The Melvins

Missing image
The Melvins, 2002 (Kevin Rutmanis (left), Dale Crover (center), King Buzzo (right))

The Melvins are a rock music band, usually a trio, with singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne (aka "King Buzzo") and drummer Dale Crover being constant; several bass guitarists have been through the group. The band was named after a grocery clerk at the Thriftway in Montesano, Washington where Osborne served as clerk (and vandal). Melvin was the most hated fellow employee and they felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name.

The Melvins' music is rooted in post-punk and Black Sabbath-style metal, but their idiosyncratic approach, bizarre sense of humor, and experimentalist bent make neat categorization difficult. The Melvins often favor rather slow tempi, and their sludgey sound was a prime influence on grunge music, especially Nirvana and many other Seattle-area bands; their protegees, however, tended to add more conventional pop music-structure.

While never finding—or probably even seeking—any appreciable mainstream success, the Melvins maintain an impressive schedule of new albums and tours, and have a dedicated cult following.



Buzz Osborne (Guitar/Vocals)

Also known as "King Buzzo". Plays guitar in Fantômas and Venomous Concept. Played second guitar on Tool's cover of Peach's You Lied on the Salival album.

Dale Crover (Drums)

Famous for helping out on drums in Nirvana. He also sings and plays guitar in the band Altamont. Also plays drums in Porn (The Men of).

Additional touring musicians

Former members


The Melvins were formed in the early 1980's by Buzz Osborne (guitar/vocals), Matt Lukin (bass) and Mike Dillard (drums) who all went to High School in Montesano, Washington. In the beginning they played The Who and Jimi Hendrix covers and began playing fast hardcore punk. When Dillard left the band Dale Crover joined and the band's rehearsals moved to a back room of Crover's parents house in Aberdeen, Washington. It was soon that they also started to play slower and "heavier" songs than nearly anybody else did at the time.

Fellow Aberdeenian Kurt Cobain (a good friend of Crover) was a huge Melvins fan and helped them transport their equipment to a few shows. Cobain also auditioned to join the band on guitar, but he didn't make it because he was so nervous he forgot all the songs.

In 1986 the band released their Six Songs EP on C/Z Records (later rereleased as 10 Songs and as 26 Songs in 2003 on Ipecac Recordings) that was recorded live to a two track at Ironwood, February 8, 1986.

In December of 1986 they recorded their first full album Gluey Porch Treatments, at Studio D in Sausalito, California, that came out in 1987 on Alchemy Records (later rereleased as a bonus on the CD version of their second album Ozma on Boner Records and in 1999 on Ipecac Recordings with some garage demos).

Crover helped out on drums in Cobain's band Nirvana when they recorded a ten song demo on January 23, 1988 at the Reciprocal Recording Studios in Seattle, Washington, and played a live show in Tacoma, Washington later that day. Later that year Osborne and Crover relocated to San Francisco, California. Lukin stayed and formed the grunge band Mudhoney. Lori Black (a.k.a. "Lorax", daughter of Shirley Temple) replaced Lukin on bass. The band recorded their next album, Ozma, in May 1989, and it came out later that year. The album was produced by Mark Deutrom, who later joined the band on bass.

In 1990, Nirvana was without a drummer, and Crover helped out by playing on a brief west coast tour with Sonic Youth. Osborne gave Dave Grohl from Scream the phone number of Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic; Grohl later became Nirvana's full-time drummer.

After finishing the work on the Bullhead album, the band then toured Europe and their January 23, 1991 show in Alzey, Germany was released as Your Choice Live Series Vol.12, without the song It's Shoved that appeared on the It's Your Choice compilation. When they returned they recorded their next album, Eggnog, that was released the same year on Boner Records.

Lori Black left the band and was replaced by Joe Preston. Preston appears on the Salad Of A Thousand Delights (1992, Box Dog Video), he had his own Melvins "solo" EP (King Buzzo, Dale Crover and Joe Preston all 1992 Boner Records) and appeared on the 1992 album Lysol (that was later renamed to Melvins because the name lysol was used without permission). Preston departed from the band and so Lorax briefly rejoined.

When Nirvana's Nevermind became a massive, unexpected success, the Melvins were one of many groups to benefit from Nirvana's support: Atlantic Records signed the Melvins, their first major label release was 1993's Houdini. Mark Deutrom replaced Lorax on bass shortly after the albums release.

The Melvins released two albums in 1994, Stoner Witch (Atlantic Records) and Prick (Amphetamine Reptile Records, under the name Snivlem). Stag was released in 1996. The band were dropped by Atlantic Records in 1997.

Returning to Amphetamine Reptile Records, the band released their Honky album the same year and released a live show from August 1997 in Richmond, Melbourne Australia as Alive At The F*ckerclub in 1998.

