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The Melvins ’51 States in 51 Days’ Tour Diary, Day 51: Buzzo’s Epilogue and Van Thoughts

Buzz Osbourne / Photo courtesy of the Melvins

Sludge-metal pioneers the Melvins are attempting to break a world record: 51 shows in 51 states in 51 days. Join SPIN for their exclusive tour diary of this ridiculous and completely inadvisable endeavor! Catch up here.

October 20, 2012 – Norman, OK @ Opalis Production
October 21, 2012 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
October 22, 2012 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
October 23, 2012 – Las Vegas, NV @ Las Vegas Country Saloon
October 24, 2012 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
October 25, 2012 – Honolulu, HI @ The Republik
51 down, 0 to go!

We are nearing the end of this tour. All that needs to happen now is for some unexplained disaster like malaria or lumber lung to strike us down leaving this pointless 50-state touring “brass ring” just out of reach. We should cancel Hawaii so we have do the whole thing over again. Ha! Next year we plan on doing the slowest tour of all 50 states. One state a week for 51 weeks. This time we can walk between shows.

Norman, Oklahoma: This was one of those gigs where every person there was drunk and crazy. Even the chicks. Drunk, crazy, and howling like mad dogs. Brian said the audience took the prize for drunkest and dumbest of the whole trip. I’ll take his word for it because we had plenty of drunk and dumb audiences on this tour and I would never say they were wrong to get hammered to the back of their brains on booze drugs and then roll around on the floor howling like crazy beasts. I think that’s just fine….

I can’t go into Oklahoma without thinking about Larry Clark’s photography book Tulsa. It’s a great book about how life works. There is a quote from Larry in the book that says, “Once the needle goes in it never comes out.” It’s hard for people to move on from a town like this. I understand that pretty well having grown up in a horrible shit-burg in backwater Washington state. I understand their plight and I can’t wait to move on.

Random thoughts as I drive across the rolling nothingness of middle America: I drove 564 miles today. I tried to remember the vast array of insane things that went through my mind as I kept the speedometer between 70 and 85 for as much of the drive as I could…

When I was in kindergarten I remember one little girl brought a Porter Wagoner record for Show and Tell. He stood there on the cover in what I now know was a smart-looking Nudie suit. I remember thinking he looked tough with his giant greased pompadour, like he belonged in church. We listened to “The Carol County Accident,” which in hindsight seems like a strange choice for a bunch of five year olds…

I wonder how many times this van would go end over end if I jammed us off the freeway and into a deep ravine at 85 mph?

What if I threw away everyone’s luggage except mine at the next gas stop? They probably wouldn’t notice until we got to the hotel that night so I might be able to get away with it for a few minutes, then they’d put two and two together and kick the shit out of me.

If I intentionally quit making any money at all and just sat at home doing nothing, I wonder how long it would be before my wife threw my ass out into the streets?

If Jimi Hendrix was still alive would he have ended up as boring as Eric Clapton?

I wonder how hot Kim Novak looks now?

If the Mayans couldn’t predict the end of their own civilization, then what makes these idiots today think they could accurately predict that the world will end in December of 2012?

If stupidity got us into this mess then why can’t it get us out? (That is actually a Will Rogers quote but I think about it all the time. Ha!)

Did Veronica Lake really drink herself to death?

Why do we even bother with a post office at this point? It seems like the only reason they don’t close every one of them down right now is because they’re afraid of what would happen if all those postmen got canned.

If two wrongs don’t make a right then what do three wrongs make? What about four?

Some of us don’t like nature….

Why isn’t there a town called “Pork and Beans” in South Carolina?

Once, in the early ’00s, Fantômas played a French festival where we watched a girl crew member unsuccessfully try to hang herself with a guitar cable off of the lighting rig during the show. Then, we walked over to catering and asked the cook if he had any ketchup so that we could mask the flavor of the fucking shit food he was serving…

Do these greasy-looking biker dudes we see all over the country know that the only people who ride motorcycles in Los Angles are cops and homosexuals? I don’t think these guys realize that.

Fortunately for me, the pioneers destroyed the heavy infestation of dumb buffalo that used to aimlessly roam these prairies or we wouldn’t even be able to drive through here.

And….It’s weird to me that no one points out the fact that the Native Americans never even invented the wheel. I guess they didn’t need it. Ha!

Who owns the patent on the plastic dots they glue to the center line on the roads? Jesus, the fucker must be a zillionaire.

Being in a touring band would be a great cover for a serial killer.

And so it goes. And that was only what went through my head in the first ten minutes. Ha!

I love to drive.

Phoenix, Arizona: We arrived after the sun went down and we left town before the sun came back up, meaning that after the show we simply drove to a hotel on our way to Las Vegas. There were already a lot of people in the club by the time we got there and they patiently waited while we quickly set up our gear. We were late and I hate people that are late and I hate being late…I like to get there and stay there until we play. I have a job to do and I try to make that my main focus on tour. I like to know everything is okay and that the show will go off without a hitch. Of course sometimes it just doesn’t work that way but not because I don’t try to have that be the case. Life is not fair.

Las Vegas, Nevada: Vegas is a weird place but that’s well known by anyone with even half a brain. It’s only reason for existing is to fleece suckers of their money. I’ve never been a gambler so I’ve thankfully never fallen prey to the dubious effects of gambling, but plenty of people obviously love to throw their money down the toilet. I think that’s just fine. All in all, gambling is a victimless crime so who cares?

