Jul. 11, 2012 - Issue #873: The Big Cover-Up
Fri, Jul 13 (9 pm)
Starlite Room, $25
'We were at the airport in Christchurch getting ready to leave, almost about to put our bags on, when the earthquake hit," Dale Crover recalls.
It was the first of two earthquakes to catch Melvins on its 2011 tour (that's gotta be some sort of record): after the New Zealand quake, the richter scale rattled upwards again—with much greater force—when the band flew to Japan. Melvins had just finished a Tokyo soundcheck when the ground started to rumble.
"We were trying to get out of the building, and couldn't find our way out. Which was a big bummer." Crover recalls, dryly. "What we thought was an exit, after running down two flights of stairs, was a locked door. So we were kind of panicking; somewhere along the way, I don't know when or how, I managed to dislocate my pinky. We were literally just finished soundcheck. I still had sticks in my hand, and my gloves I use for drumming on."
Still, Melvins survived, and the odds of a third earthquake being what they are—knock on wood!—the band is back on the road supporting an album called Freak Puke. The "Lite" affixed to the Melvins name this time around reflects not a softening of sound but a paired down lineup: the same sludgy jams and guitar growls will reward those present—or, as Crover offers, "We'll still kick your ass." The tour sees Melvins as three-piece instead of the usual five, with band mainstays Crover and guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osborne joined by Trevor Dunn on stand-up bass.
"We'd played with Trevor before, but y'know, more regular-style electric bass," Crover says, noting it's not a permanent reduction in band size, just an experiment the band wanted to test out.
"The other guys in our band, we figured those guys tour and do other things when the Melvins aren't, but there was always the understanding that we may do something else for the heck of it."
A lighter lineup might make prove beneficial to this particularly daunting Melvins outing: after the Canadian leg of shows, the band is attempting to do 51 shows in all 50 states (plus Washington, DC) in 51 days.
"George Thorogood attempted to do it in 1980," Crover says. "They got through about 30 shows, and then they got tired. But I'm guessing those guys got much bigger production than us. The key will be not to sit up all night, partying. As long as we're on the road and out of there."
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