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Melvins’ Buzz Osborne picks songs by “bands that were good, but blew it”
January 7, 2014 8:26 AM   Subscribe

As the big-haired frontman of one of sludge metal’s longest running acts, Roger “Buzz” Osborne has earned all sorts of goodwill. Melvins inspired acts like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Tool, and Mastodon, creating an army of hard-rocking, appreciative Melvins fans working the nation’s clubs and arenas on any given night. Now in their 30th year, the Melvins are still plugging away: The band’s 21st album, Tres Cabrones, came out last November. In commemoration of that longevity, The A.V. Club asked Osborne to put together a mixtape framed by the theme of his choice. Ever the shit-starter, he picked “bands that were good, but blew it.”
posted by josher71 (78 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
He has the good taste to pick a bunch of Minneapolis bands, even if he is discussing how they blew it. Pity about the Cows.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:33 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


This list took a different tack than I was hoping. I sort of assumed it'd be a list of great bands we would have heard of except... Mostly, it's a list of big bands he feels crapped out and let him down.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:34 AM on January 7


I love me some Buzz Osborne. I love his commentary, but this part especially was gold:

AVC: There are some people that argue that it was the drugs that made him artistic.

BO: So, let me get this straight, if I take LSD and heroin, I’ll play like Jimi Hendrix? Really?! I beg to differ. I guarantee there are guitarists down at Guitar Center without a record contract that are on LSD and heroin and will never make any money playing music. They’re putting that little theory to the test every day. I don’t buy it. I don’t care what you do, but I don’t see alcohol and drugs as being anything other than a way to make whatever problems you have in your life bigger. There’s not a problem in the world you can’t make bigger by drinking a fifth of whiskey. If it worked the other way, they would market it as “problem solving whiskey.” But I believe in personal freedom, and you should be able to do what you want, but you should understand that when you kill yourself with booze and drugs, I’m going to think you’re stupid. That’s just how it is.

posted by The Michael The at 8:39 AM on January 7 [50 favorites]


There’s not a problem in the world you can’t make bigger by drinking a fifth of whiskey. If it worked the other way, they would market it as “problem solving whiskey.”
posted by fairmettle at 8:40 AM on January 7 [10 favorites]


There are so many great bits of insight in this interview. I know it's early in the year, but it is going to be hard for the AVClub to top this one as their best of 2014.
posted by Renoroc at 8:41 AM on January 7


OH HELL YES THANK YOU
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:42 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


This was great, although Buzz hurt my feelings when he talked about Nick Cave and then the Replacements.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:53 AM on January 7


That was a great read, thanks. I think he does live by the advice we gives too-- the great thing about the Melvins is that if you don't like their current record, just wait 6 months and you'll get something completely different.
posted by gwint at 8:56 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


This was fucking great. I really loved the Hendrix one. I can't diss SRV like that, but it's true that he just didn't have the same soul as Hendrix. I didn't realize he had such a hate on for drugs, but I suppose, you know "the best minds of my generation destroyed..." and all that...
posted by symbioid at 8:56 AM on January 7


As a British rock loving teenager in the late seventies, I could have never imagined that neither Townsend or Jagger/Richards would write any songs that anyone really gave a crap about again. I don't know if it's the drugs, like Osborn says, or that some artist just have a finite limit of inspiration and once they spend to that limit, there's nothing left to draw from.

On his suggestion, I'm listening to Sticky Fingers for the first time in a couple of years. Still sounds vital forty years later.
posted by octothorpe at 8:59 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Damn that was good. Thanks for sharing.
posted by COD at 8:59 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


He is too blunt and insensitive. He should focus on the needs of others, and not his own personal opinions. I did not like his use of the word 'theory'. My feelings have been hurt by his writings, and I will investigate further by listening to some of his recommendations.

I'm picturing an entire school district being on lockdown due to some kid listening to parts of Metallica's "Whiplash". Oh my golly; just the title alone. What kind of horrible media is this guy even reviewing, can he be any more less caring! Won't somebody think about the group feeling.
posted by buzzman at 8:59 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I saw the headline and thought "Okay, the Replacements. Who else?"

