The Melvins’ heavy and experimental style of music is a story thirty-two years in the making. Strongly associated with the San Francisco Bay Area as a long-time home for core members King Buzzo and Dale Crover, the band started in 1983 in Washington State. King Buzzo used the name of a fellow grocery store clerk as his high school band’s moniker, and what happens from there is an uncompromising story that continues to be told in The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale, made possible due to a successful Kickstarter that has reached its goal with time still left for funding.
The documentary brought together two first-time filmmakers, Bob Hannam and Ryan Sutherby, in 2014. Hannam, who has worked in the music industry managing merchandise for a wide range of bands, developed a friendship with The Melvins while on the road touring. Accompanying the band on a 2009 tour, he let film roll. Sutherby, who grew up in King Buzzo’s hometown, became a fan of The Melvins in 1992 and began filming the band’s live shows in 2005. The duo met through word of mouth and decided joining powers would yield the best result.
The Kickstarter reached its goal within 10 days of the target, but it is truly amazing and perplexing how few investors it took to reach the number. The small pool of contributors reflects the passion of the following, but still doesn’t match the size of the band’s influence or fan base. With footage covering over seven years of The Melvins live, backstage, in interviews, The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale shows a band that never strayed from their own vision and style. Their influence on pop culture, although largely unknown, is unquestionable: the Melvins’ influence on Nirvana and countless other bands, including peers in Soundgarden, Helmet, The Jesus Lizard, and Mudhoney, has made an impact on the heavy sounds we hear today. Many of these influential artists add commentary and perspective to the film:
Filmmaker Bob Hannam sees inspiration in the documentary for other bands:
My inspiration for making the film was really just wanting to get the story of the band out into the wider world because i feel not enough people are aware of who they are and how influential their music has been. And through getting to know Buzz and Dale more and more as people it built up my motivation to make it happen, because it is such a great story of sticking to your guns and not adhering to anyone else rules. And they are truly unique in that after over 30 years of putting out music they have never sucked. How many other bands can you say that about?
With almost 90% of the footage complete, Hannam still has over 60 VHS tapes of fan footage (and more supplied) by Dale Crover to review and incorporate.