Melvins’ Buzz Osborne Reveals Why He Loves Golf So Much + It’s Not for Relaxation
Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show, catching up on the latest pair of albums from the stylistically amorphous group, the band's return to their hard-touring ways after time off amid the pandemic, why he loves golf and more.
This band has always been a prime example of "expect the unexpected" and, last year, Melvins hit fans with a brand new studio album (Working With God) and a collection of acoustic reinterpretations of classic songs throughout their career, dubbed Five Legged Dog. Whatever Melvins put their minds to, they charmingly pull it off with a wink and grin, ever the confident group regardless of which musicians populate the lineup at any given time.
In the interview below, Osborne also touches on what it's been like having so many different lineups and how he finds unique opportunity in each instance.
Read the full interview below.
Melvins released two albums in 2021 — Working with God and Five Legged Dog and the latter is a bit of a reformatted timeline of Melvin's history as acoustic re-imaginings. What does deconstructing songs years later reveal about your innate creative tendencies?
It was nice to do because we did all acoustic drumming with brushes, so, like you said, we had to reimagine all of it. What it showed me was that we can make all those songs work over two and a half hours of music and we made it work with just acoustic guitars and vocals and, and drums, so it was great.
Since the Melvins started, numerous musicians have been in the band. How has interacting with multiple players bettered you musically and personally?
Everybody I've ever played with brings their own kind of musical agenda to whatever we're doing. I like to stand back and let it flower on its own. One thing you need to do as a band leader is trust the musicians you play with, so you try to let them own the material they didn't play on and add to the material that they are recording. It's a good plan. It makes us into something I couldn't have planned out before and it's a much more interesting band that way.
The Melvins encompass an appreciation for a wide range of music. What instilled that broad-minded perspective in the band and you personally?
We're not really afraid to do lots of different stuff. I view recording and playing live as two different things. You approach recording differently and we kind of approach playing live like heavy metal crossed with a Captain Beefheart Broadway musical. [laughs] That's the best way to put it!
I've never really been afraid to do lots of different things like that and live, it kind of tends to cross into a lot of things that we like — humor, Throbbing Gristle, Captain Beefheart, Judas Priest and birthday parties. That's a good combo.
Melvins are back out on the road. What was the prolonged absence from live performances made you appreciate most about being onstage?
This is the longest break I've ever taken [from touring] in 30-plus years. It was pretty strange.
Fortunately, my wife and I got along really well during it and we got a lot of creative stuff done. We do a lot of packaging and things like that together and she's a graphic designer, so that was great. Our dogs definitely loved the pandemic because we were constantly home. Once [restrictions] started lightening up, then they got very upset with not being included in a lot of stuff, which was kind of funny to watch.
We also recorded a lot, did some live stuff on the internet and three different Melvins TV, things that were really fun to do. We were selling those as three picture discs in one. We have those available at our shows and it's nice to get back out there and have some human contact. I just hope that this pandemic will allow it to continue.
Golf doesn't seem representative of loud, heavy music, but quite a few of those musicians play, yourself included. What's the appeal of golf in the context of a musician's lifestyle?
Musicians are people of a great indoors, so it's nice to get outside. I've always loved sports. I just didn't particularly like the people that played sports and golf is a solitary sport. It involves a a mental attitude and a physical activity at the same time and I really like that. I'm not really into the country club elements of it. I have no interest in networking or hanging out with a bunch of jackasses — I'm just there to play golf and get that out of my system.
I'm a hyper intensive person, so I have time for all this because I'm willing to put the time in as well as everything else we do. It's not really a relaxing thing for me, it's more of a competitive, fun thing — more than [the mindset of] 'I'm going to go and relax and not really care.' I really care about what I'm doing out there. It's a great thing for me. It's perfect. I don't need anybody else to do it. It's not a team sport — you're out there by yourself or with teamed up with people you don't even know and I think it's great. People look at me like I'm some freak, right until the point when I'm kicking their butt, but that's all good.
Thanks to Buzz Osborne for the interview. See all of Melvins' upcoming tour dates here and follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.