Nothing traumatic happened tonight; but I gotta say that Eugene Oregon
has this really strong asshole vibe to it. It appears to be a town that combines the worst aspects of being both a “punker” and a “hippie”. What is
the difference between these two in this day and age anyway? You tell
me. Maybe acting like a drunk, freeloading, smelly, non- bathing, prone
to violence dipshit is somehow what ties things together here in Eugene.
Pointless and meaningless, both inside and outside of the show. No, I do
not have any fucking change, and please take a bath already.
It was a scary thing. Not having a regular straight job that I secretly
hate goes against my entire belief system. Not only that, I was tired
of giving people the wrong impression. People seem to think (because
I have stuff out, and have done all of this super cool and groovy stuff
over the years) that I am doing this as my actual living. Why not try and
make this a reality instead of something that I politely laugh and squirm
a little at when I disclaim the idea? The decision was sudden. Carole (my
girlfriend) believed in me and I went for it. I realized soon afterwards
that the structure of having a job was something that I seemed to need.
It was a bit of a shocking realization. A little while after all of
that was decided, I was talking to Buzz about it over the
phone. About one minute after we hung up, he called me
back. The Melvins were at their practice space rehearsing. Dale made Buzz call me back. It seems that John
Raymond (see MANCHILD 3) wasn’t going to be selling merch on the band’s upcoming tour. Would
I like to be employed by the band for their
upcoming month
and a half summer tour?
“A job” I
after a
second I
said, “let me
talk to my girlfriend and I will
call you right back”.
It turned out that
fine with it. It’s
asking a lot of
somebody, really.
What a
gal. I
B u z z
back and said that I
was in. This time, however, it was a
job and it would be three times
longer then the last trip I was
on. I have never been
gone for a month and
a half. I wondered if I was going to suddenly freak out three weeks into things. Would I turn into an
insufferable nervous wreck and an alcoholic that could barely keep his
new found dangerous impulses in check? Would I be sent home? They
have sent people home. Would I be next? I decided this wasn’t going to
happen and bought a ticket. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe the timing
and luck of it all. I was looking forward to it. In early July I got on a plane
and flew out to the west coast to see just what I was going to end up doing. I still wasn’t quite sure. Here is a collection of some of the highlights
from the trip. Or... at least what I can remember.
The first show on the tour was at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. It was
certainly the biggest, most overwhelming record store I have ever been
in. When I got there I greeted the rest of the folks on this trip: Tim Moss
(the tour manager), Toshi (producer of the Melvins last three records
and third member of the band Big Business); and straight from Moscow,
Idaho (the youngest of all of us), Rikky. I still didn’t know exactly what
I was going to be doing, or that I was in fact going to be selling merch.
Eventually, I figured out that yes, that is what I would be doing, just not
that day. I should also mention that Dan Raymond (John’s older brother)
was also on the road with us. He is Buzz’s best friend, and they go way
back. It took me a week or so to figure Dan out. He was going to be
showing me “the ropes” of selling the merch. So... that makes the
total amount of people scattered in two touring vehicles nine. That
was a pretty good amount. The place ended up being packed and
everything went fine.
I saw a couple of old friends
of mine-Rob and Carla. I
used to be pen pals with
Carla when we were
kids back in California. I
think I had a crush on her
through the mail. It was
so long ago. Rob and
I go way back. In the
end I felt bad because
I could only
give them
about five
minutes of
my personal
time. This
turned out to be a reality all of the way through
the tour. I would see old
pals briefly and
would have to beg
off of really hanging
out with them because
there was simply no time.
Rob slapped my back in an extremely weird and painful sort of way.
He seemed like he was almost mad at me for not
being able to do anything with him. There wasn’t much I could do, I had
a job. Then we were out of there.
So I am starting to personally meet some of the regular Internet posters
on “theMelvins.Net” and I must say; as nice as they are, I am still a
little creeped out by a few of ‘em. Some of these folks are flying around
the friggin’ country to see the band like they are following the Grateful
Dead. I always wonder about people being that devoted to someone’s
music that they would do that. Almost all of them are polite though. They
love posters, too. Good thing I have lots of them.*
*NOTE: When I got home from tour, I posted some of this stuff on my
blog and was surprised to discover almost a month later that some of
the very same people I refereed to as being “weirdos” were not very
happy with this characterization. I was bashed about
a little on the Internet
which made me feel
sort of bad. When this
happens (which it does
once a year or
so) I suddenly
the stomach
for any of it.
