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Eugene Weekly : Music : 7.17.08




Sludgy Heaviosity

Melvins release Nude With Boots

By Vanessa Salvia

There was a time when I thought the Melvins were the heaviest thing in the universe: Their records were slabs of concrete or barely molten lava, each track was its own black hole, etc. And it’s not that those metaphors are no longer apt; they just don’t reveal the myriad sounds the Melvins have dragged into their famously heavy sludge rock over the past decade or so. There’s nothing this band of misfits hasn’t tried, and while the results aren’t always good — or even listenable — they always make you think, “How the fuck did they come up with that?” as you laugh, or maybe cry, as the noise slowly perforates your eardrums. 

The collaboration with Big Business’ Coady Willis and Jared Warren continues on their latest, Nude With Boots. The double drum onslaught is still there, as is the classic rock sound they instigated with 2006’s (A) Senile Animal. There’s plenty of sludge, along with plenty of big-riffed ’70s rock. I caught up with singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne ostensibly  to chat about the record, but since I’ve talked with him before I knew enough to not expect a very revealing interview. I don’t take it as self-absorption, just as the weariness of someone who’s been asked the same 10 questions 10,000 times. Besides, he’s too cool to care what critics think, unless they get something wrong. Buzzo fairly shuddered when I suggested that parts of Nude With Boots sounded like Rush. “God, what a bummer,” he says. 

The thing that I’m fascinated by and try (in vain) to capture in an interview is, what makes Buzzo tick, and how does he evaluate his contributions to heavy musicosity? “I don’t see us on any kind of spectrum of heaviness,” he says. “I really don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about where we fit in.”

I guess he really is just a “big, weird, dress-wearing freak” who has tapped into the unholy vitality of drinking coffee, taking shits and watching Internet porn all day until the pressure builds enough and he turns on the recording equipment and releases a bone-rattling howl. 

What boundaries are left for the Melvins to smash? “I suppose time will tell just how far the Melvins will go,” he says. “For now, just rest assured that everyone needs to believe in something, and I believe I’ll have another cup of coffee.” 

The Melvins, Big Business. 7 pm Thursday, July 24. John Henry’s. $15 • 21+ show