Melvins’ King Buzzo to grace Savannah


Updated September 27, 2023 at 5:40 p.m.

Melvins is one of those bands that is probably your favorite bands, favorite band. If you know them, you know that their underground, sludgy sound gave rise to Seattle’s grunge scene and their reach extended far beyond a distillation of punk and heavy metal. If you don’t know them, then they are the most influential rock band that you have never heard of.

For four decades, they have built and maintained a healthy cult following that has flown under the mainstream radar, despite pioneering the music that inveigled a genus of rock from the early 1980’s to late 90’s, and still today. Their discography (in terms of albums, singles and appearances) is so prolific that it can be hard to track. Their album count alone sits around almost 30, with a new album that was just completed the day before this interview with Roger “Buzz” Osborne (affectionately revered as King Buzzo).

“I just finished a new album yesterday,” said Osborne. “We did one about a year ago called Bad Moon Rising and it’s a little different from that. It has Gary Chester, the drummer from Ministry. It’s different, but I think people will dig it.”

If you are in the “who are these guys?” camp (sadly), here’s a little anecdote that sums up Melvins and Osborne’s influence on music and popular culture in general. Back before Osborne was King Buzzo, he was a childhood classmate, friend, and collaborator to Kurt Cobain, front-man of Nirvana, arguably the 90’s most important rock band. When Dave Grohl’s (former drummer for Nirvana and front man of Foo Fighters) band Scream disbanded, Osborne introduced him to his long-time friend, Cobain. Cobain already knew Krist Novoselic (co-founder of Nirvana), who used to drive the Melvins around to shows. Osborne is the nucleus from which Nirvana was formed. So, in addition to Osbornes singular influence on music, he (likely begrudgingly), contributed to a huge shift in popular culture.

“Bands like [Nirvana] were heavily influenced by what we did. They understood at the base element of what we’re doing and those ideas changed music on a global level,” explained Osborne. “In all honesty, the whole Nirvana thing, I would rather [Kurt] be not famous and alive than famous and dead. There’s no happy ending there for me. The world is not a better place without him. I don’t care about his fame. We were friends long before that. The ones that are really valuable are the ones that were there and you could trust when you had nothing. That’s the thing. They were fans of our stuff when I was still working a job. Those are real people. You can either be a fan of mine or a friend of mine, you can’t be both.”

I could go on and on about precedent, but that does not do nearly enough justice to the force that Melvins still maintain today. In the last five years alone, they’ve released like 13 albums and on average, play about 18-20 shows per year. While Osborne joked (but also quite seriously) that he hasn’t had a mid-life crisis because he’s too busy, but in all seriousness, how does one reach climacteric years without any point of descent? From the outside looking in, musically, Osborne has just existed in perpetuity.

“It just seems like I got the opportunity to be a musician and that’s all I ever wanted to do so I do it. Music is the main focus of my life,” explained Osborne.

Like the sentiments of his fans, Osborne doesn’t strive for popularity or acceptance. He makes music the way he wants to make it.

“We are too polarizing of a band for people to like everything we do,” said Osborne. “Most things that are popular, I don’t understand it. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean that it’s good. Personally, I don’t equate technical ability to equal good . . . I’m not a joiner-inner. We get lumped into grunge, but we’re our own animal.”


Every Melvins album is truly a new animal, a new breed. Throbbing Jazz Gristle Funk Hits (2023) is an entirely electronic album that pays tribute to industrial noise legends Throbbing Gristle; Five Legged Dog (2021) is a deep-dive into their discography where they mine out and acoustically re-imagine their grunge-metal anthems; A Walk with Love & Death (2017), which is currently Osborne’s favorite of his releases, is a two-part album (death and love) that includes a score for a short film (of the same name) produced by the band and directed by Jesse Nieminen; Houdini (1993), which is the band’s most commercially successful album that featured Cobain playing on two tracks, is what is probably cited as Melvins “quintessential sound”; and the list goes on and on.

However, if you are looking for an anthology of music when Melvins come to Savannah on Sept. 28 to play a sold-out show (that can only be entered through pricy resale tickets), it’s not what exactly what you’ll get. In the Twins of Evil Tour being headlined by Boris (whom is named for the song “Boris” on the album Bullhead), Melvins will be playing (you guessed it) Bullhead in its entirety, along with some other songs, according to Osborne. What you can expect, is for the show to be what Melvins has always strived to be, which is nothing but music.

“What turned me onto punk rock is the intimacy of it. I don’t need a giant video screen or lasers to enjoy music. If the songs are good enough, you should be able to pull it off. I just don’t care about a backdrop or stuff like that. [sic] that,” proclaimed Osborne. “Disney does it better than any of these bands do. It doesn’t excite me. If you think you need a bunch of smoke and mirrors, to make your band interesting, then you have lost me.”

Melvins come to Savannah’s District Live on Thursday, Sept. 28, opening for Boris and featuring Mr. Phylzzz.

Quick Questions, Quick Answers

Q: Who is your favorite band?

A: “The Who are probably my favorite band.”


Q: What are you listening to right now?

A: “I’ve been listening to Tom Waits and Amy Winehouse. Back to Black is really good . . . I’ve been listening to it these last couple of years and I think that record is tremendous.”


Q: Are there any new bands you are into?

A: “I like this new band called HOUSTON.”


Q: Other than music, what keeps you busy?

A: “Photography is one of my passions. My Instagram is solely my pictures . . . I like playing golf. I am very active.”


Q: Do you have a bucket list of things you haven’t done yet, but would like to?

A: “There’s lots of stuff I would like to do, but most of it will never happen, so I don’t talk about it. There’s lots of that kind of thing.”

Published September 27, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Brittany Herren

Brittany Herren is a freelance writer and a passionate supporter of the local art and music scenes. As a musician turned 30-something professional executive, she lives vicariously through her story subjects and usually writes while listening to 60s, French pop or Patsy Cline. Herren has a B.A. in English from...
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