"Music is art. Art is extra in life" Buzz Osborne - King Buzzo, The Melvins, Fantomas
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ABOUT KING BUZZO:
Buzz Osborne, a.k.a. King Buzzo, has left his mark on the music industry as one of the founding members of the Melvins and Fantomas. Now he is ready to release his second solo record, The Gift of Sacrifice, with help from Trevor Dunn on bass. Buzz talks about playing crappy guitars, writing new music, and never stopping. Also, Mike Patton should hear Buzz's idea about a new all-encompassing band!
The Gift of Sacrifice from King Buzzo is available everywhere on May 15, 2020
Buzz Osborne: I like all your Simpsons stuff, Duff, Krusty-Os.
Jeff: Yeah, I'm a Simpsons freak.
Buzz Osborne: That's with the metal O.
Jeff: Yeah, the metal O. It's Krusty approved.
Buzz Osborne: It looks just like it's something with sharp edges.
Jeff: When the movie came out in like, God, a bazillion years ago, the 7-Elevens in New York City all changed into Kwik-E-Marts.
Buzz Osborne: Yeah.
Jeff: And they sold those and so I had to go pick them up. It's so great.
Buzz Osborne: I have the Tree House of Horror Krusty Doll.
Buzz Osborne: It talks. You can switch it to evil or you can switch it to good.
Jeff: Yep, yep. That's so awesome.
Buzz Osborne: So if it's evil, then it just says bad stuff.
Jeff: Okay. Well I have to ask then, how come you guys have never been, how come you specifically have never been on The Simpsons?
Buzz Osborne: I am. I'm called Sideshow Bob.
Jeff: Good answer, good answer.
Buzz Osborne: Duh.
Jeff: You sound exactly like-
Buzz Osborne: How much more on The Simpsons do you want me?
Jeff: I want a full episode where you go on an adventure with Bart. I think that'd be amazing.
Buzz Osborne: Yeah. We were on a show called Uncle Grandpa.
Jeff: Yeah, holy crap. I remember that show.
Buzz Osborne: That was, you can look for it. It's on there. They did, it was unbelievable. They even made a music video for it on there of us. It's really cool. Those guys are really cool. They were really nice to us. And it was me and Dale actually on the show, like we went and did the voice overs.
Jeff: That's awesome. That's so fun.
Buzz Osborne: The guy was really surprised because we nailed our voice overs really quick. Two different ways, whatever they want, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Oh, we thought it was going to take forever. All I'm doing is reading.
Jeff: I've been doing that for a long time.
Buzz Osborne: Voice over acting, it has to be the easiest gig in the world. You're reading the lines.
Jeff: That's awesome. That's awesome.
Jeff: Well at the top here, I kind of, I've been doing this lately as I've been talking to people because the world's strange and different right now and I just want to start by asking you, how are you doing? Are you okay? Are you staying healthy?
Buzz Osborne: Yeah, yeah. I've been working out with a trainer, six days a week on Skype actually.
Buzz Osborne: Which is good. So my wife has been, I haven't been doing it as much, but we live in a dead end area with some trails and stuff, walking the dogs a lot. And then we're both fine. I was definitely ill in February, right.
Jeff: Oh man.
Buzz Osborne: Before this thing took off, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I might have had it because my wife said that it was as sick as she's ever seen me in 27 years together. And she goes, I have never seen you in bed for a week.
Buzz Osborne: And I'm coughing my guts out. I mean, it was really, really bad. Not to the point where I felt like I needed to go to the hospital or anything like that. But it was really bad flu. And I don't remember having a temperature but definitely the rest of it was pretty much in place. And so I had to get through that. And then I had surgery, right, at the beginning of the month. So if I had to get my lungs cleared out enough to have that, and I barely got under the wire. And after I had my surgery, less than a week later they shut everything down. I literally got in at the last possible second.
Jeff: Wow. Thank goodness for that. And I've been talking to a lot of musicians during this time. And one of the, the saving grace is, I think for all of us, as we're all isolated, we're all away from each other, is music. We all at least can still enjoy the thing that we love. And one of the reasons why I'm talking to you today is because you've got new music coming. And I'm so excited because it's going to keep us all entertained for a little bit which is great. Gift Of Sacrifice is coming out May 15.
