Melvins Interview (21st OF SEPTEMBER 2008, ARENA, VIENNA/AUSTRIA)

Interview: Rokko and Jochen Summer/Rock Is Hell Records
Fotos: Kurt Prinz

Well, what can I say? What happened yesterday was no real interview. The old team had its pilgrimage to The Melvins again. Buzz asked: “What have YOU done since last time?” and we were talking about this and that, the recorder was not running yet. In the whole “interview”, Dale and Buzz asked us more questions then we could ask them. When they told us about the show the day before at the Transmitter Festival in Dornbirn/Austria and just finished their story, Dale Crover said: “Hey man, you gotta tape this, this is good material!” This was the starting signal, so here we go:

Rokko: OK, once again: How was the show yesterday?
Dale Crover: Crazy.
Buzz Osborne: A drunken nightmare.
DC: People passed out before we even played.
BO: Passed out ON STAGE!
DC: It was in Dornbirn, it’s way out there, we didn’t see anything. There was just nothing around, it’s the same like in this place.
R: This place has been a slaughterhouse, back then.
DC: For some reason, we play in slaughterhouses all the time. There are also a lot in Germany. I don’t know why that is.
Jochen Summer: You also played in a Second World War bunker.
DC: Yeah, that was in Hamburg. There’s also a bunker in the middle of Vienna.
R: Yeah, we got six. There are always two next to each other: One for the radar system, the other one for shooting rockets.
BO: We haven’t really been hit very hard, though. But Hamburg has been hit, also Essen, Cologne, Berlin....
R: ...Dresden.
BO: The States have never been hit!
R: New York a little bit, almost 60 years later.
BO: Even that wasn’t a big deal. It was not that someone destroyed the whole city!
DC: But it was a big shock because nothing like that has ever happened there. But the Japanese almost made it to the coast.
BO: They did!

[We talk about submarines and different wars]

BO: Underseaboats are amazing. I wouldn’t wanna go in one of these things.
R: You can’t do anything and there might be a claustrophobic vibe.
BO: It’s horrible.
R: So you’d be no good soldiers?
BO: Hmmmm.....I don’t know. Not at this point.
DC: If we were in charge, that would be great.
BO: We would say: “You guys go ahead!” Yeah, to be in charge, that’s jobs! “Go ahead and attack again!” sounds good to me. I don’t know which section I would join, maybe the hmmm......
DC: Our bus is kind of like a submarine.
BO: Yeah it is, but nobody is shooting at us!
DC: Last night, we actually had a pretty good “Operation Freeze Out”. That’s when the roadies [in the bus behind the Melvins] fall asleep and you take the frozen fruit that you put in the freezer to shoot at their bus. Bananas, oranges, and the super secret weapon was the frozen bottle of Jägermeister, jammed in their bus. That works good!
JS: I read the story about the joke [made up by Buzz!] with drugs and the police man......
BO+DC: Ahhhhhhhh! Where did you read it?
JS: At Brian Walsby’s blog.
BO: Ahhhhhhhh! I should look to that.
DC: He pulled out a gun, a big bag of cocaine, arrested me. First he handcuffed me, then he...wait, long story: So we were driving in our van, we get pulled over by this cop, he finds a bag of weed and a gun right next to the van: “You just threw this out?” “Noooooo.” Then he pulls us out and checks our bags behind the van so we can’t see it. And then he comes and gets me: “Come here!” and handcuffs me: “You can’t say you don’t have anything with you!” “Now tell me what you found.” And then he pulled out a gun, cocaine,....
BO: [laughs and laughs and laughs] Eight to ten years prison!
DC: No, I would have gone downtown for a little while and get out of it. It was too weird.
BO: The Texas cop was really scary, with glasses and a big hat. Dale was pretty mad, freaked out. But it was relly funny.
R: Yeah, for you!
BO: For everybody!
DC: I’ll give it back. When everybody has loooooong forgotten about it: “Surprise!”
BO: I won’t forget about it.
DC: You won’t forget about it but you won’t know when it happens.
BO: Oh god, you wanna pay a couple of skinheads to beat the shit out of me?
DC: No no, I’ll do something different.
R: You have had problems with skinheads before, haven’t you? On your first tour 1986...
BO: Yeah, we had troubles, but we never got beaten up.
DC: There were just a lot of skinheads who didn’t like us. But later they grew their hair long and bought Sub Pop Records-t-shirts...
BO: ...and went to law school, probably. Who’d doubt it, you do it?
DC: They wear suits now, probably, in the court room.
BO: So what’s been going on in Austria since we’ve been here in April?
JS: We got elections next weekend.
BO: Elections! How is it gonna go?
R: It’s always the same: we vote, they form a coalition, it doesn’t work, they break up, we vote again.

[We talk about our election system, Austrian parties etc. for quite a long time.]

BO: What’s the biggest industry in Austria?

[We talk about the Austrian steel industry, tourism, Red Bull,...]

