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Kyuss
Kyuss
L-R: Garcia, Bjork, Reeder, Homme.
Background information
Also known as Katzenjammer
Sons of Kyuss
Origin Palm Desert, California, USA
Genres Stoner Rock, Hard Rock, Desert Rock, Alternative Metal, Stoner Metal
Years active 1987-1989 (as Katzenjammer)
1989-1991 (as Sons of Kyuss)
1991-1995
2010-2013 (as Kyuss Lives!)
Labels Dali, Elektra, Bong Load, Man's Ruin Records
Associated acts Vista Chino, Queens of the Stone Age, Dwarves, BL'AST!, Mondo Generator, Eagles of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures, Unida, Chris Goss, Earthlings?, Hermano, Slo Burn, Brant Bjork, The Desert Sessions, Goatsnake, The Obsessed, Fu Manchu, Ché, Fireball Ministry, Yawning Man, Yawning Sons

Kyuss (/ˈkaɪ.əs/ ky-əs) was an American stoner rock band, formed in Palm Desert, California, in 1987 by John Garcia (Vocals), Josh Homme (Guitar), Brant Bjork (Drums) and Chris Cockrell (Bass). After releasing an EP under the name Sons of Kyuss in 1990, the band shortened its name to Kyuss and recruited Nick Oliveri. Over the next five years the band released four full-length albums before disbanding in 1995. One last split EP in 1997 as Kyuss and the newly formed Queens of the Stone Age. Kyuss was known for their thunderous instrumentation and Garcia's charismatic vocal delivery, they are considered by many to be the Godfathers of stoner rock and stoner metal, with Blues For The Red Sun being a seminal release.

HistoryEdit

As Katzenjammer and Sons of Kyuss (1987-1991)Edit

The band formed in 1987 jamming under the name Katzenjammer (German archaic slangword for "Hangover") before eventually deciding upon Sons of Kyuss. Brant Bjork selected the name from the undead monster found in the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game book Fiend Folio.[1] In 1989 the band recorded their eponymous debut EP, Sons of Kyuss, which was their only release to feature Chris Cockrell on bass. After self-releasing the EP in 1990 (This EP would be reissued in 2009 and 2015) the band recruited Nick Oliveri – who had previously played second guitar in Katzenjammer – to replace Cockrell on bass, and shortened their name to Kyuss.

As Kyuss (1991-1995)Edit

Kyuss' first line-up consisted of vocalist John Garcia, guitarist Joshua Homme, bassist Nick Oliveri and drummer Brant Bjork. The band gradually built a local following in Palm Desert, California and frequently performed at parties in and around the isolated towns of Southern California's desert areas. These impromptu and predominantly outdoor shows, referred to locally as "generator parties",[2] consisted of small crowds of people, beer drinking, and the use of gasoline-powered generators to provide electricity for the equipment.[3] Homme commented that playing in the desert "was the shaping factor for the band" noting that "there's no clubs here, so you can only play for free. If people don't like you, they'll tell you. You can't suck."[4]

The band then signed with independent record label Dali, who released their debut album, Wretch, in September 1991. Several songs on the album were re-recorded versions of those that appeared on the Sons of Kyuss EP. Album sales were sluggish, though the band was quickly making a name for itself as a live act.[5] Guitarist Josh Homme soon gained a reputation for his unique downtuned, psychedelic style of guitar playing, and his convention of playing electric guitars through bass guitar amplifiers to create a bass-heavy sound.

In 1992, the band, along with new producer Chris Goss, began work on their next album, Blues for the Red Sun. Goss understood the band, and was able to accurately capture their live sound in the studio. Released on 30 June that year, the album was critically hailed and is today widely regarded as a pioneering stoner rock record. By the time of the release party, Oliveri was fired and replaced by Scott Reeder, who had been approached about joining Kyuss five-to-six months earlier during a West Coast tour with The Obsessed, making his debut at the release party for the album. The band did a full tour of the United States in support of the album and toured the US again in 1993. By the end of 1993, they were invited to open nine dates for Metallica touring Australia.[6] Comparisons to stoner rock godfathers Black Sabbath became common, though Homme claimed to have little knowledge of the band at the time[7] but Bjork asserted he and Oliveri were hugely influenced by the British group.[8]

The band then soon found themselves signed with major label Elektra Records after Dali Records hit financial problems and was bought by Elektra. On 28 June 1994, they would release their first major label album, self-titled Kyuss. Originally intended to be titled Pools Of Mercury, the album commonly came to be known among fans as Welcome to Sky Valley. Between record company and bandmember shuffling it would take a whole year for the album recorded in 1993 to be released. Once again produced by Chris Goss, it received critical acclaim and, musically, demonstrated a much more psychedelic and mature sound. However, personal problems emerged and drummer Brant Bjork left the band following completion of the recording sessions. Bjork cited his extreme distaste for touring, particularly band relationship problems that develop during long periods on the road (Mainly conflicts with Homme as cited in an interview with Rolling Stone many years later). He was replaced by Alfredo Hernández, who had previously played with Reeder in the band Across the River during the mid-80s. On 11 July 1995, they released their fourth and final album ...And the Circus Leaves Town with the band touring Europe twice along with the United States in 1995 to support it. A video was made for "One Inch Man", the album's only official single. The album was not as successful commercially as Sky Valley, receiving many lukewarm reviews. Within 3 months of the release, Kyuss decided to disband sometime in October 1995, with their last known show being on 1 October at Dragonfly, Hollywood, CA, USA.