Buzz Osborne: Yep. With probably no tour. My European tour is totally canceled. They couldn't get anything going at that time because everybody is in the fall is trying to book everything. And it just seems silly. So I think the soonest I could go there is probably April 20, 21. Probably.
Jeff: Wow. Wow.
Buzz Osborne: And so I may be completely not working for a whole year as far as that's concerned.
Buzz Osborne: But we have that coming out. I had a 12 inch, called a Six Pack, that came out, that was a precursor to the album. We have a live at the Fucker Club, which is a live record from Australia that's going to come out as a hyper limited version.
Buzz Osborne: And that was already in the works long before this because for something to come out in May, I have to have it finished and mastered in December. But to put an EP out now, I have to have had done it months and months ago because it has to go through the pressing plant, and then waiting. And so new music for everyone else is old music for me.
Jeff: Understandable. Understandable.
Buzz Osborne: I always thought I could enjoy the stuff. Like I'll make an album, right, and then I master the record, and you're listening to it. It's done. And I always say I can enjoy it up until about the time that it comes out. And by the time it comes out, I've had it for five or six months, maybe a little less. And I've enjoyed it up to there and then by the time other people hear it, I've already walked away from it.
Jeff: Right, right.
Buzz Osborne: You let it go out in the world. By that time, you've listened to it as much as you're going to listen to it. And it becomes somebody else's music.
Buzz Osborne: And then you're satisfied with it, and you're already thinking about what you're going to do next, which is, that's just how it goes. But people have a weird vision of that, that's different for you than it is for everybody else. But I see it through different eyes. I hear it with different ears. And different experience for me.
Buzz Osborne: One of my favorite directors, if not my favorite, John Huston said, he made a lot of movies, and he said he would make his movie. They would edit it. He would sit in the screening room and watch it once or twice, and then he would walk away from it. It's done.
Buzz Osborne: Now it goes out in the world and it's none of his business what happens. He's satisfied with it, as satisfied as he can be with it, and has lived with it for a very long time and understands it better than anyone else in the world. And now you let other people go out and enjoy it or not enjoy it. And that really is none of your business. It's none of my business if you like my music or not.
Buzz Osborne: I have no control over that and I'm not, I think you should like it, but if you don't like it, I mean, I may think less of you but that's really not my problem.
Buzz Osborne: It's your problem.
Jeff: Of course. Of course, and-
Buzz Osborne: I'll probably like everything that comes out.
Jeff: That's the plight of a creative though. You live with this stuff as you're creating it, for months and months, like you said. Sometimes over a year depending on what it is. And then by the time it's released to the masses, you're already looking towards that next thing. But we're looking forward to this new record and I'm really excited about it.
Buzz Osborne: Of course. I'm very excited. I did it with Trevor Dunn.
Buzz Osborne: I play in Fantomas with Trevor sometimes. And I met him, Melvins played with Mr. Bungle in the early 90s, late 80s a number of times. And so I've known him since then. Really got to know him when I started playing with Fantomas a little over 20 years ago. And since then, Trevor is been a treasure for me. One of these guys that comes into your life or people that come into your life, that are so special to you, that they're the type of people you could give $100,000 to and not have to count it when you got it back.
Buzz Osborne: You're like, okay. I mean, this is, I've always said the best thing I got out of Fantomas was my ongoing relationship with him.
Jeff: Oh wow.
Buzz Osborne: He's played in our band. He's a very good friend. He's a hyper talented musician. Now he's on this record and I think he did an exceptionally amazing job on making it into something different than it would have been. I had most of it recorded before he put his bass on it. And all I told him was, I really want you to overplay. Overplay as much as you can on this because there's no drums. And I just thought, if you're smart, you let a guy do his thing. A guy like that, you just let them do their thing. You're going to be a lot better off than trying to guide them. He's a professional, and with professionals, you let them do their work.
Buzz Osborne: It's sort of like hiring a painter to paint a portrait of your wife and then standing there telling them what to do.
Buzz Osborne: No, you hired this artist. You trust their vision and you wait and see. It might not be exactly what you thought it was going to be, but it usually is going to be something way better. That's been my experience.
Jeff: You've got the one track out now, Science In Modern America. It's this, for lack of a better term, it is this haunting groove of a freaking song. It's, like the layers that you got on that is great. And now knowing that you had a lot of the skeletons of this stuff done before you brought Trevor into it.
