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The Melvins Are Coming! The Melvins Are Coming! - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The Melvins Are Coming! The Melvins Are Coming!
There are a lot of good shows coming to Arizona this fall. After the famine of the summer, this surfeit is especially welcome. I wish the shows were spaced out a bit better -- it's hard to go out several times in the same week -- but the clustering does make for an almost festival-like atmosphere, as if the Hotel Congress event on Labor Day had lingered on indefinitely.

Among the concerts still to come that I have my eye on are Richard Buckner at Club Congress -- early show, BTW -- on 10/24, Gogol Bordello at the Rialto on 10/26, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Club Congress on 11/1, Do Make Say Think at Plush on 11/6, Of Montreal at the Rialto on 11/7, Stars at the Rialto on 11/8, and Architecture in Helsinki at the Rialto on 11/9. See what I mean about clustering? I'll probably go to DMST and then whichever of the Rialto shows that tommix goes too, though I would hate to miss Buckner. But if you live around here and are interested in making me an offer of companionship, I'll listen intently.

There's also Neko Case at the Rialto on 11/15, Helmet -- bound to be brutally loud and therefore meaningful -- at Club Congress on 11/21, a tenth-anniversary gathering to commemorate the Inner Flame compilation and its subject and beneficiary Rainer Ptacek at Club Congress on 11/24, hosted by Howe Gelb and sure to feature many Tucson scene luminaries, and Japan's Melt Banana at Club Congress on 12/4. Finally, Modest Mouse will be at the Rialto on 12/11. Although that concert is expensive, I may go for reasons of nostalgia, since my first show in Tucson was Modest Mouse at the Rialto in June of 2000, when I was overwhelmed by the heat and even more overwhelmed by the fact that my ticket, purchased at a no-longer-extant bodega up Congress, cost all of $8.

But all this listing is prelude to my declaration that the show I'm looking forward to the most is the Melvins, who will play at Plush next Sunday, 10/21, and in Tempe at the Clubhouse next Monday, 10/22. I'll be seeing them up in Maricopa County, since I can't make the Tucson show, and would definitely be up for a carpooling arrangement if any of you are interested. Mind you, I'm sure they'll be better at Plush, because Plush is simply a better -- and much smaller -- venue.

If you don't know the Melvins already, I'm not sure I'd recommend going unless you're a fan of both punk and metal. That said, nobody does that fusion better than Dale, Buzz and their collaborators of the moment. Come to think of it, I think Kurt Cobain once made the same claim. Anyway, their current collaborators may well be the best of the many they've had over the years. Opening act Big Business, which is also a must-see -- get there by 9:30pm if you're going to Plush -- do double duty doubling Dale and Buzz in the Melvins set each night. And Dale usually sits in on guitar with Big Business.

Bring spending money, if you have it, because the Melvins have mastered the art of tasteful micro-merchandising, selling everything from the standard T-shirts to custom-ordered dolls to artifacts from the band members' personal collection. I wrote in greater depth about their brand of making ends meet, as well as their current line-up, in one of my last pieces for Tikkun:
The entrepreneurial spectacle of the merch table may turn off people who wish to insist on the purity of the music. But it is hard to argue with financial necessity. As the culture industry continues to consolidate its resources in the wake of declining sales and the concomitant difficulty of preventing illegal song copying, fewer and fewer artists will be able to make a career the old-fashioned way. While the dream of becoming the voice of a generation persists, the reality is that the more reasonable goal is to become a voice for several generations at once, appealing to a niche market not limited by age or experience. The success of Bob Dylan’s Modern Times testifies not to the renewed vitality of the traditional music industry, but to the fact that there will never be another Bob Dylan. If artists wish to earn a living making music these days, they would be wise to model themselves, not after Dylan or the Rolling Stones, but the Melvins, who have grasped better than almost anyone the importance of renewing one’s base, rather than wasting energy in pursuit of new customers. Musicians may not be able to escape the reach of global capitalism, but at least they can have some measure of control over the means of production and, just as significantly, reproduction. It sure beats spending one’s days in a cubicle earning money for a multinational corporation.
While I shudder a little at the slant I take in this piece -- what happened to the self-styled Marxist who would sniff out the ideology of entrepreneurialism wherever the acronym "DIY" appears? -- it's true that the Melvins provide inspiration for anyone who ever wondered whether it's possible to achieve the sort of music-world success that tastes just like Goldilocks's preferred bowl of porridge.

The Melvins also provide a different sort of inspiration to me, because they have intersected with my life in meaningful ways. tpratt introduced them to me back in 1989, when I was still struggling to free myself from the bondage of a high school experience that retarded my cultural growth. I soon began to go see the band regularly with friends -- they were living in the Bay Area at the time and played pretty often -- for whom it had become the cool thing to do. I saw them at the Kennel Club with cpratt and his aforementioned brother. Then Kim ended up acquiring two Frank Kozik posters that have been displayed on our walls with pride ever since, one of which -- featuring a nun with blood dripping from her mouth, which you may have seen if you have been over -- was for that very same Kennel Club show.

