Melvins Feat. Teri Gender Bender "Rebel Girl" (July 7, 2015)
Let's get this out of the way: the Melvins are my favorite band in the world. And when developing this "Almost Live" idea, the Melvins were my first choice to lead the series.
Nearly all my interactions with the Melvins happen via text message with Dale Crover, a man whose talent and artistry genuinely terrify me. But every once in a while I work up the courage to text Dale an idea for a release… and that's how this project began.
After a few pestering texts asking the Melvins to take part in our new Almost Live series, and a few generally positive but non-committal responses, Dale came up with an idea. On June 29 he sent a text that read: "What we want to do is a Bikini Kill song with Teri Gender Bender singing. How's that sound?"
My response: "Sounds Perfect."
One week later the Melvins were pulling up to our office prior to their soundcheck. The band arrived during one of the worst mid-day thunderstorms in recent memory, so Buzz, Dale, Pinkus, Teri, Brian and myself all crammed into our tiny freight elevator and headed up to the JNR Headquarters.
When Buzz first walked into our space he sized it up immediately, stating definitively "We can make this work… We've played smaller venues than this." A few cracks from Pinkus later, the band was set up and ready to roll.
But our very first attempt at this Almost Live idea was not without its problems. We couldn't identify or control the loud, screeching feedback coming through Dale's headphones, plus our record lathe had broken the day before… In general, we did not have our shit together. But even through all that mess, the Melvins were very understanding and absurdly professional. They knocked out this song in about 3 takes, without the convenience of a headphone mix. No overdubs. No fixes necessary.
Looking back, this session just seems surreal. It's an honor to have documented this unique moment in time for the Melvins. And it's an honor to include this very special release within the catalog of the self proclaimed "greatest band in the history of music".
- Karl Hofstetter