Interview – The Melvins

As a member of the Melvins for over a quarter of a century, and the man who has drummed for Fantomas, Peeping Tom, Shrinebuilder and Nirvana, one imagines that Dale Crover has lived a pretty full and exciting life, touring the world, playing alongside some of the most talented people in the rock world, and rightly claiming his place in the pantheon of greats. But I bet that all pales into insignificance to the time he woke up and found the following questions from Demon Pigeon in his inbox, including one where your dear scribe here actually got the name of one their albums wrong. (To be fair, the Melvins have recorded so many bloody albums that it’s hardly fair to expect me to remember all of them is it?) Can you imagine the pride in his heart? I can only imagine that when 2010 comes to an end, he will look back on the hour or so he spent answering questions from a blog he’s never heard of as being the proudest and most memorable of his whole year.

DP. The new album is an absolute belter, and has some really nice inventive moments. The Water Glass in particular will probably be the best album opener of the year. How did the idea for the call and response come about?

DC. Thanks! That’s better than an absolute belcher. The Water Glass was Buzz‘s idea. It probably came from too many viewings of Full Metal Jacket, or maybe Stripes.

DP. Obviously the new lineup is now three albums in. Does it still feel new at all, and do you now see this as a ‘definitive’ Melvins line up?

DC. It’s very comfortable now with the B.B. boys. We like playing with those guys a lot! We’ve re invented our band with these guys. If they start smoking crack it’s over.

DP. I imagine the new material is pretty fun to play live, especially The Water Glass and Inhumanity and Death, have you had the chance to play much of it live yet?

DC. We’re playing about four new songs live right now, including a cover of Bacon Industry by Karp. Always fun to play new stuff.

DP. The last two songs on the album are interesting. Firstly, why the Who cover?

DC. Because The Who are awesome! One of our all time faves and a huge influence. Our version is a take on the live version they do in The Kids Are Alright movie.

DP. And the album closer P.G. X3 is really different from anything you’ve done before. It’s very haunting. How did that come about?

DC. There’s a version of that song in the movie The Proposition. Also very haunting. For some reason it’s not on the sound track cd. We decided it would be a good idea if Jared sang it.

DP. Overall, there’s a very cinematic feel to the album, was that a conscious choice? It’s felt like you’ve been moving in that direction since ‘Senile.’

DC. We’re big movie fans. Nice observation! The answer is yes.

DP. Obviously longevity is something you can’t avoid asking a band who have been around as long as you have. What’s the secret to making a career last in the music industry?

DC. Not wasting money and time on chop chop Charlie!

DP. What advice would you give to young hungry bands starting out now?

DC. Take a duffle bag to the Golden Corral buffet and fill it up!

DP. The sort of doomy, punk influenced riffy stuff you play has obviously been in and out of fashion over the years, and with bands like Baroness, Mastodon and Torche all obviously heavily influenced by yourselves, do you see that reflected in new and younger fans showing up at your shows?

DC. We’ve always been “hip” and “now” with the kids. They come right to the source. Seriously, most people our age don’t go to shows anymore. There’s always a new crowd every year of kids who are interested in music and what we do. Hurray!

DP. Is there anyone around at the moment who influences the way that you guys write? Do you keep up to date with what’s going on or do you shut it out and focus on what you are interested in doing?

DC. We’re big music fans and are influenced by many types of music, art, and film, both old and new. That being said, I can’t think of anything new I’ve bought in the last six months.

DP. You’re relationship with Ipecac is obviously a natural fit given the relationship between you all and Mike Patton, collaboratively speaking. But are you glad to be away from the world of major labels now?

DC. We liked being on a major and have no regrets. Ipecac certainly has a better understanding of what we do and yeah, we have a great think going. We would sign with a major again if it was the right deal. That ain’t gonna happen though.

DP. One of the great things about being a Melvins fan is that you never know what you’re going to get next. I certainly never saw Chicken Scratch coming. What’s the plan at the minute? Have you got much in the way of international touring set up for the album? Any plans to come to the UK?

DC. It’s actually Chicken Switch. I like Chicken Scratch. We should’ve called it that. More touring. Probably make it over there next year sometime. I’m sure we’ll be recording a new disc before you know it.

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