Toby Cole of Heavy Planet recently conducted an interview with drummer Brant Bjork of KYUSS LIVES!, the project featuring three-quarters of KYUSS— the influential American stoner rock/metal band, originally from Palm Desert, California. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Heavy Planet: Going back to when the ball started rolling with KYUSS LIVES!… I know that John [Garcia, vocals] was playing under the moniker GARCIA PLAYS KYUSS at…what was it… the Roadburn festival when you and Nick [Oliveri, bass] joined him on stage back in 2010?
Brant Bjork: Actually that was the Hellfest in France.
Heavy Planet: So was that something you guys planned or was it kind of a spontaneous thing?
Brant Bjork: Actually, that was spontaneous. I had gotten wind that John was gonna go out and do KYUSS songs with three other European musicians under the name GARCIA PLAYS KYUSS, and not long after I had been told that, he got in contact with me and asked me if my solo band would do a couple weeks of dates with them in Europe. I said “sure.” You know… I was excited that John was going out doing KYUSS songs and I certainly wanted to get on the bill and tag along. And we had a blast and the shows were fantastic and from night one, I would get up onstage and I would play “Green Machine” with them. That turned into a nightly ritual on that tour. And by the time we got to Hellfest, Nick and his band MONDO GENERATOR happened to be on the same bill. But as far as I knew, John hadn’t made plans for Nick to join us until that day. And a couple of hours prior to getting onstage… we were all hangin’ out having beers and just chattin’ it up… Nick mentioned, “Yeah, John asked me to get up on stage with you guys.” And, of course, we were all excited and like, “Wow, this is awesome,” and so in that sense it was very, very spontaneous. And then a couple weeks after that, John called me and said, “Hey, man, I want you to come over and let’s talk about some stuff.” And I had a fairly good idea what I felt he was probably gonna pitch at me, and sure enough, he was like, “What do you say, man?! That was a lot of fun and you know, now is as good a time as any.” So I agreed, “Yeah, let’s do this, man.” And that’s just pretty much how all this started.
Heavy Planet: Now I’ve read some things here and there that you and the rest of the guys are intending on writing a new album or some new music together. Has that process started? Or when can we expect something like that? Or is that even true?
Brant Bjork: Yeah, that is true. After our first rehearsals and our first handful of shows, it was evidently clear that we were… rocking, so to speak. And so we quickly committed to the challenge of creating new music. I’m actually in the car on my way to jam right now with [guitarist] Bruno [Fevery, who most recently played with Garcia in the GARCIA PLAYS KYUSS project] on new material. So we plan to record in early February with the release of new material sometime next year.
Heavy Planet: I know recently Scott Reeder had to fill in on some of your dates while Nick dealt with some personal issues and I think that I read that he’s gonna be playing on your upcoming Canadian dates as well. That’s quite a bullpen to pull from when you can get a guy like Reeder to just step in… that’s pretty cool. Can you talk a little bit about that? How did that process go down in terms of getting in touch with him? And I’m sure it must have been crazy for Scott to get that phone call… He probably hadn’t played those songs in years and all of a sudden he’s got to relearn them and get onstage with you guys.
Brant Bjork: Yeah, well… You know, there were only seven members of KYUSS and there were only two bass players, so Scott is the obvious and really the only “plan B” that would even be considered for what this is and what we’re doing. And he’s super excited to have been given the chance to get back onboard, even though it was due to unfortunate circumstances. What can you say? Nick and Scott are very different musicians and ultimately almost polar-opposite people. But they’re both awesome in their own individual way, and for whatever reason, there’s just not enough room for two bass players or even… with respect to ‘Fredo… two drummers on stage for what we’re doing. I mean, Josh [Homme, guitar] is the only odd man out here and it’s only because he obviously just chooses not to be part of it. But Scott is an exceptional bass player and we did four shows with him in Europe and it was amazing… Of course, he had no problems getting right back into it. And you know… Nick… there’s a fondness for Nick simply because Nick was there when the band was really forming. The essence of what KYUSS was and became was born with Nick on bass, so there’s a fondness for that within. But Nick has a lifestyle that can be very interesting at best, and when Nick is unable to fulfill an obligation, you’re absolutely right; we have an amazing plan B. So we’ll just have to see how things evolve…or de-evolve. But there are only two bass players for KYUSS and if either of those two guys isn’t able… then this just wouldn’t work.
Read the entire interview at Heavy Planet.