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Interview King Buzzo Unplugged in San Francisco 06-15-2014

21 June 2014 No Comment

Buzz Osborne
06-15-2014 @ Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, California
Interview/Photos by Jeff Longo & James Kelly

Before a packed show at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall Sunday night, Stubble sat down with sludge metal royalty, King Buzzo of the Melvins. Buzz talked to us about his acoustic tour, his new LP “This Machine Kills Artists”, a new Melvins record with surprise personnel, Dave Grohl, the Dodgers and why conspiracy theories are bullshit.

STUBBLE: Buzz, welcome back to San Francisco.
BUZZ:
Oh, we love it here.

STUBBLE: How are the shows going so far?
BUZZ:
This tonight will be number six, so if you guys are seeing this later, it was a great show. You missed it.

STUBBLE: Why are you doing an acoustic tour at this juncture? This is the first time you’ve ever done something like this, right?
BUZZ:
Oh yeah, um. The long answer is too long. The short answer is “why not?”. I’m up for the challenge. I’ll take the blame. This way I’ll get blamed totally.

STUBBLE: The first thing I thought is that it looks like the Melvins are taking a break.
BUZZ:
Not me.

STUBBLE: Obviously, it seems like everyone else is off doing something else right now.
BUZZ:
It’s more of a personal break. It’s more to it than that, but it has nothing to do with music. It’s more of a personal issue with one of the band members. Not him, but directly related to him, so.

STUBBLE: So you’re running this tour through the summer?
BUZZ:
I am not done until September 22nd.

STUBBLE: So what are your plans after that?
BUZZ:
Gonna do some Melvins stuff. We got a new Melvins album coming out in the early part of October.

STUBBLE: What’s the title?
BUZZ:
“Hold It In”

STUBBLE: Nice! So what’s the personnel on this album?
BUZZ:
I can’t say at the moment. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. It’s a surprise! It’ll be good.

STUBBLE: So, you did a mini tour before this tour. You’ve also been releasing “This Machine Kills Artists” in pieces throughout on vinyl – volumes one, two and three?
BUZZ:
Yes. It’s out and it will all be compiled into one. It’s also available in full download and as a CD.

STUBBLE: How are fans receiving the album?
BUZZ:
Well, so far so good. I mean, you know, it’s a hard sell. It’s like I’m expecting people to get behind a guy playing an acoustic guitar. Tough to do.

STUBBLE: It’s interesting, I interviewed Neurosis recently and asked Scott Kelly about his acoustic tour and he gave me the same indifferent response in regards to doing something like this. Basically it was “grab an acoustic and go play”.
BUZZ:
Exactly. We’re friends with him, so.

STUBBLE: Part of what is making the news surrounding this tour is some of the banter that goes on in
between songs, some of it was about Dave Grohl – the Dave Grohl story.
BUZZ:
That was taken a little bit out of context. That was definitely a self-deprecating story.

STUBBLE: The funny part about it is that when he called you and asked you to come back to see Them
Crooked Vultures you replied with “I have Dodger tickets”. For whom would you blow off the Dodgers?
BUZZ:
Uh, no band, no band that I could think of that’s surviving. Hendrix. Hendrix, I would go. But nobody I could think of.

STUBBLE: What do you think of the Dodgers chances this year?
BUZZ:
Well they were playing about as bad this time last year, so who knows? I’m not a baseball fan, so it doesn’t matter to me.

STUBBLE: Back to the Dave Grohl thing again, a lot of bands cite the Melvins as a main influence. Have any of those bands paid it forward? Have any of those bands that have gotten big ever said “hey we’re gonna help out those guys that influenced us?”.
BUZZ:
Do you mean like monetarily? Not a lot. Not much. At least not offered tours that I would do, you know.

STUBBLE: Well, the last one I can remember is Tool, right? You were kinda out with those guys.
BUZZ:
Tool, yeah, I’m friends with the guitar player. But that’s a little different. But we haven’t played with them in 14 years, 12 years?

STUBBLE: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I don’t remember another band.
BUZZ:
No. We’ve never done anything with Dave Grohl or any of those guys or Soundgarden or no, never.

STUBBLE: Would you?
BUZZ:
It’ll never happen. I don’t have to worry about it. In a mythical world, I’m on tour with Judy Garland and Jimi Hendrix. If I can wish, you know.

STUBBLE: If I could wish, it would be the Melvins with the newly reformed Sleep.
BUZZ:
We already played with them. [laughs] We played with Sleep in Europe recently and we played their very last show when they were originally a band too at Slim’s.

STUBBLE: At Slim’s? I must have missed that one.
BUZZ:
It was the last show they ever did, before they reformed.

STUBBLE: I seen some of the cool posters you guys have out for tonight’s show. The Melvins have some of the best posters of all time. How involved are you in the design process?
BUZZ:
Not in the least. I have nothing to do with it.

STUBBLE: So do you guys get a piece of that?
BUZZ:
Uh, we get copies of the poster.

STUBBLE: That’s it?
BUZZ:
That’s enough.

STUBBLE: Do you have a collection?
BUZZ:
No, not much. Some. I have a few. I don’t really have room for ’em.

STUBBLE: So, your aluminum guitar is pretty badass. Why aren’t we making more guitars out of stuff like aluminum?
BUZZ:
Well, some people are. Um, I don’t know. Prejudice against ’em.

STUBBLE: Does it sound different than the wood?
BUZZ:
It has more low end and more high end – more of everything.

STUBBLE: What are your thoughts on the missing Malaysian airliner?
BUZZ:
It’s crashed in the ocean. What else could it be?

STUBBLE: I don’t know, aliens?
BUZZ:
Aliens, yeah…illegal aliens, but as far as I know they don’t fly planes. What would an alien want with that plane? There’s no reason. I like all this stuff about “It went to Saudi Arabia or Turkey”. They already have jumbo jets. They don’t need to steal one. You know the problem with conspiracy theories is nobody can keep their mouth shut. The Hell’s Angels had a good saying about secrets, they said three people can keep a secret as long as two of those people are dead. That’s why conspiracy theories are bullshit, cause nobody can shut their mouths about anything.

STUBBLE: Like Kennedy?
BUZZ:
Well could he have done it? Yeah. Staring out that window, I could’ve hit Kennedy in the back of the head with a baseball from the distance. You know, he’s a marine. They don’t let those guys outta there without being able to shoot. All that stuff about “He couldn’t shoot”. I mean, he had to pass rifleman school. He could shoot. There’s people who shoot deer, mule deer from way farther than that.

STUBBLE: Well, what’s the conspiracy theory, that like four guys did it?
BUZZ:
I dunno, who knows. I just don’t believe it! Why? First off, why? What’s the point? You wanna get Johnson as president? For what?

STUBBLE: Well, maybe Johnson did it.
BUZZ:
Sure he did. Why bother? He was already VP. Then he didn’t even want to run for second term. So, he didn’t wanna be there or he would’ve stuck it out. He jumped ship.

STUBBLE: That’s a pretty badass shirt you’re wearing.
BUZZ:
Oh yeah. Lou Reed. Dead now. You gotta listen to this record [Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal]. This record’s amazing.

STUBBLE: How much of a t-shirt collection do you have? The last time I met you you were wearing a badass Lenny Bruce shirt.
BUZZ:
Oh yeah. I love t-shirts. I don’t collect them. I just wear them. Get sick of it and throw it out and buy a new one.

STUBBLE: Well, Buzz, thank you. That’s all I’ve got. Anything you want to add?
BUZZ:
Be cool. Stay high.

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