Melvins’ Buzz Osborne reveals why he loves golf so much

Melvin’s frontman Buzz Osborne was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show, catching up on the last few albums from the stylistically amorphous group, the band’s return to their hard-hitting touring ways after a mid-pandemic hiatus, why he loves golf and more.

This band has always been a great example of “expect the unexpected” and last year Melvins hit fans with a brand new studio album (Work with God) and a collection of acoustic reinterpretations of classic songs throughout their career, dubbed Five-legged dog. Whatever the Melvins set out to do, they charmingly pull it off with a wink and a grin, always the self-assured group no matter which musicians populate the lineup at any given time.

In the interview below, Osborne also touches on what it’s been like to have so many different lineups and how he finds unique opportunities in each case.

Read the full interview below.

Melvins released two albums in 2021 — Working with God and Five-legged dog and the latter is a bit of a reformatted timeline of Melvin’s history as acoustic re-imaginings. What does deconstructing songs years later reveal about your innate creative tendencies?

It was nice to do because we did all the acoustic drum beats with brushes so, like you said, we had to recreate it all. What it showed me was that we could make all those songs work over two and a half hours of music, and we made it work with just acoustic guitars and vocals and and drums, so it was amazing.

Since the Melvins started, several musicians have been in the band. How has interacting with multiple players improved you musically and personally?

Everyone I’ve ever played with brings their own kind of musical agenda to everything we do. I like to stand back and let it blossom on its own. One thing you have to do as a bandleader is trust the musicians you play with, so you try to let them own the material they didn’t play on and add to the material they record. It’s a good plan. It turns us into something I couldn’t have planned before, and it’s a much more interesting band that way.

The Melvins embrace an appreciation of a wide variety of music. What did that broad-minded perspective instill in the band and you personally?

We’re not really afraid to do a lot of different things. I see recording and playing live as two different things. You approach recording differently, and we approach playing live like heavy metal crossed with a Captain Beefheart Broadway musical. [laughs] That’s the best way to put it!

I’ve never really been afraid to do a lot of different things like that and live, it tends to cross over into a lot of things that we like – humor, Throbbing Gristle, Captain Beefheart, Judas Priest and birthday parties. It’s a good combi.

The Melvins are back on the road. What was the long absence from live performances that made you appreciate being on stage the most?

It’s the longest break I’ve ever taken [from touring] for more than 30 years. It was quite strange.

Fortunately, my wife and I got along really well and we got to do a lot of creative things. We do a lot of packaging and stuff together and she’s a graphic designer so it was great. Our dogs definitely loved the pandemic because we were home all the time. Once [restrictions] started to lighten up, then they got very upset about not being included in a lot of things, which was kind of fun to watch.

We also recorded a lot, did some live stuff on the internet and three different Melvins TV, things that were really fun to do. We sold them as three picture discs in one. We have them available at our shows and it’s nice to get out there again and have some human contact. I just hope this pandemic will allow it to continue.

Johnny Perilla, Loudwire

Johnny Perilla, Loudwire

Golf doesn’t seem representative of loud, heavy music, but quite a few of these musicians play, including yourself. What is the appeal of golf in the context of a musician’s lifestyle?

Musicians are good people indoors, so it’s nice to get outside. I have always loved sports. I just didn’t like the people who played sports and golf is a lonely sport. It involves a mental attitude and a physical activity at the same time, and I really like that. I’m not really into the country club elements of it. I have no interest in networking or hanging out with a bunch of chicks – I’m just there to play golf and get it out of my system.

I’m a hyper-intensive person, so I have time for all of this because I’m willing to spend the time on it as well as anything else we do. It’s not really a relaxing thing for me, it’s more of a competitive, fun thing – more than that [the mindset of] ‘I go and relax and don’t care.’ I really care about what I’m doing out there. That’s a big thing for me. It’s perfect. I don’t need others to do it. It’s not a team sport – you’re out there by yourself or going with people you don’t even know, and I think that’s great. People look at me like I’m a freak, to the point of kicking their ass, but it’s all good.

Thanks to Buzz Osborne for the interview. See all Melvins upcoming tour dates here and follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where to hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.

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