When one hears superlatives like “the kings of the Northwest (US) music scene” and “the heaviest band of all time,” bands like Nirvana or Soundgarden might immediately come to mind.
But Nirvana’s drummer and longtime frontman of rock giants Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl, recently used the terms to describe The Melvins, the Washington-based trio that Kurt Cobain named among his favorites.
The Melvins and Nirvana were two sides of the same coin – the former a sludgier metal sound and the latter a punky, pop sound.
In fact, The Melvins’ leader, wild-haired Buzz Osbourne, played a significant role in Grohl’s joining Nirvana in 1990. As legend has it, Osborne took his friends Cobain and Krist Novoselic to see Grohl’s band Scream. When that band broke up, Grohl phoned Osbourne who gave him Cobain’s number, knowing that he was looking for a drummer.
Nirvana went on to scale rock ‘n roll heights in their short history and following the breakout success of Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991) and the scramble by record labels for any Seattle rockers, the Melvins signed to Atlantic Records. Their credo was “slow it down and turn it up” and it helped set them apart from the grunge pack. Their first major-label release, 1993’s Houdini, which Cobain co-produced, was a moderate success.
Cult rock legends The Melvins to make Israel debut
That’s been the line for the last 40 years of The Melvins’ existence as a revered cult band, influenced by everyone from Black Sabbath and Black Flag to The Ramones and Motorhead. The trio, including founding drummer Dale Crover and bassist – since 2016 – Steven Shane McDonald, will be making their Israel debut next week with two shows at Tel Aviv’s Barby Club, July 5 (sold out) and July 6.
The shows mark the end of a two-month 40th-anniversary tour for the band, which has been crisscrossing Europe. The enduring grunge rockers are also marking the release of their 26th studio album Bad Moon Rising, last September.
According to the Revolver website which writes about everything metal, the Melvins will always be credited (and blamed) for inspiring the Nineties grunge explosion that launched Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and more from the clubs and streets of Seattle.
“We’re much weirder than the bands that sold millions of records out of that. But things that I was involved in – and the way I thought music should work – helped change things completely on a global level,” Osbourne told Revolver.
“That’s the facts. I wasn’t wrong then. I’m not wrong now.”
Fellow traveler, Faith No More singer Mike Patton called The Melvins’ sound “relentless.”
“When people try to describe the Melvins or compare them to someone else, they always fail. They are a genre unto themselves,” he told Revolver.
Israeli headbangers of all ages will finally be able to see – and hear – what all the noise is about.