A long time ago, when they first decided to make gambling illegal, the real reason they did it was because they got sick of the casinos sucking money out of the local populations. That was the only reason they did it. Time seems to have healed that wound and I wonder how long it will take before these dummies who voted to legalize Indian casino gambling in places outside Atlantic City and Las Vegas realize this? There was a reason they only wanted gambling in a few spots in America. Not surprisingly I suppose, the second the Indians were granted gambling rights they immediately sold out to the Vegas casinos anyway! You’d think they would have learned their lesson when it comes to signing any pale-faced document. We had a great show in Vegas. We played right on Fremont Street directly across from a burger joint that advertised free food to anyone over 350 pounds! It was refreshing to not be faced with some idiot do-gooder telling us Americans are all too fat. We’ve demonized tobacco and at the same time lionized weed which makes absolutely no sense to me, and now the do-gooders are out to demonize what we eat! Fuck that….

Los Angeles, California: We played an amazing show at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in the old Masonic Temple. What a great place and everyone there were very accommodating. As it turns out, they bought the place out of bankruptcy! I didn’t even know a cemetery could go bankrupt. They said they do have a bit of trouble with Hollywood zombies staggering all over the graves but most of them simply go home at closing time leaving the actual dead right where they belong, meaning rotting away in horrifically overpriced coffins.

Our plane to Hawaii left on schedule the next morning from LAX. LAX is always a treat while traveling. You first get to face a bevy of stone-faced cops waving you through a roadside tent “security” screening that serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Then you drive straight into gridlock as you try to weave your way to whatever terminal you’re leaving from. The entire complex is U-shaped and filled with even more cops as well as asshole bastard traffic cops wearing high-visibility safety jackets. Both of these groups of obviously “overworked” law enforcement officials constantly blow whistles and viciously yell at anyone who has the audacity to actually drive to the airport. I’ve heard these clowns described as “bureaucrats with guns” and unfortunately for all of us that seems to be the case. Of course today the powers that be do whatever they can to punish people who drive their own cars anywhere. I find this to be insane and totally unexplainable. Sure, I could have added at least two more hours to my trip to the airport by taking “Metro” but I’m not that stupid. Anyone who rides that fucking train to the airport is a goddamn idiot, and besides, it doesn’t even go to the airport! You still end up on a fucking bus, or as those of us who hate any form of public transport call it, the “loser cruiser.”

Let’s see, haul all your shit to the train station, load it onto a train then load it all off again when you change trains, now load it all back onto the train, and then load it back off and finally load it all onto a fucking bus….Yeah, I can’t wait! Now imagine that scenario toting your wife and three kids plus luggage on a trip from friendly LAX to Disney World. No one would ever take that on and even in rush hour traffic it would still take you longer to do that little song and dance to the airport than to just drive or take a cab. But cabs are too expensive and the train is a lot cheaper you say? Bullshit I say because the money used to build those worthless trains came out of our pockets in the form of taxes to begin with. If you don’t consider that then I suppose it’s the deal of the century, but only if your time counts for nothing. It’s mind-blowing to me that they could spend all those billions of dollars building a “train to the airport” and then have it not actually go to the airport but then again, whoever said the decision-makers running the greater Los Angeles area were frugal, logical, or smart? Not me. Quite the opposite actually.

Well, I guess it’s stylish to some people to spend an excessive amount of tax money on senseless horseshit like these fucking trains but I’m not one of them, and I’m sure none of these smart people whose idea it was to build an L.A. train line in the first place have ever set foot on one of these useless money wasters….

Then, after that, you get to face the geniuses at TSA. You get to stand back and helplessly watch a gaggle of overpaid morons destroy your hard-earned possessions all after radiating you, molesting you, and giving you the third degree. And remember, you paid to be there! We truly are doomed.

It’s a five-hour flight to Hawaii but it seemed like ten. I tried to sleep to no avail as a result of four newborn babies all screaming their heads off simultaneously. This went on for the whole trip. I can’t think of a better way of ruining your and all of the people around you’s flight than taking a fucking baby on an airplane. What kind of a parent thinks this is okay? Besides, once your there then what? You still have a newborn baby to deal with on vacation. Then again, maybe they all plan on tossing their screaming brats into the mouth of Mauna Loa in some modern day sacrifice to the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele! One can only hope.

Trevor Dunn / Photo courtesy of the Melvins

I’d never been to Hawaii and my first impression was that it was a humid nightmare. Honolulu looks like Florida to me and when I pointed this out to my traveling companions and to the locals they all told me that Honolulu sucked but the rest of Hawaii was a veritable paradise. Of course! Once again I’m faced with a situation where I’m told that everything would have been a whole lot better if I would have just done something else. If I wasn’t in Honolulu I would love Hawaii, in fact I’d think it was the greatest place on earth! Well surely. If only I wasn’t in Honolulu…

As we were driving away from the airport it really hit me that we were going to actually finish this 51 shows in 51 days tour! We were going to do it! We were in Hawaii, the location of the last show and unless we got killed on the drive to the hotel or the club itself we will be able to finish this fucking crazy trip! It felt good to know that. It’s a weird accomplishment that no one can take away from us.

The show was great. A very nice club with helpful people and very enthusiastic fans. All through the set all I could think about was that we did it! Afterwards I packed up my belongings and got a ride with the promoter back to the hotel. It was dark and rainy and I was looking forward to being home.

We had a few hours the next day before we needed to be at the airport, so Trevor and I walked through the city and went to the beach. We drifted along looking at the plethora of Hawaiian-themed crap shops and ended up at a Tiki bar that served breakfast. I ordered celebratory pineapple pancakes with a side of papaya, which seemed like the right choice. Trevor ordered bacon and eggs with a side of papaya. I asked him why didn’t he get the pineapple pancakes, I mean hell man, we are in Hawaii. He made a sour face and told me he hated the taste of pineapple.