Buzz Osborne: Oh yeah.
Jeff: Did the music evolve because of his contributions? Did you add more layers? Did it like become more, I don't know, more something because of that?
Buzz Osborne: Well, I think just the bass itself did that. The songs we didn't really, the songs I had recorded, and I was going to put vocals on them. A couple of them I had vocals on. And I had no idea that he would play on the whole record, which is why it's King Buzzo with Trevor Dunn because we didn't really write the record together. I had most of the stuff done before he was ever there. There was one song maybe. Then there's a couple of instrumentals I put on there that he had that I really liked. But I still added stuff to those too.
Buzz Osborne: So it didn't seem like it was a, like if it was a King Buzzo Trevor Dunn record, we would have started from ground zero and maybe each brought in songs and worked on them together, or tried to figure out something. That wasn't what happened on this. It would have came out without bass on it.
Buzz Osborne: But he did such a great job, he came in last, it was over a year ago. He came in and was there a couple of days. And we were going to do a tour, we knew we wanted to tour together. So we'll do an EP maybe. You'll come in and we'll play together and then you can open the shows, and then I'll play. Maybe we can play a couple of songs together. Maybe we can make a little EP that we could sell as a tour EP. That would be really fun to play together. And once we got going on it, I was just like, okay, why don't you try this song then? Why don't you put some on this song? And it was so great. I just couldn't deny it.
Buzz Osborne: Along those lines, I'm definitely an accidentalist. If something falls in my lap, I'm not so stupid that I'm not going to let it happen. You just let that happen. Oh my gosh, it's panning for gold. You hit a vein, you keep it going. You don't stop. Well we got one good one. No, no, no. Let this guy do his thing. It will make the whole thing even better.
Jeff: That's so exciting.
Buzz Osborne: It was great. And now that we probably won't be touring it, what I'm thinking is, we'll just make another record and tour that one. Once the plague is over.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, no. Well I hope that whether or not it effects your tour, I hope that you do get to tour this record because I think it's so interesting just hearing that one track, and being able to, from my fan perspective, trying to visualize you guys performing these songs, I think is just going to be such a treat. And I'm sure you-
Buzz Osborne: I was very excited about it. I could not wait to do it.
Buzz Osborne: But you know, these things happen. I've often thought that for my whole career, it's like, things could be over in six months. I mean, you never know what's going to happen. Yes, that will be exactly how it will work as long as everything works out exactly how you think it will work without knowing. I mean, they often say that the plans of war are perfect right up until the moment of war. Then everything changes.
Buzz Osborne: It's just... So I've kind of viewed this whole thing like that. Like I'm very grateful for what I've gotten. Very grateful for the fact that I'm able to make music as a living at all. I've ran into this thing, especially with journalists who will talk about the grunge ear and that kind of thing, and talk about us like we didn't sell millions of records. And it's like, I could sit around and pretend like I'm upset about all those kinds of things. I'm just not. I'm not upset about that. We're a much weirder animal than any of those things. And I never put us in that same category. I never thought of us in that same way.
Buzz Osborne: So to have this idea that I'm sitting around mad because Sound Garden and Nirvana sold millions of records, that's just, that's like, I think, well what kind of person do you think I am? You really have that low of opinion of me, really? You think that I would be sitting here grumbling about that when in actuality, I have everything I have ever wanted, far beyond the ideas of what we started this band for, we surpassed those in the first six months. It's like, let's play a show. It'd be great to play on a stage. I mean literally that's how we started out and that's all we thought. There was no career idea or the idea of making a record. It was, that's absurd.
Buzz Osborne: So to think that I've done way over 20 albums, I've done all the stuff I've done up to this point, I can, as long as I'm being cagey and careful, I can make a living doing this. And to have people think, I don't think that's enough is a great disservice to who I am.
Buzz Osborne: I think it's sad really. It's like, no, I don't measure myself up against other people like that. It's like, what are they saying in Caddy Shack, how do you measure yourself against other golfers? By height.
