King Buzzo is the stage name used by Buzz Osborne (born Roger Osborne), best known as the lead guitarist with the Melvins, long-running proponents of the louder side of the alternative rock scene whose embrace of heavy guitars, big riffs, and slower tempos made them one of the key precursors of grunge.
Osborne was born in the small Pacific Northwest town of Montesano, Washington on March 25, 1964, and he grew up on a diet of '70s arena rock, in particular Black Sabbath, Kiss, Aerosmith, and the Who. While attending Montesano High School, Osborne formed a band with two of his fellow students, bassist Matt Lukin and drummer Mike Dillard. The band became known as the Melvins, and specialized in hard rock covers until Osborne was introduced to hardcore punk, after which they turned their tempos up to high and took a more melodically challenging path. In time, the Melvins would slow back down, especially after drummer Dale Crover replaced Dillard, but they held on to their bent, minor-key melodies, creating a sound that fused punk with metal in an unprecedented way. Making their recording debut in 1986 with an EP for C/Z Records simply titled 6 Songs, the Melvins set out on a long and prolific run as one of America's most unstoppable alternative rock outfits, anticipating grunge and influencing their friends Nirvana. Throughout the Melvins' history, Osborne would go back and forth between the name Buzz Osborne and the nickname King Buzzo, and he used the latter handle for a pair of solo releases. In 1992, the three members of the Melvins each released solo EPs, modeled after the notorious Kiss solo albums of 1978; Osborne's EP, titled King Buzzo, featured four solo tracks, with Dave Grohl playing drums under the pseudonym Dale Nixon. And in 2014, King Buzzo dropped his first solo album, which was also his first acoustic project, an unplugged but heavy full-length titled This Machine Kills Artists. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi