Thunderstorms with Buzzo



I went on a solo mission to see King Buzzo from the Melvins play an acoustic set last night.

If you’re familiar with the Melvins, that sentence probably doesn’t make any sense.

Yet, it happened. And it was fantastic.

I showed up just in time to catch the opener — Mary Halvorson.

The review I read of her said that she was, “light years ahead of her peers…the most impressive guitarist of her generation.”

I know a lot about music. At least, I think I do.

That being said, I don’t play guitar. But if I sat on my couch right now and tried to make a song, I imagine it would sound something like Mary Halvorson’s songs.

Yeah, that sounds cocky. But that’s how I felt.

It also made me really think about noise. How did it become a genre of music? If it’s noise — isn’t it just that? How can noise be considered music? Music is what happens when noisey things are played in a way that sounds half-way decent, right?

Anyway – King Buzzo came on soon after and played songs. I appreciated that.

If you didn’t know anything about King Buzzo or the Melvins, it would have been an impressive set.

As a fan of the Melvins — and having seen them more times than I can count — it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Buzzo is a fantastic guitar player, but when you have the thunder of Dale Crover’s drums to hide behind, some of your ability gets lost.

He didn’t have anything to hide behind this time.

The set list was basically the Melvins greatest hits, along with an Alice Cooper cover.

I heard songs played that I’ve listened to hundreds of time in a whole new way. It’s amazing what one guy can do with one guitar.

(I should try to play one someday. If I really do end up sounding like Mary Halvorsham, at least I know I’ll be able to open for Buzz someday.)

Still, the best part was the intimacy of the whole thing. For a guy that’s been playing music professionally for close to 30 years, you could tell that he was still figuring out how to perform by himself.

When he was playing, he was possessed by it. When he wasn’t, he was at a loss.

It was endearing, though. He told stories mostly (about his wife and Mike Patton). An awkward, goofy laugh followed each and every sentence.

Everyone there could tell that he was a bit shy.

The thing is, if you’re at a King Buzzo acoustic show, you’re basically a Melvins cult member — Meaning that anything Buzzo says is gospel.

It was humbling. A 50 year old guy with over 50 albums and innumerable world tours under his belt is just now learning how to play by himself on a stage.

It was amazing. Made me imagine what it would be like if we all went outside of our comfort zones just a bit each day.

So everyone laughed — even if the jokes, stories, or comments weren’t funny.

That’s Mary. I can’t really play guitar like her.


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