The Melvins' Buzz Osborne Talks Record-Breaking Tour Attempt

Music Features The Melvins
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Seminal grunge rockers The Melvins have been playing music for 29 years, and founding member and frontman Buzz Osborne is pushing 50. That isn’t stopping them from embarking on one of the most ambitious tours one can imagine. In fact, when they hit the road this fall, they’ll be going after the world record for the most ambitious tour ever, at least in the United States. Beginning with a Sept. 5 show in Anchorage, Alaska, the Melvins will attempt to play 51 shows in 51 days, with each show taking place in a different state and one in Washington D.C.

“I honestly don’t think it’s going to be that hard,” said Osborne. “But we have to do it, that’s the thing. It’s a lot of shows in a row. It’s a lot of people to count on. We’re not getting any younger. You’ve got to do this stuff while you can still put one foot in front of the other.”

After an initial claim that The Melvins would attempt the entire tour on Harleys, Osborne admitted that they would indeed be traveling by van, with the exception of the dates in Alaska and Hawaii.

“We’re driving,” Osborne said. “It’d be easy for Morrissey to get in his private jet and do it. If that was the case we would do four states a day.”

The tour will be part of a busy year for the Melvins. On Tuesday, they released Freak Puke, an album recorded by a variation of the group called Melvins Lite that consists of Osborne, long-standing drummer Dale Crover, and upright bassist Trevor Dunn. The album is a departure from what most have come to expect from the Melvins, relying heavily on an experimental, free-flowing, jazz-like sound that comes largely as a result of Dunn’s prowess on the upright bass. “The only strings on the record are the stand-up bass,” said Osborne. “Technically they’re strings, but he got all of those string [sounds] out of a stand-up double bass. There’s no amp, just a mic-ed, acoustic, stand up double bass. Trevor’s amazing. He’s a tremendous musician.”

Also in 2012, the four-piece incarnation of the Melvins will be releasing an album on Scion Records, and a lineup consisting of Osborne, original drummer Mike Dillard and Crover on bass will release an EP, Melvins 1983, shortly before the 51-day tour is scheduled to kick off. Melvins Lite will also be touring throughout Canada and along the West Coast prior to their record-breaking fall tour.

“We really do operate like we would appreciate other bands operating,” said Osborne. “There’s no reason why we can’t do whatever it is we want to do. I do this for a living, and we don’t take that lightly. It’s what we do.”

It will be the Melvins Lite lineup (Osborne, Crover and Dunn) that will embark on the 51-day tour, planning to play songs from Freak Puke as well as earlier Melvins favorites along the way.

“With this lineup we have less gear, it’s more feasible,” said Osborne. “The more people you get together, the lower intelligence level, that’s how it works. Just look at all the people in soccer stadiums.”

Check out the full record-breaking schedule below.

The Melvins Tour Dates:

5 - Anchorage, Alaska @ Bear Tooth Theatre and Pub
6 - Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox at The Market
7 - Oregon @ TBA
8 - Boise, Idaho @ Neurolux Lounge
9 - Missoula, Mont. @ Top Hat Lounge
10 - Salt Lake City, Utah @ Club Sound
11 - Casper, Wyo. @ TBA
12 - Denver, Colo. @ Bluebird Theatre
13 - Lawrence, Kan. @ The Bottleneck
14 - Columbia, Mo. @ The Blue Note
15 - Omaha, Neb. @ The Waiting Room
16 - Des Moines, Iowa @ House of Bricks
17 - Sioux Falls, S.D. @ The Vault
18 - Fargo, N.D. @ The Aquarium
19 - Minneapolis, Minn. @ Grumpy’s
20 - Madison, Wisc. @ High Noon Saloon
21 - Chicago, Ill. @ Double Door
22 - Indianapolis, Ind. @ The Vogue Theatre
23 - Louisville, Ky. @ The Vernon Club
24 - Detroit, Mich. @ Smalls
25 -Cleveland, Ohio @ Grog Shop
26 - Morgantown, W.V. @ 123 Pleasant Street
27 - Jermyn, Pa. @ Eleanor Rigby’s
28 - South Burlington, Vt. @ Higher Ground
29 - Dover, N.H. @ Dover Brickhouse
30 - Portland, Maine @ Asylum

1 - Boston, Mass. @ Paradise Rock Club
2 - Pawtucket, R.I. @ The Met Cafe
3 - New Haven, Conn. @ Toad’s Place
4 - Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
5 - Hoboken, N.J. @ Maxwell’s
6 - Wilmington, Del. @ Mojo 13
7 - Baltimore, Md. @ Ottobar
8 - Washington, D.C. @ Black Cat
9 - Charlottesville, Va. @ Jefferson Theatre
10 - Carrboro, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle
11 - Knoxville, Tenn. @ The Square Room
12 - Greenville, S.C. @ The Handle Bar
13 - Athens, Ga. @ 40 Watt Club
14 - Birmingham, Ala. @ Bottle Tree
15 - Pensacola, Fla. @ Vinyl Music Hall
16 - Jackson, Miss. @ Duling Hall
17 - Little Rock, Ark. @ Juanita’s Cantina
18 - Baton Rouge, La. @ Spanish Moon
19 - Austin, Texas @ Mohawk
20 - Norman, Okla. @ Opolis Production
21 - Albuquerque, N.M. @ Launchpad
22 - Phoenix, Ariz. @ Crescent Ballroom
23 - Las Vegas, Nev. @ Artifice
24 - Los Angeles, Calif. @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
25 - Honolulu, Hawaii @ The Republik