WYAT: What led to you guys being called the Melvins?
Dale Crover: Our guitar player used to work at this grocery store called Thrift Way back in our hometown area. And there was a guy there who wasn’t the boss but he liked to pretend that he was, and tell the younger people what to do. He went by Pete but his real name was Melvin, and he would call his son, who also worked there, Melvin when he’d get mad at him. So I think our guitar player was probably joking around with one of his friends, thinking of names and said, “What about the Melvins?”
WYAT: Almost like a tribute?
Crover: They kind of laughed about it, and then the more they thought about it, they thought, “You know, that’s actually a really good name.” When the band started, it was certainly influenced by punk stuff like The Ramones and The Stooges, so it was a very similar-sounding name to that. If people hear our name and then listen to what we sound like, I’m sure they wouldn’t expect that at all.
WYAT: How does it work to play in a band with two drummers?
Crover: It’s not as hard as it sounds. I’ve done it; before the Melvins did it, we had done it with Fantômas. We do this combination of the Melvins and Fantômas and came up with the Fantômas Melvins Big Band and did a live record and a bunch of touring. I was playing with Dave Lombardo, who was the former drummer in Slayer. And that was awesome. It worked right away; there wasn’t too much that we had to do. It wasn’t like, “You’re messing up my part.” It was, “Oh, this is really cool!” It wasn’t too different from playing with maybe another guitar player. It’s like, “Here, I’m going to play this and you play around it, or play something else.” A lot of times we’ll do that, or we’ll be playing the exact same thing and now that we’ve played together for this long, it’s really comfortable and easy, we don’t really have to talk too much about it at all and it works. I mean, if there’s something that sounds a little weird: “Ahh, what are you doing right there?” But, certainly, we work really hard on all of our drum parts, but it’s comfortable and easy and we know each other really well, and it’s fun.
WYAT: What do you do to get ready to go on stage?
Crover: Well, if it’s Cody and me, we usually say, “Okay, now how much coffee did you drink? How much Red Bull did you drink?” Because we have to be even-keeled, otherwise somebody’s going to be playing too fast. Usually I’ll just stretch a little bit, do some warm-ups with some practice sticks and then go. Sometimes I watch [vocalist/guitarist] Buzz. He likes pacing back and forth before we go on. I guess he’s just getting in his headspace, but nothing too weird. No group hugs or a prayer or anything like that!
WYAT: What are you looking forward to about performing at Voodoo Fest?
Crover: New Orleans has always been a really great place for the Melvins, even since our first time there, which was in 1986. We did a tour really early on; all we had out was a seven-inch and, just style-wise, the music we were doing, not a lot of people liked it. But New Orleans is always a really great place for us. That very first time, I remember the crowd being really into it, and really liking us. Pretty much anytime we’ve been back since it’s been a good show. And New Orleans on Halloween, I’m sure, will be awesome. I couldn’t think of another place that would be as good…certainly not in the U.S.
Catch the Melvins at 8:30 p.m. at the Carnival Stage, Fri., Oct. 31.