Early years (1983–1987)
The Melvins were formed in early 1983 by Buzz Osborne (guitar, vocals),
Matt Lukin (bass) and
Mike Dillard (drums) who all went to Montesano Jr./Sr. High School in Montesano, Washington. In the beginning they played
Jimi Hendrix covers,
 and also began playing fast
 When Dillard left the band, Dale Crover took his place, and the band's rehearsals moved to a back room of Crover's parents' house in
Aberdeen, Washington. Soon afterward, they started to play songs slower and "heavier" than nearly anyone else at the time.
C/Z Records was created to document the
Washington music scene, the label released
Deep Six, featuring four songs by the Melvins. In 1986 the band released their debut, the
Six Songs EP, on
C/Z Records (later releases expanded and retitled this as 8 Songs, 10 Songs, and eventually 26 Songs in 2003 on
Ipecac Recordings). The album was recorded live to a two track at the now closed Ironwood Studio in
Seattle on February 8, 1986.
In December 1986, they recorded their first full-length album,
Gluey Porch Treatments, at Studio D in
Sausalito, California. The album was released in 1987 on
Alchemy Records. Gluey Porch Treatments was later coupled with their second album Ozma for the
Boner Records CD release. It was expanded again for the 1999 re-release on
Ipecac Recordings with some garage demos.
Boner Records era (1988–1992)
Crover played drums with
Nirvana when they recorded a ten-song demo on January 23, 1988 in Seattle, which later formed part of their debut LP
Bleach, and played a live show in
Tacoma later that year. Osborne would later introduce
Kurt Cobain and
Krist Novoselic to
 Later that year Osborne and Crover relocated to
San Francisco, California. Lukin stayed and formed the band
Lori "Lorax" Black (daughter of
Shirley Temple) replaced Lukin on bass. The band recorded
Ozma in May 1989, and released it later that year. The album was produced by
Mark Deutrom, who later joined the band on bass.
In 1990, the band recorded
Bullhead, which marked a slower, more
drone music style for the band. The band then toured Europe; their show of January 23, 1991 in
Alzey, Germany was released by
Your Choice Records as
Your Choice Live Series Vol.12. When they returned to the U.S., they recorded the
Eggnog EP, which was released the same year on
Lorax left the band, and was replaced by
Joe Preston. Preston appears on the
Salad of a Thousand Delights (1992, Box Dog Video). The Melvins then released three "solo" EPs,
 following the concept and imitating the cover artwork inspired by the four
Kiss members' solo albums released in 1978.
Dale Crover, and
Joe Preston were all released in 1992 on
Boner Records. Later in 1992, they released the full-length album,
Lysol, which had to be renamed Melvins because
Lysol was a trademarked name. Preston departed from the band, and Lorax briefly rejoined.
Atlantic Records era (1993–1997)
Nevermind became a massive and unexpected success, the Melvins were one of many groups to benefit from Nirvana's support. They were signed by
Atlantic Records, and their first major label release, 1993's
Houdini, entered the Billboard
Heatseekers chart at 29. Mark Deutrom replaced Lorax on bass shortly after the album's release, as she was facing trial for drug possession and was struggling with heroin addiction.
Gene Simmons of
Kiss played bass with the Melvins in 1993 in a concert with
Primus, on the song "
Goin' Blind", a Kiss song that the Melvins had covered on Houdini.
The Melvins released their second album for Atlantic in 1994,
Stoner Witch. Due to its experimental nature, the Melvins took their next album,
Amphetamine Reptile Records. Record label conflicts prevented the band from releasing any records under the name "Melvins", so the album was released with the band name
written in mirror. They returned to Atlantic one last time for 1996's
Stag, which entered the Heatseekers chart at number 33. The band was dropped by
Atlantic Records in 1997 after three albums.
