Crystal Fairy is your new favorite supergroup. Featuring Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover (The Melvins), Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At the Drive-In) and Teri Gender Blender (Le Butcherettes), Crystal Fairy pumps out vaguely-psychedelic sludge rock. Their first record, also bearing the name Crystal Fairy, is due for release in late February. Osborne got us up to speed on the new band and album, which you can read about below.
How did you get everybody together?
It’s not easy. We had toured the Melvins — the drummer is the drummer from the Melvins, Dale. So that was easy. I play with him all the time, so I just had to ask him. We had toured with Teri, the singer, her band Le Butcherettes who prior to touring with them, I had seen and thought they were really good, one of the better bands I’d seen in a long time. So I was very keen on touring with them as an opening band, having them come out and open with the Melvins, so we did two tours with them that were really great. Towards the end of the first tour, she came onstage with us and we’d sing one of our songs, she’d come and help out out. Partway through the next tour, we thought “We should do a song with Teri, that’d be great.” Maybe a cover song, and I asked her what song she wanted to do. She said wanted to do a Bikini Kill song.
As the tour went on, I realized me and Dale should do some music with her. It would be great, you know? Omar... he was on the tour, part of the time, so we were like “We should just ask both of them.” So we did and we got together with Terry and we did four of the songs in two days, we wrote and recorded them. The first thing we ever did was the song on there called “Bent Teeth.” We spent approximately two hours from the time it was conceived to when we were recording it.
What’s different about this [versus other members' previous projects], and what’s it like writing music with them? Did everything just flow out like that?
Yeah, pretty much. It was not all done at once but generally I have to struggle for things more than I had to for this. It came together really quickly; we bashed out songs fast and Terri was really good at adapting her vocals to what we were doing. I knew she could, and I knew she had never done anything quite like this. I wrote some of the music, she wrote some of the music, we wrote some of the stuff with Omar. Came together quickly and came out great. It’s been really fun for me to work with a different singer since I’m primarily the main singer in the Melvins.
Is this going to be a regular thing now or is this kind of a one-off album?
I don’t know. The fact that it came together and it’s gonna come together at all is something I’m very excited with. I don’t have any preconceived idea, this one isn’t even out. I’m gonna continue to do what I’m doing and I’m gonna give this as good a shot as I can.
If you had to describe the recording process, do you have one memory that sticks out the most?
The last night we recorded, Terri was putting vocals on a song called “Secret Agent Rat” and I had been thinking — because she speaks English and Spanish fluently — I had this idea in my head for a while that “Oh, she should sing one of these songs in Spanish. That’d be cool,” and I realized this was the last song and I was gonna tell her “Maybe you should try this in Spanish. It might be cool.”
So I’m sitting there and we run the song, it was just me and her there in the studio with the engineer and she starts singing in Spanish. I couldn’t believe it. It was the fucking weirdest thing, totally weird.
That was pretty strange. It was one of the thing that almost gives you the creeps.
Is there any theme to the lyrics you tried to follow?
Terri wrote all the lyrics and I didn’t question her on it. I really do believe in artistic freedom as far as that’s concerned and you take somebody like her, you let them do the job and you’ll get a better result.
If you had to show someone who had never heard Crystal Fairy one song off the record, do you have one in mind?
It’s hard to say. A lot of it’s pretty varied. I couldn’t pick, I’d say “Crystal Fairy,” that song.
Do you have anything else you want to add?
It’s nice for me to be surrounded by people who are such good musicians and talented people, I really like that and as a music fan and as a musician, it’s really extraordinary for me. I love that. With The Melvins, I’ve always prided myself on surrounding myself with talented people, so I’m used to that. That’s cool but this is a little different but equally as exciting and important.
Crystal Fairy hits the streets on February 24 through Ipecac Records. Preorders are available now.