Interview with Crystal Fairy guitarist Buzz Osborne | By Christopher J. Harrington
Cruising through the Hollywood Hills on a recent Thursday morning, the legendary riff master and frontman of the experimental sludge titans the Melvins, Buzz Osborne, is particularly engaged and psyched. He’s talking about his new band, Crystal Fairy, a behemoth supergroup of sorts, composed of Osborne, his Melvins bandmate Dale Crover, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of Mars Volta fame, and Teri Gender Bender, the righteous frontwoman of garage-punk outfit Le Butcherettes. Crystal Fairy’s debut self-titled album hits the streets Feb. 24 on Ipecac Recordings.
“We didn’t struggle with the record at all,” Osborne notes. “I’m used to struggling a lot more with songs I’m working on, but not with this album. I think it’s a great record, one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of. It was a really different experience for me. I’ve been the singer in a band for 30-plus years, so playing behind Teri has been amazing. She’s such an energetic force.”
The band’s debut record is a force of dichotomous joy. It deftly applies every member’s personal form, wondrously mixing each particular style with bold absolution. Burly and thick Melvins-like riffs coalesce around gritty Le Butcherettes-ish rock ‘n’ roll, while a sneaky and progressive Mars Volta-inspired dexterity dances through each song. But the band are much more than the sum of their parts: they offer an original and honest take. Crystal Fairy bend and whip, sunken and strong, a group rolling in the sun with confidence.
For Osborne, he seems to be growing bolder with each passing year. “I’ve never quit,” he says emphatically. “I don’t understand what a weekend is, you know? I love doing what I do. I’m a songwriter, and that’s exactly what I do. If you think you’re going to be successful working 40-hour weeks, or when someone tells you when you can and can’t work, that’s impossible—it’s a straight ticket to mediocrity. I pride myself in always playing with really great musicians, and this band is full of them.”
Crystal Fairy are a deep horizon: the more exposure to them, the stronger their grasp. Supergroups aren’t supposed to work out this well, be this natural, or command such realness. Lucky for us, these guys do.