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Off the Record

Sludge Rock Originators The Melvins Storm the Billboard Charts

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Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 10:45 AM

click to enlarge melvinspromo.jpg
After nearly 26 years of spreading their sludge-filled stoner rock, the Melvins have landed a spot on Billboard's Top 200 chart Wednesday.

Finally, the L.A. based cult icon for grunge aficionados and fans of left-field heavy rock have become a become a commercial success! Right? Not quite. According to Reuters (somewhere writer Dean Goodman is wearing a Melvins shirt under his shirt and tie at some stuffy bureau), the band only charted due to the record industry changing the standards for what constitutes a "Top" record. Goodman explains why the Melvins newest album landed on "top." "It achieved this feat by selling just 2,809 copies of "The Bride Screamed Murder," its 19th album. With another 2,000 units, they would have breached the top half of the chart. Exactly five years ago, the threshold for inclusion in the Top 200 was about 5,000 copies. Since then, U.S. album sales have halved, and the industry last month suffered its slowest week since the early 1970s, according to a Billboard estimate."

Goodman apparently sent the Melvins' Buzz Osbourne an email, which, I like to imagine said only the following, "Top 200 what?" Obviously the Melvins haven't cared about their record sales too much. After releasing 19 albums, exhausting five bass players, and taking an important place in rock history as Kurt Cobain's compatriots (drummer Dale Crover played for Nirvana), Billboard charts seem to be the least of their concerns.

Billboard rank or not, the Melvins still rule. Stop by Silver Lake's Cha Cha sometime to say congrats to Crover. He's the blond grungey dude spinning records.

Want to read what Kurt Cobain wrote about the Melvins in his journal in 1983? Want to watch a public access video of the band in 1984?:

I remember hanging out at Montesano, Washington's Thriftway when this short haired box-boy who kind of looked like the guy [the Melvins' Buzz Osbourne] in Air Supply handed me a flyer that read: 'the Them festival Tomorrow night in the parking lot behing Thriftway. Free, live rock music. I showed up with stoner friends in a can... They played faster than I had ever imagined music could be played and with more energy than my Iron Maiden records could provide. This is what I had been looking for. Ah, punk rock.

-From Nirvana, the Biography, by Everett True

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