One tree which continues to spread its roots today, influencing bands and forming the creations of seminal bands and side projects is the legendary Kyuss. This tree has a history of deep roots that is definitely worth checking out.
Forming in sunny California, bringing desert rock from Palm Desert since 1987, the stoner rock the band are known for has been a strong influence with most stoner rock groups that you hear today. Founding member Josh Homme, who played the guitar for the band, now is the lead singer for the very successful Queens of The Stone Age. Nick Oliveri who replaced Chris Cockrel as bassist once the band changed their name from Sons of Kyuss to just Kyuss, also joined QOTSA from 1998 to 2004. The band’s original name in 1987 was Katzenjammer which translates to Hangover in German. Alfredo Hernández who replaced founding member Brant Bjork on drums also joined Homme with QOTSA on their debut. It was on the band’s second release, Rated R, when things took off, thanks to a clip featuring Dave Grohl of Nirvana, Foo Fighters as a session drummer.
Homme also kept busy with his Desert Sessions side project that featured Oliveri and Bjork at times. Only recently joining Iggy Pop for his Post Pop Depression record, fronting super-group Them Crooked Vultures and founding The Eagles of Death Metal, where he plays the drums.
I was lucky to catch QOTSA at the Big Day Out, along with Mark Lanegan, vocalist from the legendary grunge outfit the Screaming Trees as a guest and Joey Castillo, the drummer from Danzig. Lucky for you Channel V were nice enough to film it for you. Footage below.
Mark Lanegan, being a guest on three albums, that being Rated R, Songs for the Deaf and Lullabies to Paralyze in 2005 the man deserves credit for what he brought to the table, being a lot more than just a guest musician in my opinion. Lanegan was part of the band. For that reason, the Screaming Trees are worth checking out as they are an honourable mention. Homme was even a touring member between 1996 and 1998 for the band.
Apart from being part of QOTSA, bassist Nick Oliveri keeps busy with his own band Mondo Generator, who he fronts.
Oliveri also plays bass for punk legends the Dwarves, who he tours frantically within the US. Oliveri also played on the Dwarves latest record The Dwarves Invented Rock ‘n Roll and sings lead vocals on some tracks off the album and tracks on the Gentleman Blag EP, which I reviewed not so long ago.
After leaving Kyuss in 1993, Bjork joined Fu Machu playing drums in the 1996 classic The Action is Go till leaving the band in 2001 after the phenomenal California Crossing record.
Bjork’s roots have also lead to a steady solo career where he fronts the band with his first release Jalamanta in 1999 and released Black Power Flower in 2014 with his Low Desert Punk Band. Later this month Bjork is set to release Tao of the Devil.
Kyuss wouldn’t be Kyuss without the voice behind it. John Garcia, also fronted Hermano releasing four albums with them and put out a solo record in 2014.
Bjork formed Kyuss Lives! with Garcia and Oliveri keeping the Kyuss flame alive. Luckily the band played a stint in which they travelled down under using the Kyuss Lives! moniker and I got to witness a live set at the once great Soundwave festival. Due to legal reasons and a law suit Homme disputed that the band keep the Kyuss name so Kyuss Lives! was changed to the name the band go by now, that being Vista Chino. Putting out Peace on Napalm Records in 2013. With Oliveri leaving Kyuss Lives! Both Garcia and Bjork are the only founding members of Kyuss remaining.
For that reason, Kyuss are as relevant today as ever and lets hope Vista Chino release some new material soon!
With that distinct guitar sound brought by Homme playing the guitar from a bass amp. This tree has branched out from some legendary roots. May the roots branch out further! Long live Kyuss and now Vista Chino lives!.
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