Melvins have released a cover of Spoonman by fellow Seattle grunge legends Soundgarden, complete with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron.
The condensed version of the track finds Buzz Osbourne tearing through some of the greatest drop-D riffs of the grunge era, and delivering a double-tracked solo that’s more composed than Kim Thayil’s original, but no less psychedelic.
Besides Osborne and Cameron, the song also features longtime Melvins drummer Dale Crover, as well as Steven McDonald on bass, while Toshi Kasai recorded the session.
And if the cover sounds familiar, it’s because Melvins previously performed the tune live at 2019’s Chris Cornell tribute concert, I Am the Highway.
The track appears on Melvins’ new Lord of the Flies EP, which also features a madcap cover of Led Zeppelin’s Misty Mountain Hop, rechristened Misty Mountain Urge.
Of course, both bands share a lot of history, not least Osborne being the first guitarist to share the secrets of drop-D tuning with Thayil. And while Chris Cornell wrote Spoonman, the cover represents something of a full circle moment for the two groups.
"We were just sitting around listening to records, and Buzz was telling us about Black Sabbath," Thayil recalled to Guitar World.
"He said, 'Hey, you know on this song Tony Iommi uses this tuning where he tunes his E string down to D.' And we were all like, 'Really?' All I knew of altered tunings back then was slide guitar tunings, like what the country guys used. And I knew Sonic Youth was experimenting with a lot of tunings. I was not aware of the Melvins using drop D, but I’m sure they were.
"So I went and started playing around with that. And I wrote the song Nothing to Say, and Chris wrote Beyond the Wheel, and we became married to that tuning."
The Lord of the Flies EP is available now via Shoxop.