In a seemingly never-ending pursuit to keep things fresh for themselves and their fans, veteran rock band the Melvins are releasing their latest record, Basses Loaded, on June 3 through Ipecac Recordings. The record will feature six separate bass players across twelve songs. This will include Steve McDonald of Redd Kross and OFF!, Jared Warren of Big Business, Jeff Pinkus of Butthole Surfers and Honky fame, Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle and Fantômas, Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and Melvins drummer Dale Crover. The latter will play bass when original Melvins drummer Mike Dillard sits in on a handful of recordings with the Melvins 1983 lineup.
“For the last ten years, we've worked with the same people, but it's never been a consistent lineup,” explains vocalist/guitarist Buzz Osborne. “When we got done working with Kevin Rutmanis, we were very discouraged fellows. Then we decided we were never going to put ourselves in the position of putting all our eggs in one basket. With everyone we work with, we say and we do whatever we want to. What Dale and I say, that's what the Melvins are. It's not like we kick out a bass player every week.”
The Melvins have certainly not been short of gifted collaborators, and on their upcoming tour, McDonald will perform bass duties. The current tour is something of a dream bill, with the Melvins alongside grindcore pioneers Napalm Death and wildly genre-bending, experimental rock band Melt Banana from Japan. As the tour was coming together, the Melvins also put the cap on an outstanding collaborative album that had been on indefinite hiatus in the late '90s when Mike Kunka, of noise-rock legends godheadSilo and Enemymine, seemed to fall off the face of the earth. That is, until he got back in touch with Osborne and Crover in late 2014 with the idea of finishing off a Sub Pop album called Mike & the Melvins, which Osborne is proud to have coming out in 2016.
“Mike's an eccentric dude,” comments Osborne, regarding Kunka's disappearance and surprise return to music. We were big fans of the things he did with godheadSilo and Enemymine. We did tour with those bands, and I've been a supportive fan of his. And we're eccentric weirdos, too. So in those kinds of situations, it's better to not ask a lot of questions. What is it that Peter Green [of Fleetwood Mac] said [in "Oh Well"]? 'Don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give you the answer that you want me to.' Probably good advice.”
Osborne doesn't rule out touring with Kunka, but there are currently no solid plans in the works. However, Osborne and Crover may be the only band going in which the principal players have toured with four different lineups while playing fairly different musical styles yet still bear their unmistakable stamp. Do they have more touring feats planned, such as the 2012 jaunt where the group played 51 states (including D.C.) in 51 days?
“Well, we wouldn't want to let the cat out of the bag,” concludes Osborne. “On that tour, we couldn't have an opening band for the entire tour because that would have meant they did it before we did. I've thought of everything. They only did 45 of the shows with us. There's very little that's not planned out, especially along those lines.”
Melvins with Napalm Death and Melt Banana, 7 p.m. doors/8 p.m. show on Wednesday, April 27, at the Ogden Theatre, 303-832-1874.