The Melvins Started Grunge Then Came to Hate It

Kurt Cobain and the MelvinsKurt Cobain and the Melvins | Stories from the STUFF STONERS LIKE Vault
If it weren’t for the Melvins Kurt Cobain still might be alive. Winger and the rest of the hairy glam bands might still be sheik. And the grunge rock revolution might never have been fought.

The Melvins, originally from Aberdeen, Washington are perhaps one of rock’s most essentially important and relatively obscure bands of the past decade and a half. Maybe two. In ’94 they released an album called STONER WITCH (making them forever STUFF STONERS LIKE). It was the Melvin’s afro-headed guitarist/singer/originator King Buzz Osborne who introduced the young Kurt Cobain to punk rock, taught him his first (and only) few chords, and enabled him to crack under the pressure of exposing grunge to the masses. It was King Buzzo and his Melvins too who sparked the initial flame of what would be considered the cool rock revolution of the 90s—GRUNGE. But right before flannel clad rockers put the sleepy, state of Washington—suicide capital of the nation—on the music map the Melvins relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Washington sucks man, that’s why we got the fuck out in the 8O’s! We’re a California band now, man,” says, Osborne with a coy smile and a twinkle in his eye. “I started playing guitar relatively late in the game. l was 18 or 19. Then a couple of years later I started playing with Dale (‘spedo-wearin’) Crover. We’ve been a band now for 15 years.”

“There weren’t too many musicians up there at that time” says, Crover, “we pretty much knew everyone up there who had a guitar, so we left.”

So the Melvins left too early and missed the grunge rock revolution you say? “Missed it,” shouts Crover, “we started it!”

“Name one band up there that was any good through all of that…just one,” quips Osborne. “What? Pearl in Chains, Soundgarbage? We don’t like any of that crap. We don’t get all the notoriety as all those other bands, but that’s because they’ve sold millions of records. Our music is much less commercial. I’m not trying to write songs like that. I’m not up there having to sing ‘Black Hole Sun‘ every fucking night. Nobody in our band is putting shot guns to their heads. Those guys are all really rich and their bands break up or they die, but we’re still going and we’re really happy about it. Kurt Cobain was so happy he had to blow his fucking head off! Which way would you rather have it?”

But don’t think Osborne is bitter or feel that he and the Melvins haven’t had their share of the rock and roll pie. They’ve been handed way much more. It was Atlantic Records who heard all about the huge, money-making, flannel epidemic of the early 90’s and they just had to sign a true grunge act. They wanted so desperately to cash in on the cool new alternative discord that they eagerly handed the Melvins a huge cash advance.

“At the time they signed us all these grunge bands were getting signed. Nivana was huge,” says Crover, “so we slipped in the cracks. We walked away with four to five hundred-thousand dollars. It was like getting a loan from the band and not having to pay it back!”

For you see, the Melvins don’t sell out, they hand no intentions of producing another Ten or Badmotorfinger. They don’t write songs for the record buying public, they write songs for themselves. They handed Atlantic Records an album called “Stag”–one that the band liked, the fans loved, and Atlantic Records hated. “It was like taking candy from a baby,” laughs Crover.

12 Responses to “The Melvins Started Grunge Then Came to Hate It”

  1. VedsDispense

    Buzz Osborne is a fat disgusting retard. Legendary my ass. Funny how he wiped his ass with Kurt Cobain’s offer to be in their mediocre-band, when HIS band sold out 20X more than his did. Buzz is a fat, untalented slob who has to bash others to be relevant.. “boo, we’re fat middle aged guys and that’s why nobody buys our records..” no, the reason is, the music is shit, so he should stop blaming Cobain why he can’t sell any music, if anything, he should be thanking him… And he’s butt hurt that he can’t get fucked by C.Love..

  2. Stallionaire

    Suck it VedsReceptacal,

    The melvins are still a musician’s band like they have always been and thats why you hear bands like tool and mastadon covering their songs. I guarantee you like someone in music who is fat. Being fat has nothing to do with talent or taste in music so go suck a fat dick. He never blamed Cobain for not selling music. He stated that unlike alot of the others, they were in the business of making music before money.

    Cobain was a self proclaimed melvins fanboy and you can clearly hear that he was in Nirvana’s music. He took the melvin’s sound and went candy pop with it. It was in total fucking sell out mode by the time they were releasing Nevermind. It’s same injustice green day commits against their punk rock influences, most of it being pathetic money driven “popularized” bullshit with no staying power or replayability at all.

    The melvins are a legendary band as they have earned that title.

    Nirvana got declared a legendary band and have since then fell irrelevant.

    If you wan’t to judge someones greatness in music by record sales, Shania Twain is better than nirvana because one of her albums sold ten million more copies than nevermind did.

