Dale Crover: 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Melvins drummer Dale Crover had a busy summer. Not only did he put out his first solo album, Fickle Finger of Fate, in August, but the Melvins also released a new record titled A Walk with Love & Death in July. Crover has also been playing with Redd Kross and Fantômas, if two new albums wasn’t enough Dale for you.
Between all that, Crover took a little time to tell us about some records that changed his life.
The Monkees, The Monkees
I probably had that record pretty early on. It was a hand-me-down from my older brothers, and I think that was my first introduction to rock & roll. As a kid, you don’t really know that the Monkees are kind of this made-up TV band and the Beatles are the real deal, but even now it’s a really good record. The songwriting is really good on that. As a young kid I was really into it.
The second record that was a big influence on me, as far as drumming goes, was the first KISS live record. [I first saw them in] 1976 on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. I was the right age for KISS. That TV show was my generation’s Beatles’ Ed Sullivan appearance.
I remember being nine years old and seeing this and being like, ‘What is this? What are these guys?’ Kind of being shocked but at the same time intrigued by the whole thing.
It was right around the time that I decided I wanted to play drums. My friends and I would dress up as KISS and play that record and have KISS concerts in my bedroom and charge my parents’ money to come and watch.
From that point on, I was stuck on KISS for a couple of years. I bought all their records, I had all their posters on my wall, I wouldn’t listen to anything but KISS. My brothers kind of got sick of it, so they gave me other records.
Judas Priest, Unleashed in the East
I had this friend who was a bit older than me, and he played guitar. I ended up playing in his band. He put me on to this record and it was like nothing I had heard before. That one is absolutely a continuation of KISS to me — and my drumming, because that’s the kind of drumming I like and the drummer on that record, Les Binks, was a great drummer.
There are plenty of other drummers that really like that stuff a lot, too. But that record is definitely where I get any or all of my heavy metal-influenced drumming from.
We drive around on tour, and we at least listen to that record once — if not more. When I joined the [the Melvins], they were a punk rock band, but they really loved heavy metal because it was also rebellious, and the drumming was really good. Heavy metal drummers are always pretty good drummers. When I joined the band, they liked that I had that influence.
The Stooges, Fun House
I don’t know what it is about it. It’s really primal and dumbed-down in a way. Some of their songs are somewhat simple but primal and aggressive. It’s funny that that was such a big one, especially for the band. Such a big influence. I later read this interview with Iggy Pop that said when the Stooges first started, they sort of sounded like what the Melvins eventually sounded like.
Eventually, the Stooges reformed after not playing a show for 30 years at one of the Coachella festivals, and I was there. I find that to be the best show I have ever seen. Whatever image they had in their head from that record, they somehow still had after not being together in 30 years. I felt really bad for any band that had to follow them because they just destroyed the place.
[I met Iggy] quite a while ago in New York at CMJ. I was talking to Mark [Arm] from Mudhoney, and he goes, ‘Hey, have you met Iggy before?’ Iggy comes walking up to us and stands next to us. And Mark was like, ‘Oh, he’s in the Melvins.’ And Iggy was like, ‘Cool, I’m coming to see you guys tomorrow night.’ So that was a big thrill.
When we first started touring, all we had were cassettes to listen to. So we had to figure out what we wanted to listen to for the next couple of months and either make cassettes or pick ones we already made. One of those tapes was actually by Red Cross. They had this [covers] record called Teen Babes from Monsanto. The first song on that record was actually a KISS song, so obviously that made me take notice, being a KISS fan.
Public Image Ltd, Flowers of Romance
It’s a strange record from those guys because their previous record was more song-oriented. This one was mostly just drums and vocals. There are these crazy drum beats on it and loops. It’s such a really strange record. That record has been super influential on Melvins stuff and on my drumming. On [my] solo record, I definitely did some things like that. Like half the record is these weird little drum loops. It’s a drummer’s record; it’s pretty cool.
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