons of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich) formed during the pandemic.
Melvins with WE Are the Asteroid and Taipei Houston
Monday, September 5, 8 p.m. $28 to $33
Great American Music Hall