Mighty Mighty Melvins

Today Adam introduces the Malverns to the mighty Melvins…

The Melvins emerged from Seattle, Washington, in 1986 with not one, but two releases: 10 Songs and Gluey Porch Treatments. While the Melvins are categorized in the stoner metal genre overall, a strange but interesting fact about them is that they were noted as being an influence for bands such as Mudhoney and Nirvana. As a result, it can be said that they were partially responsible for the birth of the grunge movement. Grunge is said by many to have replaced or some would even say destroyed the metal movement for a time in the ’90s. This being said, it is difficult to categorize the Melvins as either being part of the grunge movement or the metal movement.

The Melvins

The Melvins are led by Buzz Osborne (above center) or “King Buzzo” on guitars and vocals. The band also has Dale Crover on drums, and has had various bass players throughout its career. One of the first bass players for the band was Lori “Lorax” Black, who interestingly enough is the daughter of Shirley Temple. The Melvins are known for their dissonant, lumbering sound, which is made up of impenetrable drum rhythms that are accompanied by sludgy, distorted guitar riffs.

The Melvins’ music is influenced by bands like Black Flag, with their mix of punk and metal, and particularly their album My War. They also drew influence from slower punk acts like Flipper and Swans. On top of that, one can also pick up on an influence from classic hard rock acts such as Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Black Sabbath. The Melvins were always known for their originality and clever, unique style, both in regards to their music and their overall philosophy as a band. At one point in their career, they took a highly innovative step that in all likelihood no other band had tried when they hired a second drummer so they would have not one, but two drummers during their set lists.

The first album the Melvins put out that brought them into the rock spotlight was Houdini, which was released in 1993. It was at this point that they received the reputation of being a sludge rock band. The album was the band’s first major label debut and it was comprised of short, heavy sounding songs that mixed punk with a slowed down, sludgy version of metal. The album included singles such as “Hooch,” “Honey Bucket,” and “Night Goat.”

Their most prominent album was their seventh release, which was entitled Stoner Witch. This was the first album in which the band incorporated their two drummer routine, which can be heard on the opening track “Skweetis.” The album contains popular songs such as “Queen,” “June Bug,” and “Revolve.”

The Melvins have released thirteen more albums since then, bringing their total album count to twenty. Many say that the band somewhat fell off the grid for a time until they released (A) Senile Animal in 2006, followed by Nude with Boots in 2008. Nude with Boots arguably contains some of the Melvins’ best written material since their early days. The Melvins are still a thriving band today and they have in fact just announced a scheduled set of tour dates throughout the United States.