Guitarist Discusses the Return of Kyuss, Replacing Josh Homme and New Material
Band Photo: Kyuss Lives! (?)
The era of Kyuss, 1991-1995, produced only four albums, but those albums proved influential enough to crown the band “the fathers of stoner rock.” The group’s vintage amps were ideal for space rock jams and third-eye-expanding psychedelics. Kyuss found the right balance between hard-rocking grooves and mellow, kaleidoscopic slow jams.
Like the title of the group’s second album “Blues for the Red Sun” (1992) suggests, the group also steeped its sound in blues. Vocalist John Garcia sung soulful tones fitting for Delta blues, jazz and even R&B. This album title also described the vibe put forth by these southern California artists. There is certain mellowness, like observing the orange, yellow and blue hues that the sun paints while scraping across the horizon during dusk or dawn.
Kyuss’s sound contained so many features that unsurprisingly caught the ears of so many musicians of the early ‘90s, but one of the greatest attributes remains guitarist Josh Homme’s eclectic style. From his coarse tones to his eccentric use of pedals, Homme’s playing is unmistakable. These guitar tones relay a granular texture that seemed chipped off of one of Joshua Tree’s magnificent rock formations, which may explain the desert rock modifier often bestowed upon the band. Homme’s trademark sound remains true in the band he joined after leaving Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, although more accessible to the radio crowd.
Kyuss was an accessible band. The group was heavy enough to appease metal heads, but with enough melody and infectious rhythm for those without heavy inklings. Metallica and White Zombie recognized the band’s greatness enough to take them on tour. With the release of “…And the Circus Leaves Town” (1995), the group seemed on the verge of hitting it big, but encountered insurmountable obstacles that soon led to the group’s disbanding.
From the period of 1995 to 2010, the members of Kyuss played in a wide range of stoner rock-ish groups such as Slo-Burn, Unida, Eagles of Death Metal, Mondo Generator, and Fu Manchu. Josh Homme has achieved the most success with Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures. Those hooked by Kyuss’s charm sought out these bands, but more often than not, came away disappointed with each band not being Kyuss. Fans wanted the return of Kyuss, especially in the past few years, and fifteen years after going their separate ways, the members of Kyuss have returned.
Reforming in 2010, Kyuss now bears the name Kyuss Lives! Original members John Garcia, Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri return to the fold, while Belgium native Bruno Fevery takes the place of Josh Homme. Fevery recounts joining Kyuss Lives!, “Prior to that [his joining], John Garcia had a project called Garcia Plays Kyuss, which was him—the only original member. We toured throughout Europe. I was involved in that and we also had a Dutch bass player and drummer. At Hellfest 2010, we met Brant [Bjork] and Nick [Oliveri], who joined. That was probably the beginning of the band.”
Replacing Homme is a lofty task for Fevery. Homme joined Garcia as the only member to remain in the band through Kyuss’s brief existence, as well as the first three years when the band called itself Sons of Kyuss and Katzenjammer. Homme’s reluctance to rejoin has proved the biggest hurdle for a Kyuss reformation.
Homme was quoted using the same rhetoric Glenn Danzig uses for not reforming Misfits, Kyuss is a thing of the past, and he just can’t recreate the magic of those days. Fevery echoes Homme’s statement, “Apparently, he’s not interested in revisiting the past.” However he has a different perception, one that makes sense, than that related by Homme in the above link. “He is just not interested in doing it. He is busy with Queens of the Stone Age, Those Crooked Vultures and maybe a lot of other stuff. I think he’s just too busy to be interested in it.”
Although Homme currently expresses no interest in rejoining Kyuss, Fevery made it clear that Homme has no ill-will towards the band and its decision to go on without him. “He’s cool with us doing it. We were in the same building in France somewhere, and he came over and watched part of our show. He liked it, so he’s cool with it, I think.”
In regards to the Kyuss Lives! name, Garcia has stated that the group will never use Kyuss until the return of Homme. Rumors of record label disputes contradict, at least in part, Garcia’s statement. Fevery upholds the label-dispute idea, “I think there were some legal issues involved. I am a new member, so I’m not too familiar with what is going on.” Fevery further comments, “It’s also a cool name since Kyuss has been gone for 15 years or more. It’s like Kyuss lives, we’re back, so it’s appropriate.
Whatever the situation with Homme, record labels and name changes, Kyuss Lives! is ready to carry on the group’s tradition of greatness. Kyuss Lives! toured Australia and New Zealand in the Spring and Europe in June. When asked about these tours, Fevery described them as “great” and “fantastic.” He further added, “Almost every show sold out. We had great crowds and good shows. It was perfect! I had a great time.” Before joing Kyuss Lives!, Fevery toured extensively through Europe and has played shows in Canada and South Africa. Australia and the United States were two brave new worlds for Fevery.
Kyuss starts a North American tour in the middle of September. Additionally, a Kyuss Lives! album will surface in the future. “We’re starting to work on some new songs. We’re just hanging around and starting to work on new music, so I’m excited about that. We are just starting out. We’re really at the beginning of the writing process. Over the last month, we’ve been so busy touring that we really don’t have time. Now, we are just taking the first steps. We will be busy the rest of the year, so it’s going to take a while.”
When asked if the group is going to write songs after their tour, Fevery replied, “Yes, and whenever we can find time when on tour. Everybody has ideas, but we are just starting to present them. We’re not going to push it too hard. We’ll see what happens. It will get interesting when we all get together in one room and work on the new material. Then we are really going to know what it will be like because I don’t know what we are going to come up with. I’m sure it’s going to be great!”
This will be the first time Fevery records with this incarnation of Kyuss, but he’s not having issues learning the material. Even before playing with Garcia in John Garcia Plays Kyuss, Fevery was a fan of the band’s music. He relates his experience as a musician: “I grew up listening to Kyuss. I was a big fan,and all my friends were too. I was in high school bands that used to play Kyuss songs all the time, so I knew the riffs. I learned how to play guitar with those songs. I knew the riffs and structures of the songs.” Fevery went on to state that he was fortunate enough to know these songs and play with a band of such great chemistry.
Listening to Kyuss was not a freak occurrence in Fevery’s native Belgium.
A YouTube video of a recent performance shows a massive, outdoor crowd singing every word. “I’ve been in a lot of different bands in Belgium. It (stoner rock) is very popular, especially Kyuss. They are big in Belgium. We have some good bands of our own in Holland and Belgium. It’s been like that since the early ‘90s.”
Currently living in a hotel in southern California while abiding his time before touring North America, Fevery got a taste of American audiences when the group performed on Fuel TV’s “The Daily Habit.” Unfortunately, this new experience could have been better. “It was ok. It turns out there was this weird problem with things being in-synch. The images were not in-synch with the audio. I’m a little disappointed. I watched it last night at Brant’s house, and we were like, “What is this? It’s very weird.”
Bruno Fevery is probably hanging out with his band mates, hopefully jamming new material. He’s probably anxious to get back on the road and hear the crowd roar “Kyuss.” Kyuss toured with Metallica and White Zombie during its heyday, but were relatively unknown entities, sometimes mismatches, so their greatness really wasn’t grasped. An epoch has passed since the group last released an album or toured North America, so expect the group to gain the amount of attention it always deserved. Even though Homme no longer swings the axe, expect Fevery to not detract from this event that was fifteen-years in the making!
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