Switching labels and continued experimentation (1997–2004)
The band signed with Amphetamine Reptile Records and released their next full-length album,
Honky, in 1997. They recorded an August 1997 concert in Richmond,
Melbourne, Australia as
Alive at the F*ckerclub in 1998. The same year, the Melvins opened for
Tool. (A humorous picture on the Tool website depicts the Melvins along with the words "Melvins say...Tool Sux!" spelled out in
 The photo was taken while on tour with Tool in 2002 in Australia.) In 1998, the Melvins played the second stage at
1999 saw the beginning of a partnership with
Ipecac Recordings, which began remastering and reissuing much of the band's back catalog. The band also released three full-length albums dubbed (and later packaged together as) The Trilogy:
The Bootlicker, and
The Crybaby. The latter featured a number of guest vocalists and musicians.
Kevin Rutmanis, formerly of
The Cows, was bassist during this era.
In 2001, the band returned to their experimental tendencies for
Colossus of Destiny, a live set of synthesizer and sampler experiments presented as two tracks (one clocking in at 59:23 and the other at five seconds). The album was described approvingly by one critic as "more like
electro-acoustic than anything else."
Atlantic Records (UK) released
Melvinmania: The Best of the Atlantic Years 1993–1996, a compilation of recycled tracks from the band's three major label releases. This release was unsanctioned by the band who had no input into the track selection or (occasionally inaccurate) liner notes.
In 2004, Osborne and Crover toured to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, and also released an art book
Neither Here Nor There. The book is a collection of art by creators of their cover art as well as friends of the band, and also contained retrospectives on the past twenty years of the Melvins. The book included a CD with selected tracks from their albums.
Later period and collaboration albums (2004–2010)
In 2004, the Melvins collaborated with ambient artist
Pigs of the Roman Empire and with
Dead Kennedys singer
Jello Biafra for
Never Breathe What You Can't See and
Sieg Howdy! released in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Never Breathe What You Can't See was supported by a mini-tour with
Jello Biafra and
Adam Jones from
Tool. A planned European tour was canceled in early October 2004 reportedly due to unknown complications involving Rutmanis. Following the tour cancellation, the Melvins finished the year playing a few shows with
David Scott Stone supporting the work of filmmaker Cameron Jamie in Europe and the United States.
When asked about Rutmanis and the canceled portion of the tour Osborne and Crover stated that Rutmanis had "disappeared". Fans feared that Rutmanis had departed like so many bassists before him; however, Rutmanis returned temporarily in early 2005. In June 2005, Rutmanis officially left the band with drug abuse rumored as the major cause. When the Melvins toured with Jello Biafra in October and November 2005,
David Scott Stone filled in on bass. However, in more recent years, Rutmanis has reconciled with his former bandmates, appearing on their 2013 album,
Everybody Loves Sausages and a 2014 7" single.
In early 2006, Crover confirmed rumors of the members of the band
Big Business joining the Melvins. Commenting on adding another drummer, Crover said this about Big Business drummer
Coady Willis: "He's left-handed, so we want to do this 'mirror image' type of thing. We've kind of fused our two drum sets together, and we're going to try and do some crazy thing with it. We're sharing these big toms in between us."
The band toured the U.S. in the fall of 2006 in support of their album,
(A) Senile Animal.
 The Melvins also toured briefly the United Kingdom in mid-December 2006. Two new songs entitled "Suicide in Progress" and "Billy Fish" were played during the 2007 tour, and appear on their next album
Nude With Boots.
On June 16 and 17, 2008, a lineup of Osborne, original drummer Mike Dillard, and Dale Crover (playing bass) played two shows at the
Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in honor of
Jello Biafra's 50th birthday. Both sets were composed of songs from The Mangled Demos, a collection of early material released on the
Alternative Tentacles record label in 2005.
In July 2008, their new album entitled
Nude with Boots was released. In December 2008, along with
Mike Patton, the Melvins co-curated an edition of the
All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas festival. They chose half of the lineup and also performed themselves.
