It’s become this rather unfunny running joke that The Melvins run through bassists like Kleenex—but, apart from cheap yuks, it’s worthwhile to actually take some time to look at the artistry of deposed but certainly not disposable players like Joe Preston, Lori Black, and Kevin Rutmanis. It would be absurd to diminish the fruitful, decades-long partnership between Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, but at least to some extent it feels similarly disingenuous to discount the work of their former bandmates in the rhythm section.
If his work both before and after the Melvins is any indication, Mark Deutrom deserves a lot more credit than relegated to being some discographical footnote in the career of arguably the greatest hard rock band of all time. Though he considers himself first and foremost a guitarist, he played bass in the group during a pivotal period in the 1990s. Chances are if you’ve heard any Melvins song at all, you likely heard “Revolve” off 1994’s Stoner Witch, the second of three albums released via Atlantic Records.
“There were more people in my life at bigger shows when I played bass,” Deutrom explains to me over the phone. “I admire many bass players, but it was kind of like going through that experience with an army blanket thrown over you.”