And then there was my first musical interview, which I conducted, nervously, at the San Francisco studio run by the Fucking Champs's Tim Green while the band sat around eating Thai food during a power outage. I listened to my tape recording of our conversation recently and, boy, is it ever embarrassing. The hesitations and qualifications that even stud my speech on a good day are so prevalent that it sounds like something that might be in the case file of an inmate at a mental institution. But I did end up getting enough material for something that looked alright in print and would have looked even better had not the overworked, underpaid people working at Punk Planet not butchered the edit. I might as well link to that version, since someone made it available online years ago, even though I can't stand to read the portion that came out wrong. Oh, and I also got to take some photos of the band in the rapidly fading light -- that's where the one above came from -- and, best of all, drive them to Amoeba Records in the Haight after the interview -- in Old Red, for those of you familiar with our cars -- where they headed immediately to the cult and foreign DVDs while I bided my time so I could buy Pavement's Terror Twilight, which had been released that day, June 24, 1999, without the Melvins seeing me, suffering under the absurd delusion that they would think less of me for buying something in a different genre. I mean, they hung with Kurt, for goodness sakes. It's not like I was hanging out with Norwegian death metalers. But I digress: the Melvins are coming!

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27 comments or Leave a comment
elf_owl From: elf_owl Date: October 15th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm fairly certain the Neko Case show is also a benefit for No Mas Muertes, yes? I'm having trouble with deciding which shows to attend, myself, for financial reasons. I already bought my ticket to Gogol Bordello, but haven't made any other decisions yet.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 05:27 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I think so. I can afford more than you can, but I can't afford that many in a row, either. Especially since I need to drive to Tempe.
elf_owl From: elf_owl Date: October 15th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
If you come to Gogol Bordello and won't be annoyed if I bop around a bunch (which I am guessing I'll be doing, based on the energy of their music), we should meet up. I think I'll try to go see the Melvins here, depending how next Sunday shakes down.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 06:16 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I want to go, but it's not likely, seeing as how it's Skylar's birthday. But I'd love to be there when you bop at some later date!
From: catfishvegas Date: October 15th, 2007 06:16 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I planned my East Coast trip so I wouldn't miss that late September string of shows, but there are a bunch of ones I'll miss: Buckner and the Melvins. But I'll be at as many as I can in November. Get to Ted Leo early to see the Swim open. And there's a few you missed noting: Calexico at the Bookman's in Reid Park Nov. 3, Ween at the Rialto on Nov. 4, and Iron & Wine at the Fox Nov. 26. I hadn't heard of that Rainer thing, I'll definitely check that out.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 06:18 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'll probably miss Buckner too, if that's any consolation. I can't be out that many nights a week. It's bad for domestic tranquility.

How was your trip?
From: catfishvegas Date: October 15th, 2007 07:18 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Greatest weekend of the year, hands down. And one of the best ever, really.
It was precisely the right set activities at exactly the right time.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Awesome! I'm happy for you. And not a little jealous. . .
elf_owl From: elf_owl Date: October 15th, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

But that's All Souls!

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 16th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's too, too much.
tpratt From: tpratt Date: October 15th, 2007 06:35 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
No band has ever broken my heart more completely than the Melvins did. I don't really understand them any more, and I probably never really did for that matter. I'm not saying this in an attempt to claim firsties...I'm just saying. I won't begrudge them their right to choose not to make the same record over and over again, much as I secretly wish they would. I even suppose that seeing them live would still have at least a wisp or two of transcendence. I just want to feel up my memories of them forever. They were one of the best bands in the entire world, but it appeared to me like they got bored and hated those who adored them. I can't say I wouldn't have felt the same way. I remember my ex hounding Buzz to play a particular song and him looking like she was throwing eggs at him, he was so uncomfortable. Maybe they were/are more artist than rock god. I'd say I was just high as hell, but you know that's not what made them so amazing. Thanks to Chris putting the collaboration with Lustmord on my now-murdered-via-drowning-in-toilet-tank fauxPod, I heard The Bloated Pope, which is comparable with their best efforts - so I KNOW THEY CAN STILL DO IT WHEN THEY WANT TO, and I think that hurts even more. Going to see them would be like going to the movies with the woman who left you at the altar.

Besides, it's on a Thursday and I have to leave for work at 5:30 the next morning, LULZ
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I've liked some of their recent records. And the pairing with Big Business is inspired, with the doubling of drums contributing to some interesting effects. I didn't have any trouble feeling transcended in Seattle last September. But I also didn't go in feeling left at the altar. Still, if you didn't have to work so early the next day, I would go.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I like The Maggot, too. That was from 1999.
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: October 15th, 2007 06:45 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


I might plan my trip back around that Modest Mouse show. I missed them here, and still have never seen them live. I'm also trying to work out a last-minute trip to Tucson for this weekend's Stanford/UA game (it's also Helldorado in Tombstone...), so if I go I might try to catch the Melvins, depending on when I fly back.

