One of the most unsung heavy rock bands to emerge during the '90s, "desert rock" quartet Kyuss has a legitimate claim as its decade's Velvet Underground. While they didn't receive their due during the band's existence, the influential music made by current Queens of the Stone Age honcho Josh Homme, lead singer John Garcia, and a monolithic original rhythm section that featured drummer Brant Bjork and bassist Nick Oliveri inspired a legion of down-tuned disciples on both sides of the Atlantic. After the group's demise, the various members of Kyuss -- including latter-day bassist Scott Reader and original Queens drummer Alfredo Hernandez -- produced enough albums from a myriad of projects, including Homme's Desert Sessions recordings, Garcia's bands Unida and Hermano, Oliveri's Mondo Generator, and Bjork's many outfits, that you could start a cottage industry just focusing on their output.
Last year, Garcia thrilled European fans when he toured his Garcia Sings Kyuss project, which culminated with Bjork and Oliveri joining the singer onstage for a two-song encore at Hellfest in Clisson, France. The reunion inspired the formation of Kyuss Lives!, a celebration of the now-legendary band that gives those original members and their fans a chance to relive the brilliance of Kyuss with Belgian guitarist Bruno Fevery filling Homme's sizable shoes. Garcia recently spoke to All Shook Down about his opinion of Kyuss Lives! naysayers and the band's plans to record new material ahead of their upcoming show at the Regency Ballroom on Saturday, Nov. 19.
It's odd to me that some people are dismissive of Kyuss Lives! because Josh Homme isn't involved, saying if Josh isn't there it's not Kyuss and that he wrote most of the songs. If you look at the songwriting credits on those albums, everybody in the band was writing. Brant Bjork wrote some of the best songs on those first two Kyuss records in my opinion.
You know, those people have the total fucking right to say whatever, that it's not Kyuss. Well, why the fuck do people think we're not calling it Kyuss? It's Kyuss Lives! We can't call it Kyuss, nor do we want to. That's a huge respect thing to Josh. We can't and we won't. We're celebrating our past. We're revisiting our past and something else is coming out of it: a new record. If those people want to shine it, fucking hats off, have a great time! Later! What we're saying is that this is about as close as you're ever going to get to seeing Kyuss. And if you want to come and have a couple pops, as Brant likes to say, and celebrate some of the music that maybe you grew up with, then that's totally cool.
A lot of people want there to be a lot of animosity between Josh and I. And they want that because they're so fucking bored with their own lives that they need other people's drama to help make their lives feel more complete. Well, guess what? There is no fucking drama. There is no animosity between Josh and I. We're great friends. I love Josh Homme and I have a mad amount of respect for him. To those people, I say go suck three bags of dicks. Get off my back about it. People forget Brant was a huge writer with Kyuss. There's only one record that was done without Brant. So to say we're playing a majority of Josh's songs, those people can suck three bags of dicks as well.
And I'm not saying that directly towards you, but this is an ongoing thing. I've had to fight these fights over in Europe and now that we're touring the states I'm fighting these fights again. People have got to realize, and I've got to set the record straight. If people were to see me and Josh talking onstage in France about a couple months ago, they would see a different story. All of Queens came up onstage and gave each other hugs. It's an awesome thing and a great relationship. I couldn't be more proud of it.
You had recorded with Bruno Fevery and his band Arsenal. Was he the only person you approached for playing guitar with Garcia Sings Kyuss, or did you have an audition process?
My first and only choice for the job of filling some very big shoes -- and he has and he's shown Josh Homme's music an incredible amount of respect -- was Bruno Fevery. I knew it and Hendrik Williams -- the main guy from Arsenal -- he knew it. He even referred him to me. He said "Dude, if you ever need a guy to do Kyuss, Bruno would be the man." We played a couple of songs on that Arsenal record and we fucked around and practiced some other stuff. He's so mild mannered and cool and calm. He reminds me of a young Jimmy Page. He shows Josh Homme's songs and Brent's and Nick's and my songs incredible respect. He is a quarter of this band. If you don't know who Bruno Fevery is now, come to one of these shows and I guarantee you'll know.
Did you and Nick and Brant collectively decide you had to do this on a larger scale immediately after playing together at Hellfest, or did it take a little more discussion and time?
It took a little bit of time. I had sat on it for a while and I wondered what Brent would say if I asked him to do not just one more show but 22 more shows -- actually touring under the name Kyuss Lives! to help promote Garcia vs. Garcia [the singer's long-awaited solo album]. I thought about [it], and wrote Brent an email and we had several discussions on it. I made it very clear that I was doing it for one reason and one reason only: to help promote Garcia vs. Garcia. Then I gave Nick a call and told him of my intentions and that Brent had said yes, and would he like to mirror the feelings he had on stage at Clisson, France? And he gave me the thumbs up, and Bruno was in, so to make a long story short, Garcia vs. Garcia has been put on the back burner once again. I'm doing this full force.