AftermathEdit

Shortly after the breakup, Homme toured as the rhythm guitarist with The Screaming Trees, and began work on The Desert Sessions series. In December 1997, a transitional split EP was released, featuring three songs by Kyuss ("Into the Void" -a Black Sabbath cover-, "Fatso Forgotso" and "Flip the Phase") and three by Queens of the Stone Age ("If Only Everything", "Born to Hula" and "Spiders & Vinegaroons"). Homme, Oliveri and Hernandez formed Queens of the Stone Age (Previously known as Gamma Ray) in 1998 which has garnered mainstream attention and fame. Homme also is a member of Them Crooked Vultures and Eagles of Death Metal.

Hernandez later played with Queens of The Stone Age, Yawning Man, Ché, Brant Bjork and the Bros, Avon and Orquestra Del Desierto.

Chirs Cockerell eventually began a solo project entitled Vic du Monte's Idiot Prayer and contributed to Vista Chino's only album.

Scott Reeder would go on to contribute as a performer and producer to Goatsnake, Unida, Nebula, Yawning Sons and Orange Goblin to name a few. He would appear as a guest for Tool. He also notably auditioned as a bassist for Metallica sometime in 2008. Currently, Reeder is active with Fireball Ministry.

Nick Oliveri formed the band Mondo Generator, named after the only Kyuss song credited solely to him. Oliveri also was a founding member of Queens of The Stone Age and has ties with BL'AST!, Dwarves and his own solo projects Death Acoustic and Nick Oliveri's Uncontrollable.

Drummer Brant Bjork embarked on a solo career active since 1999 along with recording and producing for Ché, Fu Manchu and Mondo Generator. Bjork also ran two separate music labels in Duna Records and Low Desert Punk, both of which are no longer active.

John Garcia went on to form Slo Burn, although the band was short-lived and released only one EP, Amusing the Amazing, before disbanding in September 1997. He was also briefly associated with the band Karma to Burn (Eventually, he would contribute to the band's return album Appalachian Incantation). In 1998, he began working with the band Unida, recording one EP, one LP and an unreleased album. At the same time he started working with the band Hermano, having released three LP's and one live album to date. Garcia has later went on to release solo albums in the 2010s.

In 1997, Homme, Bjork, and Oliveri recorded three songs together ("13th Floor", "Simple Exploding Man", & "Cocaine Rodeo") for Mondo Generator's debut album Cocaine Rodeo, released in 2000. Also featuring Garcia and Chris Goss on one track, the songs were, for several years, regarded by many fans as the final Kyuss recordings.

In 2000, a compilation album, Muchas Gracias: The Best of Kyuss, was released. The album is a collection of the band's singles, as well as B-sides and live material.

Although Kyuss left behind some "rarities", many of them were released on Muchas Gracias, and further releases from the band appear unlikely.

There are so many untitled songs that have never been heard, that I have up in my little crawl space up above my bed. I don't see those songs coming out anytime in the near future. Everybody's too busy to do stuff like that. It's a job to go back and listen to it, and then if you want to re-record them.[9]
 
— John Garcia, Billboard, 2005

Reunion Talk and Kyuss LivesEdit

See also: Vista Chino

After the band's breakup in 1995, there had been frequent and persistent speculation among fans regarding the possibility of a Kyuss reunion. When asked in late 2004 about whether the band would ever re-unite, Homme replied that this was unlikely to happen in the near future. However, on 20 December 2005, Garcia made a guest appearance onstage with Queens of the Stone Age during their encore at the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles. They performed three Kyuss songs together: "Thumb", "Hurricane" and "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop".[10] The band has reportedly received numerous offers to re-form, all of which have been turned down (Especially by Homme):

The offers come in all the time. They're getting more and more expensive, and more and more elaborate. The money is crazy, but I've never been tempted – I don't really care about the money, I never have. That's not what KYUSS was about, so to punctuate the end of our sentence with that would be blasphemy. KYUSS fans are so fuckin' rad, they're fuckin' badass — but to me, reunions are just not necessary. It's not what it was, it's what it is, and KYUSS was a really magical thing — and if you weren't there, well, you weren't. That's just the luck of the draw. I don't feel the urge to do it for somebody who didn't have the opportunity to see us, or just didn't take the opportunity to see us. I'll let other bands alter their great legacies. KYUSS has such a great history that it would be a total error. I like that nobody saw KYUSS, and that it was largely misunderstood. That sounds like a legend forming to me. I'm too proud of it to rub my dick on it.[11]
 
— Josh Homme, Joel McIver, May 2007

Scott Reeder also commented on a possible Kyuss reunion in early 2008, saying "I think everyone but Josh would do it in a heartbeat". Reeder also noted that he would "do it for free beer again".[12]

In 2010, a tour of Europe under the moniker of "John Garcia plays Kyuss" tour was announced. In June 2010, former Kyuss members Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork joined Garcia onstage to perform "Green Machine" and "Gardenia" during a headlining appearance by "Garcia Plays Kyuss" at Hellfest in Clisson, France[13] and they also appeared onstage with Garcia in other concerts on the tour.

