IN HONOR OF LORI BLACK, THE ONLY FEMALE MELVIN
Grunge/Doom/Experimental/Whathaveyou outfit the Melvins have been around for over three decades, burning through a string of talented (but often short-lived) bassist along the way.
After original bassist Matt Lukin left the band in 1987 to play for Mudhoney, Buzz Osborne recruited former Clown Alley bassist Lori Black to take his place. Lori, or “Lorax” as she was nicknamed in the band, had a bit of a colorful history - she was the youngest daughter of classic child star Shirley Temple and had originally studied photography in college before turning her attention to music.
During her seven-year stint as Melvins’ bass player, she played on some of their most notable albums, including Ozma, Bullhead, Eggnog, and Houdini.This subsequently inspiring other women to play in bands themselves, including fellow doom musicians Chiyo nukaga of Noothgrush and Amber Valentine of Jucifer, who have cited Black as an influence.
Unfortunately, she also had an unstable romantic relationship with Osborne that was largely antagonized by her problems with heroin. Osborne has gone on record saying that Lori was “lazy”, suggesting she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep up with a constant demand for recording and touring.
Eventually Lori’s heroin addiction grew worse, leading to missed shows, hospitalizations, and failed rehab attempts. In February 1993, was arrested and charged with heroin possession, subsequently entering rehab again. This attempt was successful, although Osborne made the decision to both fire her from the Melvins and to terminate their relationship.
Lori gave up on music entirely after being fired from the Melvins and is reportedly working as a photographer in the San Francisco area, and she can occasionally be spotted in the crowd at some local shows.