The Melvins have a very die-hard fanbase of collectors, and in the last week or so, controversy has been brewing amongst fans over a resurfaced interview with frontman Buzz Osbourne doing an interview with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. McInnes, most famous for being a co-founder of Vice, was pushed out of the entity in 2008 and shortly after the Trump administration, he started a gang called the Proud Boys. McInnes became less and less discreet with his racism in recent years and while he claims to no longer associate with Proud Boys, he still very much holds these racist views.
First, what is the backlash about exactly? Osborne appeared on McInnes’ show in 2018, long after McInnes made his true feelings felt. Moreso, it seems the content of their discussion is what sparked some Melvins fans to be outraged. Osborne identified himself as a “classical liberal” and “reactionary libertarian” who is “pro-death penalty, pro-abortion.”
Among the controversial statements, Osborne asserted that Nazis are socialists (an idea that has been debunked many times)
“You know how many people don’t know that the word ‘Nazi’ has ‘socialist’ in it? ‘The National Socialist Party.’ [People say] ‘Well that’s a different kind of socialism.’ Well you don’t just get to change the rules… Nazis are socialists… ‘right-wing Nazis’ is an oxymoron.”
and here is the clip the facebook post describes: pic.twitter.com/YaHcAaiCt3
— Black Cats Black Flags (@thedahmerparty1) August 8, 2020
He also seemed to very “old man yell at cloud” over Hollywood’s diversity initiative:
“We just went and saw A Wrinkle in Time, which is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. And their main focus in that movie was that they were diverse. They were diverse in every single way from the crew down to the people [in the movie]… and what happened? The movie was crap, because what they forgot was there’s a reason why original Hollywood, [which] was all based in wanting to make money, hired people that knew what they were doing — because they would make good movies… I appreciate Hollywood when it was more cutthroat and only interested in profits, because the work was better. ‘Oh look, I get a really diverse movie.’ Who cares about that?”
MetalSucks also points out that Osborne later mentioned “diversity has never been proven to make anything better as far as art’s concerned,” and says he will not let critics “paint me with your collective guilt.”
Most surprisingly to this writer, is that Osborne seems relatively pro-George W. Bush, a guy responsible for arguably over one million deaths. Here was Osborne’s defense of Bush, Jr.
“Oh, you hated George Bush Jr., you hated his guts, you wanted him out of office, you’re freaking out you’re freaking out you’re freaking out. So what do we get? We get a do-nothing stiff for eight years. And then after that what do we get? Trump. Okay, so if you hate Trump, why don’t you apologize to the American people for being such an idiot when George Bush was president?”
As Melvins fans began digging, they also uncovered this Fox News interview, where Buzz discussed African American pro-Trump economist Thomas Sowell, who argues “economic disparities between women and minorities and white males are not the result of systematic discrimination.”
This has led to fan questions about previous releases from the band, including a 2011 box set which features a skull prominently used by the Nazi military. Also, there are questions about The Trilogy Vinyl — a compilation of their albums The Maggot, The Bootlicker, and The Crybaby — which featured antithetical logos on the A and B sizes of the album like a Jewish star of David and a swastika, a Black Panther logo and a KKK logo and a cross and a pentagram.
There are some other loose Nazi references which you can see over at MetalSucks. They reached out to Osborne who categorically denies he is in any way a Nazi, saying “I am English, Italian, and Jewish. What part of me would be Nazi? Where do you think the Jew ‘fro comes from? The idea that I would be involved with white supremacy is absurd.”
As for the skull on their 2011 box set “There’s no swastikas, there’s nothing like that on there, there’s nothing promoting [Nazism]. It’s just a skull. That’s it. If people wanna associate that with Nazism, every skull could be. I like skull imagery. I like all that stuff. It doesn’t scare me.
“And then the fact that I’m a Jew anyway, even if that was the angle we were going through, ironic and weird… that’s a part of our whole deal. We’re a band called the Melvins. [laughs] It’s like, C’MON, y’know? We’re not called Satanic Death. We’re the Melvins. That’s by design. We wanna make you think. We don’t sound like what our name sounds like. That’s on purpose.”
As for why he did the Gavin McInnes show, Osborne claims he did not do any research on the host prior, and the host presented himself as “some dude from Vice Magazine.” Osborne claims McInnes did not reveal he was no longer affiliated with the magazine, and that Osborne does tons of interviews every year and has no time to do background checks. Ultimately, he said had he known about McInnes’ viewpoints, he would’ve still done the interview:
With Gavin McInnes… I didn’t know any of that stuff when I went in, nothing. But let’s say I did know about it. Well, that would have given me something to talk to him about. There’s no reason to believe that I wouldn’t be an influence on him. When I’m talking to someone straight across… like right now, I’m influencing your opinion of what I did by talking to you about it. Because I went on that show doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It doesn’t mean anything. I didn’t know any of that stuff. Had I known it, I would have conducted myself differently during the interview, but I probably still would have done it. Because it’s like… my opinion needs to be heard on these sorts of things.
He also clarifies what his views are on hate groups like The Proud Boys, and also his feelings on Black Lives Matter:
I am not in support of any kind of extremist hate group in any way. Nothing. I have zero support for any of that stuff. I do not like that kinda stuff…. I don’t care what side you’re on — if you are involved in a group that promotes hatred or violence or looting or anything of that nature, I am against it.
In the current climate we’re in, I am against the police. I am also against looting and rioting. I don’t believe in that sort of thing. I think it’s a horrible thing to do. I think there’s other ways you can accomplish the same types of thing. If what you wanna do is go out and burn and loot and riot or terrorize someone, you’ve lost me.
Black Lives Matter and all those people had me with fucking over the cops. They lost me with the rioting and the looting and the terrible stuff that’s going on. I’m not into that at all. I think if you go out and destroy someone’s property or wreck a business, you’ve lost me. Whatever your purpose was, I don’t hear it — all I see is someone who’s just acting out in a way that I think is absolutely atrocious, and I have no interest in it. I don’t care if I agree them… I don’t like that sort of stuff. I could not be less in favor of that.
MetalSucks did a great job with their piece and there is far more too it. You can read more about it here.
What is your take on Buzz Osborne’s views here?
Metal Injection – THE MELVINS Buzz Osborne Responds To Backlash Over Resurfaced 2018 Interview with Proud Boys Founder
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August 14, 2020