KYUSS didn’t just inhabit a genre – they created the stoner rock branding.
They were, and are, the original and best.
Now, 15 years on from their demise, nearly all the band is back and ready to whip up a sandstorm with a European tour next month.
Sammy Jones spoke to bleary-eyed bassist Nick Oliveri about the return of the legendary troupe...
Nick left Kyuss a couple of albums before their split, but would later resurface with Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme in Queens of the Stone Age.
They were titans, cool cats, original beasts… and then the QOTSA partnership ended with plenty of animosity.
Josh isn’t involved in this reformed line-up (guitarist Bruno Fevery is filling the gap), but the bad blood is gone too.
“A few days before Kyuss started rehearsing I was at Josh’s studio for four days or so,” Nick starts.
“He’s cool, but he’s doing his own thing, and is more than busy with the studio and three bands.
“I don’t think he has a lot of time for much more, but he has been awesome about it all.”
This Kyuss reassembly, ‘Kyuss Lives’, came on the festival trail, when Nick, drummer Brant Bjork and singer John Garcia and their respective bands were performing at the Hellfest Festival. The audience went wild when the members hit the stage together.
“There was the wish or the hope in my little head that I was gonna get up there and jam with them,” Nick says.
“I’ve known them all a long time, and I love the music, they are my brothers. It was something I was hoping for, for sure.
“It felt right that day on the stage, and it still feels right today.
“It’s all new for me, really – because I didn’t play on the last albums, a lot of the songs are new to play, and the stuff I did play on I haven’t played in such a long time.
“It’s all new and I think it will be that way for a lot of people who didn’t get to see it when it was happening way back when.”
And Kyuss is one of those bands that thousands claim to have seen, eh?
“There were a lot of people that did see them, but we run into guys in Australia and they say ‘I saw Kyuss touring with Metallica and you were in the band.’”
He laughs: “I’m like ‘Dude, I was out of the band by then, I don’t know what you are talking about.’
“I’m sure there are people that saw them and that’s a cool thing, but it’s a rare thing and I get guys younger than me telling me they saw that and I’m like ‘OK, dude…’”
While this tour is very much a celebration of the past, Nick won’t rule out the possibility of new material emerging in the future: “If it happens, it happens and personally I hope it does.”
As far as expectations go, this Kyuss Lives road-crawl will see the band playing to bigger venues than they did at their peak. Testament to their legend.
But there is a pressure there too…
“It’s a good thing and makes me want to play the best I can.
“It definitely lights a fire under our butts.”