As you may recall, fans were shocked to learn that Josh Homme and Scott Reeder had filed a lawsuit against their former bandmates in the revamped Kyuss Lives! last March. As if that wasn’t enough, bassist Nick Oliveri announced he had left the group. And while singer John Garcia and drummer Brant Bjork (who were directly named in the suit) released a brief statement regarding the matter, the two recently took part in an email interview with Rolling Stone further explaining their side of the argument and Oliveri’s departure.
In the interview with Rolling Stone, the two proclaimed that in no way did they attempt to “steal” the name Kyuss. When asked whether they were at all surprised by the lawsuit, Bjork said he wasn’t surprised by Homme’s involvement and that “both Josh and Scott want control and money from Kyuss Lives!, but they don’t want to participate and they ultimately don’t want us to exist.” Bjork further went on to say the following:
“Josh filing this lawsuit is not an issue of today … it’s an issue that began over 20 years ago. That is why the band was short-lived. Josh and I were the creative force within the band and after the completion of our second record, Blues for the Red Sun, we developed an opposing view on how the band should exist and operate. In 1992 Josh discovered publishing, which is the financial revenue stream for songwriting. After that, he wanted to write all the songs. As a drummer I couldn’t make him play my songs. I wasn’t going to compromise my heart and soul and play drums for Josh to make money in a band I started. So I left the band. I was a confused, angry and sad 19-year-old idealist who sacrificed my love of my band for what I believed in. Two-and-a-half years later, Josh would break up the band after John confronted him about the same thing; his need to control the band for personal gain.
After Kyuss broke up, Josh started a new band where he could have ultimate control. This band was Queens of the Stone Age, and with this band Josh arrived at the level of success and rewards that he was in pursuit of with Kyuss. It’s very clear that Kyuss was not meant to be his vehicle for personal gain. Queens of the Stone Age was the effort that was proper for bringing him his fame and fortune. For years, understandably, there has been a misconception that Kyuss was Josh’s band. I assume this is the result of his controlling the songwriting on the remaining records. This untruth has affected Josh’s ability to accept historical fact to the point that he truly believes he is entitled to dictate what we do with a band that we are all responsible for. The simple fact that we got the band back together and successfully brought Kyuss back to the people without him has left Josh’s ego bruised. Even though I respected the music Kyuss made without me, I swallowed the bitter pill of watching the band carry on after I left, and now Josh is getting a taste. I dealt with that taste by learning the music business and carrying on with new bands and a solo career for the last 18 years. Josh is dealing with this taste by taking John and I to federal court. I’ve known Josh since I was 10 years old. How a person who has experienced the richness of life that he has would take the time to take his past band members and friends – guys who directly contributed to his ability to go on to have his own successful career – is sad. I feel sorry for him. But no, I’m not surprised. This is a classic conflict fueled by power, control, money and greed and this lawsuit leaves no question who is part of the problem and who is part of the solution.”
In addition to discussing the lawsuit, Bjork and Garcia revealed that longtime friend Billy Cordell (seen in the picture above) will be their new bassist. As to why Oliveri left the group, Garcia claimed he didn’t like “the inner workings of Kyuss Lives!,” while Bjork shared the following:
“I honestly don’t know exactly why Nick left the band. My speculation is that he became overwhelmed with the lawsuit in combination with his personal legal issues, and it was simply too much for him to manage. Nick has mended his friendship with Josh over the years, and that, combined with his love of Queens of the Stone Age … I think he just couldn’t stand to be caught in the middle of everything. Nick did not play a major role when he was in Kyuss, but he played a very important role in Queens of the Stone Age. He is still brokenhearted over being fired from the band. His heart is still with Queens. Now, with all this mess, I believe Nick simply didn’t feel his time and energy was worth it, so he gave up.”
Didn’t play a major role when in Kyuss? Interesting to hear Bjork say this, considering that he himself told us back in September that Kyuss Lives! “wouldn’t work” without Oliveri or Reeder (who filled in numerous times last year). However, the drummer did address such comments, saying:
“I made a statement last year that without Nick or Scott, Kyuss Lives! wouldn’t work. This statement was a show of respect directed to Nick, Scott and the fans. I now have decided that Kyuss Lives! can and will work without Nick or Scott, and this is a show of respect towards John and me. For them to be denied the opportunity to participate in the beginning would, of course, have been disrespectful. But for them to individually not want to participate and expect John and I to sit down, that’s straight up not cool.”
Bjork also revealed that they actually offered Reeder the chance to permanently replace Oliveri following his departure. While the legal battle seems to be continuing on, Bjork and Garcia make it clear that Kyuss Lives! will continue on as well. You can read their entire interview with Rolling Stone online.