Love and Death and Melvins: An Interview with Dale Crover

Photo by Chris Casella

Most articles about the Melvins will discuss their longevity (they’ve been around since 1983), their revolving cast of bassists (currently they’re recording and touring with Steve McDonald of Redd Kross), or singer/guitarist’s King Buzzo’s hair (which is still over the top, but mostly grey).

Never one to go quietly into that good night, the band is constantly challenging themselves and their fans. Recently, they’ve released bizarre covers albums (2013’s Everybody Loves Sausages), weird compilations (Tres Cabrones, also from 2013), and the 2016 Basses Loaded “concept” album whose main concept was including various bassists (the aforementioned Steve McDonald, Krist Novoselic, Jeff Pinkus, Jared Warren, and more) and at least one extended baseball pun.

The band released A Walk with Love & Death earlier this year, a double album which features their first-ever film score for the short film of the same name, directed by Jesse Nieminen. We caught up with drummer Dale Crover to find out the scoop on fans, books on tape, fave TV shows, and more.

Less Lee Moore: The new album is fantastic. What were your favorite aspects of recording with guests like Teri Gender Bender, Joey Santiago, and Anna Waronker?

Dale Crover: Thank you! Yes, It’s always fun to have special guests come in and play on something. They’re all pros and it’s great to watch them come into the studio and work their magic!

LLM: What has the fan response been to your first-ever double album, especially the soundtrack portion? Do you feel encouraged to do more film scores in the future?

DC: Most of our fans appreciate that we do new and different things that we haven’t done before. I’m sure the soundtrack is a curveball from some but just wait until you see the film. It will all make perfect sense.

LLM: You recently finished a massive tour with label mates Spotlights, who released one of my fave albums of this year with Seismic. How did you cross paths with this band?

DC: Great band and great people! We hadn’t really met before the tour but became fast friends. We got them to come out on the last song and play Hung Bunny/ Roman Dog Bird with us. It was absolutely crushing! Steve blew up his amp a few times on that number.

LLM: You’ve been touring with Redd Kross (and Dale has been doing double duty): what have been the weirdest and greatest fan encounters you had on this tour? What are the differences between Redd Kross fans and Melvins fans?

DC: I’ve had an absolute blast playing in Redd Kross! They’re a long time favorite and I still can’t believe I’m in the band.

The fans are very similar. Usually very into it. We get a few Mom, Dad and the kids, which is always kind of cute. Both bands get their fair share of weird encounters. Most people are nice and just want a photo or autograph.

LLM: I know that you all enjoyed listening to the Paul Stanley book on tape in the tour van. Did you end up finding any other books on tape that even came close to that level of thrilling?

DC: Ha, ha! Yeah, we listened to a bunch of different rock biographies; Keith Richards, Keith Morris, Marky Ramone and even NOFX’s book. But, I highly recommend An American Demon: A Memoir by Jack Grisham of TSOL.

LLM: What about new music? Did you get to listen to any in the van and if so, what were your favorites this year?

DC: We listen to music all the time in the van. I like the latest records from Sleaford Mods, The Lemon Twigs, Shit Kid and lots of others that I can’t think of at the moment.

LLM: I’ve read that you enjoyed this season of Twin Peaks. Did you get to watch any other new TV shows this year? Anything you’d recommend?

DC: Twin Peaks was great! That was my favorite this year. Buzz and I would watch a different episode of Star Trek each night after the show. Currently watching the newest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

LLM: What are you looking forward to in 2018? What do the Melvins have in store for us?

DC: We’re making plans and looking forward to another year chock full of good stuff. Just you wait and see!

A Walk With Love & Death is available from Ipecac Records. You can also purchase Dale Crover’s first solo album, The Fickle Finger of Fate, released on August 4.

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