Jeff: There's no reason for that either. I think that's bad journalism if they're coming across like that because I mean, you hit the nail on the head. You shouldn't measure yourself against anything other than yourself. If you set out to create something, and you did the thing, then you're a success regardless of millions of records or whatever. If you can make a living doing what you set out to do and what your dream is of doing that. Like you can make a living doing what you set out to do, and what your dream is of doing that. Like you said, when any band starts out, any musician out there starting in their garage right now, their goal is to play that show on the cool stage in their home town. Like that's it.
Buzz Osborne: That's it.
Buzz Osborne: And to have to go further than that.
Buzz Osborne: I mean, nobody sells millions of records now.
Jeff: No, not at all.
Buzz Osborne: So great leveler.
Buzz Osborne: Matt Cameron told me the last Pearl Jam record before this new one came out, sold like less than 200,000 copies.
Jeff: It's crazy.
Buzz Osborne: That's, we're talking about a band who sold probably more than 10 million copies of one record.
Jeff: One record, yeah.
Buzz Osborne: We can't sell 200,000 records. They were arguably the biggest band in the entire world at one point.
Buzz Osborne: Maybe they still are, I don't know. But I know they were.
Buzz Osborne: Some of them were. You can't sell 200,000 records.
Jeff: It's crazy.
Buzz Osborne: That's where we're at.
Jeff: It's crazy.
Buzz Osborne: Right. And so what is a gold album now? 100,000?
Buzz Osborne: Yeah, they should readjust it.
Jeff: They should.
Buzz Osborne: 500,000, that's like, no. That's like, forget it. That's like Triple Diamond level now. So what, is Diamond Level is like over 10 million?
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Buzz Osborne: Well Diamond Level now should be 500,000.
Buzz Osborne: We always laughed that when bands sold records, that for a punk rock band, 10,000 records was a gold record. It's a gold record. You can sell 10,000 records as a punk band, that's like getting a gold record for a punk band.
Buzz Osborne: That's how we always thought of it. Because if you can sell 10,000 records, you could tour, you could do all kinds of things like that, which was, I always thought was important. Oh look, they sold 10,000 records. Okay, they can make this work. They can go out and do something with this. This is great. Take it from there.
Jeff: So all the way back, I'm always curious talking to musicians, like I know that you got into music as a young kid. But was there a watershed moment in your childhood that gravitated you towards the guitar, towards singing, towards expressing music with a musical instrument? Or did you just kind of fall into it?
Buzz Osborne: Well I didn't start playing guitar till in my late teens. So I got into rock and roll music probably when I was about 12. And so it was a good five years at least before I really started actually playing guitar. And probably after high school before I got a guitar that was worth a shit.
Buzz Osborne: That wasn't some crappy electric, it was garbage or a really crappy acoustic guitar. I never had good instruments. Which I tell people, if you want your kid to play guitar, you have to get him a good guitar because crap guitars are just hard to play, and they'll get really discouraged. And the other thing is that I wish someone would show me is show them open E tuning. They can play guitar that day.
Buzz Osborne: And then maybe they can get interested in it from there. But why make, put a bunch of road blocks in front of them because usually most people can't get past their first few weeks because it's just too hard. In Fantamos, I toured with Terry Bozzio, right, Terry Bozzio playing drums.
Buzz Osborne: Terry Bozzio is, and so some people, best drummer ever. And to him, drumming was easy. And it was guitar that was hard. He couldn't understand how you could play guitar. He goes, that's way harder than what I'm doing. That's his perspective, you know what I mean?
Jeff: That's crazy.
Buzz Osborne: He didn't see drumming as being anything, he was like, he was at my house, he goes, "I'll show you what drumming is." Takes a piece of paper, he writes out the music notes, "This is it. This is all I can do. I can't do more than this." It fit on one side, half of one side of one piece of paper. He goes, "That's all I can do. That's it. That's all that's possible musically. It's the only thing you can do drum wise. That's it." He's like just looking at me like, what are you talking about? Drumming is easy.
Jeff: No way.
Buzz Osborne: But guitar, he goes, "What you do," he goes, "What you do, that's hard." It's just, that's so funny. I just thought that was so funny.
Jeff: That is funny. What kept you going? You said you had all these crappy guitars until your late teens when you finally got a good guitar. Like why didn't you just put it down and just say, fuck it, I don't care?
