The Melvins frontman and rock star Buzz Osborne


Photo: Mackie Osborne
Words: Florian Obkircher

Buzz Osborne is the rock star the rock stars look up to. Here, the Melvins frontman explains the strange secret of his success. 

For 33 years, Buzz Osborne -aka King Buzzo- and his band the Melvins have been making extreme guitar music that places the toughest demands on listeners.

Osborne may not fill stadiums, but he does have the highest- grade fans: Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor and Yoko Ono all admire his ingenuity. So how did he become the rock stars’ rock star? By always giving free rein to his inner freak. And he recommends that others do the same.

THE RED BULLETIN: You’ve been hugely successful
in your career—what will being weird do for me?

BUZZ OSBORNE: People will remember you. Nobody would have been interested in Alice Cooper if he’d looked like a children’s TV host. There’s nothing more boring than doing things the same way that someone else has done. 

But doing things differently doesn’t automatically mean that you’re better.

You have to be good at what you’re doing. And not care what other people say. You’ve got to have that attitude if you want to be successful. 

Is that the same beyond the music world, too?
I would guess so. Take the stock market. Never buy shares that everyone else is banking on. By the time you find out about something, then it’s already past its prime. You’ve got to be more adventurous than that. Be as weird as you can be. 

The facts: 

  • Real Name: Roger Osborne
  • Born: March 25, 1964 (age 52)
  • Place of birth: Montesano, Washington, United States
  • Also known as: King Buzzo
  • Did you know: He was the bassist in Kurt Cobain’s first band, Fecal Matter

Listen to “Hideous Woman“ from the new Melvins album: Basses Loaded

© Ipecac Recordings // Youtube

Doesn’t this being-different attitude isolate you?

I’m with Groucho Marx on this. “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” Why would you want to be like somebody else anyway? Ever since the start of my career, I’ve consciously avoided belonging to any particular scene.

But many people call you the father of the grunge movement …

No thank you. 

You introduced Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl to each other. The world has you to thank for Nirvana.

To be honest, Nirvana weren’t as revolutionary a rock band as people today like to claim they were.

“Ever since the start of my career, I’ve consciously avoided belonging to any particular scene“

A lot of people would disagree with you on that.

Well, they looked a little different. And their attitude was certainly somewhat different. But if you look at the drugs they were taking, at their divorces and their management, they were really no different from ordinary rock bands.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the recent ...

Thanks to everyone who came out to the recent tour with Napalm Death. We have a new round of US tour dates coming up this summer (tickets for headlining dates available this Friday, May 13): August 3 Las Vegas, NV Backstage Bar & Billiards August 4 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room August 6 Boulder, CO The Fox Theatre August 7 Ft.

“I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I have been married to the same woman for 23 years. That is not rock ‘n’ roll.“

But every young musician wants to be successful.

It depends on how you define success.

For musicians, I’d have thought that was huge stadium shows …

Firstly, music doesn’t belong in sports venues; it belongs in bars and clubs. Secondly, success for me means artistic freedom, and no one telling me what my music should sound like.  

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07 2016 The Red Bulletin

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