Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kyuss Lives! At Toads Place December 8

Sometimes it seems as if a band’s influence trumps its record sales. Okay, maybe this doesn’t apply to the Beatles, but look at bands like the Stooges and the Velvet Underground, who both helped inspire certain forms of music long after their original shot of glory. You can claim that both laid down the blueprint for other musical styles to follow.

When Kyuss busted out of the California desert in the late 80’s/early 90’s, their slowed down and ultra heavy take on hardcore, combined with a deft sense of dynamics and killer songwriting laid down a blueprint for a whole generation of bands to follow.

They released four full lengths, two of which, “Blues For The Red Sun” and “Sky Valley” are considered two of the best heavy rock records of the past 20 years. When they broke up in 1995, people thought little of it, until there seemed to be a resurgence of riff rock in their wake.

It also looked like they would never get back together. All the members of the band went on to other projects. But a spontaneous reunion last year, lead to a re-formation of the band that nobody thought would get back together.

John Garcia (vocals), Nick Oliveri (bass) and Brant Bjork (drums) met at a European festival last year while Garcia was doing his Garcia Plays Kyuss project. He invited his two former band mates on stage; they jammed a bit and decided to make a new go of it as Kyuss Lives! There is one no show though. Guitarist Josh Homme of QOTSA was not involved in the reunion. (Guitarist Bruno Fevery has taken his place.)

“Originally I was doing the Garcia Plays Kyuss thing over in Europe and I ended up at a festival where both Nick and Brant were playing. I invited them onstage to jam and it felt great. So we decided to get together and do some shows in Europe. It made perfect sense to do this. Everybody in the band is putting their other projects on hold to do this,” said Garcia.

What started innocently enough in Europe has extended to two tours of the United States as well as runs in South America and Canada. When they hit Toad’s Place tomorrow, the reformed band will be toward the end of a second leg of United States tour dates.

Suffice to say, Garcia is stoked by the reaction the band has received.

“It’s going really good. I’m just appreciative that people are still psyched to hear this music we made all those years ago,” Garcia said.

This newfound sense of purpose and energy will even lead up to a new a record. It will be recorded next year and they hope to have it out sometime late next year. They are busy writing and when this touring cycle ends in a few days, they are going to take some time off and then reconvene in January to start production on it.

Garcia said he is especially curious to see how this will turn out. He guarantees that the ideas are flowing and that the music will be up to the high standard that the band set for itself many years ago. There are a lot of variables that will go into the making of the new album, but Garcia is confident that the band will deliver a winner.

In the live arena, the band cherry picks the best songs from “Blues For The Red Sun”, “Sky Valley” and “….And The Circus Leaves Town”, and mix it up quite frequently, so some songs get played on certain nights while others don’t. It helps to keep things fresh for the band, and especially for the fans, who don’t know what songs they’ll be getting on their particular night.

As mentioned higher up in the article, when talking about Kyuss, one must also talk about the band’s legacy. This is a band that casts a very large shadow over a certain variety of hard rock that has popped up in the last twenty years. In fact, some would say without the band, the underground music scene would be much different. Garcia understands this but also is careful on what he says concerning this issue.

“When the word legacy gets brought up, I don’t want people to think I’m unappreciative because I’m not. Whatever you want to label the band, I just say we play rock’n’roll. I really don’t mind the term stoner rock anymore. Whatever you want to call it, I’m very appreciative that I’m still able to do this,” said Garcia.

It is understandable that no artist wants to be pigeonholed, because that might seem like they are painting themselves into a corner artistically and give people a false sense of what to expect from them. Still, you have to give him credit, because he isn’t shying away from the “s” rock word, which a certain other member of the original band who is not involved in this resurrection tends to avoid it like the plague. For Kyuss Lives!, embracing their past helps them point to a future for the band.

“It’s been one hell of a year. It’s been great,” said Garcia.

Kyuss Lives!
The Sword
Black Cobra
Curse The Sun

Thursday, December 8
Toad's Place
300 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511

7pm - $23 advance ($25 door) - All Ages

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