BO: Red Bull was forbidden a long time in some countries!
JS: Yeah, in France.
BO: “No Red Bull, it’s too dangerous!”
DC: Beer, booze, that’s fine.
R: Everything that makes you tired.
BO: Heroin’s ok. What about coffee?
R: Only decaffainated!
DC: What was the name of the festival we’ve played in Austria a few months ago?
R: Donaufestival, Danube Festival.
DC: That was fun!
R: Yeah, it was great that you played instead of Cat Power. A lot of people wouldn’t have come if you wouldn’t have played.
BO: [ironic] Mhm, sure!
R: Yeah, one [points at Jochen Summer], two [points at himself].
BO: Yeah, that’s it! [laughs] I don’t know what Cat Power sounds like.
R: I think she’s singing and playing piano.
BO: [makes snore-sounds] Interesting.
We hardly ever do festivals.
R: Club concerts are far better because people really come to see your band.
DC: Yeah, we like it better too. But we did a sort of festival in Brasil.
BO: It sucked. The festival was terrible.
DC: Maybe also because we didn’t have time for a soundcheck. Well, actually we did have time for a soundcheck, but they just didn’t know what they were doing. “Can I have this in the monitor?” and then it’s like “No” or a full blast. It was weird but it was ok!
R: Did the audience like you?
BO: We were playing with some band called “The Hives” and they were headlining.
DC: But there were definitely people who came to see us who had been waiting a long time to see us going down there. Before that we have been to Argentinia, that was a good show!
R: Did you stay in Brasil to see some things?
BO: Yeah, for a couple of days. And then we came straight to Europe.
DC: In Brasil we were eating at a place where they come to your table with barbecue and cut some fresh meat on your plate. The guys are walking around in there with different kinds of meat: “Do you want this?” and you got a sign on your table that says “yes” or “no”. That was good, very good.
BO: So far we’ve done 21 days in a row.
R: No days off?
BO: No days off. We had a day off in Eindhoven but we put a show on on our own.
DC: We went to this pretty cool place and just asked: “Could we play here?”
R: Don’t you ever get tired of playing shows?
BO: Well, you get tired sometimes but it’s not a big deal.
DC: We are almost done now: we did six weeks in the US, then we had to take a couple off days off because Buzz got sick.
BO: [tapping the venes in the crook of his arm] Heroin.
R: Again?
DC: Yeah, it’s always with the heroin.
BO: But we will play those cancelled shows in November.

R: In the US, are there a lot of black people at your shows?
DC: No, but there’s always a couple, one or two.
BO: The only black people at our shows are the ones working at our shows. But there is a bigger black population in the US than in Europe, 12%.
R: So is rock music still a white middle class thing?
BO: Almost everything is a white middle class thing because most people in the US are white, 74% of the population are white.
R: In LA, aren’t there more Hispanics than white people?
BO: Yeah, but not much more. LA is totally segregated and you’re just into the stuff you grow up with.
R: But there are a lot of white people, wiggers, going to Hip Hop shows, aren’t there?
BO: Yeah! They are the ones who buy most of the records.
R: OK, let’s go back to the very beginning. Buzz, you grew up in Montesano, right?
BO: Yes.
R: And you, Dale, in Aberdeen?
DC: Yes.
R: And when did you move out of your parents’ house?
BO: When I was about 18, I guess. It was more like a crashpad I slept on than anything else, you know?
R: Was that in Montesano?
BO: Yeah.
DC: But you also lived in Aberdeen for a little while.
BO: Yeah, and then we went to San Francisco, when you were 18?
DC: Older!
BO: 19?
DC: 19 or 20.
R: You moved to San Francisco a few months before Dale did, right?
BO: Yeah. It wa good to just get the hell out of there.
DC: Yeah, I moved directly out of my parents’ house to San Francisco.
R: And when did you drop out of school?
DC: 11th grade, I guess. I dropped out because we were on tour and when we came back I could go back to school or I could get a job. So I just got a job!
BO: Actually I’m the only one of the band that finished high school.
R: So you’re the leader of the band.
BO: Yeah, all the school did really help! I always hold my diploma in my hands and show it around.
DC: I joined the band when I was in high school and 16. And I’m still doing the same thing. I’m doing the same thing I did when I was 16 years old.
BO: But now you have a kid!
DC: Yeah, it’s worked out great!
BO: Another kid’s on the way.
R: Yeah?
DC: Yeah.
JS&R: Congratulations!
DC: Thank you.
BO: Siamese twins this time. Good luck! “This one has to go!”
DC: Where do you find a car seat for Siamese twins? It has to be custom-made.
BO: Just put it in the back.
DC: Or in the cage.
R: I have just read the booklet of “Stag” and it seems like everyone was playing literally everything on that record: every instrument on studio recordings, on home recordings,...
DC: “Stag” was like: OK, everyone can record at home on his four track. It was a project, an experiment. For “Nude with Boots” we’ve been to the studio for two weeks and we had an extra day to fuck around and to record a new single, “Detroit Rock City” and “The Star Spangled Banner”. When we sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at our shows, there are always some people who boo and others who kind of get the joke. In Brasil, when we played before The Hives, people threw stuff at us for that song.
JS: Queen also played “The Star Spangled Banner”.
DC: Yeah, that’s right!
BO: That’s funny: Everywhere we go everyone knows “The Star Spangled Banner”.
R: Yeah, from Jimi Hendrix!
BO: Yeah, but I don’t know France, Austria, Germany – I have no idea!
DC: Austria has to be really good since it’s known for its music history.
JS: No, it’s really, really boring.

[We talk about soccer, baseball, football and basketball]

BO: Baseball is a weiiiiiird game, that’s why I like it. It’s so complicated. Sometimes they don’t know what to do, they get together, look at the book of rules and figure out what to do.
R: In “Neither Here Nor There”, there’s strange story about that guy in the prison...
BO: Yeah, he’s my brother. My brother is working at a prison and describing him. He still works there.
R: Do you have every record you ever released?
BO: Yeah! Of everything. I never give anything away, hardly.

[Jochen Summer takes out an envelope brimmed with money and gives it to Buzz – CUT!!]

PS: A few minutes later, Buzz said that Kevin Rutmanis was NOW really glad that the Melvins had kicked him out of the band. If they wouldn’t, he’d be dead.