My brother, a huge Mats fan, likes the description of the group as "the little band that could, but didn't."

Ouch.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 8:59 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


"[Stink} was such a great record. It was so much better than Let It Be or Pleased To Meet Me. Those records are interchangeable garbage. They’re meaningless, and they’re dumb."

I WILL FIGHT YOU
posted by Rangeboy at 9:01 AM on January 7 [9 favorites]


Great stuff. Where do I start with the Melvins? (That's a question about listening to their albums, not a rhetorical device).

In the Some Kind Of Monster movie with Metallica, the drummer’s dad told him he thought what they were doing sucked. “I think you should delete all of this!” He was right. The dad looks like Gandalf, and I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but the movie is amazing. It’s like This Is Spinal Tap, except the band isn’t in on it.

Hilarious- my desire to see this just went from 0.0 to like 3.9
posted by Dr. Zachary Smith at 9:06 AM on January 7 [8 favorites]


Buzz hurt my feelings when he talked about Nick Cave and then the Replacements.

For some reason, I agree with him about the Replacements but not about Nick Cave. The Bad Seeds is a different band than The Birthday Party and is entitled to a different musical identity.
posted by Slothrup at 9:08 AM on January 7


Houdini, or at least thats what people tell me.

I disagree vehemently with some of his rankings. Let it Be and Tim are great albums. And Wavering Radiant kind of got boring, ISIS' peak wasn't the end, it was Oceanic and Panopticon.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:09 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I love the Melvins, and while I disagree with some of the things King Buzzo says in this article (I freaking love the Bad Seeds) I enjoyed reading it and listening to the tunes immensely.
posted by Dysk at 9:13 AM on January 7


"Amplified motocross" is a beautifully accurate description of The Stones' live sound circa 1981.
posted by davebush at 9:18 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Brilliant stuff. Great post.
posted by The World Famous at 9:26 AM on January 7


This got me listening to The Birthday Party. I always did enjoy Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds but this is more in my wheelhouse, genre-wise, so I'm loving it.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:27 AM on January 7


Great stuff. Where do I start with the Melvins?

Houdini and Stoner Witch seem to be the ones most people recommend and where I started off. I'm a bigger fan of Bullhead and Gluey Porch Treatments these days. Though, there isn't really a bad Melvins album even if some of them get pretty strange.
posted by angryostrich at 9:31 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Very good, but here's where Buzz really shines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppLRUHb_tOc
posted by AJaffe at 9:39 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Great stuff. Where do I start with the Melvins?

Houdini and Stoner Witch seem to be the ones most people recommend and where I started off. I'm a bigger fan of Bullhead and Gluey Porch Treatments these days. Though, there isn't really a bad Melvins album even if some of them get pretty strange.


I also highly recommend the more recent albums since Coady Willis and Jared Warren joined the band. Willis and Dale Crover both drumming at the same time is awesome, and adds a whole new dimension to the band. A Senile Animal is great. The Crybaby is also terrific, a bunch of gloriously weird covers ("Smells Like Teen Spirit" with vocals by Leif Garrett. WHAT?) and some originals.
posted by The Michael The at 9:41 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I can't diss SRV like that, but it's true that he just didn't have the same soul as Hendrix.

Nah, it's just a different kind of soul coming out of a different kid with a different background from a different place. I loved this, and I get that not everyone feels the same feels when they hear the same hears, but it's a huge bit of hubris to confuse "not a kind of soul that reverberates as loudly with me" with "doesn't have [as much] soul".

There's plenty to criticize about SRV and his legacy (personally, I agree with Merlin Mann that he's one of the best and worst things that ever happened to the blues), but there's no credible argument to my mind that the man wasn't pouring every last pound of his guts into his music. His cover of "Voodoo Chile" is different (and, I agree, not as good, even though it is more polished), but he's pretty clearly not playing it to impress anybody. He's got a loud, raw thing at the middle of him that he's trying to let out.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:44 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I also highly recommend the more recent albums since Coady Willis and Jared Warren joined the band. Willis and Dale Crover both drumming at the same time is awesome, and adds a whole new dimension to the band.

