Consumable Melvins Interview
INTERVIEW: The Melvins
- by P. Nina Ramos
- from http://westnet.com/consumable/1994/11.15/intmelvi.html
`Twas a lovely autumn day. With the windows rolled down, the sun's warmth set in nicely. And since when is Route 18 south not packed with traffic? The day was shaping up to be quite smooth. My excitement and anticipation built for an interview with Seattle's original hard noise band, The Melvins.
Blissful satisfaction eased through my mind, but then suddenly the ride didn't feel so perfect anymore. "-POP!...kathunk, kathunk, &*$*@#%!!...." I pulled off into a mall parking lot and was met with a flat tire. Yeah well, whatever. It only took few minutes to rectify the situation.
So, I was running quite late, but hey, it's rock'n'roll, and real bands are never on time. Without further mishap, the decrepit Volkswagen got me all the way to Asbury Park and to the Stone Pony. Fortunately, my theory about tardiness proved correct; I beat The Melvins to the venue by an hour...
Now, attempting to decipher what someone is saying is rather difficult when that one person is really three. What I mean is, when everyone present speaks at the same time like Dale, Buz and Mark were, well, it becomes a mess. Oh, I forgot; they're the band.
Fortunately the mini-cassette was only thirty minutes long.
We settled into a booth at a small bar/pool hall next to the Stone Pony where they were performing later in the evening. The waiter came to take our order and we began with the interview. "It smells like someone puked here." Dale said. "I'm sure moving to another table isn't going to matter." We moved to another table. "Now it smells like someone washed their dog here." The four of us laughed heartily and I began to wonder exactly where the conversation was going.
SITUATION OUT OF CONTROL
The tape rolled and they began with THEIR questions. "Give us a little history on Asbury Park." Buz wasn't kidding. "Where are you from?" asked Mark. "From Puerto Rico," I answered. "Prove it!" Buz demanded. "No way, you're not Portoe Rikken," joked Mark. Geesh, I hadn't ever been haggled about this stuff that hard before. They demanded I prove it. I babbled a little Spanish for them but it proved to be insufficient. So I showed them my driver's license, and Buz accused "This doesn't prove a fucking thing!" Great, it'd been ten minutes and I still hadn't managed to get a word in edgewise. Granted that's not a long period of time, but they're supposed to be answering questions, NOT asking them. Besides, the tape had only another twenty minutes.
Finally, the boys settled down and appeared willing to really begin the interview.
Most Melvins fans aren't aware that their's is a ten year union, "Our anniversary was in March." claimed Mark matter-of- factly. *Any regrets?*, I asked. "We should've broken up years ago!" Buz retorted, containing a chuckle. "What else would we do?" Dale asked of the other two. Immediately, Mark announced his intentions on becoming an astronaut. Then, Buz jumped in and explained his calling to be a "paid philosopher." (Heh, I'd like to see how far he would've gotten in that line of work.) Of course Dale was not far behind with his alternate career plan. "I would've been a cowboy..." A hushed respectful silence fell upon the trio and I half expected to hear Dale break into "Happy Trails."
Rubbing his chin, Mark reflected, "Isn't it funny how it all falls back to childhood archetypes? Fireman, policeman, president..." Dale whispered "...cowboy..."
The waiter served our snack, an assortment of deep fried things. "I was really upset when I found out buffalo wings are really chicken," Buz said picking up a wing. *How do you think they get them that small?*, -stupid question on my part, but asking anything was becoming increasingly difficult. Dale responded succinctly, "They kill the chickens before the prime of their life." -Gruesome image.
Ughh, would I ever get anything other than these absurd comments? The inevitable question popped out. *Is it true ya'll were friends with Kurt Cobain?* Their eyes widened then narrowed. "No," popped Mark, "people have just assumed that because we're from the same place, everyone is next door neighbors." It is well known that Cobain was a big fan and was highly influenced by the Melvins' sound. Perhaps, not coincidentally, I can't really hear it and it seems they don't either.
With ten years' tenure, I wondered what took so long to ink with a major label. Mark explained: "Well, the truth of the matter is the band was begged for years and years to sign with a major label and due to swaggering bravado..." Buz corrected, "-punk rock ethics." Mark gave a stern look and went on, "...they were all turned down flat until a substantial amount of cash was offered."
So, how long have you been with Atlantic? "About two years." Buz accorded, "but that's old news." At this point they broke into a sub- conversation focusing on Dale's desire to see a donkey show. *A what? I'm completely lost!* "So are we." quipped Dale. "Hey, Dale" Mark beamed, "-next time we go to Holland, we'll make sure you don't miss their donkey shows!"
Uh, back to the interview:.. Do you have a favorite country to tour? Mark, the most assertive Melvin, started with his preferences. "My favorite country to tour is the U.S. because you can always find an interpreter." Dale followed: "Yeah, Europe is a little harder..." Mark finished the intellectual exercise: "My favorite country is Florida." Buz laughed, "The entire U.S. is a foreign country to you.! Funny, HE doesn't sound foreign." Figuring I'd ask easier questions, I inquired as to where The Melvins grew up. "Well," Buz answered, "Dale and I grew up in Washington State and Mark was born in England." "-England...," Mark repeated, "you've got the freckles to prove it."
Tangent, tangent, tangent. Conversation that still has nothing to do with anything... "We don't know you," Mark offered as if it explained all. *Well, I don't know you either. So, tell me about yourselves.* "Oh, just ask away. There's nothing we won't answer..." I hate being put on the spot and besides straight forward, yet. This was another setup. Looking him straight in the eye, I asked Buz, *do you wear boxer underwear?* "Yes." I looked at Dale. "No." Mark summarized in clever fashion, "See, we cover all extremes. Buz wears Boxers, I wear briefs and Dale doesn't wear any underwear." Loud laughter. "Dale is a water sign, Buz and I are fire signs, so when we get good and burning mad, he gets steamed." Yeah, huh-huh, fire's cool; that was funny, heh.
JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM
I was about to ask something pertinent but the tape recorder clicked off. But, you wanna know facts? Well, this is about all I pulled: they've been together for ten years. They're big Kiss fans. Their favorite drugs of choice are caffeine and nicotine and their new cd Stoner Rich is available in stores now. And if you get the chance, go see or hang out with these guys. You won't get a word in edgewise, but they'll make you laugh.