Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

The Weirder The Better: Buzz Osborne Of Melvins’ 13 Favourite Records

Melvins founder King Buzzo takes tQ through a list of his thirteen favourite records, from Tom Waits to Butthole Surfers via PiL, Pixies and The Who

Photo by Peter Alfred Hesse/Wikimedia Commons

“Don’t quiz me on which thirteen records I picked because I can’t remember,” Buzz Osborne of Melvins tells me, moments before we’re due to begin our chat about his thirteen favourite records. “Sometimes, it changes hourly,” he adds. I explain that I have a list of choices he sent over a few weeks ago. “Phew, that’s alright then! I might change my mind though.”

Just a few moments into our conversation and I’m treated to all the humour, surrealism and angst that’s characterised one of the hardest working bands in music. Their 1987 debut album Gluey Porch Treatments was considered the blueprint for grunge, and since then the band have unapologetically experimented with manifold styles and ideas, drawing on influences far and wide. Via various evolving line-ups (Buzz and Dale Crover are the constant staples), Melvins have released an album almost every year for 30 years – not to mention various EPs, live albums, covers, collaborations and side projects that simultaneously co-exist alongside their seemingly ceaseless output.

“There wasn’t actually a single person at my school who even knew who David Bowie was,” Buzz tells me, explaining that he didn’t bond with a single person over music at his school in Montesano, Washington until the tenth grade, where he met Mike Dillard – one of the founding members of the group. “I was totally on my own until then,” Buzz explains.

His parents weren’t supportive either. “My parents never bought me records, they had no interest in my love of music at all.” Seeking out his favourite records via mail order catalogues, a young Buzz discovered the intense innovation of Public Image Limited and the Pixies alongside the rockier outings of The Who and humour-hippies The Fugs, the latter being one of the “greatest influences” of all on the Melvins, according to Buzz.

He also shows his fiercer, uncompromising side too, explaining that he has “no time” for musicians or audiences who aren’t open to new ideas or experimentation, something that’s always been at the core of the Melvins’ style. “If you start listening to music with the idea that, ‘This music’s for my age, for me’, you’re just a fucking moron. I have zero respect, and I can learn nothing from you. You have to be totally open.” He reveals his intense distrust of people who don’t like his choices too. “If you don’t appreciate it, there’s nothing I can say to you. I have absolutely no time for you!” he says of people who don’t like Elton John’s Captain Fantastic.

A new album is of course on the way at some point soon. “We never wait too long. I have no reason to believe we won’t be in the studio again soon.” And their plans? “No idea. So far so good. We’ll keep on doing that. Whatever that is.”

Click the image of Buzz Osborne below to begin reading his thirteen favourite albums

First Record

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