I saw them live with this lineup a few times and it was mindblowing. The dual drummers created such a massive sound.

The Crybaby is also terrific, a bunch of gloriously weird covers ("Smells Like Teen Spirit" with vocals by Leif Garrett. WHAT?) and some originals.

That is exactly what I was thinking of when I mentioned some of their albums get kinda strange. All those albums released on Ipecac were great, though. The Bootlicker is probably my favorite of the bunch.
posted by angryostrich at 9:56 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I figured his takes on Nick Cave & The Replacements would be a little controversial, and the comments on AV Club don't disappoint.

I love the Melvins, but I'm curious to hear from others who saw them live in the '88 - '91 time frame. The first of three times I saw them, they put on an amazing 90 minute show from start to finish. The second and third times were both at the same small venue in Richmond, VA, and at each show at about a half hour in, they just started playing feedback and never stopped until the club emptied out. I wondered if somebody up front pissed them off, if they were just road-weary and wanted to get it over with, or whatever. I never ponied up to see them after that. Just wondering if anyone else had that happen at one of their shows. I'd love to see them with the dual drummer lineup, but I'm still a little leery of doing it on the East Coast.
posted by gimli at 9:58 AM on January 7


The crybaby is a great album even if "Divorced" is the only track I listen to on it.
posted by triceryclops at 10:12 AM on January 7


He's mistaken if he thinks Stevie Ray Vaughan learned Voodoo Child "from a book".
posted by thelonius at 10:23 AM on January 7


Color Me Obsessed makes it pretty clear that there are several different generations of Replacements fans. For some definitions of great, Stink and Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out The Trash are the only decent Replacements albums. For others, they didn't really come into their own until Let It Be, Time and Pleased to Meet Me (Hootenany being a solid transitional record).

Honestly, I would be disappointed if Osbourne hadn't selected Stink as their last great moment based on his aesthetic. I was a little shocked at his choice of Sticky Fingers and Who's Next since both of those albums are fairly late in their respective bands careers and feature a more polished sound than some of their earlier work.

I guess he holds Minneapolis to a different standard than England.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:23 AM on January 7


if they were just road-weary and wanted to get it over with, or whatever.

Maybe that was it, since they cancelled the '91 show in Philly where I was hoping to see them. Jerks.
posted by orme at 10:26 AM on January 7


Gandalf tells his son, Lars, to [CTL-ALT-]DEL

p.s. Exile on Main St. was the last awesome Rolling Stones album. It was released after Sticky Fingers but was in the works during the same period.
posted by maggieb at 10:27 AM on January 7


Melvins’ Buzz Osborne picks songs by “bands that were good, but blew it”

He should know.


*hides*




Seriously, though. Bands break up for lots of reasons. Maybe they aren't progressing artistically, maybe they can't stand each other, maybe they have family or economic reasons, but it's a valid decision within their relationship, and if you can't stand to look at someone's fucking dick face for one more second, but Dick Face is integral to your sound, then break up your band, start another, call it something else, damn. Going out on your best work isn't "blowing it," putting together a different project as your aesthetic changes isn't "blowing it." Continuing to fuck that chicken even after it's clear to everyone in the audience that it's nuggets... maybe that's blowing it, but if they keep buying tickets, whatever.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:31 AM on January 7


Doesn't every band end up sort of crappy if you wait long enough?
posted by freakazoid at 10:42 AM on January 7


I'd love to see them with the dual drummer lineup

I saw Buzz Osborne play in Fantomas with Dave Lombardo on drums and that was sort of the equivalent of a band with two drummers.
posted by cazoo at 10:46 AM on January 7


I haven't seen a picture of Buzz Melvin in a while (or maybe ever), and just noticed he has the same hair as Shane Embury. Is this a thing that happens naturally or do you have to use a curler and spray to make it happen? I may consider it for my own old age.
posted by ignignokt at 10:48 AM on January 7


That quote about heroin & LSD & booze is so straight up The Truth. Fantastic interview. Best quote about drugs by a musician who should know, like, ever.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:50 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I dunno, dudes, this just seems like cranky old man ranting. A band should never break up, they should never get famous, they should never do drugs, they should be small-to-medium draws playing at rock clubs forever.

