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Melvins’ Buzz Osborne: Nirvana’s Biggest Hits Are Structurally the Same as Hair Metal’s Biggest Hits

The Melvins
Lucy Johnston, Getty Images

Nirvana and Melvins are almost attached at the hip when it comes to rock history. As one of Kurt Cobain‘s biggest influences, Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne has always been able to offer fascinating insight on Cobain and Nirvana as a whole. In a new interview, Osborne shares an interesting take on Nirvana, comparing the band’s songwriting to “a hair metal band’s biggest hits.”

While speaking with Songfacts, Osborne reinforced the importance of songwriting over technical skill. “I think songwriting is all that there is, really,” says Osborne. “There’s nothing else. If you’re not doing that, anything else is pointless, to me. I don’t particularly think that being a fantastic guitar player or a fantastic drummer is worth a s–t if you’re playing crap music. Who cares?”

To further illustrate his point, Osborne spoke about the rise of grunge, which famously took out the dominant “hair metal” genre in the early ’90s. “If you take a band like Nirvana, their biggest hits are structurally the same as even a hair metal band’s biggest hits,” Osborne explains. “The structure’s not different — the attitude was different. Except it really wasn’t. It seemed a little more human.”

Osborne continues, “If you look at a band like CCR, who had amazing songs, they came along at a perfect time. We were coming out of Woodstock, Hendrix, all that kind of stuff, then there they are. They brought it back to ‘songwriting is important,’ and I think that the world was ready for a band like that at that moment. And Nirvana, the world was ready for that kind of stuff.”

For the full interview with Buzz Osborne, head over to Songfacts.

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