Ex-KYUSS members John Garcia (vocals) and Brant Bjork (drums) have agreed to answer questions from RollingStone.com over e-mail about the lawsuit filed by their former KYUSS bandmates Josh Homme and Scott Reeder over the use of the KYUSS name.
Garcia, Bjork and ex-KYUSS bassist Nick Oliveri reunited for shows last year under the KYUSS LIVES! banner, in which they were joined by guitarist Bruno Fevery. The band has since toured on both sides of the Atlantic and is said to be currently working on a live album for a late 2012 release. There are also plans for the group to record a brand new studio CD — albeit without Oliveri, who exited the group a short time after the lawsuit was filed.
Homme and Reeder released a statement on March 10 via public relations firm Nasty Little Man in which they claimed that they “made every attempt to help [Garcia, Bjork and Oliveri] continue KYUSS LIVES! respectfully. Only to discover while they looked us in the eye, KYUSS LIVES! management and band had filed federal documents in 2011 in an attempt to steal the name KYUSS. This is desperately what we were trying to avoid.”
What follows are excerpts from Garcia and Bjork‘s interview with RollingStone.com.
On whether the federal lawsuit filed by Josh and Scott in March came as a surprise:
Brant Bjork: Was I surprised? As far as Scott is concerned, yes, I was very surprised. I wasn’t surprised by Josh at all. They don’t want to mention that they trademarked the name KYUSS after I left the band, assuring that I had no rights in KYUSS‘ future. They’re both accusing John and I of doing something that they actually did themselves. Their inner conflict is this: both Josh and Scott want control and money from KYUSS LIVES!, but they don’t want to participate and they ultimately don’t want us to exist. The double standard is unbelievable.
“Josh filing this lawsuit is not an issue of today … it’s an issue that began over 20 years ago. That is why the band was short-lived. Josh and I were the creative force within the band and after the completion of our second record, ‘Blues For The Red Sun’, we developed an opposing view on how the band should exist and operate. In 1992 Josh discovered publishing, which is the financial revenue stream for songwriting. After that, he wanted to write all the songs. As a drummer I couldn’t make him play my songs. I wasn’t going to compromise my heart and soul and play drums for Josh to make money in a band I started. So I left the band. I was a confused, angry and sad 19-year-old idealist who sacrificed my love of my band for what I believed in. Two-and-a-half years later, Josh would break up the band after John confronted him about the same thing; his need to control the band for personal gain.”
On Nick Oliveri‘s departure and his replacement:
Brant Bjork: I honestly don’t know exactly why Nick left the band. My speculation is that he became overwhelmed with the lawsuit in combination with his personal legal issues, and it was simply too much for him to manage. Nick has mended his friendship with Josh over the years, and that, combined with his love of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE … I think he just couldn’t stand to be caught in the middle of everything. Nick did not play a major role when he was in KYUSS, but he played a very important role in QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. He is still brokenhearted over being fired from the band. His heart is still with QUEENS. Now, with all this mess, I believe Nick simply didn’t feel his time and energy was worth it, so he gave up.”
On KYUSS LIVES!‘s future plans:
Brant Bjork: After Nick left, John and I sat down to talk about what we were going to do. Josh basically told John to give him what he wanted and he would then pull the lawsuit. After being bullied by Josh for 20 years, we both decided to stand up for our rights. We love music and we love our band, and we want to continue on and we feel we have the right to do so. So, we now know the lawsuit is not going away. Without Nick, I suggested to John we give Scott the benefit of the doubt — that he initially reacted the way he did because of his feelings being hurt — and ask him to now be the full-time player, which is what he wanted in the first place. John reluctantly agreed. I called Scott and we had a very nice conversation that ended with him saying he wanted to think about it and that he would call me in a day or two. Scott sent both John and I an e-mail two days later saying, ‘No,’ that he was going to continue siding with Josh and was moving forward with the lawsuit. I was shocked. John was not.
“I made a statement last year that without Nick or Scott, KYUSS LIVES! wouldn’t work. This statement was a show of respect directed to Nick, Scott and the fans. I now have decided that KYUSS LIVES! can and will work without Nick or Scott, and this is a show of respect towards John and me. For them to be denied the opportunity to participate in the beginning would, of course, have been disrespectful. But for them to individually not want to participate and expect John and I to sit down, that’s straight-up not cool.
“John and I — along with Bruno — have a new bass player and we will carry on. His name is Billy Cordell and he is a very old friend from our desert home. Both John and I have experience playing in bands with Billy. He is a monster player and a super-cool guy.
“Both John and I are sad that there is bitterness between members of KYUSS, but we are excited to go back to work and continue bringing the music to the fans. We have a new record deal and will begin recording in July.”
Read RollingStone.com‘s entire interview with KYUSS LIVES! at this location.
Reeder played a handful of European live dates with KYUSS LIVES! last year as a fill-in for Oliveri. He was also a “special guest” at KYUSS LIVES!‘s homecoming show on November 18, 2011 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.
Reeder played bass on KYUSS‘ classic LPs “Welcome to Sky Valley” and “…And the Circus Leaves Town” and was also a member of doom legends THE OBSESSED.
Regarding why Homme is not involved in the KYUSS reunion, Garcia previously told Rock Sound magazine, “I have nothing bad to say about Josh — he’s extremely intelligent, very smart, a great guitar player, great songwriter, a great vocalist — he is a bad-ass, there is no question, and I love him dearly but he is busy with his own thing. He has THEM CROOKED VULTURES, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, he’s a father, a businessman and even if we asked him to do it, I don’t think he’d say yes, so I don’t want to set myself up for a big fat no which is 99.9 percent what he would say.”
In a 2010 interview, Homme explained his hesitation to participate in a KYUSS reformation.
“The offers come in all the time,” he said. “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 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.”