Buzz Osborne: I was in love with rock music anyway, and it just seemed like a fun thing to do as far as like, I could do it whether I ever played in a band or not, one way or another. And playing music kind of spoke to me somehow, right back, put me back into seventh or eighth grade when I was listening to David Bowie's Hunk Dory album, and everything that that entailed, and listening to those weird lyrics and the journey that that took me on, and I was into all kinds of rock music at that time that I could find, whatever it was. I didn't have any older brothers or cool people that I knew that were turning me on to music. It was all just my own finding it in magazines or whatever.
Buzz Osborne: So Aerosmith and Ted Nugent and The Who were just as important to me as The Sex Pistols and The Clash. I didn't really see a massive amount of difference. Once I could get past the vocals on the Sex Pistols and The Clash, one you accepted that, it really wasn't a whole lot different than the rest of that music. Never Mind The Bollocks is really a metal record.
Buzz Osborne: It's not really much different than, I mean, you can like Ted Nugent, there's no reason why you can't like that. The vocals are a little different but after awhile, I learned to just embrace all that stuff. I thought it was really cool that they were doing something different. It just sounded to me like what Jay Lee Lewis was doing, or Little Richard, or any of these flamboyant, crazy, it all grows out of the same thing.
Buzz Osborne: I was never an ageist when it came to like, oh I like the music of my generation or the people that are my age. I just never really cared about any of that. Music was music and whether it was Jimi Hendrix or The Beach Boys or Elton John, it all came from the same thing to me. I didn't really see any difference. And then as I got older and a teenager, going to shows and stuff like that, I enjoyed seeing Van Halen play in the early 80s as much as I enjoyed Black Flag playing. And the shows to me, eventually the punk rock shows, the intimacy of all that spoke to me in a way that the big arena shows weren't.
Buzz Osborne: But I still never stopped liking that music. I like Judas Priest Unleashed in the East. I think that's the greatest metal album ever made. I don't think there's been a single metal album that's even close to as good as that record. And as much as I love heavy metal, I never stopped enjoying that record. Despite any other reasons why people might not like them, I always thought that was an awesome album as well as all the punk rock records I liked as well. Most people I knew, it was either or. You either like this or you like that, that's it. You can't like both. And I just never understood that. I always felt like we were way more open minded with the way that we looked at music.
Buzz Osborne: It's like, you're not going to listen to Led Zeppelin because you like Black Flag? That doesn't make any sense to me. The Ramones are really good, but so is Led Zeppelin. Sorry, but you're just wrong. I tried to incorporate all of that kind of thing into the music we were doing. And the punk rock stuff made me, showed me that I didn't have to be Allan Holdsworth or Andre Segovia, to be able to play guitar. I could do something and maybe figure out something else that could work. And then bands like the Gang of Four showed me that I didn't have to play four four. I could do, it's infinite. Four four is one of the most, it's one of the most inhuman things you can do. There's nothing straight like that in nature. Nothing. Your heartbeat doesn't do that.
Buzz Osborne: All over the place, there's no straight lines. There's no, everything has to be this way. It was none of that. And once I embraced all of that, then the whole world of music opened up to me and I could write whatever I wanted, and the only limitations for me were my inability to figure it out, whatever it may be. Once those flood gates opened, I never looked back. Music can go in any direction I want it to. As long as I like it, I've done the right thing.
Jeff: I think that's a great outlook on life in general, but also on music. Growing up, I dealt with that a lot too. Like if you, there's lines that are drawn in the sand because I grew up in the 80s, and like lines that are drawn in the sand, if you like punk rock, then fuck everything else. If you like metal, then you're not allowed to like, you're not allowed to go across the border lines. And I feel like we've got, I hope we've gotten away from that. Do you feel like music has become more inclusive in this day and age?
Buzz Osborne: I don't know. I don't know what the kids like. I don't know. I never liked, I didn't like teenagers when I was a teenager. I certainly don't like them now. I never fit in with whatever was the hipster, cool thing. And like when music, once I was around people who were super hipsters, they had more rules than anybody else. It was like being in the fucking army. It just didn't appeal to me. I walked away from that kind of thing. Long before I ever even knew what I was doing, it just didn't appeal to me. And we did things, I would look at bands and go, I hate that stuff so much, that in order for me to do the right thing, I have to do something completely opposite of that. Then it will be right.
Jeff: Then it will be right.
