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A Conversation with Melvins' King Buzzo

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Buzz Osborne, a.k.a. King Buzzo, has been at the helm of influential sludge metal band Melvins since their inception in 1982, and is as recognizable for his Don King hair and sardonic outlook as he is for his music. On Fri., Sept. 18, Melvins will headline Mr. Small's -- a break from their tour with Down, the latest project from Pantera's Phil Anselmo. On Sept. 29, they'll release Chicken Switch, a collection of "weird and freaky" Melvins remixes, each culled from entire albums rather than individual tracks. 

 

Some of your fans were surprised you're opening for Down.
Down really wanted to do it. So, we thought, we haven't done anything like that since the '90s. Also, we're not an exclusive club, you know? We thought it might be kind of fun.

Who's your favorite band to tour with?
Probably Tool, because the band members are really nice. Their fans are as dumb as anybody else.

Some might say you're known for collaborating with artists who are notorious for having dumb fans.
Well, who do you think is notorious for having really smart fans?

Hmmm ... the Melvins?
Oh really? [Laughs.] I beg to differ. I mean, our fans are nice, whatever. We tour and play every region of the U.S., or relatively close, every year. So, you know, I'm glad that they like us. I'm really happy about that.

You seem up for anything when it comes to music. Is there anything that makes you nervous?
Oh god, everything makes me nervous. I'm nervous around people with loaded guns, how about that?

Musically?
I guess the closed intellectual mind scares me. Know-nothing know-it-alls. 

Do you have any phobias?
You don't have a long enough article for all my phobias. I don't like to leave the club after sound-check. I don't like to be late. I'm hoping to be late for my own funeral. I'd like to miss that entirely. Actually, I will miss it. I'll be dead.

Anyone you'd like to collaborate with right now?
Jimi Hendrix. And Judy Garland. Both of those. Dream collaboration.

Anyone a little more available?
A little more available? I wanna work with the guys from Pink Floyd because I hear they sold a lot of records. 

Ever think about switching careers, or is this it for life?
I'd like to be the CEO of a large corporation. I also want to be an airline pilot. I'd like to be a professional golfer. Uh ... I'd like to dig holes for a living. Also, measure pavement and philosophize. If I could persuade someone to pay me, I'd do it. I also want to be a cop. When I turn 60 I'm going to the police academy.

That's how you're going to die?
Maybe. I may get my head blown off in an alley. It's a good way to go out. 

 

An Evening with Melvins. 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 18 (doors at 7 p.m.). Mr. Small's Theatre, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $15. All ages. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com

Playing Chicken: Melvins (Buzz Osborne, far left)
  • Playing Chicken: Melvins (Buzz Osborne, far left)

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