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Melvins Expand Lineup, Ready Live Album

Like Spinal Tap’s bad luck with drummers, the Melvins have similar problems holding on to bassists. Their latest four-string casualty was Kevin Rutmanis, but the group — led longtime members Buzz Osborne (vocals, guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) — has beefed up its line-up considerably. Now expanded to a quartet, the Melvins have been joined by Hydra Head recording artists Big Business.

“Now we’re going to be four piece,” Crover said. “Two drums — just like the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead!” “We’ve known [the Big Business] guys for a long time. It’s not like they’re going to quit Big Business or anything like that. When we tour, we’re hoping that they’ll open.”

Crover sees no problem sharing the time-keeping with Willis. “It’s great,” he says. “He’s left handed, so we want to do this ‘mirror image’ type of thing. We’ve kind of fused our two drum sets together, and we’re going to try and do some crazy thing with it. We’re sharing these big toms in between us.”

The new lineup plans to tour at some point later this year and eventually hit the studio. But the next Melvins release will be a live CD comprised of a a recent performance of the 1993 album “Houdini.”

“A bunch of those songs we’d never played live before,” Crover reports. “It’s going to be on Ipecac — it will be out in the spring. The warm-up show we did was actually better than the official show, so we did another [in Los Angeles], and that’s the one that we recorded for the record.”

The Melvins will also be playing shows this spring backing ex-Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra in Australia. Additionally, Crover will be appearing on the long-in-the-works Mike Patton project, Peeping Tom.

“I did some recording with [Patton] a while back — about two years ago,” Crover says of the album. “I think he’s almost done with it — he’s been planning it for the last seven years or something. He’s mentioned that it’s going to be more straightforward for him. I don’t know how many songs he recorded — an insane amount, like 30. There’s a lot of layered vocals — like Beach Boys style. Some hip hop-y sort of beats. It’s weird. It’s drum machine mixed with live drums mixed with crazy samples, but then there’s guitar and bass. Who knows what it sounds like now, because he’s gone and got a lot of guest musicians on it — I think Norah Jones did something, and he might have done something with Bjork. He’s sort of mentioned a possible tour.”