Buzz Osbourne: Nirvana Was Being Marketed Like Mötley Crüe

Vince Neil: BradP, CC BY-SA 3.0,, Wikimedia Commons / Buzz Osborne: Greg Younger, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons / Kurt Cobain: Mystik Spiral, YouTube (MTV)
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Buzz Osborne, the bassist and singer for the Montesano, Washington sludge metal band Melvins, says that Nirvana was “willing to do what it took” to sell millions of albums, which led them to be marketed like Mötley Crüe.

Among the various topics that came up in a recent interview with Revolver, Osborne reflected on his past relationship with the late Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana singer’s struggles with addiction, his involvement with the Melvins’ album Houdini, and more.

At one point during this conversation, Osborne comments how he was not one to go to a label and ask what it would take for the Melvins to become “big superstars.”

Alongside this point, the frontman is asked if Nirvana ever thought along those lines.

In response to this question, here is exactly what the Melvins singer has to say (as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar):

“They wanted to sell millions of records and were willing to do what it took to let that happen. The labels plugged them in the same way they sold bands before them, like Mötley Crüe. Their musical sensibilities were far different, and where [Nirvana’s] music was coming from was a completely different place than the hair metal bands prior to them. But how it was sold, it wasn’t a lot different.”

Osborne goes on to add:

“The whole Nirvana thing, it was not a happy time, with how it all ended and everything. So, it’s kind of taken away the idea that [there were a lot of happy memories]… When I hear their music, it’s difficult for me to have feelings that aren’t affected by that. [It’s a] personal tragedy, ends badly, and I’m not over it.”

In past conversations, Osborne has talked about the decision to fire Cobain during the recording of Houdini; Cobain was brought on to help produce the record. However, as Osborne has shared, “During the last part of him being there, he was a mess, drug-wise.”

Melvins’ Buzz Osborne interview with Revolver