Melvins Frontman: 'Nirvana's Biggest Hits Are Structurally Same as Hair Metal Hits'

"The attitude was different. Except it really wasn't," Buzz Osborne adds.

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Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne recently discussed the songwriting skills of the iconic '90s grunge scene, drawing an interesting comparison between Nirvana and hair metal bands.

Chatting with Songfacts, Buzz couldn't help noticing that structurally, the differences aren't as prominent as most would imagine.

"I didn't like all the grunge stuff," the frontman kicked off. "As a matter of fact, I like about as much of that stuff as I liked of any genre of music, which wasn't a tremendous amount of it."

Focusing on Nirvana, Osborne added, "But what I think was good about it was that songwriting-wise, if you take a band like Nirvana, their biggest hits are structurally the same as even a hair metal band's biggest hits. The structure's not different - the attitude was different. Except it really wasn't. It seemed a little more human.

"What attracted me to punk rock in the first place was the human element of it all, even if that's not where they ended up. I think that touched on people," the frontman continued. "I don't know if this is a good comparison, but if you look at a band like CCR, who had amazing songs, they came along at a perfect time.

"We were coming out of Woodstock, Hendrix, all that kind of stuff, then there they are. They brought it back to 'songwriting is important,' and I think that the world was ready for a band like that at that moment. And Nirvana, the world was ready for that kind of stuff."

Reacting to the interviewer's comment that "every era has bad music and good music," Buzz noted, "Every era is the same. There's no golden era."

"That's what kind of inspired me to do what I do," he continued. "Bad music can inspire you to do good stuff, as well. For me, anyway. I never cared about the same kinds of things that a lot of other people cared about as far as that was concerned."

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

    intro-verse-bridge-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus-(solo)-chorus- outro
    Too many bridges.
    I like his point about how there is no golden era. There's are plenty of bands going around nowadays that are great, but we will never know how much of an impact they will have (apart from a few, really obvious ones) until 10, 20 or 30 years later, I'm sure it was always the same deal regardless what time period it was.
    Proof of this is that the whole golden era thing differs between basically everyone depending on the genre. Fans of Thrash say Metal died in the 90s after the Golden 80s, while fans of Death, Black, or Groove Metal loved the 90s. Fans of Progressive Rock say it died in the 80s after the glorious 70s. Fans of Grunge loved the 90s and many don't like modern bands. And so on and so on.
    Why are there people who are saying he was bashing Nirvana? Are we reading the same freakin' article here? He gave Kurt a compliment. READ IT!
    Yeah, it's a compliment, but in Buzz's weird manner Also, Buzz and Kurt was mates (maybe even friends).
    Mr Winters
    "every era has bad music and good music," Buzz noted, "Every era is the same. There's no golden era." Oh wow finally someone who gets it.
    ITT: People who don't have the patience to read articles before forming an opinion.
    I liked this. That "human element" is one of the reasons I liked Nirvana. There was something nice about their simplicity that more than made up for their lack of technical skill. And it's so refreshing to see an older musician not talking about how rock and/or music is declining. It's all just different stages of music evolution. Find what you like.
    Dude always looks like he's having a mugshot done. He has a good point though. And I thought he was gonna be taking the piss out of them.
    ITT: you're allowed to have your opinion on and dislike any band apparently except for nirvana
    I'm pretty sure they were aware of that lol - If that's what the record companies want, then that's what they want(verse-chorus-verse) -- Getting real tired of this douche bashing Nirvana. It's been over 20 years. Maybe it's time to not talk about it anymore?
    He's not really bashing them, in fact he's praising them because while their hits, to him are structurally the same as a lot of Hair Metal hits, it's the actual attitude that's different, if you watch some of his interviews he has a really sarcastic sense of humour. Besides, Melvins and Nirvana used to hang out a lot, especially in the early days, Buzz even taught Kurt how to play guitar, I'm pretty sure that they're all friends.
    As much as he denies it he will always resent the fact that at the beginning kurt followed him and later he became bigger. Of course not the suicide part but definitley becoming a huge succes.
    Hater. Sorry your band wasn't nearly as successful, now quit being butt hurt
    Are you 12 years old, or do you simply not know how to read? He doesn't even actually criticise Kurt, he actually applauds him on bringing songwriting and the human element back into main focus, comparing them to CCR. Furthermore, if you knew anything about Buzz and The Melvins, you would know they never strived for fame, they never cared about that kind of stuff. Learn to read the articles before spewing immature nonsense.
    What can you expect from the 12 yerar-old Nirvana fanboys, they probably don't know that Kurt and Buzz were friends. Kurt was almost in the Melvins.
    What's this guy's deal? Nirvana hasn't been around for 20 years now. Why still bash them?