Dale Crover's drum setup/gear page.
Dale in High School
Pics and info courtesy of Dave Ward
I'll keep it short: I went to school with Dale Crover at Aberdeen High School, and still have all my yearbooks. He and I were in the same year. I didn't know him well--we didn't hang out or anything--but we were friendly acquaintances.
Anyways, the AHS yearbook is called The Quinault. As I said, we were in the same year and I kept all my yearbooks. I've intended for a long time to scan the few pictures of Dale there are, and I've just now gotten around to it.
The pictures are labeled with the year and a descriptive subject. I hope you can use them all, and that you won't change the names of the pictures.
"Gold Band" is one of the bands at AHS. (That is, a regular school band with trumpets, flutes, etc--not rock band.) If I remember right, Gold Band was the more advanced of the large bands. There was another band, a pep band (for sports events), a jazz band, a performance band, and maybe others. Anyways, Dale was in Gold Band. I'm giving you a scan of the whole band (with an arrow marking Dale), plus a "closeup" of the same one showing just Dale. Of course since it's from a yearbook and the photo was already small and run through a printing screen, it's not very good quality. I hope it'll do!
The other two pictures are his own portrait from the 1985 and 1986 Quinault Yearbooks, his Sophomore and Junior years respectively.
Incidentally, the company that made the yearbooks scrambled the names on his page in 1985. The photo of a friend of mine, Danny Christensen, wound up as the caption for Dale's photo, with most of the other people on the page being also mislabeled. So Dale's '85 Sophomore picture actually claims he's "Danny Christensen." Heh.
I guess there's not really a story. It's just the foggy memories of 15 years ago, as a series of anecdotes. This will *certainly* not be in chronological order, so I guess you could cut the anecdotes up and put them in any order and they'd be in as good an order as I can come up with. Sorry for not knowing what order they happened.
In the 1985-1986 school year, I was a Junior at Aberdeen High School, which is also known sometimes as Weatherwax. During one of the three school-year quarters--I'm not sure which--I took an English class taught by Bill Carter.
A quick set-up: I was horribly geeky at the time. I mean, BADLY. I took a *LOT* of shit from other kids--it was a daily event to get verbally and occasionally physically tormented. I liked school itself, if it weren't for 90% of the other kids in it. I can verify just about every negative remark Cobain (or probably anybody else) has made about Aberdeen and the town's mentality. A year later I grew my hair and turned into a weird rocker type, but I was horribly geeky in 85-86.
The most obvious strange thing about Mr Carter's Junior English class was that the desks were always in a circle, a single ring with a big empty spot in the center. He explained that he felt it promotes equality and communication when you aren't looking at the back of people's heads and there's not a "front/back of class" hierarchy.
For a while I actually had trouble getting anybody to sit next to me. (I'm not looking for pity--this is all well in the past now.!) For the first weeks there was always an empty desk on one or both sides of me, despite the class being pretty full.
There were a few guys, 2-4 guys, who usually sat at about 10-o-clock from me (if I'm at 6). These guys were boisterous, imposing, and often funny. They were troublemaker metal-heads. The two I remember were a sandy brown haired guy named (if I remember) Evan Archie, and a big quiet blond guy who usually had a pouty, disgruntled look.
As the class went on, both of those two migrated around the circle over time, and eventually I was sitting with one or both of them almost every day.
The imposing, pouty blond guy was named Dale Crover.
The school was a bit overcrowded, so each locker had to be shared by two people. My friend Susan and I shared a locker. Susan was a total metalhead girl and her nickname was "beast". Students were able to choose their own locker on a first-come first-served basis, so naturally Susan tried to get us locker 666 in the Weatherwax building. It was taken, so we were given locker 667 next to it. Heh. The neighbor of the beast.
Occasionally I would see the guys who had locker 666 next to us between classes. It was Dale, sharing with another guy. I don't who the other guy was, but they were the lucky guys who managed to get locker 666.
In Mr Carter's English class, Dale often--and probably not really intentionally--sat next to me. I didn't really talk to him much at all, but I liked when he was around. He accepted me, and when he was there nobody gave me any shit. I don't remember specifics, but as the quarter went along, I definitely got to thinking he was actually a really nice guy, and I decided I liked the guy. There were a lot of red-neck dickheads at AHS, but Dale was definitely one of the exceptional minority.
One day Dale himself got a lot of shit. He came in with a haircut. A total "bowl" cut--straight bangs and cut otherwise smooth and "round." His friends immediately got all over his ass, asking him loudly "Hey Dale, who held the bowl over your head?" But it was obvious he didn't think it was funny. He seemed pretty pissed off about being forced to get a haircut, and he wasn't in any mood to take any shit. Fortunately nothing more came of it.
Sometimes Dale would mention that his band, The Melvins, had a gig coming up. I remember specifically him mentioning some gig in Elma. (Elma is a very small farm town in the eastern part of Grays Harbor County, Washington, about 30-40 minutes east of Aberdeen.) There were always a few people in class who were interested in going, but I just wasn't the type. I wish now that I *had* seen one of their early shows.
In Mr Carter's class we usually had 5-10 minutes at the beginning to just talk before he'd start on the class for the day. One day in that time before the class really started, somebody asked Dale where they got the name "The Melvins."
