Melvins Frontman Explains Why Metallica 'Blew It'

"They go from a song called 'Whiplash' to a psychiatrist in the studio for $10,000 a week," Buzz Osborne explains.

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In an interesting A.V. Club feature, Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne shared his list of "bands that were good, but blew it," singling out such guitar-driven icons as Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and the Who.

Focusing on Metallica, Buzz pointed out the massive change metal giants went through since the early days, singling out the "Whiplash" tune off "Kill 'Em All" as a prime example of the 'Tallica guys doing it right.

"Metallica is a good example, because when their first record came out, I thought, 'Oh, wow! This is a nice breath of fresh air, '" Osborne kicked off. "From the first time I saw the back cover, it was like, 'Those guys are ugly! ' These guys aren't winning any beauty contests. Clearasil could use that cover as an ad, and it was great. Here's a band where people are going to remember what the heavy metal music scene was like. There were finally bands that were emerging that were against the glossy look.

"AC/DC was too glossy, even though most people don't understand that," the frontman continued. "The best band along those lines was probably Judas Priest, even though they were glossier at that point than Metallica was. Still, there were bands coming out at that time called Venom and Raven that were starting to get a bit more aggressive. Then Metallica came out, and I thought they were a great marriage of what Judas Priest was doing and what Venom was doing. It was teen angst mixed with heavy metal.

"What I've always loved about heavy metal is that it's rebel music. Regardless of whether you like these guys, they're pissed off. That was a total plus to me. The song I would pick off that record is 'Whiplash.' You can listen to that and imagine that there hadn't been anything like that at the time."

Buzz then elaborated what he considers as the best possible solution. "Now, I would like to take the band on that back cover of the 'Kill 'Em All' album - I would like to take those guys and put them in a time machine and run them forward and make them sit through 'Some Kind of Monster' and say, 'Guys! Do not let this happen! ' You know what I mean? How could they not be appalled? They go from a song called 'Whiplash' to a psychiatrist in the studio for $10, 000 a week. Metal up your ass, indeed."

Do you agree with Osborne on this one? You can also check out the full chat here to see why several other rock greats blew it in Buzz's book.

