IF YOU GO:
Who: The Melvins with Big Business, Tweak Bird
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St.
Information: www.onepercentproductions.com or 402-884-5353
If any band was going to try to play all 50 states and D.C. in 51 days, the Melvins would be the natural choice to try it out.
The punk-influenced, often-sludgy rock band is anchored by singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover, but the group often changes lineups for its live shows and recordings.
In recent years, the group has performed as a four-piece with members of the band Big Business. On the tour that brings it across the country (and to Omaha on Saturday), they're performing as a three-piece group they're calling Melvins Lite.
Recently, with its 1983 lineup, the band released an EP appropriately titled “1983.”
Basically, whatever the band feels like doing, it sets out and does it.
We caught Crover on the phone while the band was on its way to Portland to talk about Melvins Lite, playing every state in the union and why the band has so many faces.
Q. You have a couple shows down on your record-setting tour. How have those gone?
A. We got two down and 49 to go.
Q. You got Alaska out of the way first. It seems like that would be the hard one to do.
A. When we flew in, they were having a wind storm. We were on the flight and you hit a big wind bump? It was one of those. I was hanging onto the seat in the back. We kind of thought it was normal, but the captain came on and said it as a big wind storm.
Q. 51 shows in a row with no days off could be tough. Do you think you'll get tired?
A. We have every day off. We work at night. So, no. When you do have an actual day of not flying, you do have a 500 mile drive. There's a couple of pretty long drives, so we have to get through those.
I think the first week is always the toughest because you have to get used to being on the road. I don't anticipate any trouble. We've had our fair share of natural disasters on tour before. The wheels could fall off this whole thing at any time.
Q. Buzz did a thing for Pitchfork on the band's first-ever tour in ‘86. Some crazy stuff happened on that tour (including shows cancelled, other bands robbing a store).
A. That's all true. That's just the tip of the iceberg. All my best tour stories are from that tour. That was our first time going anywhere and it was a real eye opener. You know, going to the south and seeing what racism really was. Boy, it was pretty crazy. We were really green.
We saw a lot of weird stuff happen. Buzz and our old bass player at the time, they saw some guy get blasted. They were using a pay phone and some car rolled up and blasted this guy. I don't remember whose house we were staying at, but they came in and told us about it and the guys there were like, ‘Oh yeah, that happens all the time.'
Q. Whoa. How did you guys decide to do the 51 shows thing? Did you really want to break the world record?
A. For us, it was a publicity stunt. It sounds really good: ‘We're going for a world record.' Even if we don't do it, at least we can say we did and everyone will believe us.
You know, George Thorogood did this in the ‘80s and he said he did it. But I distinctly remember listening KISW in Seattle where they had a special news report that George Thorogood cancelled the tour 31 days in. These days, he says he did, but I remember that news report.
With their big production and crew, they probably physically couldn't make it. We're all in a van. We've got a smaller backline going on and smaller drum kit, so it's easier.
Q. Melvins Lite has Trevor Dunn on bass. What's it been like having him in the band?
A. We've played with Trevor before. We played with him before getting the Big Business guys in our band. Shows come up and we needed someone.
He's a really quick learner as far as learning all of our songs.
Q. Trevor plays a stand-up bass and has done a lot of jazz stuff. How does that change what you guys do, especially making your last album, “Freak Puke?”
A. Certainly, his mind is like that for sure. ‘Jazz it up. Play as many notes as you can.' (laughs) Having the bass, we wanted to utilize that. We gave him a lot of solo spots on the record.
We're playing almost all the new stuff off the record live and plenty of old stuff. We always try to play a wide variety.
Q. Whether it's different lineups or doing covers or different releases, Melvins have always done whatever you want. Why is that?
A. We don't want to be like everybody else. All of us have a hand in it, but Buzz comes up with the weird ideas. We'll say something that's just crazy, but then Buzz will come up with something that's... genius.
Even this (tour), it's a pretty crazy idea, but I think we could do it.
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