Melvins - Houdini (Cover Artwork)


Houdini (1993)


So anyway, I was hanging out with my good friend Beethoven, circa-before-he-became-totally-deaf, when the subject of music came up in our conversation.

He asked me, "how has music changed in the past, oh, say, 1,174 years? 'Fill me in,' if you will, on some recent highlights..."

"Ah, Ludwig!" I told him. "Glad you asked!"

All I needed to do was pop a little pink disc bearing a two-headed puppy into my stereo. I hit play, and the speakers swelled with the monster drumming of Dale Crover, of none other than the Melvins! The album was Houdini, and the song was "Hooch."

"Mein Gott! That man sure can hit!" Beethoven exclaimed, captivated by the fierce drumming of Mr. Crover, who can indeed hit.

"Like what you hear, Beethoven?" I asked with a knowing glance.

"JA, DAS IST SUPER!" he cheered. "More! More!"

"Oh, just listen a little closer, my friend! Listen to that chorus in 'Hooch'! That's all that needs to be said about the power of this band! And those nonsensical lyrics! It's like it's some kind of pig Latin or something!"

"Ja, das ist gut! But Buzz's vocals! He can growl with the best of them!" Beethoven chimed in.

"I know it! Ooh, listen! Track two, 'Night Goat' is on! Listen to that detuned guitar! Those pulverizing drums! Lorax's fuzzed-out bass line!"

"Lorax?" Beethoven asked curiously in his Kraut voice. "Yeah, Lorax. She was the bass player during this time period and for a couple of other albums, as well. I'm not sure what happened to her, I heard she ended up a junkie or some shit. Kevin Rutmanis from the Cows plays in the Melvins now, so nevermind... But dammit if that bass line doesn't lurk in exactly the right spot!"

"Oooh, I know! It begins the song perfectly, setting the appropriate dark mood into place," Ludwig said with awe. "And Buzz? Is that his name?" he asked shyly.

I shook my head "yes," grinning. "His screams during the chorus! Chilling, almost! Creepy, I guess you could say," Beethoven said, glowing with joy.

"'Fraid so, my genius friend," I said, the unholy screams of singer Buzz Osbourne filling my room and tickling our ears.

"Hmm, what's this song?" Beethoven asked me, reaching for the CD case as "Night Goat" ended, much to Beethoven's dismay.

"Oh, you mean 'Lizzy'? Yeah, track three has an almost country-like vibe to it, with Buzz almost 'singing' lyrics about some 'he' being 'somebody's daughter' in the verses, but only to be followed by more of the grinding riffage, monolithic trap-work, burly, belching vocals, and moody bass guitar that all explode simultaneously in the chorus! Yet another gem, it is!"

Beethoven, enjoying his first day on millennial Earth, looked to be having a great time indeed, bobbing his head, drumming on his legs, and playing air guitar. Track three ended and track four, "Going Blind," began.

"Yeah, this song 'Going Blind' is actually a Kiss cover," I explained to Beethoven.

"Kiss?" Beethoven inquired, puzzled. "Oh. Yeah. Kiss was a 1970s rock group. They dressed up in platform shoes, wore make-up, ah, nevermind... But this song is a cover of one of their songs. And it's totally Melvin-ized!" I beamed proudly.

Three quick drumstick-clicks echoed off of the walls one right after another, and a dropped-D riff crunched its way into mine and Beethoven's ears. Beethoven pulled out his trusty air-guitar yet again, but seemed to drop it. He gazed at me, eyes wide.

"Scheister! Mein Mutter! What is... This? This is... This is the best song I've heard yet! What song is this?!" he asked me, jaw dropping.

"Oh, this song is 'Honey Bucket," and it sure is a 'honey bucket.' This is the best damn song on the whole album, and I'll be a fucking Backstreet Boy if it ain't one of the heaviest songs I've ever heard!"

"'Backstreet Boy'?" he asked me, confused yet again.

"Um, nevermind," I said quickly.

"Ach. But that time signature! Those drum beats!" Beethoven exclaimed with boyish enthusiam. "That guitar! Oh, and listen! It's like it's two songs in one! It starts off slower, then the drums begin rolling, and the whole band is interlocked into one fast-paced mood, all after Buzz cranks out another grinding... 'riff,' is it?"

I shook my head "yes."

"Riff! And there's about THREE good ones in the whole thing! This is almost as good as Mozart! This is... 'rock,' is it?"

I shook my head "yes" again. "This is rock HEAVEN! Top-notch! Where can I get this?!" he asked me, nearly frothing at the mouth.

"Any good record store will do," I informed him, grinning.

"Record? But is this not a 'CD'?" he asked me, a little befuddled.

"Oh, nevermind," I said to him, "just tell them you're looking for some Melvins, specifically Houdini."

"What does the rest of the, er, 'record,' hold in store for me?" he asked eagerly.

"Oh, but that would be spoiling the treasures awaiting you! Just go get the dang thing!"

"Will do!" Beethoven said, and got up and left, his short, stocky body on a mad dash for the nearest record store.