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The Melvins' Buzz Osborne gets animated ahead of a lengthy stint in Oklahoma



Cartoon Network animators wanted grunge frontrunner and metal band The Melvins on their show Uncle Grandpa. Frontman and guitarist Buzz Osborne immediately said yes.

“We agreed,” Osborne said. “We had a new song that was going to be on our new album, and it just so happened that it was going to be done right around the time the album was coming out. The stars all aligned, and that’s exactly how it worked — boom!”

Real-life Osborne, known by fans as King Buzzo, looks like he was born to be animated. His tall, frizzled and cooly unkempt shock of gray hair makes him instantly recognizable. He appears on Uncle Grandpa alongside drummer and longtime bandmate Dale Crover.

The Melvins play three consecutive shows Sept. 14-16 in Oklahoma as part of its Basses Loaded tour in support of the namesake June 2016 album, which features an astonishing six bassists. The longtime alternative-experimental metal act plays in Oklahoma City Sept. 15 at ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E. Sheridan Ave. The band also performs Sept. 14 at Tulsa’s Cain’s Ballroom and Sept. 16 at Norman’s Opolis venue.

Osborne was happy to be featured in the Cartoon Network project. The musician fondly recalls watching Looney Tunes and Warner Brothers animated shows like Bugs Bunny when he was a child.

“They were super violent, all the stuff they mostly don’t show the kids anymore for some unknown reason,” he said. “We pretend now children are God’s little angels. I can’t figure that one out.”

On Uncle Grandpa, the band performs a version of “Choco Plumbing,” the second track on Basses Loaded. Osborne said using six bassists was a happy accident that developed naturally as they were putting the album together. The Melvins isn’t a band known for playing by “the rules.” Osborne is content that the project is distinct.

“I’m glad we have a new record at all,” he said. “It’s a bonus, a total bonus.”

One of the album’s bassists is Nirvana co-founder Krist Novoselic. The Melvins’ ties with Nirvana and the Seattle sound run deep. Crover drummed for the alternative rock act on its 1988 demo. Osborne introduced musician Dave Grohl to Kurt Cobain.

Basses Loaded also features original Melvins drummer Mike Dillard. Crover moved to bass when Dillard rejoined the lineup referred to as Melvins 1983. That group is responsible for much of the band’s sillier output, including past versions of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

Nine of the 12 tunes on Basses Loaded are rare, previously released material, and the album closes with a version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The album also features a heavy and gloriously profane version of the humorous novelty song “Shaving Cream,” originally written by Benny Bell in the 1940s. (Each line ends with mind rhymes of the word “shit.”)

“That [song] seemed to fit right in with [Melvins 1983],” Osborne said. “I came up with the idea that I wanted to do that, and that’s what I did; it was great.”

Osborne is known for being a tireless worker. His three-day Oklahoma stint should feel leisurely compared to other tours. In 2012, The Melvins played all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in 51 days.

A slower pace does not mean more time for sightseeing for Osborne.

“We get there and we do soundcheck,” he said. “We won’t have too much time — we won’t have much downtime at all, actually. We’re busy doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re here for a reason, and it doesn’t require a lot of twiddling your thumbs.”

Print headline: Playing ’toons, The recently animated Melvins brings its Basses Loaded tour on a three-day Oklahoma trek.

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