Melvins are one of the worst-kept secrets in rock history. Their heavy punk and sludge rock sound influenced greats like Nirvana, and while their popularity has remained substantially lower than the bands they inspired, they have amassed a cult following over 30 years of creation. The band, which just released a new EP, Lord of the Flies, is again headed to Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, on Thursday, June 16. Drummer Dale Crover, who is a La Quinta resident, is the latest to take The Lucky 13; here are his answers.
What was the first concert you attended?
My first concert was Kiss, and that was at the Seattle Center Coliseum in 1979, on the Dynasty tour. I was 12, and they were, like, everything to me back then. They were my Beatles—mine and everybody else’s.
What was the first album you owned?
Meet the Beatles!, funny enough. I had Meet the Beatles! and the first Monkees record at the same time. They were hand-me-downs from my brother. I also remember one of the first records I had was a Glenn Miller orchestra record. … You can totally tell how that’s influenced my big band style of drumming.
What bands are you listening to right now?
I listen to a variety of stuff all the time, but lately, I was on a big Steppenwolf kick, because I was interviewed for a Steppenwolf documentary that this company in Germany is making, so I went and revisited all that stuff. As far as new stuff, Jon Spencer has a new record out that’s pretty good, and there’s also another band called The Bobby Lees that are on the same label that we’re on, Ipecac. There’s also a local band from here that has a record out that I think is pretty good, Fever Dog, who I heard about from Finders Keepers Records in La Quinta.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
I don’t know if everybody loves it, but any kind of techno or DJ-based live performance. That’s been going on for a long time, especially in clubs in Europe, and we would always have to deal with that stuff after shows. There’s what we called the disco loadout, which was a pain in the butt, where the show is early, and you play, and then you have to load out through the disco. It’s full-on pumping bass, and you have to go through the crowd, and it’s a bummer. A lot of that stuff just kind of seems like soulless music. You might have to be on drugs to like this stuff, because it’s just garbage music, really. DJs get paid so much money; I picked the wrong instrument. I’ve done DJ gigs at bars where I’m just playing my record collection, and I got paid $500! We struggled for years to make that much.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
The Jimi Hendrix Experience. I would have really liked to see them. All those guys are gone, which is pretty weird to think, because they really aren’t that old. Either them or the Beatles, or maybe The Who around the time of Live at Leeds. They seem like, out of all the English bands at that time, the guys who were the best live.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
Well, I suppose if you looked in my iTunes, you could probably find one, maybe two Grateful Dead songs. There’s another band that was hard for me to get. … I’ve actually seen a Grateful Dead cover band play around here, The Ghost Notes. No offense to those guys, because, actually, they’re pretty good.
What’s your favorite music venue?
I would have to say the favorite venue for us touring is probably the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. We’ve been playing there for a long time now, and I think we’re kind of one of the first heavy acts to actually play there. It’s really old; they used to have cancan dancers there back in the late 1800s, and it basically looks the same. It’s this really ornate, beautiful, not-huge place that holds probably about 700 people, the perfect size for a show. I’ve seen bands in there like Cheap Trick and stuff, too. There’s also some really good ghost stories there, too, so lots of different ghosts hanging out there. I haven’t seen any, but they seem to have tolerated us playing there all these years.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
“The newspapers said, she’s gone to his head, they look just like two gurus in drag,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” the Beatles.
What band or artist changed your life? How?
Probably Kiss. I’d already been into music; I had Beatles and the Monkees and stuff like that, but they were the band that I saw on TV. This is why I say that they’re kind of like my Beatles. They were on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special 1976, and I remember seeing them on TV and just going, ‘What is this?’ From there, every kid in my grade school was freaking out on this band, and they were the ones who I really started listening to and made me decide that I want to play music.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
“Hey, Alice, what time’s our tea time tomorrow?” to Alice Cooper. I have gotten to meet some pretty famous people before, and it’s always kind of like, “Oh, I don’t know what to say.” With musicians, it’s easy, I guess, and drummers, it’s really easy, because all you can do is just go, like, “Hey, man, what kind of sticks do you use?”
What song would you like played at your funeral?
That’s kind of undecided. I want some doom-and-gloom funeral hymns, and nothing upbeat at all. My mother-in-law has informed me—and this is a good one, because nobody can top this—she wants “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” by Willie Nelson.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
The Stooges, Fun House. I was out at Coachella when they played, and that was the last time I went to Coachella. The poor Red Hot Chili Peppers had to follow these guys. I felt sorry for them. That’s a great record, and that was probably one of the best rock shows I’ve ever seen in my life. They hadn’t played a gig in 30 years, and for them to just come in there and just destroy everybody? My jaw hit the floor.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
“Never Say You’re Sorry.” It’s on our EP that just came out, and it’ll be on our next full-length.
So great to know there are some cool musicians here. I just moved to Palm Springs from the SF area and don’t know many people yet. My first band in the 90’s was heavily influenced by The Melvins. ❤️🙌🏻🤘🏻
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