Which I guess is exactly the path the Melvins have taken, and that's all well and good for them, but sometimes people want to have families, or put some money away for their kids' college funds, or pursue other interests than music. To say that someone "blew it" for walking away from a career is shortsighted and self-centered (they're not making music for you in the first place).
posted by Soultron at 10:54 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I love what he's written here. I wish he'd expound on the "Van Halen changed everything" thing. EVH is phenomenally capable, but he seemed to write, what I – and I figure Buzzo, too – think of as shit. The theme of his interview. What did EVH change for him?

Also, I really did not know Black Flag had two albums after Slip It In.
posted by ignignokt at 10:56 AM on January 7


Doesn't every band end up sort of crappy if you wait long enough?

Not always. Like what he says about teen angst, The Replacements losing it, then comparing them to Tom Waits, who -- he's right -- has really aged well. It's tough to be full of teen angst when you're fat, rich & happy -- see Metallica or NIN who still try to truck in the same dour stuff that made them famous, despite the mansions & limos. Not everyone adjusts to success, but some do. I'd also count Los Lobos, The Black Crowes & XTC (up until they split in 2003) as bands that matured well & never really started to suck, because they kept it real instead of pretending to be still angry at their mom & dad or whatever.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:59 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


...because they kept it real instead of pretending to be still angry at their mom & dad or whatever.

By this metric, Westerburg in particular and the Replacements in general aged pretty well. The content of their songs changed as they aged and changed. Also, they never got fat, rich or happy - just older.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:36 AM on January 7


His response to the comment about Hendrix and drugs showed that he really didn't understand it. It wasn't about what drugs would do for Buzz Osborne, or the kids in the music store, but about what they did for Hendrix.
The argument still might be wrong, but not for the reasons Buzz gave.
posted by rocket88 at 11:43 AM on January 7


Drugs killed Hendrix & he's still alive, so you have that to your argument's merit.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:50 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


By this metric, Westerburg in particular and the Replacements in general aged pretty well. The content of their songs changed as they aged and changed. Also, they never got fat, rich or happy - just older.

Westerberg's problem isn't that he got fat or rich or kept singing about being angry at parents or whatever. It's that, sometime during the Don't Tell A Soul recording sessions, he made the major life decision that this was a great high-water mark and that he'd just go ahead and keep presenting a couple of those songs over and over again forever as if they were new. Then the 90s happened and confirmed that he had made the right decision.
posted by The World Famous at 11:52 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


By this metric, Westerburg in particular and the Replacements in general aged pretty well. The content of their songs changed as they aged and changed. Also, they never got fat, rich or happy - just older.

I'm not too familiar with the whole body of Westerberg's stuff, though I like it when I hear it. It maybe wasn't the best example for his case, but for Metallica, it's really true. All that anger! Anger! Buy the album! Anger! bleh
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:52 AM on January 7


I dunno, dudes, this just seems like cranky old man ranting. A band should never break up, they should never get famous, they should never do drugs, they should be small-to-medium draws playing at rock clubs forever.

I don't get that he thinks bands should never get famous or that they should be small to medium draws forever. I'm not sure how you read that into it. Did I miss something?
posted by josher71 at 11:53 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I dunno, dudes, this just seems like cranky old man ranting. A band should never break up, they should never get famous, they should never do drugs, they should be small-to-medium draws playing at rock clubs forever.

You know, I'd usually be one of the first people to wave this flag... But I didn't really get that vibe from this. Saying it's cranky old dude stuff because he said those things is completely throwing the context in the garbage. And the last point is something I never really even saw him imply, and if he had I'd be right on board with calling this pretentious music snob bs. Ditto on the "they should never get famous". That one is explicitly stated with a big ass * after it pointing to the note that they should never get famous and soft, or lazy.

