Photo by James Rexroad

Down to Business Again

Big Business returns after lengthy ‘paternity leave’

Last time Big Business came to Eugene, they had the ignominy of opening for what bassist Jared Warren describes as the worst Misfits cover band ever.

“Coady and I were offended that they couldn’t be bothered to uphold the esteemed legacy of Glenn Allen Anzalone,” Warren says, citing the real name of head Misfit Glenn Danzig. “So we stink-bombed the place and one of the guys almost threw up. It was a great night.”

Big Business returns to Eugene Feb. 15 for a headlining set at Old Nick’s Pub in support of their new album The Beast You Are. It’s their first album since 2007’s Here Come The Waterworks to feature the idiosyncratic lineup of their earliest work: Warren on bass and Coady Willis on drums. 

“I’d say there’s an advantage to getting a bigger slice of the pie,” says Warren of being in a two-piece band. “But, sadly, there is no pie.”

Big Business’s Pacific Northwest roots run deep. Warren was the bassist for the Tumwater, Washington, band Karp throughout the ’90s, and Willis has played in Seattle bands like Dead Low Tide and the Murder City Devils. 

Shortly after forming in Seattle in 2005, they moved to L.A., not a city traditionally known for the slower and heavier sides of rock. At least, according to Warren, “you don’t have to worry about water damage as much.”

In 2006, Big Business merged with the Melvins, the Montesano, Washington, art-metal institution whose early work had a seminal influence on grunge and sludge metal. Warren and Willis are infamous for their disavowal of the term “sludge,” preferring to be referred to as a “loud rock band.” 

Warren and Willis played on some of the Melvins’ most acclaimed latter-day work, most notably 2006’s A Senile Animal, with Willis going kit-to-kit with core Melvins member Dale Crover — a feat that’s nothing to scoff at, given that Crover is one of the best rock drummers of the last half century.

They played on three more Melvins albums before 2012, when Warren left on what he called “paternity leave,” and Willis followed suit.

Whether the members of Big Business have any future plans to work with the Melvins, who’ve spent the last decade experimenting voraciously with their lineup, is the one question Warren didn’t answer by email. 

Many fans assumed, due to the length of his absence, that Warren didn’t actually have kids, and “paternity leave” was a gag. But if we can take Warren’s word for it: “My children have graduated from college now and are pursuing careers in outerspaaaaaaaaace!”

Space babies or none, Big Business has kept up an enviable recording and touring schedule: six albums since 2005, plus four tour-exclusive EPs.

As of this writing, they’ve only been on tour a week, but if it goes the same way as their previous tour, Warren says, “there will probably be some crying, there always is.”

Beyond bass-drums sparring, surreal jokes and maybe some dust shaking loose from the rafters, it’s hard to say what to expect from their Eugene show. But Big Business is a good-times band above all else, and even when their lyrics are about disasters and paranoia, it’s hard not to hear their big riffs and hearty, shouted vocals and smile.

A hoary metal bar like Old Nick’s should be the perfect fit for a band like Big Business, and it should be a good time — as long as no one disrespects the Misfits.

Big Business play at Old Nick’s Pub 9 pm Saturday, Feb. 15; $13 at