Believe it or
not, I sometimes want to
be thought of
as a nice person,
because that is basically what I am. I’m
really (REALLY) not out
to hurt people. As I read
on and saw what it had
turned into, I felt less
bad. One poster
commented that
they were afraid
that all they were
doing was proving my
point. And the point is? I
don’t know anymore.
Buzz and I got to tonight’s
venue early. With the help
of these three young guys
that worked for the club, the
five of us unloaded the van
in record time. We ended
up hanging out with these
three guys for a long time while
we waited for everyone else to arrive in the other van. We had a really
good time talking to them. I think all three of them were in their early
to mid twenties, and all three of them were really cool. One of them
ended up being the sound man and he was a bit of an SST records fan.
Another one was sort of a death metal guitarist with an open mind.
Talking to these guys was really nice and it sort of gave me hope for
the young kids of the future. It was similar to that unbeatable feeling of
turning someone on to some cool shit that they might have never heard
of. They seemed pretty interested in what we had to say. We told stories
about the eighties music scene that we fell in love with and how it had
changed our lives. Buzz explained his guitar set up to the guys and what
he used and he let the death metal guy play his guitar through his shit.
It was cool. I know all of this might sound kind of stupid, but most of the
interactions I have had on the road have been pretty predictable. This
was just a nice change of pace. Plus, they brought us coffee. It’s always
the little things that stand out. Sorry, no stories here about doing blow
off of a stripper’s tits or whatever.
Where are the god damned Sweathogs when you need ‘em? I have heard
funny stories about this place. You know: how it’s a hipster infested zone
or whatever. What does that even mean though? Better question: why
should I care? I bet Vinnie, Epstein, Boom Boom and Horseshack would
be pissed though. This place IS like... the epicenter of hipster cool. The
Sweathogs would gladly kick all of these people’s asses! Judging from
the little time I had to walk around here, it means that every dude sports
a moustache, wears tight clothing, has lots of tattoos, and has to wear
an ironic “heavy metal” T-shirt that is three sizes too small. Sean Livingstone lives here and as I met him for coffee before the show, I was
warned. We walked into a coffee shop and sure enough: lousy heavy
metal was being blared and we were served by some skinny/ tight pants
wearing dude with a Greg Norton moustache. He was wearing a Dokken
shirt and was covered in tattoos. Now, I don’t care, but it does make me
wonder... Who decides these things? Is there a power meeting in some
high rise in Manhattan that understands advertising and decides what
the newest thing is going to be, how long it will be cool, and
which lifestyle to line up to replace it? It’s monkey
see, monkey do I guess. There is also some sort of
tattoo that involves getting a moustache tattooed
on your finger so you can hold it up to your mouth
and... take a wild guess. Again: who decides
these things? Is it done in the same office high
rise somewhere in Manhattan? I probably
have better
things to
and to
about. The show was
good, I think. ‘Sold
lots of stuff.
‘Sold a
lot of
my homemade posters.
Sean was his
usual hilarious self which
means that he was nice
and drunk. Some of the
entourage said he looked
like E.T. I am sure he
hasn’t heard that one.
I ended up
spending a lot of
time with Buzz on this trip. I think it was in New
Orleans when it occurred to me just how often
the Melvins have been used and discarded over
the years. I don’t know what it is, something just
clicked inside my brain that day. As some of you
know, Buzz pretty much calls it as he sees it. Just
read his interviews and you’ll see what I mean.
He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and this has
resulted in him being sort of an anomaly
in the insincere kiss- ass rock and roll world
that the band has to exist in.
It wouldn’t be totally out of line for me to suggest that Buzz more or less
gave Dave Grohl his entire career. Buzz called Dave up years ago and put
him in touch with his friends Nirvana after they fired Chad Channing. You
could say it. I could say it. I will. I said it... So everything that Mr. Foo
Fighter has done could be traced back to that one phone call; his “big
break”, by all accounts. Dave Grohl seems like a totally cool dude.