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Sunday Old School: Desert Rock Virtuosos Kyuss

In 1989, four young men who enjoyed playing Dungeons And Dragons would form a band that has since gone one to become a huge influence on thousands upon thousands of musicians, particularly in the doom and stoner areas of metal. Vocalist John Garcia, guitarist Josh Homme, bass player Chris Cockrell and drummer Brant Bjork formed the band with the original name of Sons Of Kyuss and released their debut EP of the same name in 1989. This would be the bands only release with Cockrell, as he was replaced by Nick Oliveri soon afterwards. The band shortened their name to Kyuss and developed a large following in their home state of California, where they would perform regularly at parties in isolated areas of southern California. These would become known as "generator parties" and included the use of gasoline-powered generators to provide electricity for the equipment.

The band released their first full length album, "Wretch" in 1991 after signing with Dali Records. Several of these songs wre re-recorded versions of songs from the "Sons Of Kyuss" EP that was released two years previous. Many felt the album was a poor showing of the band, owing to the lack of money and production skills. The band were able achieve critical acclaim with their next album however, when they released "Blues For The Red Sun" in June 1992. The success of the album allowed the band to tour as support to Metallica (who had just released the mainstream smash hit Black Album at the time) and perform with other notable bands such as The Obsessed. Nick Oliveri was not part of the touring cycle however, after he left the band shortly following the albums completion, being replaced by Scott Reeder. Kyuss continued their success by signing with major label, Elektra and releasing the classic "Welcome To Sky Valley" album (the album is self-titled, but fans refer to the record by this name.)

Kyuss would suffer the loss of another band member after this album was released, when original drummer Brant Bjork quit the band, citing bad relations between band members and a hatred for touring. Alfredo Hernández stepped in as his replacement and this incarnation of the band recorded their fourth and sadly final album, "...And The Circus Leaves Town," in 1995. The album was once again seen as a masterpiece from critics, particularly the outstanding cover of the Yawning Man song, "Catamaran," but failed to become as commericially successful as the bands previous release. In October of that year, Kyuss decided to call it a day. Ever since their demise, the band has been offered on numerous occassions to reform, although it seems highly unlikely due to the success of guitarist Homme's post-Kyuss band, Queens Of The Stone Age (which also featured Nick Oliveri for a time.)

Kyuss - Green Machine

Kyuss - Phototropic

Kyuss - Catamaran

Kyuss - Whitewater

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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17 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Kyuss"

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iEATbabies's avatar

Member

1. iEATbabies writes:

Truly a kick a$$ band. Wish i got to see them live

# Dec 27, 2009 @ 7:10 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

2. deathbringer writes:

I'm going to have to ban these columns, because they result in me buying more CDs. Kyuss is a band my brother listened to and they just didn't do it for me back in the day, as I was stuck on aggressive thrash and groove metal at the time. Anything slow like this (or Alice in Chains comes to mind) got no play time for me, as I didn't appreciate it. But with a much expanded metal pallete, I enjoy their style quite a bit now.

# Dec 27, 2009 @ 7:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

3. zMETALlica writes:

thanks Ollie! i've been dying to check out this band and never knew what to listen to. reminds me of Clutch (similar genre), but better. I dig it.

# Dec 27, 2009 @ 7:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
goatlady's avatar

Writer

4. goatlady writes:

Man, I would give anything to travel back in time to hear Kyuss play out in the desert - that would be so f***ing cool :)

# Dec 27, 2009 @ 7:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathfreak's avatar

Member

5. deathfreak writes:

Kyuss would have been so cool to see live. The next best thing is qotsa I guess

# Dec 27, 2009 @ 10:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hammerheart's avatar

Member

6. Hammerheart writes:

Wow. Just.. f***ing wow! lol. I've always loved Kyuss, but I had NO idea whatsoever that Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri, Scott Reeder, and Brant Bjork were in this band.. and I've been listening to all of their other material (QOTSA, and Scott and Brant's material on stonerrock.com) all the while.

# Dec 27, 2009 @ 11:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Martin writes:

Great article, Ollie - thanks...!
I saw Kyuss live twice and they blew my mind. Full stop. But I really am scepic about a reunion. Some things should remain a legend.. :-)

# Dec 28, 2009 @ 1:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
KMADD's avatar

Supporter

8. KMADD writes:

Yeah blues for a red sun and sky valley are essential rock cds. DB I sent you a hookup.

# Dec 28, 2009 @ 1:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. Chazz writes:

Awesome article, Oz! I love Kyuss!

# Dec 28, 2009 @ 4:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
cruor's avatar

Supporter

10. cruor writes:

Love Kyuss. sh** Kmadd been awhile since I've seen you around here.

# Dec 29, 2009 @ 12:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

11. Diamond Oz writes:

Cheers for the feedback guys! I only discovered Kyuss early this year but I absolutely love them. Mad cool music.

# Dec 29, 2009 @ 5:21 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
12. Simmons writes:

Check Out Brant Bjork's stuff - Punk Rock Guilt. So cool. The mellow grooving side of Kyuss appears to be his influence.

# Dec 29, 2009 @ 2:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
iEATbabies's avatar

Member

13. iEATbabies writes:

Seriously if any of you f***ers on this website haven't had the auditory pleasure of knowing who Kyuss is, get a hold of the song supa scoopa and the mighty scoop, turn off the lights, tv, whatever could be a distraction and just listen

# Dec 30, 2009 @ 3:38 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
grim's avatar

Member

14. grim writes:

kyuss are great, love reading these sunday old schools need to do one on Pagan Altar

# Dec 30, 2009 @ 4:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. TODDHATESUSALL writes:

I remember reading an article ,back in the day, I think i was Josh they asked what does kyuss mean, or where the name was from, KNOWING YOUR UNDER SOMEONE's SCROTUM,
they were the very first actual SHOW i had scene when i move to MPLS along with white Zombie and headliner DANZIG

# Jan 1, 2010 @ 9:10 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
16. Generator writes:

Kyuss used to be called the Sons of Kyuss back when they were playing desert parties out here (Coachella Valley,CA). They dropped the "Sons of" when they got signed in the early 90's. I think I heard somewhere the name came from a Dungeons and Dragons game.

# Jan 7, 2010 @ 7:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. Well... writes:

Cool, but that's all mentioned in the article.

# Jan 7, 2010 @ 8:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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