Buzzo on the music industry: ‘We’re fucked!’
Buzz’s “fuck you” exhortation was, oddly enough, aimed at his fans, but more specifically those who want to take from him without giving. “People nowadays have a highly developed sense of entitlement regarding music and I don’t know where it comes from,” is how he puts it more calmly. In talking to King Buzzo about his band’s storied career, one theme kept popping up: “We’re fucked!” is how Buzzo explains the plight of a veteran band in today’s crumbling music-biz climate. “Ipecac [Melvins’ label since 1999] will maybe survive one more album for us. Then it’s gonna be done. I mean, do you think that I’ll find a label out there that will be willing to put out a record for me? No way! It’s not gonna be the same as it was. You wanna buy an album from me? It’s gonna be $25, minimum. That’s it. You don’t want to buy it, move on. Because, you know, the music’s free. You’re gonna hear it for free, because someone’s gonna put it on the Internet. There’s nothing I can do about that. So if you want something tangible, not just some zeros and ones, then you’re gonna have to pay for it. That’s reality.”
One might think that Buzz’s axe to grind would follow to the major label system that alienated the record-buying public, was late to the game on Internet technology, and has spent its entire existence watering down vital musical subcultures. But one would be wrong.
“I see it this way: you have a major label that was willing to give a band like the Melvins $25,000 to make a record. What was wrong with that? Nothing! And will that ever happen again? No. So you can view that as them being heavily bloated and overblown and stupid, or you can view it as that they actually had the good sense to give money to us. Someone was willing to underwrite something interesting, and that ain’t gonna happen again. When nobody is willing to invest money in music, what happens? Less good music gets made.”
It’s not hard to detect traces of bitterness and defensiveness in Buzz’s rant — and maybe a weariness in having to fight constantly to keep doing what he does, even though he never wants to pander to make the music that he is so awesome at making. “People keep talking about vinyl being back — vinyl is dead! I don’t care what anyone tells you. They’re wrong. They’re wrong about everything. I mean, the general public — and I love to generalize — the general public is wrong about almost every single thing.”
Now this was clearly the curmudgeon engine that had fueled the aggro genius of so much of the band’s work all these decades. Record labels may come and go, but Buzz’s dogged pissed-off-edness will clearly endure when there is nothing but cockroaches and styrofoam to keep us company in the endtimes.
MELVINS | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | June 3-4 @ 8 pm | 18+ | $20 | 888.562.8800