Melvins’ Buzz Osborne Says The Who’s Pete Townshend Inspired Him To Make An Acoustic Record

The founding member of Melvins, Buzz Osbourne, recently reflected on his and his band’s acoustic albums during a conversation with Bryan Reesman. According to the guitarist, he drew inspiration mainly from Who’s Pete Townshend when using heavy elements in acoustic songs.

Melvins released their first acoustic album entitled ‘Five Legged Dog‘ on October 15, 2021. Before this record, the band had released over 20 albums, none of which were based on acoustic sounds since their style is rather described as sludge metal, experimental rock, and doom metal. Because these music genres aren’t considered suitable for acoustic songs, it’s common not to see bands like this release acoustic albums.

However, there are also exceptions to this commonality as the Who previously proved that acoustic songs can be made regardless of their genre with several songs they released. When the band put out ‘Pinball Wizard’ as a single in 1969, Pete Townshend didn’t only take vocal and electric guitar duties, but he also played acoustic guitar on the hard rock song. This wasn’t the only example of the band’s acoustic works.

Townshend did the same exact thing with the band’s 1971 song entitled ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ Moreover, Townshend has also re-arranged the song for solo performances on acoustic guitar. ‘Drowned‘ is another example of this same infusion as it has been played as an acoustic-guitar-only solo performance by Townshend over the years. During a recent conversation, Buzz Osborne was asked about the band’s acoustic album’s heavy sound and how Melvins could achieve such a complex infusion.

Apparently, Osborne first heard a live album by the Who in which Pete Townshend played the three songs mentioned above on acoustic. That’s when Osborne realized that the acoustic versions of these songs were as powerful as the band’s version. This unexpected epiphany stuck with the musician until the making of Melvins’ latest album and his own solo albums, and he made those records with this notion in his mind.

When asked about the album’s acoustic and heavy sound, Osborne said:

“Long time ago, I got turned onto this record probably 40 years ago by a live record that Pete Townshend was a part of, the guitar player from the Who. He did three songs on acoustic, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’ ‘Pinball Wizard,‘ and ‘Drowned.’ Because I was such a big fan of them, I got that record and listened to that. His acoustic versions were just as powerful as the band would’ve been.

I realized that the songs were good no matter what, no matter how you do it. I never lost that idea through this record. I did two solo acoustic records with that in mind. Pete Townshend and Bob Dylan’s solo acoustic, especially the early 1960s stuff or the mid-1960s stuff like ‘It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),’ just shows how heavy you can do, or a lot of blues artists as well.”

You can watch the interview and listen to the mentioned songs below.