In November 2010, Garcia, Oliveri and Bjork announced plans to tour under the moniker Kyuss Lives! with guitarist Bruno Fevery. In reference to the new band name, Garcia stated that "there is never going to be a Kyuss without Josh Homme" and that "hopefully in the future him and I can get together and do some writing."[14] The band went on to tour Europe, Australasia and the United States.[15] and North and South America. The band then announced plans to record a new studio album for a summer 2012 release in addition to a live album.[16]

However in March 2012 it was revealed that Josh Homme (along with Scott Reeder) had filed a federal lawsuit against John Garcia and Brant Bjork alleging "trademark infringement and consumer fraud" over the use of the Kyuss name despite the fact Brant Bjork had originally created the name. Nick Oliveri left Kyuss Lives! later that month after it was revealed that Garcia and Bjork had tried to take control of the Kyuss trademark.

In August 2012 the courts ruled that Garcia and Bjork could not release any recordings, studio or live, under the Kyuss Lives! moniker. While they were allowed to continue using the moniker for live shows (as long as, unlike the bands current logo, Lives! is written in the same size and next to the word Kyuss to avoid confusion), the judge stated that they may face issues in the future and that "it may be in Defendants' best interest to begin re-branding under a new name".[17] On November 29, 2012, it was announced that Kyuss Lives! had changed their name to Vista Chino, who would remain active until 2014 and release one album.

DiscographyEdit

Studio AlbumsEdit

SinglesEdit

  • Thong Song (1992, Dali)
  • Green Machine (1993, Dali)
  • Demon Cleaner (1994, Elektra)
  • Demon Cleaner Part 2 (1994, Elektra)
  • Sky Valley Part 2 (1994, Elektra)
  • Sky Valley Part 3 (1994, Elektra)
  • Two From Kyuss (1994, Elektra)
  • One Inch Man (1995, Elektra)
  • Gardenia (1995, Elektra)
  • Into The Void (1996, Man's Ruin Records)

Misc. ReleasesEdit

PersonnelEdit

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Kyuss Biography". All Music. Retrieved 2007-07-04
  2. Morris, Chris (15 January 1994). "Kyuss lands on its feet and keeps climbing". Billboard. p. 1.
  3. Billik, Kira L. (14 March 1993). "Confused punk rockers' have an identity crisis". Buffalo News. pp. G3.
  4. Morris, Chris (15 January 1994). "Kyuss lands on its feet and keeps climbing". Billboard. p. 1.
  5. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Kyuss Biography". All Music. Retrieved 2007-07-04
  6. Morris, Chris (15 January 1994). "Kyuss lands on its feet and keeps climbing". Billboard. p. 1.
  7. "My Life in Music: Josh Homme". spin.com. 2003-06-13. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  8. "Kyuss lives! - Interview with drummer Brant Bjork". endhits.hu. April 7, 2011. Retrieved 2014-10-30.
  9. "Garcia Vs Garcia". Garcia Vs Garcia official website. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  10. Orzeck, Kurt (December 21, 2005). "QOTSA End Year On A High Note: Josh Homme Reunites With Kyuss Singer In L.A". VH1. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  11. "Queens of the Stone Ages's Josh Homme Rules Out Kyuss Reunion". Blabbermouth.net. 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  12. Iann Robinson (2008-02-21). [Iann Robinson (2008-02-21). "BLAST BEAT 007: SCOTT REEDER". nonelouder.com. Retrieved 2008-04-13. Jump up ^ "BLAST BEAT 007: SCOTT REEDER".] nonelouder.com. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
  13. "Three-Quarters Of KYUSS Reunites At France's HELLFEST; Video Available" Blabbermouth.Net June 23, 2010
  14. December/January 2011 issue of Rock-A-Rolla
  15. Roadrunner "KYUSS LIVES!: Australian Tour Announced". Blabbermouth.net. November 11, 2010.
  16. John Garcia Interview by Mandah Frénot | New Album for summer 2012 Verdamnis.com – June 26, 2011
  17. Greg Prato (2012-08-15). "Court Rules on Kyuss Lives Lawsuit | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
V·T·E Kyuss
Past Members Josh HommeJohn GarciaScott ReederAlfredo Hernández

Brant BjorkNick OliveriChris Cockrell

Albums WretchBlues for the Red SunWelcome to Sky Valley...And the Circus Leaves Town
Compilations Muchas Gracias: The Best of Kyuss
Extended Plays Sons of Kyuss
Splits Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age
Singles Thong SongGreen MachineDemon CleanerGardeniaOne Inch ManShine!Into the Void
Associated Bands Vista ChinoThe Desert SessionsQueens of the Stone AgeMondo GeneratorHermanoFu ManchuUnidaSlo BurnChé
Related Articles Discography

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