I think I may have already mentioned this to you, but Do Make Say Think was stellar the last time they played Plush. It's a good venue for their music.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


I do remember you saying that DMST was stellar. That's one of the reasons I want to go. I won't be here this Saturday, since we're going to NYC for Skylar's birthday trip adn don't return until Sunday afternoon. But if you can swing it, it might be fun to watch the Wildcats either play horribly or look reasonably inspired. You never know with that team. And I'd of course love to see you at Modest Mouse.
xxxpunkxgrrlxxx From: xxxpunkxgrrlxxx Date: October 15th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
oooooo... richard buckner would be great. and neko case. i'm sure i won't make it to see the former, but hopefully the latter. ideally both :(

the other day when i was looking through the upcoming shows as posted on the bookmans website, i saw the melvins and immediately thought of you! funny! i've never heard them, as i recall, but that doesn't mean anything because i always forget who does what music.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, it's nice to be thought of! If I had to pick between Buckner and Case, I'd probably pick the latter. But my reasons are troubling: she's better looking.
xxxpunkxgrrlxxx From: xxxpunkxgrrlxxx Date: October 15th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
haha! that sounds normal enough to me.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: October 15th, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
You seemed to have forgotten the exact handful I will be going to!

Loverboy, Doobie Brothers, Kansas, Starship, Derringer, Marshall Tucker Band on 10/20

Korn on 10/23 (still a toss up, because Kid Rock is also this day)

Steve Miller 11/3

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's an impressive list. I could actually see myself going to the 10/20 and the 11/3. But venue means a lot to me these days. There have been many shows out at the casino that I would have attended had they been at the Rialto. And I don't even like the Rialto that much. I think I overdosed on the big amphitheater experience in the Bay Area, given the nature of Kim's work. Besides, I have to go see the sort of acts I'm likely to write about.

I'm pretty sure you could get off on the Melvins, BTW. They were even on Headbanger's Ball once!
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: October 15th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This saturday's shows should be awesome. We've always had a great time at concerts at TEP (having taken Jet to his first one there when he was three). It's a whole hippy dippy blankets, beer, burgers, bubbles, kids running, dancing on the grass thing. We saw Cheap Trick and others there when Jet was three -- me, Jim, my boyfriend, Jim's girlfriend, Jet, my boyfriend's girlfriend's best friend and her three year old... it's that kind of scene. :)

And now Loverboy and the Doobie Brothers together! Egad.

I like shows at the indoor casino locations because they are so small, without being a club. Ava doesn't strike me as "amphitheater" really, too small. It's not like Cricket pavilion or anything. I like outdoor concerts above most anything nowadays, particularly because it is MUCH easier to include Jet (though indoor is not a bar to him going, we just took him to Cheap Trick/Sammy Hagar at AmericaWest Arena).

Steve Miller Band is at the state fare on the same day as there will also be demolition derby. How can you possibly beat that? You can't!

I've seen the Melvins more than once -- most notably when they opened for Tool and at Ozfest -- I don't dislike them. But, I don't consider them worth my time nowadays unless nothing else is going on and Sunday is Jet's birthday.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's a great point about the kid-friendly venues. If I were bringing Skylar, I'd like the places you're going for all those reasons. For now, though, she remains innocent of the rock concert experience. Time enough to remedy that later.

I wondered where Steve Miller was, since I hadn't seen it listed for Tucson. Not sure I'm ready to brave Maricopa County for that.

The Melvins aren't for everyone, that's certain. But I prefer their simultaneously arty and earthy approach to the metal and punk traditions.
schencka From: schencka Date: October 15th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Melvins at Plush? That's kind of insane. Wish I could be there. Tucson has its charms.

Love the long post.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 15th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I know! They were at Congress last time they were here, before they redid the stage. Good to hear from you, as always.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 15th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The fall lineup of touring bands in Tucson is absolutely phenomenal. This week alone, my schedule is jam packed... starting with Two Gallants and Blitzen Trapper tonight at Plush (assuming I'm done with the radio show in time), Wednesday brings Dappled Cities and Figurines to Club Congress, Thursday I'll be at Plush for Sunset Rubdown, then back at Plush on Friday for Juliette & the Licks (sorry, I can't resist the spectacle that is Juliette Lewis), and probably Plush again on Saturday for Say Hi (To Your Mom), and finishing out the week with the Melvins. Good lord.

In any case, the show that I'm most looking forward to in the coming weeks is Ted Leo & the Pharmacists.

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 16th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sadly, I'm going to miss this week's offerings because I'm not-so-sadly heading to NYC for a few days and then Pennsylvania for a few more. But, yes, it's an amazing concert line-up. So varied in terms of genre, too.
zonaroja From: zonaroja Date: October 16th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'd go see Buckner with you! I miss HIM! And YOU too:)
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