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Social Distancing With Melvins’ Buzz Osborne: Stockpiling Merch, Listening to Tom Waits

“Play it cool and try not to panic,” singer-guitarist says

Melvins singer-guitarist Buzz Osborne shares how he's been passing the time in quarantine, and what he's been listening to.

Mackie Osborne

As the world fights a pandemic, we’ve been reaching out to some of our favorite artists to get their takes on these unprecedented times. Here’s what Melvins singer-guitarist Buzz Osborne — who’s readying Gift of Sacrifice, an excellent new acoustic disc with Mr. Bungle and Tomahawk bassist Trevor Dunn — had to say in response to a few quarantine questions via email. (Osborne and Dunn’s May tour dates in support of the album have been canceled, but as of press time, the June and July shows are still on.)

What are you doing with your unexpected time at home?
I’m working on a lot of album and CD packaging with the idea that I can sell it when I am finally able to play live again. Playing live again is a weird concept at this point. My wife Mackie does letterpress printing in our garage, and we do all of the construction ourselves, so that’s been keeping us very busy. We’re putting together pretty much every possible thing we can. We might as well, considering it’s house arrest for almost the whole world. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but the whole idea of playing live and exposing yourself or other people to this sickness seems like a ludicrous idea. We’re trying to stay as active as possible in and around the house without doing anything stupid. I usually play a lot of golf when I’m home but that’s not happening. If I can’t play live shows in the near future, I’ll be looking forward to playing golf and recording new music. I have plenty of that ready to go.

What music have you been turning to for solace — or for any reason — during the quarantine, and why?
I’ve been listening to Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine record a lot lately, but I listen to that all the time anyway. I’ve never needed a plague to get me to do that. It’s my favorite of his. Very powerful. Every song is great, with my fave being “Kentucky Avenue.”

I’ve also been listening to Who’s Next by the Who, but I mostly just play “Won’t Get Fooled Again” over and over. Once again, this is an album I’d be listening to anyway. I love the Who. They’re probably my all-time favorite band and this might be their best album, although I love Sell Out a great deal, too. I never tire of those guys.

I’ve also been listening to Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” from the James Bond movie Casino Royale. I think it’s the best of all the James Bond themes. Really great lyrics too. “Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.” Seems appropriate right now. I usually play it five or six times the first thing in the morning and it wakes me right up. Great movie too.

Speaking of movies…. Here’s a few I’ve watched:

Romeo Is Bleeding — Gary Oldman plays a corrupt cop.

Straw Dogs — Brutal Sam Peckinpah movie. Love it.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead — Sidney Lumet directed.

The King of Comedy — Like Joker but way better.

Anything else you want to say to your fans right now?
Take care of yourselves during this time of crisis. Play it cool and try not to panic. Better days are most likely just around the corner.