Buzz Osborne: Because that is so wrong.
Jeff: That's good though.
Buzz Osborne: Or attitudes or just, I didn't have any patience for that sort of stuff. The obvious macho energy for no reason and just with no music to back it up or whatever.
Buzz Osborne: Just super PC. Now I just don't care about any of that. I have a sense of humor. Some people might not appreciate it. But that's okay.
Jeff: So you've mentioned, I mean, obviously The Melvins and all of the stories that you've told about them throughout the years is incredible, but you've mentioned a couple of times in this interview Fantomas, and I'm always curious when it comes to bands like that. You and Trevor, like you said, like created this incredible friendship out of that. And that band also Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo, but it always is curious to me because as a musician myself, like you play shows with other musicians and the conversation inevitably comes up like, "Oh man, I love your stuff. We should do something sometime." But it almost, 99% of the time, never happens. How did a band like that coalesce? How did you guys all find the time and come together?
Buzz Osborne: Mike Patton wanted all those players. It was his idea. I didn't write any music for that.
Buzz Osborne: I was just trying to, we were all just trying to go along with whatever Mike was trying to do. I tried to play the parts that he wanted me to play. That's it. Didn't try to add anything nor was I invited to add anything. That was never the deal from the beginning. People really liked it. A lot of people didn't like it but that was okay. It was an odd thing to do. I kind of wish it wasn't over. But I don't know that it's over. But nothing's happening, so. I don't know. I always thought Mike should put a Mike Patton band together.
Buzz Osborne: Do stuff from all of his eras. Just put a whole band together. Like Elton John has a band.
Buzz Osborne: Elton John plays with guys, a lot of the guys are guys he's played with since the 70s. Same guys. That's kind of cool.
Jeff: That would be really cool.
Buzz Osborne: Then he could do whatever he wanted, and just do things from Faith No More, and things from Mr. Bungle, and things from Fantomas or whatever. It seems like that's, I've always thought along the lines of a band and not so much as a project, whereas Fantomas seemed like more of a project than an actual band.
Buzz Osborne: The Melvins, in The Melvins, we've incorporated lots and lots of stuff. And we always view whatever me and Dale as doing as The Melvins, whatever it is. It doesn't make any difference. So we are of lately done stuff with this band from Tacoma called Helms Lee that will come out. We'll be doing more 1983 recordings. We've done a bunch of stuff with that with Mike Dillard the original drummer and Dale playing bass. We just recently did four songs with Mark and Steve from Mud Honey, and me and Dale and Steven, so all incorporated into the same thing. I've never had any problem with that.
Buzz Osborne: It doesn't seem that precious to me. Mike can do that, I just think it should happen. I wish he would do it.
Jeff: I wish he would too.
Buzz Osborne: Mike Patton band, whatever it is.
Jeff: Yeah, what a great idea.
Buzz Osborne: Yeah, they wouldn't have to worry about, you want to do some Fantomas more songs, you got the band to do it.
Buzz Osborne: People want to have a problem with it, look, it's just music. It's not overly important. It's not the end of the world. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. It's music. Music is art. Art is extra in your life.
Buzz Osborne: To take you out of the boring existence you have just by trying to make a living. It transports you to another world. That's what it should do or what it's supposed to do. When I play a live show or make a record, I'm trying to give people something they can't get in their normal life. That's it. You come to our show and see something you don't normally see every day of the week. That's what we want to do. That's what I wanted to see as a musician, as a fan. That's what I want to hear when I put on the record, something that I can't do or something that I don't normally see. That's what will make it.
Buzz Osborne: That's why when you look at a painting or you look at a sculpture, or you watch a movie, you see these things that don't happen in your normal life and it transports you into another world. That's the beauty of art, to get that particular, oh he shouldn't be doing this or that. You're missing the point. Lighten up.
Jeff: It's the total truth. That actually really brings it into the theme of the show. Like we're all fueled by the finish line. We're all fueled by death. We want to leave this world a little different before we leave it for good. And I mean, you kind of already answered this, but I would ask you, what fuels you to keep creating?