I also didn't see any never do drugs stuff. He was keeping it pretty real noting that a lot of these guys had, or he at least suspected they had drug problems. You can infer from those statements that he's anti drug, but I honestly read it as more of some serious real talk on the fact that a lot of good musicians just overdo it.

There is definitely a cranky old man and "I remember back when these guys were cooool maaan" aspect to this, and I can see how someone could get that vibe. But I feel like it manages to transcend that and really go a bit beyond the limits of a typical tastemaker wank session that would imply. It's a bit all over the place, but he makes some good points and manages to well, actually make them and qualify them a bit without them just sounding like hard statements without anything to back them up.

And once you look at it that way, it kinda stands up a lot better. There's a lot of stuff like the nick cave comments that you have to realize is just his opinion and not let that bog the whole thing down too much. This isn't being presented as the definitive anything. It isn't some best of all time list, it's just "this is stuff I like".
posted by emptythought at 11:56 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


His response to the comment about Hendrix and drugs showed that he really didn't understand it. It wasn't about what drugs would do for Buzz Osborne, or the kids in the music store, but about what they did for Hendrix.

I'm as huge a Hendrix fan as anybody, and as far as I can tell, what drugs did for Hendrix was kill his self-confidence, ruin his ability to ever complete a project or song and move on to the next thing, and put most of the meaningful creative decisions in the hands of people like Eddie Kramer and Billy Cox as the drug use got worse. His playing was always sloppy (in a good way), but as it progressed, he lost the ability to decide how many new parts were a good idea in any given song or to edit himself. Everything he did after Electric Ladyland sounds to me (as a guitarist and songwriter) like he was on autopilot and "just play whatever, man" mode. Don't get me wrong - I listen to that stuff all the time and I like most of it. But the drugs were not making him better, even setting aside the fact that they killed him.
posted by The World Famous at 11:56 AM on January 7 [7 favorites]


Right, he was praising bands like The Who and The Stones, before they became human jukeboxes for the survivors to cash in on
posted by thelonius at 11:56 AM on January 7


I quite like his commentary about Metallica - my dad knows the parents of one of the Metallica members, and so I was always listening to them when I was a kid (well, early teens), and when they TOTALLY blew up and started playing arenas we were all just kind of floored. I think the "friend of the family" factor helped prevent my parents utterly banning tapes (tapes!) with titles like "Kill 'em All" and of course remember that this is well before Columbine and all that. Of course as a rebellious teenager I loved it and used to listen to them over and over in my room for hours. And even so, after about the Black Album (not to mention everything later), I got pretty trepidatious, and eventually downright embarrassed, about each new thing. I mean... eesh. I have since largely abandoned saying things like "I liked them before they were cool, but then they sold out, and now they suck," but, well, I liked them before they were cool and then they sold out and started sucking, dammit! Can't disagree with Buzz on that one.

Although, I do wonder where he would come out on when exactly their talent peaked. Frankly I would not pick "Kill 'em All", let alone any song from that album; their sound was still quite raw (and Dave Mustaine was still on vocals for chrissake). I guess you could argue that's what you're looking for in a metal band, but Master of Puppets was so much bigger and more expressive while still having a lot of energy and edge... I feel like you have to pick something from that album, even if it's like "Battery" or something. But yeah, once the black album came out... pass!
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:59 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Some Kind of Monster is definitely worth watching if you haven't already. Osborne's take is right on.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:11 PM on January 7


I dunno, dudes, this just seems like cranky old man ranting. A band should never break up, they should never get famous, they should never do drugs, they should be small-to-medium draws playing at rock clubs forever.

