Monday, February 7, 2011

All In The Family: Kyuss

I'm listening to the Kyuss discography and I realize that I recognize the singer, John Garcia, from another band, Hermano. Of course I know what Kyuss was, and I know all the members splintered off to create their own legacy, but thinking about it, I have come to realize that the group has built a solid network of projects, band and albums, listing into the dozens. Then I gave it some more thought, and I know of at least three other acts, off the top of my head, that have a similar legacy; thus, All In The Family was born. Now this is not going to be a weekly segment, or even a monthly, but like the Retrospectives I do, they will come out whenever I feel like it, and after the initial group, whenever I find another act that has as much influence as bands like Kyuss.

Kyuss has been legendary for the stoner genre, if not the first, they are the most well known of the beginning wave. Everyone cites them as an influence, and every stoner act is compared to them. They rose and fell without much fanfare, only becoming recognized for their genius years later. Throughout the act's short career they were host to numerous artists, the list being: John Garcia, Bruno Fevery, Nick OliveriBrant Bjork, Josh Homme, Scott Reeder, Alfredo Hernández, and Chris Cockrell - many of whom have become house-hold names to those fans of the genre.

John Garcia - Lead Vocals (1988 - 1995, 2010 - Present)
The original - and current - singer of Kyuss, John Garcia's gritty vocals have become synonymous with stoner and desert rock. Along with Josh Homme, Garcia is the only member of Kyuss to make it all the way through their initial run, and with the new incarnation of Kyuss Lives! is the sole continual driving force of the band. After Kyuss John Garcia went on to form a pair of short-lived acts, Slo Burn & Unida (which featured Scott Reeder for a short time as well), both of which have collected some of Kyuss' strong following. After these two bands had broken up, he joined producer Dandy Brown to sing in a side project, what would become Hermano, releasing three studio albums and one live LP.

Nick Oliveri - Guitars (1988–1989), Bass (1991–1992, 2010–Present)
The multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Nick Oliveri, had an on-again/off-again relationship with Kyuss; he was part of the founding of the group, before they are actually named Kyuss, and then joined again for their second and third albums, before departing again. He went on to join The Dwarves, playing with the act for a decade, from 1994 to 2004. Also during this time he joined Queens of The Stoneage (fronted by fellow Kyuss member Josh Homme) from 1998 through 2005, as well as started his own band, Mondo Generator (taking the name from a Kyuss song off of their Blues For The Red Sun album) in 1997, which combines his stoner past with the raw punk of The Dwarves, and a solo career of acoustic rock, which has so far yielded two albums.

Brant Bjork - Drums, Percussion (1988–1994, 2010–Present)
Another multi-instrumentalist/vocalist, Brant Bjork has had his hand is a lot of projects and groups over the years. Besides his almost complete tenure (one album shy, sigh) as the drummer/percussionist of Kyuss, he has had a very varied solo career, listed just as solo and with others (Brant Bjork & the Operators, Brant Bjork & The Bros). He was a part of the short lived Ché (with Alfredo Hernández), as well as having tenure with other notable stoner act Fu Manchu, and a handful of albums with Mondo Generator, with fellow long-time bandmate, Nick Oliveri. Bjork is the artist on this list that I know the best, having heard most of his side projects (Demon Crossing, Ten East) and solo albums.

Josh Homme - Guitars (1988–1995)
Along with Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork, Josh Homme has had one of the most popular (if not most) careers, post-Kyuss, of the group. He and John Garcia are the only two members to make it all the way through the band's five year career, and if he hadn't turned down the invitation to rejoin for the Kyuss Lives! comeback tour/recording (thereby letting Bruno Fevery have a chance), he would be one of the longest continual member. If you were to look at the rest of the man's discography, you could see how he may want to turn down an opportunity to revive a legend of stoner rock. His several post-Kyuss bands, Queens of The Stoneage, The Eagles of Death Metal, and Them Crooked Vultures, are all some of the most popular and mainstream that any stoner band has ever been (if you denote this acts as a branch of stoner that is). Besides these very popular bands, Homme has been a main organizer and contributor to the project series The Desert Sessions, of which most of his former bandmates have made contributions to, and one of the only artists to appear on all ten volumes. I personally don't like any of his side bands, believing them to be too 'poppy,' alternative, and way too far from his beginnings. While all of the other artists have at least kept part of their legacy alive, Homme has gone into the mainstream, shrugging off all of the 'metallic' nuances of Kyuss.

Scott Reeder - Bass (1992–1995)
Although only having a short tenure with Kyuss, Scott Reeder has my respect and praise. His solo album, TunnelVision Brilliance, was really enjoyable and a good continuation of the stoner influences of Kyuss. While not as prevalent on the scene as the others, aside from his solo album, Reeder went on with John Garcia to form the short-lived Unida, and has appeared on numerous groups' albums from all sorts of genres, ranging from the droning nothingness of Sun O))) to the sludge/thrash of Goatsnake, the man has proven his skills on many fronts.

Chris Cockrell - Bass (1988–1990)
The one founding member who hasn't gone on to begin a dozen bands, Chris Cockrell has been focusing on one or two acts, devoting his time to growing these groups' style and sound. After his short stint for Kyuss, appearing only on the Sons of Kyuss demo/LP and two tracks on Wretch, Cockrell went on to Solarfeast, whom only released one LP, Gossamer, in 1995. From there he moved to Chicago and joined Vic du Monte in 2005 and has sense been touring to support the act.

Alfredo Hernández - Drums, Percussion (1995)
While only a member of Kyuss for a year, for 1995's ...And the Circus Leaves Town, Hernández has gone on to work with many of the side projects of the other members. He has played (at least temporarily) with Queens of the Stone Age (with Josh Homme), Brant Bjork and the Bros (with Brant Bjork), Mondo Generator (with Nick Oliveri), and Orquesta del Desierto and is a founding member of both Yawning Man and Ché (also with Brant Bjork).

Bruno Fevery - Guitars (2010–Present)
The most recent addition to the group, Bruno Fevery's claim to fame is being the current guitarist to the revival of Kyuss Lives! as well as playing with John Garcia whenever Garcia went on a 'Garcia Plays Kyuss' tour.

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