Trying Not to Die in a Fiery Crash: The Tour Diary of Buzz Osborne of the Melvins

King Buzzo, on getting drunks thrown out and blasting the AC.

Jun 23 2014, 7:10pm

The last time we talked to Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, we asked him what he tought of Miley Cyrus and Mumford & Sons (spoiler: not much). Now, King Buzzo is out on an acoustic solo tour called This Machine Kills Artists. Since he seemed trepidatious about the whole idea to begin with, we asked if he could send us some dispatches from the road. Here's his first submission as he brings acoustic rock to the West Coast masses...

On the road with an acoustic guitar? Good idea, jackass...

The real question at this point is why even do an acoustic album or world tour at all? That is a good question. Time will tell and we'll see if it all implodes into a hideous cesspool of total fucking bullshit.

The first show of the tour is in lovely San Diego at the Casbah! The Casbah is located in the landing path of the San Diego airport which means when you're standing outside, talking to one of many fun-loving San Diego drunks, you get your ears split by low-flying jumbo jets landing every 90 seconds. It's kind of exciting and I can't help imagining a horrific fiery plane crash happening right in front of me while I stand there going, "Shit!" If that happened, do you think they'd cancel the gig?

After the show, which went well, fortunately, we packed up what little gear I have and drove back to Los Angeles. I was all gung-ho to drive but only ended up lasting about 10 minutes behind the wheel before I wisely pulled over and let Dave drive because I couldn't keep my goddamn eyes open. Jamming the van into a deep interstate ditch after one show wouldn't be good. I fell asleep instantly but jerked awake every few minutes the whole way home, imagining us all dying in a fiery auto accident. Now where did that come from?

My LA show went great and thank the maker. I played my first ever acoustic show last February in Los Angeles so I was curious as to how many people would be interested in my return visit. I played The Echo. The Echo is a nice venue with a super friendly staff which always makes things a hell of a lot easier. The Echo not surprisingly is also located in Echo Park which these days seems to be hipster central. Fine with me and a massive improvement over what it used to be. When I moved to Los Angeles 21 years ago, Echo Park was a fucking nightmare infested with drug dealers, prostitutes and gang members exercising pit bulls.

My next show was in Orange County and I unfortunately had to boot some up-front drunk who kept insisting on touching me every time I went near his side of the stage. Finally I stopped playing and told him "no touching" to which he replied, "Fuck you." Perfect.

I hate this kind of shit so I took my guitar off just in case he decided to charge me on stage because there's no way I want to fight some drunk fuckhead while I have a guitar uselessly strung around my neck. Fuck that, so I told him I wasn't playing another note until he got out. Which he did under protest but at least no violence. It's too bad, really, because I'm sure he was a fan but booze had turned him into a raving lunatic. I'm sure by the next day, all of that was my fault too.

The next morning we drove north listening to Tom Waits Blue Valentine album over and over and cracking each other up telling jokes that all ended with one of us saying either "no" or "what." It was Friday the 13th and a full moon so lord knows what that even means or what brand of shrill barking insanity awaits us in Fresno.

No one cares about Fresno and weirdly enough, everything ended up being fine in Fresno. I felt great on stage and played each song perfectly. Afterwards, I drove away from the venue in a good mood for once and didn't worry a bit about how crazy the world seems to be or the fact that I had no answers at all for anything. No ultimate revelation, no gospel, no secrets, and no desire to be anyone or anywhere else.

I just let the car air conditioner blast me full in the face until I was as cold as I could get.

I woke up really early the next morning and watched the sun come up through the dirty hotel window glass in total silence imagining I was on the set of Laurence of Arabia except instead of being in a blazing desert, I stood freezing in the middle of the room. I had the temperature down to polar level as a result of leaving the AC cranked up full blast all night.

We rolled in to Sacramento early and ate at an empty Thai restaurant downtown. It's just the three of use meaning Dave, Brian, and myself so things like deciding on a restaurant are super easy. I like traveling with these guys so I'm anticipating no problems at all. On tour, this is a foreign feeling for me. Usually, you can count on some sort of infernal, human bullshit eating up vast amounts if time so it's weird to have it not happen. It's early yet though.

After the Sacto show, I was talking to a few fans who asked where I was playing next and I told them San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall. One of them said, "Oh shit. You're going to end up getting the shit kicked out of you by a pack of foaming-at-the-mouth bull dykes right there on the street in front of the club."

Once again, that would be perfect.

Catch the remainder of Buzz's seemingly endless tour...

June 23 Missoula, MT The Palace
June 24 Billings, MT The Railyard
June 26 Fargo, ND The Aquarium
June 27 Minneapolis, MN Grumpy’s
June 28 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall
June 30 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
July 1 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
July 2 Detroit, MI Small’s
July 3 Cleveland, OH The Grog Shop
July 5 Buffalo, NY Tralf Music Hall
July 6 South Burlington, VT Higher Ground
July 7 Portland, ME Portland City Music Hall
July 10 Allston, MA Brighton Music Hall
July 11 Pawtucket, RI The Met
July 12 Hamden, CT The Ballroom at The Outerspace
July 13 New York, NY Santos Party House
July 14 Brooklyn, NY The Wick
July 15 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
July 17 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
July 18 Charlottesville, VA The Southern
July 19 Charlotte, NC Visulite Theater
July 20 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
July 22 Atlanta, GA The Basement
July 23 Birmingham, AL The Bottle Tree
July 25 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jack’s
July 26 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
July 27 Austin, TX Red 7
July 28 San Antonio, TX Limelight
July 30 Tucson, AZ Club Congress
July 31 Pioneertown, CA Pappy and Harriet’s