He's explicitly not saying that: rather than saying "don't become famous", he's saying that once a band is already famous (and likely there's a reason they became famous in the first place, i.e. they're good), they already have all the money they need, so they don't have to play megadomes and can instead focus on great experiences for them and for fans:

Also, I think they get wrapped up in this idea, like The Who and all these other bands that play in arenas, at some point they have to know or understand that if they’re out there playing non-venues or venues designed for things other than music is a mistake. It’s a great way for them to make a ton of money, but they already have a ton of money.

What they should do—and this goes back to the thing about them working harder than anyone else—they should now work harder by trying to provide people with an amazing place to see music like a theater or something smaller than a basketball gymnasium. I’m so not into it. “They’re playing at the Staples Center! Great! I can’t wait to go down and see a band play in the exact same place as where they play hockey!”

posted by The Michael The at 12:23 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I would have actually had more respect for Metallica had they just embraced the new change without telling fans, "Our next one is going to be like our old stuff, just you wait!" They would say that about pretty much every album after Load but of course it was never true. Death Magnetic perhaps came closest, but to me it was just too little too late. If instead they said, "This is what we like to play now, if you don't like it then too bad" I would have at least given them some respect even if I didn't dig the music.
posted by angryostrich at 12:24 PM on January 7


Some Kind of Monster is definitely worth watching if you haven't already. Osborne's take is right on.

Some Kind of Monster is fascinating even if you don't care for the style of music. It's a compelling human story with moments of hilarity mixed with pathos.
posted by ovvl at 12:24 PM on January 7


"But the drugs were not making him better, even setting aside the fact that they killed him."

Right. And something that often gets missed in conversations like this, is that while sometimes a small amount of drugs can actually help spark some creativity, or at least make music more fun, it's not like that curve just goes up forever — you peak, usually a lot faster than drug users think, and after that, more drugs only hurts your ability to get shit done and have enough outside perspective to know what's bullshit and what's not.

Again, setting aside that they killed him, which is pretty much the ultimate in "drugs are a problem."
posted by klangklangston at 12:46 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


If instead they said, "This is what we like to play now, if you don't like it then too bad" I would have at least given them some respect even if I didn't dig the music.

They tried that with Load. Ten years later, they either wanted to play stuff that was more like what they used to play, or they just felt like pandering again.

Both are plausible. Even I, an occasional "bedroom musician" with no fans or money, find myself hating stuff I was all excited about a few years ago.
AVC: What do you think they should have done? It’s got to be hard to capture teen angst album after album, especially as you age.

BO: You don’t have to keep doing that. You just have to realize that what you were doing was good. I got the feeling that they didn’t think that it was any good. There’s no more of that anymore.
I think Metallica at least realizes what was good about their early days. Of course, as we've seen, there's still a long way between doing that and coming up with good music for decades. Buzz can't answer that question and, probably, no one can.
posted by ignignokt at 12:47 PM on January 7


I just wanted to say that one of the awesomest thing any band has ever done is to fully integrate a wholly different band into their lineup in the way that Melvins did with Big Business.
posted by mediocre at 12:56 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


Then the records changed to bad versions of R.E.M. when they signed to Warner Bros

Hm. I've always felt earlier Hüsker Dü (especially Zen Arcade) was a lot more like R.E.M. (if R.E.M. put all their guitars through the shittiest, tinniest distortion pedals you've ever heard and yelled every line...but, you know, in a good way) than later Hüsker Dü, which I agree got worse -- though I'd date the worsening to Flip Your Wig, which was still on SST -- but just kind of in an all-over-the-place, not-really-trying, I-don't-know-what-this-is-but-it's-not-Hüsker-Dü draggy sloggy kind of way.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:05 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Besides, what could I say that would ever hurt the Stones?

more importantly, what could you ever play that could even approach the stones? - sure, they've done a lot of mediocre stuff - but they still have it at times and when they have it, no one can beat them

and that is true for a lot of albums past some girls, except undercover
posted by pyramid termite at 1:21 PM on January 7


You misspelled Dirty Work, pyramid termite.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:27 PM on January 7


If instead they said, "This is what we like to play now, if you don't like it then too bad" I would have at least given them some respect even if I didn't dig the music.

