Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:26

King Buzzo Rules the Stage on His Acoustic Solo Tour

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Buzz Osborne Buzz Osborne COURTESY PHOTO

King Buzzo
The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
June 30, 8:30 p.m.
$14 advanced, $17 day of show, (616) 272-3758

Buzz Osborne (aka King Buzzo) is an artist who has certainly earned his royal moniker. For 30 years he's been the frontman and principal songwriter for legendary sludge-rock outfit The Melvins, a band famous for its unpredictability genre-defying sound and heavy riffs. What's more, Osborne has embarked on his first truly solo project, King Buzzo, this year.

“I've done a lot of work with the Melvins. We've done hundreds and hundreds of recordings,” Osborne said. “It was just time for me to do something different.”

While Osborne assures fans his solo project in no way means the Melvins is slowing down (in fact, the band has a new album due out this fall), he has embraced the project enough to release a limited-edition 10-inch record and his newest full-length, This Machine Kills Artists, out June 3 on Ipecac Records.

“Before the 10-inch ever came out, I realized I should do a whole album, so I recorded the whole album in January and February,” Osborne said.

This Machine Kills Artists is certainly a bit of a departure from the music of the Melvins, Osborne still manages to convey the heaviness of his usual musical stylings, only with much less equipment.

“I've stripped it down to the bare bones,” Osborne said. “That record is a real acoustic record.”

The title of the album is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the late great Woody Guthrie, an artist Osborne feels all too many musicians try to imitate when releasing acoustic solo albums. Osborne was dedicated to making sure he didn't fall into the same trap.

“I viewed it with the same attitude that I view general rock music that I write, which is that I really don't want to tread on too much material that's already been done.”

In addition to the album, Osborne went on a solo mini-tour in February and March, only pausing briefly before hitting the road again for his current nationwide tour.

“I have been blessed that I have been able to play with a vast array of fabulous musicians who have only made me look better,” Osborne said. “So with this, I'm up there all by myself with nothing to hide behind, and I'm up for the challenge.”

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