The long rumored (since 2003) remix CD
Chicken Switch was released on September 29, 2009 via
Ipecac Recordings. Unlike usual remix CDs where the remixer is given a single track to work with, for Chicken Switch each remixer was given a full album to work with and pull from to create their track. The Melvins joined with New Orleans' super group
Weedeater for a North American tour in the summer and fall of 2009. The Melvins released their follow up to Nude with Boots, entitled
The Bride Screamed Murder, on June 1, 2010.
Melvins Lite, reunion with Mike Dillard and more albums (2011–present)
The Melvins started 2011 with a series of unique shows. Four of the shows were every Friday at
Spaceland's in California. January 7 featured the current line-up playing
Colossus of Destiny,
Eggnog. Jan 14 featured a Melvins 1983 set followed by the band playing
Houdini. Jan 21 featured a two-piece Melvins set followed by the current lineup playing
Bullhead. Jan 28 featured the band playing a normal set followed by
In early 2011 they had the unfortunate distinction of being on tour first in
Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of the February
2011 Christchurch earthquake then in
Tokyo, Japan at the time of the
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
 They supported
Slayer at the
All Tomorrow's Parties 'I'll Be Your Mirror' festival at
Alexandra Palace, London in May 2012.
 The Melvins also formed a lineup called Melvins Lite (Buzz, Dale, and
Trevor Dunn) that toured through parts of 2011. This line-up released an album entitled
Freak Puke on June 15, 2012 on Ipecac Recordings. The main four-piece lineup remains active as well and released a digital EP,
The Bulls and the Bees, in March on Scion a/v.
In 2012, the Melvins Lite completed a record-breaking
 tour, having performed every night for 51 straight days, once in each of the 50 United States and once in the
District of Columbia. The tour started on September 5 in
Anchorage, Alaska and ended in
Honolulu, Hawaii on October 25, 2012.
Everybody Loves Sausages, an album of
cover songs performed with special guests, was released by Ipecac on April 30, 2013.
In 2013, the Melvins marked 30 years as a band with an extensive summer tour supported by
Die Kreuzen and
Negative Approach. Grunge pioneers
Mudhoney also joined the band for two shows on the 30th anniversary tour.
The Melvins were featured on the 2013, Joyful Noise Recordings flexi-series.
 On August 5, 2013, the Melvins announced a new album,
Tres Cabrones, featuring their "Melvins 1983" lineup with Osborne and Crover joined by the band's original drummer, Mike Dillard. Crover replaced Dillard in 1984 and plays bass on the album. Tres Cabrones was released on November 5, 2013 on the band's longtime label Ipecac.
On July 31, 2014, the band announced the album,
Hold It In, with a release date of October 14, 2014. The lineup for this album was Osborne and Crover joined by
Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus of the
 Pinkus had joined the band the previous year as a touring bassist, filling in for current member Jared Warren.
On September 10, 2015, the band announced they would finally be releasing their collaboration with
Three Men and a Baby, on April 1, 2016 through
Sub Pop. The album, started in 1999 and shelved, was recently finished. Another album,
Basses Loaded, was released on June 3, 2016,
 which features a rotating cast of bass players including regulars Dale Crover, Jared Warren, Jeff Pinkus and Trevor Dunn as well as Steven McDonald (of
Redd Kross), and
Krist Novoselic (of
On December 19, 2016, the Melvins announced on their Facebook page that they were in the studio recording new material.
On July 7, 2017, the band released the double album
A Walk with Love & Death. One of the discs, Love, is a 14 song soundtrack to a short film of the same name, by Jesse Nieminen. The other disc, Death, is made up of standard Melvins songs.
On February 12, 2018, it was announced that the band will release a new album entitled
Pinkus Abortion Technician on April 20.
 The album will feature dual bassists, Melvins' regular bass player
Steven McDonald as well as
Jeff Pinkus. The title of the album is an obvious nod towards the Butthole Surfers album
Locust Abortion Technician, and the album features a cover of the Butthole Surfers tune Graveyard, which can be found on the aforementioned disc.