They tried that with Load. Ten years later, they either wanted to play stuff that was more like what they used to play, or they just felt like pandering again.


I always thought that, despite being a pretty meh album (by a band I haven't felt the need to listen to since I left highschool), Load at least had a few good moments of this new sound for them, and it was kind of a shame that they didn't go down that road a bit further rather than just giving it a halfass try and going back to coasting. Even if exploring some growth in that direction didn't make them a good band again, at least they wouldn't feel so tired. I can't say much for it, but it was their one post-80s album that didn't feel like a middle-aged businessman's weekend Harley ride, so it had that going for it.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:32 PM on January 7


I wish more bands did what Isis did, instead of having to see the slow descent of a band into uninspired shit.

They didn't even go out at the top, in my opinion. Wavering Radiant sounded pretty bland to me, albeit tolerable. Perfect time to break up, you don't even need to wonder what could've been.
posted by palbo at 1:37 PM on January 7


You misspelled Dirty Work, pyramid termite.

"had it with you" and "harlem shuffle" are good - the rest of it's a mess
posted by pyramid termite at 2:21 PM on January 7


I can't believe we have got this many posts into the thread and no one has yet claimed "Problem Solving Whiskey" as their next band name or Metafilter sock puppet account name.
Step it up, people!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 2:28 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


I think I'm the only Husker Du superfan who prefers the New Day Rising and afterwards era.

Also, for whatever reason, I've thought a lot about the problem of the Stones, and I think it's actually a lot more complicated. Like, I 100% agree that Some Girls was the absolute last gasp of creative decency, and that the peak was well before that. They've been going through the motions for drastically diminishing returns for decades, no question.

But the more I think about it, I don't think that necessarily means that they should have broken up at any given point. Or at least that they owed it it anyone to break up. If the Stones want to descend into self-parody, really I guess that's their right and it doesn't make Let It Bleed any less visceral. On some level, they must be enjoying what they're doing now, and who am I to begrudge them of it? I'm not going to go to shows or buy any of the past-1980 music, but that's my concern, not theirs.
posted by COBRA! at 2:48 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I know that there were plans for him to do an album with Miles Davis and I think that would have been unbelievable.

I once wrote a speculative album review of that album that never happened.

It was garbage. Miles at his most spastic and drugged out and Hendrix trying to riff over it but mostly failing and occasionally laughing into the mic as if even he can't believe that this is being recorded and that he will make money off it.

posted by Joey Buttafoucault at..

Gaaaahahaha! You win an internet for the name, good sir! Me and my friends used to have a running joke about a series of SNL sketches depicting different networks TV movie versions of the Amy Fisher story, each one having a different means of pronouncing Buttafuoco. You somehow came up with the text equivilant.
posted by mediocre at 3:09 PM on January 7


they still have it at times and when they have it, no one can beat them

In context, isn't what they "have," a back-catalog of good songs from 40 years ago? I guess you can say that nobody can beat them playing old songs that they themselves wrote, but that's really dulling the knife of vitality there.
posted by rhizome at 3:14 PM on January 7


Good article. But.
This is the guy who tells me my favorite bands suck (constantly - dude I get it), and stellar musical careers are subject to tenuously imagined capricious guidelines. He loves music. It's his life.

Cool music, obvs. Not that crap. That's record's a big shit for morons.

For hating on drugs and drink (and good on him for it) he's got a lot of boozed up coked out tuinol-and-two-joints records on there. How does he imagine they'd sound without that? More awesome, one would expect, and yet . . . I dunno. It seems kind of unlikely.

And that comparison of Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" to SRV's as an example of, what, non-soul playing? Firstly Stevie would be happy just for the comparison. Secondly Jimi wrote it fercrapsake and he's got Mitch and Stevie Winwood backing him up with Eddie Kramer on the dials. He's also Jimi Fucking Hendrix, so there's that. Stevie was a giant in his own right, with his own tone and his spot in Hendrix Hall well deserved. That's an unfair comparison at least and indicative of what's wrong with this picture.

