“I’m by no means the easiest person to be around,” Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne acknowledges. “Just ask my wife, she’ll tell you.”
So I do just that, ringing up Mackie Osborne — Buzz’s wife of nearly 15 years, and an artist who’s created most of the Melvins album covers and artwork since the early ’90s — at the couple’s Los Angeles home:
Buzz said he's pretty difficult to be around.
This is definitely true. [Laughs.] He’s really great, and I totally love him and everything, but he’s incredibly intense. He’s one of the smartest people I know, and he has a constant conversation going on in his brain — at least one, usually probably about 10 — and it doesn’t ever stop.
He's also pretty well known for not suffering fools gladly.
Absolutely. He’s fairly impatient with other people’s ignorance. I think he’s gotten a little bit softer and more tolerant over the years that I’ve known him, but he expects a lot from himself, and he expects a lot from his friends and the people he works with.
But he must know that some people are just different from him?
I think that’s one of his biggest struggles. He has a hard time understanding that other people don’t have the fire in them that he does, that other people are not as motivated and driven as he is, and that creates some problems in relationships.
He's fired a lot of bassists from the Melvins over the years. Has it been a cut-and-dried thing, or has it been emotionally difficult for him?
Definitely difficult. I know that with Mark [Deutrom] and Kevin [Rutmanis], in both situations he was really sad to lose the friendship he had with them — they’re two people that, at one time, he really considered close friends, and I know that he doesn’t take that lightly because he doesn’t have that many close friends. He values his relationships and his friends really highly, so it was difficult for him to make those decisions.
What do you think when you read some of the more controversial things he says in the press, like when he rips Courtney Love? Do you just laugh at it all?
Umm, yeah. [Laughs.] I kinda just have to detach from it a little bit because it’s not my opinion, necessarily. Not that I completely disagree. He’s been doing interviews for such a long time and obviously has been very outspoken about certain people, and sometimes I think, “Whoa, I can’t believe you’re saying that! A lot of people are going to read that.”
Do you ever have to field angry phone calls when he's away on tour?
No, no. I don’t think anyone would be brave enough to actually say something to him.
He's a pretty intimidating guy.
Yeah. But, you know, underneath all the bravado and opinions and kinda abrasiveness there’s a sensitive human being there. [Laughs.]