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“Make it sound as much like a car accident as you can”: Buzz Osborne is Gibson’s latest Riff Lords guest

Gibson has knocked it out of the park with its latest Riff Lords instalment, inviting Buzz Osborne of the Melvins in to talk viewers through a small selection of his finest riffs.

The guitarist offers up some great insight into the key parts in Honey Bucket, Queen, Amazon, Evil New War God, The Bit and Billy Fish

Along the way he talks about his techniques and gear, including the three-volume switch on his Les Paul that enables him to quickly change between settings, his ‘duck quacks’ and ‘hiccups’, plus his fondness for all things atonal. 

“There are enough people out there playing it perfect and straight out of Guitar Player magazine,” observes Osborne, “that people shouldn’t expect me to do it…”

Along the way, he offers some typically Osborne-ian insight into his thinking. “I’m very much into not doing things that sound too pretty,” he clarifies amid the noise of Billy Fish. “Because, to me, too pretty is very corny – and I don’t want it to be corny.”

He also reveals that one of the band’s most enduringly popular songs, Honey Bucket, was written in 15 minutes – and its connection with a wider audience remains something of a mystery to him.

“I wrote this song really quickly. I remember when I wrote it I was in San Francisco, in my bedroom,” he says. “I came up with it and had the whole thing done in probably 15 minutes. I came up with the riff, had the lyrics, knew what I wanted to and I brought it to the band. Not long after, the whole thing was recorded. 

“I didn’t really think about it at the time, but for a band like us – who doesn’t have hit records – it was a fairly popular song. I’ve never been able to figure out why!”

You can watch the full video above, though we think the advice that will stick with us comes in his Queen tutorial: “Make it sound as much like a car accident as you can,” he tells viewers. “Let all the bad notes ring out...”

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.