I saw the Stones in an amplified canyon a decade ago, long after they were dead, and they carved it up and rocked it out. Just because my favorites don't include a warbly self-hating confused fame seeker from Outerville who recorded three albums in mono through a box fan, or a misogynistic dystopian metal band who are all - no shit, eight years old or whatever doesn't mean I can't enjoy . . . Uhh . . I dunno, Cake, right?

ooh ooh! Olivia Newton-John!
posted by petebest at 4:08 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I think I'm the only Husker Du superfan who prefers the New Day Rising and afterwards era.

obviously the real Husker Du is after Bob Mould develops his distinctive guitar drone and before they really slow down and get poppy. So Diane (it's interesting to me how Bob's most recognizable style really first seems to appear on Grant's songs) through Flip Your Wig more or less.
posted by atoxyl at 4:19 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Yer mom
posted by COBRA! at 5:53 PM on January 7


I think I'm the only Husker Du superfan who prefers the New Day Rising and afterwards era.


Warehouse was one of my favorite albums when I was in high school. I still think about those songs every so often.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:11 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


It's always "drugs" and never "money and attention taking up all your creative time". Easy scapegoating there, Bob.
posted by telstar at 8:11 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I thought Isis stuck around too long (although I liked In The Absence of Truth more than most), but Wavering Radiant has been growing on me. The second half of Hall of the Dead really gets my head moving. Intronaut does the clean singing prog metal thing better though.

I think this is a great list. Buzz has been around and done enough to talk as much shit as he wants.

For getting into the Melvins, I would cite Houdini and (a) Senile Animal. And the best song off The Crybaby is Spineless, a tune actually written by fantastic NYC band Skeleton Key.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:42 PM on January 7


The Birthday Party broke up for no reason that I can discern.

I'm just not sure I can take him seriously for this comment.
Because it was pretty obvious why The Birthday Party split and turned into The Bad Seeds to anyone who has paid attention.
posted by Mezentian at 9:11 PM on January 7


Jimi wrote it fercrapsake and he's got Mitch and Stevie Winwood backing him up with Eddie Kramer on the dials

You forgot Jack Casady
posted by thelonius at 4:01 AM on January 8


Some of it probably comes down to the fact that bands like the Stones and Metallica and The Who will spend $40,000 or $400,000 the way you or me will spend $400. They’re blowing through their money so fast that they’re like, “Oh, we need to go out for this amount of time and play all these horseshit venues.” No, no, no. What you need to do is go out and work harder at a smaller venue. Try doing that, millionaire. For those of us that are thousandaires, we’ll enjoy it more. I would be much more likely to give you my hard earned dollars that way than I would at the Enormo-dome on the edge of town so that you can pay your wife alimony, or your ex-wife. Fuck. Off.

I only know of the Melvins as a huge influence on some bands I love (I'm going to be checking them out very soon, tho) and I dislike many of the bands on his list. But damn, he's speaking some truth in this whole thing. I like that he's cantankerous and opinionated, because he's passionate. You can tell with every word that he actually gives a shit about all this and, better still, knows what he's talking about bc he's in the thick of it. I really enjoyed this.
posted by nevercalm at 6:59 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Everything he did after Electric Ladyland sounds to me (as a guitarist and songwriter) like he was on autopilot and "just play whatever, man" mode

Isn't that technically just Band of Gypsies? I thought all the rest were posthumous releases, containing material he was not around to finish, some of which dates back to before Electric Ladyland. Some of it is actually just outtakes and jams.
posted by Hoopo at 9:08 AM on January 8


His response to the comment about Hendrix and drugs showed that he really didn't understand it.

Well the way the interviewer put it was pretty stupid, frankly. "The drugs made him artistic" is a really weird way to put it, and sort of implies he would not even have been artistic at all without drugs. To me it seems pretty clear that his drug use had a significant impact on his creative output for better or worse, although he would have been artistic and incredibly talented regardless I'm sure. It would probably not have been the same material though.
posted by Hoopo at 9:30 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


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