  3. mrmojo

    You know what gets old? Not musicians or kinds of music or social trends… what gets old is the ridiculous idea that because a song is popular, it’s sell-out crap. You know what… a lot of Green Day is good. Nevermind was good. i like Bleach better, but i admit that Nevermind has better crafted songs. You know what a SONG is, right? Based on Stallionaire’s assessment, anything popular is “sell-out” and “bullshit.” Thus, the Beatles were a pretty shitty bad, huh?

    People should stop worrying about what a type of music represents and start paying attention to the MUSIC. Nothing else– style, attitude, philosophy, self-righteous posing-is important.

  4. ovi

    these guys are not legendary..they lack some important MUSICAL aspects that require legendary status..first their song writing sucks(buzz osbourne comes out with the most horrible boring melodies)..they lack live energy ..and the vocals are terrible..all together i think kurt cobain mentioned them only because they helped kurt cobain(dale as first drummer) put out his music and get him on his feet..other then that they kind of just suck..and i gave there music a shot with a open mind..i gotta admit dale is a great drummer though..too bad he didnt stick with kurt cobain..these guys seem delusional and self obsessed ..its almost pathetic they are disrespecting kurt cobain but kurt is the only reason we know about them..kurt didnt have to mention them….and kurt would have never disrespected melvins because melvins helped him get on his feet..but leave to buzzo the untalented “mainstream sucks, we aren’t sell out teenage” image’s so pretentious its sad..hipster bullshit..i guess the beatles sucked..and so did many other popular bands..this guy needs a reality check..

  5. ovi

    they are legends because kurt mentioned there name..that is how much influence kurt had..that even a shitty second rate band can get a huge record deal just by a drop of a name..

  6. travailler

    Thanks to my father who stated to me regarding this webpage, this website is actually awesome.

  7. Hannnnn!!

    Gawd damnit!!!!! The Melvin’s rule everything!! They always have. On a much smaller success level than most but that’s there beauty! All you panty waste Nirvana lackies take note: Kurt would have killed himself eventually anyway. That wasn’t a the Melvins fault? That was Kurt’s fault! Now about there music…. Stag is easily there finest moment. On a major. Glue porch treatments, Ozma, Houdini . On and on and on…. Record after record of great musician heavy riff metal! Or whatever……Grunge/post Grunge. Godfathers of Grunge??? Whatever the fuck you little kids want to call it. Just great stuff period. Crover is one of the most humble underrated guys I have ever met and easily in my top 3 favorite drummers of all time. And I’m a drummer snob!! And whoever is on bass at the time are usually top notch players. You sort of have to be to keep up with the Crover/king combo. Any way rant over. …

  8. gargemel

    Good bad, it’s personal taste.
    Melvins are on year thirty.
    If you think it’s total shit and not selling. They’re still making it.

  9. Funktavious

    The Melvins are fucking awesome! They’ve influenced entire genres of music like stoner rock and sludge metal. Whenever bands from New Orleans like Down or Eyehategod get interviewed they mention the Melvins as being the biggest influence of them switching over from thrash metal to that sludgier sound. I enjoyed Nirvana but they opened the door for a lot of talentless shitty bands. You no longer had to be a great musician to be in a band.

  10. Cale

    To the people who are “the Melvins” fans. Most of you wouldn’t know talent if it slammed you in the face, it’s obvious since you’re so ignorant you think the Melvins are actually a talented band. Gguess what? If not for Kurt Cobain that dumb prick Buzz Oldburn wouldn’t even have been interviewed for this article if not for Kurt Cobain. If not for Kurt Cobain, you wouldn’t even be on here stating that Kurt was a sellout and The Melvins are awesome. No, they’re not awesome, that’s why the most records they’ve ever sold is 538,000 albums since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking albums in 1991. Sure they’re one of the best bands. A lot of their lyrics have just a few stanzas in them. Why? Because obviously Buzz can’t write sh*t. Their songs suck, with unimaginative lyrics. I agree with the other guy that said their melodies suck too, they’re pathetic on the few songs I’ve heard from the Melvins. I don’t have to listen to very many to know that this band is crap. Buzz Osbourne took a ride on Kurts coattails. Now he gets tons of publicity for continually putting Kurt Cobain down. He does it for the drama, he does it because he gets a lot more attention this way, he does it because he’s pathetic and he does it because he is so jealous of Kurt he cannot see straight. He can’t stand the fact that he wouldn’t even be granted one of these interviews, let alone the many he has gotten, if not for the fact that Kurt Cobain endorsed him. He’s nothing but a fat, no-talent, fuzzy headed uncle fester. Also, Hannnnn!!, you’re a real dumbass, you know that? I no one is blaming Buzz or the Melvins for Kurts death. You are such a moron, no wonder you think the Melvins are better than Nirvana, you have no brains. I think numbers speak for themselves when I say that Nirvana’s record sales show how much better a band they were. Hell, Kurt endorsed the Melvins, and still they couldn’t hardly sell any records comparatively. Proves the point that the Melvins are a truly shitty band and wouldn’t get any limelight today if not for Kurt Cobain.

  11. Kenny James

    They made horrible ugly music devoid of any melody. That made them very underground.

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