The Melvins have a cult-like following of loyal fans that extend throughout the world. In appreciation for their fans, the Melvins have released various collectables throught the years that have included two-headed dolls, an eight track tape, a plastic fetus in a jar, and more. A recent study among collectors and fans nominated one Richard Goodtimes as the number one fan, a title he brandishes with pride.

1999 saw the beginning of a partnership with Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings, which, in addition to releasing new Melvins albums, began remastering and reissuing much of the Melvins' discography. The Crybaby, their third Ipecac release in a trilogy, saw a number of singers and admirers guesting on most songs; an unexpected highlight was an oddly touching rendition of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", sung by 1970s teen idol Leif Garrett. Kevin Rutmanis, formerly of The Cows, was bassist during this era, and remains the current Melvins bassist.

Examples of Melvins' experimentalist tendencies include Colossus Of Destiny, a live set of synthesizer and sampler experimentation presented as two long tracks, and described approvingly by one critic as "More like avant-garde electro-acoustic than anything else." [1] ( Other examples of their warped humor include their album and song titles, as well as their candor at live performances. Live antics include King Buzzo asking the crowd at a concert the question "Were you guys as surprised as I was to find out Rob Zombie was gay?"

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 (with at times amazingly incorrect liner notes).

In 2004, Osborne and Crover toured to celebrate their 20th anniversary, and also released their 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 also included a CD with a selected tracks from their albums.

Also in 2004 the Melvins have 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, to be released in the second half of 2004. Both releases were highly anticipated by fans. Never Breathe What You Can't See was supported by a tour with Jello Biafra and Adam Jones from Tool. A planned European tour was canceled in October 2004 due to an illness in the band.

During late 2004 the Melvins only played a few shows with Biafra and supported the work of filmmaker Cameron Jamie in Europe as well as the United States with David Scott Stone filling in on bass. When asked about the matter, Osborne and Crover stated that Rutmantis had "disappeared". Fans feared that Rutmantis had departed like so many bassists before him; however, Rutmantis "returned" to the band in early 2005.

In June of 2005, Kevin Rutmanis became a footnote in the history of the Melvins, and departed the band.


It should be noted that The Melvins discography contains many highly-limited oddities, many of which are limited to tens or dozens of copies and are not represented here.

Year Title Label Catalog Number
1983 Mangled Demos from 1983 Ipecac Recordings IPC-063
1986 Six Songs C/Z Records CZ002
1987 Gluey Porch Treatments Alchemy Records VM103
1989 Ozma Boner Records BR16-2
1991 Your Choice Live Series Vol.12 Your Choice Records YC-LS 012
1991 Bullhead Boner Records BR25-2
1991 Eggnog Boner Records BR28-2
1992 Salad of a Thousand Delights Box Dog Video BDV002
1992 King Buzzo Boner Records BR32-2
1992 Dale Crover Boner Records BR33-2
1992 Joe Preston Boner Records BR34-2
1992 Lysol (aka 'Melvins') Boner Records BR35-2
1993 Houdini Atlantic Records 82532-2
1994 Prick Amphetamine Reptile Records AmRep 031
1994 Stoner Witch Atlantic Records 82704-2
1996 Stag Atlantic Records 82878-2
1997 Singles 1-12 Amphetamine Reptile Records AmRep 063
1997 Honky Amphetamine Reptile Records AmRep 064-2
1998 Alive At The Fuckerclub Amphetamine Reptile Records AmRep 072
1999 The Maggot Ipecac Recordings IPC-002
1999 The Bootlicker Ipecac Recordings IPC-004
1999 Gluey Porch Treatments Ipecac Recordings IPC-012
2000 The Crybaby Ipecac Recordings IPC-006
2001 Electroretard Man's Ruin Records MR2002
2001 Colossus Of Destiny Ipecac Recordings IPC-014
2002 Millennium Monsterwork 2000 w/Fantômas Ipecac Recordings IPC-019
2002 Hostile Ambient Takeover Ipecac Recordings IPC-020
2003 26 Songs Ipecac Recordings IPC-038
2003 Melvinmania: The Best Of The Atlantic Years 1993-1996 Atlantic Records 5050466574428
2004 Neither Here Nor There Ipecac Recordings IPC-047
2004 Pigs Of The Roman Empire w/Lustmord Ipecac Recordings IPC-054
2004 Never Breathe What You Can't See w/Jello Biafra Alternative Tentacles Records Virus300


  • Erlewine, Stephen Thomas & Prato, Greg. "Melvins (". All Music Guide. Retrieved June 13, 2005. (AMG is not always 100 % correct)

External links

nl:The Melvins pl:The Melvins


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