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“My electric guitar guy just got the rights to make Travis Bean guitars, so I’ve got two of the pan model and I’ve been playing those live,” he says. “I love them, honestly – I can’t get enough of them.” Is there any reason behind getting two of the exact same model? “One is good, two is better,” he justifies. “I like having a back-up. It’s good to be in a position where you never have to rely on a single thing by itself. I’m very happy that I can work in excess – it’s totally by design.”


Over the last 30-plus years, Osborne has evolved into a true underground hero of alternative music. How underground are we talking? Put it this way: he didn’t just know Nirvana before they were cool – Kurt was one of his roadies. At a time when many of his contemporaries are primarily concerning themselves with the past, via nostalgia tours and album reissues, Osborne continues to push forward. The band is never short of ideas to explore – and this is something that Buzz himself attributes 
to his guitar gear of choice. Unsurprisingly, he’s not content with a singular, uniform-like set-up
– Osborne craves more, and he craves the state of the art.


“The gear I tend to use is mostly new,” he says. “I’m not really interested in being another vintage guy. I use a thing called a Fender Vaporizer, which is a combo amp, and a bit of the album was recorded on that. I also have a Sunn beta lead preamp that was used as well. I’ve got a guy out in West Virginia that is making those, so I’ve been using a brand-new one, which has been great. I have a whole heap of pedal boxes, and I have some aluminium-neck guitars that were made by The Electrical Guitar Company. That was all used on the record, but I had a lot of guitars to work with – I had a Strat, I had an SG and a Fender Mustang too. I make tonnes of different kinds of songs, so it only makes sense to have tonnes of different kinds of sounds.”


Basses Loaded is the 21st album to bare the
 Melvins name. It was recorded and co-produced
by long-time friend and collaborator Toshi Kasai
at his studio, Sound of Sirens, and released on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records. Among the guest performers adding low-end to the LP were Nirvana’s Krist Noveselic, Butthole Surfers alum Jeff Pinkus and Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn. It’s an impressive cast and an intriguing concept for a record. For Osborne, however, it was entirely circumstantial that Basses Loaded turned out the way that it did.


“It was never something that we set out to do,”
 he says. “We didn’t even realise it right away – we were recording, and then after a few more sessions we realised that we had a lot of bass players sitting in with us. It was business as usual, in
 that we didn’t really have any kind of master plan. It’s just the way that it worked out for us. I never really wanted to stick with one particular thing. As long as that’s your plan, it’s easy to deal with.”


Currently on tour, the Melvins are playing as a three-piece for the first time in years, stripping back to Crover – who has been with the band since its first album, 1987’s Gluey Porch Treatments – and the aforementioned Steve McDonald, who is best known as a co-founder of Redd Kross with his brother, Jeff; as well as working with the likes of Tenacious D. It was through a chance encounter and seemingly one-off collaboration with Crover that got the ball rolling in order to make McDonald a full-time Melvin.


“We’ve known Steve for a long time,” says Osborne. “We were always big fans of Redd Kross, too. Steve also plays in OFF!, and one time Dale sat in with them as a temporary replacement for Mario [Rubalcaba]. After the show, he was talking to me about it. He was talking about Steve, and saying to me that this was a guy where he would work well with us. He would be a good t. It kind of just went from there. He played on the album, and now he’s touring it around with us. It’s been really great so far. He’s a really solid musician, and I’ve always had a lot of time for musicians like that. I pride myself on playing with them.”

Basses Loaded is out now via Ipecac Recordings. For more details, head to