10. A History of Bad Men
We open our top 10 Melvins songs list with a track taken from their 2006 A Senile Animal. After the departure of bassist Kevin Rutmanis, Osbourne and Crover recruited Jared Warren on bass and Coady Willis as a second drummer, both of whom had previously played as a duo called Big Business. The album charted at number 6 in the Heatseekers and at number 20 in the Independent charts. Like the majority of tracks on this album, it features the bands signature sludge/stoner metal sound. This track was featured in the film I Know who Killed Me and in the television series True Detective.
9. The Fool, The Meddling Idiot
From 2002’s Hostile Ambient Takeover, this track, like all tracks on the album was released as a 7 inch single with a limited run of 2,500 copies, each of which included a B side. All of the B sides were covers with the exception of “The Anti Vermin Seed” which was split up into both sides of its respective single release. The cover included with this was a version of “Promise Me” by the Gun Club. Written by Osbourne, it features Rutmanis on bass and Crover on drums.
8. Billy Fish
We continue our top 10 Melvins songs list with a track taken from 2008’s Nude With Boots. The line-up for this album was Osbourne, Crover, Warren and Willis. For an edition of Joyful Noise’s Flexi Disc series in 2013, they released a live version of this song called “Billy Fish Alive” (as its says on the cover art designed by Mackie Osbourne) or “Billy Fish Live” which they demanded be printed on the flexi disc itself as one of their many attempts to confuse their fans. This live rendition was recorded for their Sugar Daddy Live album and it was recorded and mixed by the band’s long-time engineer Toshi Kasai.
7. Hag Me
This track is from 1993’s Houdini. The album was the band’s major label debut. Kurt Cobain is credited as a co-producer on the album however, there is much speculation into how involved he actually was. Author Andrew Earles claims in his book Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981-1996 that Cobain was asleep throughout most of the recording sessions. Given that this album was released a year before his death, it is likely that Cobain’s input was minimal due to his much-documented depression and drug abuse.
This track, like many others on the album is a mixture of sludge metal, grunge and doom metal. The album is widely regarded as their best and considered a key influence on all three of those genres. Even though a woman named Lorax (daughter of Shirley Temple) is credited as the bass player, Osbourne has stated that she did not do much on the album and that he and Crover played most of the bass parts. It charted at number 29 in the Billboard Heatseekers.
6. At a Crawl
This is a very early track taken from the band’s self-titled debut Ep released in 1986 otherwise known as Six Songs. A later edition was later released taken from a different recording session on CD titled 10 Songs in 1991 and on vinyl without the last two tracks included titled 8 Songs. In 2003, both editions were re-released together as 26 Songs with bonus tracks. The first ten tracks were from the second edition, the following six tracks were from the first of which this track is one. The rest of the songs are taken from various early recordings. Aside from Osbourne and Crover, it features Matt Lukin on bass.
5. Eye Fly’s
This track is taken from the band’s first full length debut Gluey Porch Treatments released in 1987. The album was released through Alchemy Records. It was originally only available on vinyl. It was later re-released on tape with the aforementioned Six Songs EP and included as bonus material on the CD release of Ozma in 1989. The albums second side is now only available through the 1999 re-release. This album is considered to be one of the first blueprints for sludge and grunge, the two genres of which the band are mostly associated with. This particular track appears on the 2006 documentary Kurt Cobain: Been A Son and Sugar Daddy Live.
The opening track from Houdini starts off with some crushing drums from Crover followed 5 seconds later by Osbourne’s punishing riff. This track is the shortest one on the album and Osbourne’s lyrics are rather bizarre. However, they are notably the only lyrics printed in the album’s booklet.
3. Night Goat
The second track from Houdini , The riff starts off muddled for the first 15 seconds then it starts properly followed by Osbourne’s howling vocals. The song has a slow build up, which makes for a classic example of the stoner/doom genre which is defined by its slow pace. The riff was later re-used for the aforementioned “A History of Bad Men” 13 years later.
This track is taken from the band’s seventh album, 1994’s Stoner Witch. This album was produced by Garth Richardson who also produced Houdini. The album was notably recorded very quickly in just 19 days with each track done in a single take. The title reportedly comes from a term that the band members used to describe the “stoner chicks” at their school.
This track, like all the others on the album is more accessible sounding than much of their other work. As a result of this, the album sold very well, shifting 50,000 copies. The album has also been much celebrated retrospectively, with Spin magazine placing it at number 9 on its “Top 20 Greatest Grunge Albums.”
As is usually the case Osbourne was responsible for the lyrics. This album features Mark D on bass who co-wrote the music on this track.
1. Honey Bucket
At Number 1 is the greatest track from Houdini . This track more than any other encompasses what the Melvins are all about which is pure crushing sludge metal. Crover is at his very best here. Osbourne’s heavy riff is amazing without being overly complicated. However, what really shines through is the bass, which although credited to Lorax is likely played by Osbourne or Crover.