Naked Brunch: How Buzzo Made The New Melvins Album

Naked Brunch How Buzzo Made The New Melvins Album
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Renowned for their unconventional approach to music, the Melvins have once again pushed the boundaries of creativity with their latest album, Tarantula Heart.

In a process remarkably similar to how William S. Burroughs crafted his groundbreaking novel Naked Lunch, the band eschewed traditional songwriting methods in favor of a more spontaneous and experimental approach.

The “Cut-Up” Technique

William Burroughs

William Burroughs, a central figure of the Beat Generation, composed Naked Lunch using the “cut-up” technique.

He would take various snippets of text, often from his own writings or newspapers, and rearrange them to create new, surreal narratives.

This process of cutting, snipping, and pasting story elements together resulted in a fragmented, non-linear work that challenged literary conventions.

Similarly, Buzz Osborne, the driving force behind the Melvins, decided to apply this cut-up method to the creation of Tarantula Heart.

Instead of arriving at the studio with pre-written songs or a framework of riffs, the band showed up empty-handed, ready to let their creativity flow freely.

Buzz: “Usually we have the songs written BEFORE we start recording!”

Steven: “An album so magical, I helped create it without knowing it was happening. It’s definitely the weirdest album I’ve ever been a part of.”

Dale: “Tarantula Heart is like no other record we’ve made. A Heavy Metal, psychedelic beast that shows no leniency and no restraints!”

As a bonus, this one features double drums (Ministry’s Roy Mayorga guests), and We Are The Asteroid’s Gary Chester adds additional guitars.

This is a unique way to approach recording an album, and the result is one of the strangest albums from the band. But it also shows off their abilities to go from a structured song, to a total sonic freakout in the span of a few minutes.

“The way we approached Tarantula Heart was different than any other Melvins’ album,” explains Buzz Osborne. “I had Dale and Roy Mayorga come in and play along with Steven and I to some riffs, then I took those sessions and figured out what parts would work and wrote new music to fit. This isn’t a studio approach we’ve ever taken.”

“The majority of Melvins Tarantula Heart has dual drum parts,” adds long-time Melvins drummer Dale Crover. “We invited Roy Mayorga from Ministry to come record with us. Roy is an amazing drummer! We would discuss what we would do pattern wise, then we’d just go for it! Improvising riffs and trading off on drum fills.”

Notes From Our Review of Tarantula Heart

They recorded impromptu jam sessions, with Buzz and Steven McDonald on guitar and bass, respectively, while Dale Crover and guest drummer Roy Mayorga (of Ministry fame) laid down the rhythmic foundation.

Cut, Cut, Snip, Snip…

Naked Brunch: How Buzzo Made The New Melvins Album

Just as Burroughs would sift through his cut-up texts to find compelling combinations, Buzz took these recorded sessions and meticulously pieced together new songs from the raw material.

He listened intently to the various drum patterns, riffs, and sonic textures, selecting the most intriguing elements and arranging them into cohesive compositions.

This process of musical collage allowed for a level of spontaneity and unpredictability that is rarely seen in traditional songwriting.

The result is an album that defies expectations, with songs that seamlessly transition from structured passages to chaotic, psychedelic freakouts.

The dual drum assault of Crover and Mayorga adds an extra layer of intensity, while Gary Chester’s additional guitar work further enhances the album’s dense and complex sound.

In many ways, Tarantula Heart is the musical equivalent of Naked Lunch – a daring, experimental work that challenges the listener’s perceptions and pushes the boundaries of what is possible in its respective medium.

By embracing the cut-up technique and allowing chance and intuition to guide their creative process, the Melvins have crafted an album that is as unpredictable and exhilarating as Burroughs’ literary masterpiece.

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