47 comments sorted by best / new / date

    it makes sense. I see his point of view, but I think they got swallowed by the mainstream without really realizing it. I don't think they understood what was going to happen after the Black album. sure, they weren't the pissed off teenagers anymore, but that's what happens when bands become hugely financially successful. the point is, that while their lives might have softened, they're still a heavy metal band. it's not like they went from Kill Em All to Mumford and Sons.
    Pablo Mortis
    This remind's me of something George Thorogood once said, about being too happy to play blues - should the same attitude be applied to Metal? (Nah xD)
    Not really sure what he's getting at, tbh. Is his problem with Metallica that they grew up? I mean, no, of course the SKoM therapist stuff isn't "metal," but they still came out with Death Magnetic, which was good, and they still put on an awesome live show. I mean, in the same interview, he says the idea of quitting while you're ahead is ridiculous. And half his reasoning for the other bands seems to be "I saw them play a bad gig once." No disrespect to him or the Melvins, but it seems like he's just kinda trashing artists for no good reason. He's a Tom Waits fan, though, so that's pretty cool.
    Not to mention, the stuff they were dealing with at the time of SKOMs filming was insane...James in rehab, Jason leaving the band, Cliff's death coming back to haunt them, Napster and the way the music industry was changing and Kirk and Lars being unsure of Metallica's future among other things. (Which would be like if you think you may be fired from your job soon, not exactly easy on the stress levels even if you are rich and famous already because it's still very easy to lose that success) If anything, I commend them for making it public because I would not be surprised if many other metal artists had done the same thing (ie. Had to go to band therapy) but Metallica were the only ones to make it public.
    Metallica turned into total pussies. Poster boys for sellouts and letting the money get to your head.
    Dat punk attitude. King Buzzo will never lose it. Personally, I can't be arsed about Metallica hiring a psychiatrist to help them. What he said about Venom, Judas Priest and etc is sound though.
    How is getting a therapist to fix the band after all the stuff that was building up blowing it, if they'd never done that they wouldn't even be here now and a world with Metallica is better than a world without. Acting like a teenager because you care too much about your image and writing the same fast songs over and over again would be blowing it in my eyes.
    so today is clearly Opposite Day.....these bands blew it and Buzz is biggest rock star ever....
    Who cares? Either you like it or you don't. If MY opinions on what is and isn't good doesn't matter, why should his? There is no "good" or "bad" music. to each their own.
    This guy is so full of himself.It is getting more and more annoying.What does he know of changes people go through that affect their music and life.If metal is just anger and all that rebel stuff, it is limited.Metal, in my opinion is great genre because it is so flexible.It is open to elements from every other genre of music and that makes him so great.Melvins could only learn from Death Magnetic beacuse (IMO) their last albums doesn't really do anything expect what we heard 1000 times already. Sorry if anyone is offended , but I had to throw this out of me.
    Melvins made the modern metal sound everybody loves so much. ISIS, Neurosis or Mastodon? Melvins came before them.
    Yeah, but... it's ISIS, Neurosis and Mastodon are the ones that "everybody loves so much". Melvins might have been an influence to them, but they didn't make these records. Don't forget that Metallica was a huge influence to a lot of great bands too. I like Melvins, but I didn't bother to listen to their last record, because in my opinion, "Nude with Boots" didn't bring anything new to the table. And I'm not sure the one before that did.
    At least he doesn't have a douche-cut like the majority of "metal" artists these days. Besides, Metallica do suck. They suck live and their recent albums are a shadow of their former selves.
    Metallica suck live? Have you seen them recently? I saw them in 2010 and 2013 and the 2013 show was way better...Personally, I'd put them about equal with Lamb of God in terms of being a good live band but for very different reasons and LoG are easily my favourite bar none.
    I saw them live last year at Download and then I saw Iron Maiden this year, sorry to say but Maiden were really boring and Metallica was one of the best headliners I've ever seen.
    Aw don't be sorry dude - that's cool! I've seen Iron Maiden and Metallica several times (usually at music festivals) and I agree, Maiden are a bit samey, kind of boring... But then so were Metallica - they didn't stop banging on about "the metallica family". You really need to get to the Bloodstock festival and watch a proper headlining act... Like Immortal for example.
    I wouldn't say Immortal is that good. They were good on Pure Holocaust and Battles of the North, but now... Even some songs from these records played live now sound pretty sloppy. One thing to add: I used to be a big fan of bands like Immortal, but one day I got bored with all that extreme metal stuff. Now I would choose Metallica over any extreme metal band anyday. So I guess it's just a matter of taste, isn't it?
    I don't need to hear what this fat **** with a retarded hair cut has to say about Metallica because he expects everyone to have a teenage mentality their whole life. Music styles change.. get the **** over it
    Every band has a bad album and a rough time at some point. Just ask king buzzo his entire career sucks.
    In the actual interview Buzzo actually made a really good point: some millionaire rock stars forget that playing a music instrument is not the hardest job on earth.
    In a way Buzzo's right about Metallica, but on the other hand, people do grow up and change. I, for one, wouldn't respect people who kept being in their forties the way they were when they were 18. For example, they had to quit abusing alcohol, because if they hadn't they probably would have disbanded a long time ago. Second, yeah, it does look kind of lame that they hire a psychiatrist to help them keep the band together. But on the other hand, a lot of good bands disband because of internal turmoil - if only they tried to remedy things. And that's what Metallica did. Now I know there are people who think that going to a psychotherapist is not a way for a real man to solve his problems - these are cavemen who think so.
    I rather like Metallica. But musically, i'd say that the Melvins are better sorry guys. However, he is being pretty judgemental. I actually COMPLETELY get his mindset, and i share it. But you can't blame others for NOT sharing your mindset.
    To hell with everyone who disses on Metallica. Metallica know the mistakes they've made. But they keep on moving forward and tearing it up live.
    While I don't particularly agree with his opinion on Metallica or some of the other bands he mentions, this whole interview is a actually a great read. I'd recommend anyone read it if you haven't already. The Melvins are great.