The Melvins formed in Aberdeen/Montesano, WA in 1983 the founding members were Buzz, Mike Dillard (drums), and ex-Mudhoney bassist Matt Lukin. Buzz, Mike, and Matt all went to high school in Montesano. The name Melvins came from a grocery clerk at the Thriftway in Montesano where King Buzzo served as clerk and vandal. Melvin was the most hated fellow employee and they felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name.
When Mike couldn't cut it, as rumor has it because the songs were getting too mathematically complex, Dale was recruited out of the Iron Maiden cover band he played in at the age of 15. Matt was replaced by Lori Black (Lorax) (Shirley Temple's daughter) when they left Aberdeen for San Francisco.
The Melvins have had quite a few bass player changes during their tenure. Check out the Melvins Bassist Morgue to learn more. The Melvins live in Hollywood, CA right now.
The Melvins Discography is an exhaustive resource of their many releases. They were on a major label Atlantic Records for three albums, although most would agree they're not the type of band that would appeal to a major label. They are often quoted as knowing this while they were on the label and just took advantage of the drunken blitz the record companies were on in signing any band connected to a supposed Seattle "grunge" sound. Melvins have also released music on Ipecac Recordings, Boner Records, Alchemy Records, Amphetamine Reptile Records, Alternative Tentacles Records, and numerous others in the manner of 7"s and whatnot.
Buzz has a side project called Fantômas with Mike Patton (Faith No More/Mr. Bungle) who is also owner of Ipecac Recordings the label the melvins are currently releasing material through. He also played guitar in the hardcore/grind "supergroup" Venomous Concept, featuring members/former members of Napalm Death and Brutal Truth (also released through Ipecac).
Dale filled in for Nirvana when they were between drummers, he appears on Incesticide and Bleach as a result of those sessions. Dale has two major side projects one called Altamont in which he sings and plays guitar. The other he drums in and is known as PORN (The Men Of) or just PORN.
Melvins have toured with KISS, White Zombie, NIN, L7, Primus, Tool, and Rush, among others and were also on the Ozzfest tour in 98. They toured with a second guitarist at one point David Scott Stone (a great noisician). Former bassist Kevin Rutmanis (1998 - early 2005) used to be in the band Cows, he was also in another Mike Patton project along with Duane Denison of the Jesus Lizard called Tomahawk. If you ever get the chance to see them live be sure to give them gifts, they prefer Cracker Barrel gift certificates.