Buzz Osborne, the wild-haired front man of the Melvins, has gone acoustic on his latest album, This Machine Kills Artists. Buzz stopped by the AG studios recently for our latest installment of Acoustic Guitar Sessions to discuss his self-described “ham-fisted” playing technique, and showcase a couple of songs from the new album.
But don’t let the guitar or album title reference to Woody Guthrie’s slogan, “This Machine Kills Fascists,” fool you. None of the songs on this record even hint at country or folk.
“I could do that, but no one would care,” Osborne says. “Trying to do something outside my realm is just wrong.”
The songs—including the two he performs here, “Dark Brown Teeth” and “Rough Democracy”—remain very much steeped in the Melvins’ realm: rough and sludgy stoner rock with big, percussive riffs and buzzing strings. In other words, if you’re looking for sweet, ringing major chords, pristine fingerpicking on a wistful minor-key ballad, or jaunty bluegrass flatpicking, you won’t find that in this week’s edition of Acoustic Guitar Sessions.
“I have a really ham-fisted technique,” Osborne says. “I play like a bulldozer.”
Osborne, whom the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana often cited as a friend and major influence, arrived at Acoustic Guitar’s studio on a Saturday morning with his touring guitar in tow—a little cutaway Blueridge—and talked in his signature rapid-fire way about the new album, his guitars and gear, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and much more.
For more Acoustic Guitar Sessions, check out the archive.