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The Melvins Try to Conquer America in 50 Days

Published: Monday, October 22, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:10


Mackie Osborne

Touring can be the best and worst part of being a musician. When you spend weeks on end away from your loved ones, your home and sense of normalcy can be disoriented. A good show can power a band to the next city while a crappy show might diminish morale. There is a delicate balancing act necessary to making it on the road.

Sludge metal rockers The Melvins have been touring for 20-some years. This time around, they’re touring under the name Melvins Lite, due to a slightly smaller lineup.

“It’s called Melvins Lite but it’s not that light; it’s actually quite big,” said drummer Dale Crover.

The Melvins know what it takes to survive on the road and felt the need to take their touring to the next level. Rather than just tour to the best of their ability, they decided to conquer America – all 50 states and DC.

It’s a feat few bands have accomplished and none have done so consecutively. Feeling they were up to the challenge, The Melvins called up Guinness World Records and embarked on a 51-day tour with a show booked in every state and Washington DC, starting in Alaska and ending in Hawaii.

Phoenixis actually near the end of the tour, stop number 48 to be exact.  

The band has kept a tour diary on detailing their ups and downs and most recently the loss of their sanity. College Times caught up with them near the beginning of their tour, perhaps when they were a bit more fresh-faced.

There is no rest and the shows are nonstop, but the band is sailing full steam ahead. It’s just as preposterous and crazy as it sounds, but Crover is optimistic.

“We haven’t done it before and we figured it’d be a really good publicity stunt,” Crover said with a laugh.

The band got into a bit of a tiff with American blues singer George Thorogood, who claims to already have played the entire country in 50 days in 1980. The Melvins have had no trouble calling him out for not completing the tour, especially when he’s not actually in the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Evidently, someone in his band caught wind that we were saying that and wanted an apology because they say they did it,” Crover said. “People talk a lot of trash these days. We don’t think they did, but we’ll have done one more [date] anyways.”

Crover said they’re use to not having a day off while on tour. Even the nights they don’t play are full of errands and work. Regardless, they are seasoned veterans who don’t mind life on the road.

“We’ve done longer tours than this –just never this many shows in a row,” Crover said. “I think our record for shows in a row is 32 and that was in Europe in the middle of winter.”

Crover joked that performance enhancing drugs were the key to making it through such an undertaking, but in all reality The Melvins are just motivated.

“I don’t know anybody else who would really want to do this,” he said.

The Melvins Lite, Crescent Ballroom, October 22, 7 p.m., $15 to $17

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