Buzz Osborne: It's what I do. I mean, they asked Bob Dylan, quite a few years ago, why is it you keep touring? You're pushing 80 years old. Why do you do it? And he's like, that's the deal I made. That's the deal I made. Highway 61 revisited. That's the deal I made when I became a professional musician, that's the deal. It's what I do. And I heard a professional skateboarder say this, and I kind of agree with it, and he goes, "The reason you quit doing something, quit being professional skateboarder is because you don't care about it anymore or no one cares that you're doing it." Like right, that makes sense. That's right. I still care about it and the people still care about it. So I'm going to keep doing it.
Buzz Osborne: Nobody cared. I probably wouldn't. I might doing it not on the level I'm doing it now, and if I didn't want to do it for whatever reason, then that's another reason to quit. But other than that, I want to work. We normally do 80 to 120 shows a year every single year, and make records as often as we possibly can. That's it. That's what we do.
Jeff: That's exciting.
Buzz Osborne: I had this German, more than one German actually say, "You put out too many records." It's like-
Buzz Osborne: Compared to what? "That's not fair to your fans." I go, oh okay. So if I just make two records and then put a two year break between them, you'll feel better about it? Just let it sit there for two years and then put it out? You'd feel better about it.
Buzz Osborne: Whatever, whatever.
Jeff: Do, do-
Buzz Osborne: The other funny thing about that kind of thing is that people think whatever you put out is brand new. And it's like, well, it's brand new to you, but a lot of the riffs on any of our records are stuff I wrote a long time ago.
Buzz Osborne: Just haven't... the record yet, or I haven't finished it yet. And they think, "Oh well it's your new stuff." It's like, no, I would get that, especially even years after we did the Stoner Witch record and people would go, "I like the Stoner Witch record but maybe not so much of your new stuff." And I go, a lot of the new stuff I wrote when I wrote the Stoner Witch stuff. It could have been on that record. Only you hear it like that. I don't hear it like that. It's like, that's not the truth. Stuff like that's really funny. I don't know how old a lot, sometimes some songs are brand new, but by and large, a lot of that stuff I've had kicking around for a long time. Just couldn't finish it.
Buzz Osborne: It's weird to me, someone will do something like work on a book, let's say they're writing a book for 10 years, right. They write it for 10 years and then when it comes out, the government taxes them on it like it took them one year to do it. No, this took me 10 years to do, and you're going to tax me on it like I did this in one year. Like I worked nine to five this year, and I made this book and put it... No.
Buzz Osborne: That's not fair. It's not fair at all.
Buzz Osborne: I don't know don't know how people think that kind of thing is okay. Some of these songs, if they've been sitting around since the 90s and me working on them trying to figure if that means, or the early 2000s, and they come out. If I sell it, I get taxed like I just wrote it.
Jeff: Makes no sense.
Buzz Osborne: It doesn't make any sense.
Jeff: No sense.
Buzz Osborne: It makes no sense. But I don't know. People don't seem to think about that kind of thing. Like Tool worked on their record for more than 10 years. They're going to get taxed on whatever money they get, like they did it this last year.
Buzz Osborne: That's not fair.
Jeff: That's not fair.
Buzz Osborne: It's not fair. It's bullshit. I don't know how people don't see this. I've worked on stuff for long, long, long, long, long periods of time, and no one seems to understand that concept. Which is fascinating to me. Oh my God, you know what, you guys can all line up and kiss my ass. Fuck you. No, it's wrong, it's just wrong. You guys are wrong. Do you work on a, a photographer puts together a book, over the last 20 years, it obviously didn't take him that day. I'm going to put this book out now and then you get taxed on it like it was all done yesterday.
Jeff: It's ridiculous.
Buzz Osborne: Something has to be done.
Jeff: It's been like this for so many years. It's like, how could it ever change?
Buzz Osborne: But no one thinks of it along those lines. It doesn't occur to them. Now it makes sense. Like you hear it, it's like, oh yeah, that's right. That's a total rip off. I guarantee you the government knows that. In a lot of ways, it's super insulting for people to think so little of the amount of time and effort that goes into that kind of thing.
Buzz Osborne: Look at somebody who writes a book for a better part of a decade. And it's going to get looked at like it took them no time at all to do that.
Jeff: Right, yeah.
Buzz Osborne: Or a movie that took years and years to make, with all the people involved in it, and no, it comes out this year. You did this, this year. That's it. No, I did not do this, this year. Or records or all the time I spent, these people spend playing guitar and putting a band together and losing money and losing money and losing money. And the second they make any money, you've got a guy standing there with his hand out.
