Music » Livewire

The Melvins

With Big Business and A Purge of Dissidents (film). Saturday, September 29, at Peabody's.


Before the media explosion and cash-grab that was grunge, there were about five years when pretty much every single band on the West Coast was influenced by the Melvins. In the late '80s, they were one of the first bands to play Sabbath riffs pothead-slow, thereby launching stoner rock. And they were among the first to take metal and marry it to hardcore punk.

You can make a case for the criminally underrated Saint Vitus doing these things first, but everybody saw the Melvins and bought their records. Like Black Flag, they toured constantly, inspiring new bands everywhere they went. Then, when all their Seattle pals got famous, the Melvins released 1994's Stoner Witch, an album geared for MTV, except that its unspeakable bass tones, down-tuned guitars, and gong smashes could actually fry speaker cones. Did the Melvins plan this? Maybe. Who knows? Probably.

The band has released roughly 25 albums, with no drop-off in quality (not in volume, at least). Released in 2006, A Senile Animal is the Melvins' latest, and it's their most ZZ-Toppish record yet. But let's be honest: You are going to this show, hoping the group plays "Hooch" or "Boris" or both.

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