Dale Crover: ” We’ll have official Melvins adult diapers for sale at the merch booth.”

Dale Crover: ” We’ll have official Melvins adult diapers for sale at the merch booth.”

By Jay Hampshire

Jun 1, 2018 10:05

Tongue in cheek, genre spanning and riotously noisy, 'Pinkus Abortion Technician', the latest album from alt-metal lifers The Melvins, might seem like business as usual. We chat to sticksman/yowler Dale Crover about what makes this a different beast.

There’s a considerable number of music fans who would consider The Melvins household names, on a par with the likes of Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. A blistering work ethic has seen them compile a discography that’s over thirty releases strong, and they churn out entirely new material on a seemingly annual basis. Since forming in 1983, they’ve influenced several generations of rock and metal’s best and brightest bands, from Nirvana to Boris, Mastodon to Tool.

But who influences these influencers? Drummer/vocalist Dale Crover name checks some of the greats when discussing the artists who have influenced The Melvins’ latest opus, ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’. “Well, obviously the Beatles, Moving Sidewalks, James Gang and the Butthole Surfers.” Obvious indeed, considering the album title name checks both contributing low ender Jeff Pinkus and the Butthole Surfers album ‘Locust Abortion Technician’. “Besides that, Toshi [Kasai] our engineer makes a mean latte that kept us alert and energised.”

As well as featuring the four string slinging of Pinkus, the album’s low end is further bolstered by Red Kross/Off! alum Steven McDonald, who’s been on bass duties for The Melvins since 2015. “Originally it was going to be an EP with Jeff doing the Butthole Surfers songs we’d played live with him. We were simultaneously recording with Steven on some other stuff, and since he was there we just had him join in. It didn’t take too long before we had an LP’s worth of material.” Does having twice the low end power bring a lot to the table? “It’s great! Two of my favourite bass players. They both have different sounds and styles, and they sing too.”

With all those low frequency rumblings through a live sound system, there’s a very present danger of the group hitting the infamous ‘brown note’ during their sets. “We’ll have official Melvins adult diapers for sale at the merch booth. I recommend bringing a change of clothes just in case.” At least they’re prepared. Question is, will the digestive tracts of UK/European fans be set for a rattling anytime soon? “We’re hoping to come over with this. We did a bunch of US touring with Pinkus but never Europe.”

Dale Crover: ” We’ll have official Melvins adult diapers for sale at the merch booth.”

While it’d be reasonable to expect that material from ‘Pinkus …’ will be featuring heavily in any current Melvins touring set (including covers like ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, which Dale explains away with “We like cover songs and we like medleys. We’ve always done that kind of stuff”), with such an extensive back catalogue to choose from, set construction is something the band take seriously, and they frequently throw in curve balls and old standards. “We put a lot of thought into the whole show, especially the flow of the set and how all the songs fit together. We don’t write the set list five minutes before we hit the stage; that’s not gonna work for us. Having a large amount of material isn’t a bad thing at all. Certainly there are songs that I wish we would’ve tried to play live but never did. Some songs just don’t work live. Some songs we’ve recorded were never intended to be played live. Fans usually just scream for Honey Bucket. Sometimes it’s in the set, sometimes not.”

The band have had a very fluid membership over the years, primarily bassists, sometimes drummers, and on the rare occasion guitarists stepping up to join the indomitable Buzz Osbourne; “We had Adam Jones from Tool out on a little tour before. We did a couple of big tours with David Scott Stone on second guitar as well.” Crover and Osbourne have put in time with various other acts too, doing stints with Shrinebuilder, Crystal Fairy and Fantomas. But if Crover could sign up for a particular band, who would it be? “It would be Redd Kross, who I am a part of now. They’ve been a favourite for a long time. It’s pretty mind blowing! We’re working on a new record actually. Kross fans are going to dig it!”

As well as touring the new album (and presumably writing it’s follow up at some point over the next six months, if they haven’t already started), the band have been busying themselves with other projects, including ‘A Walk With Love And Death: The Movie’ and a signature Buzz Osborne guitar pedal; ‘The Pessimiser’. “Hilbish Design wanted to do a pedal with Buzz. It’s a distortion box with separate bass, mid, and treble controls. Most distortion boxes don’t have three separate EQs like that. The input/ output jacks are on top of the box, as opposed to the sides, keeping your cables out of the way. Sounds great on guitar, bass or whatever else you want to run through it.”

Pinkus Abortion Technician is out now on Ipecac.