Buzz Osborne: That's not okay.
Jeff: It's not.
Buzz Osborne: I spent, people, most bands spend years and years losing tons of money before they ever make anything. And none of that is ever accounted for or looked at. It's crazy. It's crazy. And not just music. It's any of those kind of endeavors. If you take a business that's open for the first five years without making anything, the sixth year when they make money, they're taxed like that only took them that one year to do it. It's not okay. It's like say that your life and time is worth nothing at all.
Jeff: It's a shame.
Buzz Osborne: It's really weird.
Buzz Osborne: It's a alien concept for most people. And I've never understood it.
Buzz Osborne: It's like no, no, no. I work really hard at this. I do a really, and I do my best to make it as good as possible in a way that I would appreciate as a fan. That's what I want to do. What I want to give people is the kinds of things I would enjoy. And then to have it looked at in such a cheap and throw away kind of attitude about it, just pushes me further down the line of now I really am an artist. You really don't understand what you're talking about. Understand what I'm doing or how this works. You don't get it.
Jeff: Yeah. No.
Buzz Osborne: And you make things harder for everyone.
Jeff: Yeah. I totally agree and if there's one thing that I can say, your entire career, you've always been authentic. You've always been someone who 100% is creating because you want to create the thing, like you said it multiple times in this interview, you want to create something that you would want yourself to be created.
Buzz Osborne: Yeah.
Jeff: To be put out into the world, and that's why we're such fans of everything you do because that authenticity bleeds out of everything you've ever done.
Buzz Osborne: Oh that's good. That's all I want.
Jeff: And that's good.
Buzz Osborne: That's it. That's all I want is to have that kind of thing happen.
Jeff: It has.
Buzz Osborne: Yeah, thank you.
Jeff: And I just got to say finally here, like I am so excited about the May 15 release of the new record.
Buzz Osborne: Yeah, can't wait.
Jeff: Gift Of Sacrifice, that'll be available everywhere including, you're doing some special vinyl releases of that too, I was reading.
Buzz Osborne: Yep.
Jeff: Which is going to be really rad. Earlier you did mention, do you have, are you working on new Melvin stuff?
Buzz Osborne: Yep.
Jeff: Or is it stuff that's in the works or?
Buzz Osborne: We have a ton of stuff that's in the works. We have a Melvins 1983 thing. We have some stuff with Mud Honey. We have stuff with the guys, the people from [Helms of Lee 00:39:01]. We have a live at the fucker club is coming out, a limited edition thing. We have the electro retard record's coming out in a limited edition thing. All those were in the works. Those were in the works long before the plague hit.
Buzz Osborne: So and then we're mixing the Mud Honey stuff now. That'll come out soon. We have to do a little bit more recording on the Helms of Lee stuff, that'll come out. And then we are always working on all kinds of things that are never, that aren't finished yet.
Buzz Osborne: So we have to meet with this guy here in L.A. named [Toshi Kasai 00:39:32]. We've been recording with him for a long time and so we have a studio set up with him. And so it makes it to where we can record lots of things whenever we want to. So lots of stuff is partially recorded, or not quite done yet, and we have a lot of that kind of thing. I'm also working on a full on "noise" album with Tosh, me and him are doing. And a lot of stuff I'm not even remembering.
Buzz Osborne: Lots of stuff, always, always. And we'll do a new Melvins album before you know it. Melvins 1983 will come out probably hopefully by the end of the year.
Buzz Osborne: And then we have the King Buzzo Six Pack EP.
Buzz Osborne: It came out recently.
Buzz Osborne: So that's out now. We're releasing a few of them every weekend. So people can buy them. But they're still screen covers with [Hazer Meyer 00:40:18]. It's a cover of a six pack by Black Flag with Trevor Dunn playing stand up bass with a bow, so it's like (singing). I always wanted to do that.
Jeff: It's so rad.
Buzz Osborne: Yeah, yeah. That was fun.
Jeff: Awesome, awesome. Well it sounds like you are never not going to be busy. And that's good for all of us.
Buzz Osborne: As long as I can do it.
Jeff: Awesome, awesome. I can't thank you enough for taking time and talking with me today. It was a lot of fun.