Music Q&A: The Melvins

Dale Crover, 45, drummer of the Melvins talks to the Weekender about the Seattle grunge scene, Twin Peaks, and recording at Kurt Cobain’s Aunt’s house.

I hear there’s a funny story about how the band came up with its name…

Our guitar player Buzz (Osbourne) worked at a grocery store as a teenager and had this guy he worked with who used to boss him around all the time and his name was Melvin. Buzz suggested it as a band name and we thought it was actually really good. Little did we know that in southern California a ‘melvin’ is slang for a wedgie!

You guys are from Aberdeen, like Kurt Cobain; did the Seattle grunge scene start there?

It’s kind of amazing we even found out about a music scene in Seattle! Aberdeen is maybe two hours from Seattle. Imagine the worst time you can have in England and that’s Aberdeen, only it rains more. It used to be this big logging town. I’d ask my Mum why she never watched Twin Peaks and she’d say ‘I don’t need to, I live in Twin Peaks, look around!’ There’s nothing going on there. The people that live there are just very conservative red necks and don’t want to improve the area. There’s nothing to do there but get wasted and now there’s plenty of crystal meth around it’s just worse than ever.

We moved away from Seattle before that stuff got popular and we were one of the few bands that didn’t break up. When we left there wasn’t a lot going on.

You played with Kurt Cobain in the early days, what was that like?

It was great. We even thought about getting him in the band but at the time he had a guitar but no amp. He used to hang out with us; it’s been rumoured he was our roadie but we didn’t have roadies, we had no money to pay anyone! I actually recorded a demo at his Aunt’s house. She was this very religious woman who played music and she had a 4-track so we’d go there to record songs.

The band has been going 30 years, what’s the secret to your success?

We’ve always really enjoyed what we do. A long time ago we decided career wise it’s what we wanted to do, we kept our heads down, we had a good time but we didn’t let ego get in the way. We’ve basically burned all other bridges career wise. This is kind of it. It’s great to be able to make a living out of playing music.

The Melvins are performing at the Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, SW2 1RJ on May 19 from 7pm-11pm. Admission: £22.50. Phone: 0207 274 2290. www.electricbrixton.com/

Their new 13-track covers album Everyone loves sausages is out April 29.

 

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