Dale told us that there was a weird guy, possibly mentally handicapped, named Melvin. The guy liked to climb up on rooftops; he'd get stuck on roofs all the time and then couldn't get back dawn, and would have to be rescued. They named the band after him, he said. There was also something strange about sheep with Melvin. I don't remember for certain, but it wasn't sexual. I think he would sneak out into sheep pastures at night and paint the sheep or something like that--I really don't remember specifically.
(Yes, I've since heard about Melvin the Thriftway co-worker. I'm not sure if this is the same guy, or if one or both stories are just made-up. In any case, the dumb guy who gets stuck on rooftops made for a pretty good story!)
One time when I was at my locker and Dale was at his next to me, another guy I'd never seen before showed up and talked to him. This strange guy looked a little older. He was thin and had long, blond hair. He hadn't shaved in days. He looked both out-of-place in AHS, and very disinterested in anything except talking to Dale. I don't remember exactly what they said (remember this was 15 years ago) but it was a discussion about Dale playing with another band--NOT the Melvins.
Soon after this, Dale mentioned in Mr Carter's class that he was jamming with some other band called "Nirvana."
I wouldn't appreciate until years later that the strange blond guy talking to Dale had been Kurt Cobain. It's a strange thing; he was just some strange guy. Nobody had a clue of what would happen over the next eight years. At the time Nirvana were just some noisy band who sometimes played at a dumpy shithole of a tavern called The Pourhouse.
In another one of my classes--a history class--somebody always scribbled "Nervana" (misspelled) on my desk. I'd find it on my desk regularly. Once day I had the nerve to correct the spelling to "Nirvana." Heh.
Another time, during the pre-class discussions, Mr Carter actually led the discussion, as he sometimes did. We got to talking about music videos. Now Dale was usually pretty quiet and he always *looked* like a big dumb guy, but when he *DID* say something, it was often pretty thoughtful. One thing he said about music videos on this day always impressed me and stuck with me.
Dale said that he didn't like music videos because it's better for people to just imagine their own imagery to music. Once you see a video, you tend to always think of that video every time you hear the song; you're not really free to imagine what you want to.
I've always liked that thought, and agree.
One day late in the quarter Dale was unusually excited. He had a black album with him--a full-sized vinyl LP in a black cover. Dale was really excited about it. It was a compilation album, and a Melvins track was on it. He was totally buzzed (pun unintended) about it because it was, IIRC, the first song by the Melvins to be actually put on an album.
I don't remember the title of the song or album, but I remember he passed it around the whole class, asking everybody to be careful with it. I got a good look at it myself, but I just don't remember anything except that it was primarily black, and that it was pretty cool to see "The Melvins" written along with the other bands on it. We were all pretty happy for Dale I think, and even Mr Carter was asking him about it.
Eventually the quarter ended, and the class was done. I think I had another class with Dale after that--a history class--but I don't recall much else. In that class we didn't have freewheeling discussions, the desks were in a more typical rows-and-columns arrangement, and I rarely talked to Dale. That's pretty much all I can recall. I hope it's interesting, and was worth sharing.
I'm not certain, but I think Dale dropped out of school in 1987 during his senior year to go professional with The Melvins. There is no photo and no mention of him at all in the 1987 Quinault yearbook.
BTW, I give permission for anybody to publish this story on any Melvins or Melvins-related website, provided that I'm credited and as long as the story is not altered. My name is Dave Ward, and my email is email@example.com. I hope a few sites will pass the story around. I'm telling all this because I thought it deserved to be known, and I hope it won't ever be forgotten or lost. So please feel free to put the story up on the web, pass it around in any way, just please always keep my name associated with it.
Info sent in by Tony
I met Dale in 5th grade. In 1979, I would've been 10 going on 11. Dale's birthday is Oct. 23rd. I think he is almost a year older than me. I was in Aberdeen for a year and a half or two. Dale's mom took us to go see Ted Nugent in Seattle. We used to hang with Craig Wells of Metal Church, who lived just a couple of blocks over from Dale. I moved back to the desert briefly, then back to Aberdeen for part of 8th grade. In Washington, middle school was 7th, 8th, and 9th grade. Although I think they were going to change it to a 4 year high school around that time. Once we met with Craig in the alley and went to Doug Stricker's house where their band at the time, Crystal Image practiced. As we were leaving, Kurdt Vanderhoof of The Lewd showed up. In '82 I moved to Lake Tahoe and finished 8th grade. Which means the photo I took of Dale just before I left is most likely from '82, not '81. I don't believe Dale knew Buzz yet at this time. I don't recall any mention of him then and didn't meet him 'til later. I never met Cobain. Robert Novaselic, Krist's younger brother, was in Dale's 6th grade class. Dale called me in Tahoe and said his band was coming to play in a basement in Reno, NV. My first Melvins show. I think this must've been sometime in '84. Shit, maybe it was '85, this is the part I can't remember. This is where the tape came from with the 2 songs I uploaded. It also has the 4 Deep Six songs on it, so help me out as I'm not sure when that was recorded or released, but those songs must be from around the same time period. Somewhere I've got some old letters from Dale which may chronicle their move to S.F. You guys know the rest. Hope this helps anyone who really gives that much of a shit fill in the blanks. It was driving me crazy, but I think I got it right. Have a good day.