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I remembered a bit back in the day about The Melvins using rolled up carpet for tones, but after googling, it turns out it was for vocals, not guitar tone.


Still, an interesting trick nonetheless...

http://mixonline.com/mag/audio_retro_destructo/

 

Hah, wow! That's insane!

 

Joe Barresi has worked with Hole, Fastball, Fu Manchu and many other bands. He's known for his experimental style, but it's his work with The Melvins that most likely qualifies as radical. "The craziest thing I've ever done was probably on The Melvins' Stonerwitch record when we were working at A&M," he laughs. "We put an open-back combo amp inside about a ten-foot length of rolled up carpet to get the singer the 'disturbed and stereo' sound he and producer Garth Richardson wanted for his vocal. The vocal was recorded on tape already; we took a line out of the patchbay to a compressor, probably a dbx 160, to knock it down in level. Then we fed it to a Morley rotating wah-wah pedal and back through the amp. We used a Lab series combo amp that was open-backed so we'd get sound coming out both the front and rear of it. We placed the amp, with cables and cords attached, into the center of the carpet, rolled the carpet up to about the diameter of a kick drum, then put a kick drum on either side of it, facing in-it was like you were extending each kick drum. We put a PZM on the outer head of each drum, and then recorded the vocal in stereo, resonating off the bass drum heads."


That's a lot of work for a sound! I wondered how Barresi came up with this chain of events, and why? "Just because The Melvins are The Melvins," he answers. "They'll say, 'Make me sound like I'm singing underwater' or 'Destroy my vocal!' and I have to think of new things to do. I'd had the vocalist sing into a snare drum before and he'd liked the results-we'd taken one head off and put a contact mic on the other side and he held it up to his mouth while singing. So I guess I was thinking about tubes and resonance when we used the carpet.


"It's always something," Barresi adds. "I've mixed complete songs for them both forwards and backwards. On a Studer 827 you can play the tape backwards-start at the end, put it in reverse and mix the song backwards. Parts of those mixes have ended up on records. And we once recorded two songs across 24 tracks, then mixed one in the left speaker and one in the right, so they both played at the same time. One was speed metal and the other was sort of a ballad-they put that out as a single!"

 

I'm actually not too fond of Buzzo's tone on the last two records. The last one of theirs that really moved me was "The Maggot". They release so much stuff that I guess it gets hard to be inventive; that being said, i'm finding it more and more difficult to be interested to buy the releases. I know that i'm in the minority in saying that the last two releases with Big Business are underwhelming, but this is my vibe from it--Jared's a big Melvins fan and obviously has been since the Karp days, and something tells me he's not one to question what goes on in Melvins world, because he's essentially a hired gun, a backup player (as any Tight Bros fan--and I am one--would tell you, Jared is an INSANE frontman and has a great voice, here he is obviously relegated to backing vocals and bass)

 

However, the Melvins, too, seem to be held back by this--they're still glad to have the best rhythm section that they've ever had, and I think that BOTH parties are playing it safe. I don't hear the wild experimentation of "Stoner Witch" or "Stag", and the rockers aren't kicking my ass like the best stuff off of "Stoner Witch" or "Houdini" or "The Maggot" does/ did.

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Hah, wow! That's insane!




I'm actually not too fond of Buzzo's tone on the last two records. The last one of theirs that really moved me was "The Maggot". They release so much stuff that I guess it gets hard to be inventive; that being said, i'm finding it more and more difficult to be interested to buy the releases. I know that i'm in the minority in saying that the last two releases with Big Business are underwhelming, but this is my vibe from it--Jared's a big Melvins fan and obviously has been since the Karp days, and something tells me he's not one to question what goes on in Melvins world, because he's essentially a hired gun, a backup player (as any Tight Bros fan--and I am one--would tell you, Jared is an INSANE frontman and has a great voice, here he is obviously relegated to backing vocals and bass)


However, the Melvins, too, seem to be held back by this--they're still glad to have the best rhythm section that they've ever had, and I think that BOTH parties are playing it safe. I don't hear the wild experimentation of "Stoner Witch" or "Stag", and the rockers aren't kicking my ass like the best stuff off of "Stoner Witch" or "Houdini" or "The Maggot" does/ did.

 

I will agree with most of that... although I really like the older stuff too.

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Hah, wow! That's insane!




I'm actually not too fond of Buzzo's tone on the last two records. The last one of theirs that really moved me was "The Maggot". They release so much stuff that I guess it gets hard to be inventive; that being said, i'm finding it more and more difficult to be interested to buy the releases. I know that i'm in the minority in saying that the last two releases with Big Business are underwhelming, but this is my vibe from it--Jared's a big Melvins fan and obviously has been since the Karp days, and something tells me he's not one to question what goes on in Melvins world, because he's essentially a hired gun, a backup player (as any Tight Bros fan--and I am one--would tell you, Jared is an INSANE frontman and has a great voice, here he is obviously relegated to backing vocals and bass)


However, the Melvins, too, seem to be held back by this--they're still glad to have the best rhythm section that they've ever had, and I think that BOTH parties are playing it safe. I don't hear the wild experimentation of "Stoner Witch" or "Stag", and the rockers aren't kicking my ass like the best stuff off of "Stoner Witch" or "Houdini" or "The Maggot" does/ did.

 

Feelin' ya on this one.

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Feelin' ya on this one.

 

Cool.....every time I go to StonerRock, I get the impression that they get an automatic pass because they're the Melvins, and that they're slightly apologetic about it ("....but it has Big Business on it!" and "...A Senile Animal is their most straightforward rock album since 'Houdini'", overlooking the fact that the rewrite of "Night Goat" isn't a particularly inspired version). If they're doing "Houdini" and "Stoner Witch" in their entirety, something tells me that they know, as well, deep down, that maybe they should be riding the nostalgia circuit and not even bothering with new albums. They're at that point where I don't want to not buy the albums, but it's like, it's becoming more of a chore to actually plunk down the money or spend the time on it.

 

I want to agree with those people in principle, but my core gut feeling as a huge Melvins fan that got into them from 1993 is that they released the last of their best stuff a decade ago. Of course, i've run into earlier Melvins fans that said that they peaked with albums like "Boris", but i've found that alot of Melvins fans have this completist mentality that supercedes the examination of the actual quality of the releases. Like "Prick", for example. :) There is no way in hell that I will ever need to listen to that twice.

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