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Kyuss ( KAI-us) was an influential American stoner rock band, originally from Palm Desert, Californiamarker. After forming in the late 1980s and releasing an EP under the name Sons of Kyuss in 1990, the band shortened its name to Kyuss. Over the next five years the band released four full-length albums before splitting up in 1995.

The band's only continuous members were vocalist John Garcia and guitarist Josh Homme, but also featured Brant Bjork, Scott Reeder, Alfredo Hernandez, Chris Cockrell, and Nick Oliveri. Since then, members of Kyuss have gone on to form or play in several notable bands including Queens of the Stone Age, Fu Manchu, Unida, Brant Bjork, Eagles of Death Metal, Mondo Generator, Hermano, Slo Burn and Them Crooked Vultures.


As Sons of Kyuss (pre-1990)

The band formed in the late 1980s under the name Sons of Kyuss. The name was taken from a creature found in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. In 1989 the band recorded their eponymous debut EP, Sons of Kyuss, which was their only release to feature Chris Cockrell on bass. After self-releasing the EP in 1990, the band recruited Nick Oliveri – who had previously played second guitar in Katzenjammer – to replace Cockrell on bass, and shortened their name to Kyuss.

As Kyuss (1991–1995)

Kyuss' first line-up consisted of vocalist John Garcia, guitarist Joshua Homme, bassist Nick Oliveri and drummer Brant Bjork. The band gradually built a local following in Palm Desert, California and frequently performed at parties in and around the isolated towns of Southern California's desert areas. These impromptu and predominantly outdoor shows, referred to locally as "generator parties", consisted of small crowds of people, beer drinking, and the use of gasoline-powered generators to provide electricity for the equipment. Homme commented that playing in the desert "was the shaping factor for the band" noting that "there's no clubs here, so you can only play for free. If people don't like you, they'll tell you. You can't suck."

The band then signed with independent record label Dali Records, who released their debut album, Wretch, in September 1991. Several songs on the album were re-recorded versions of those that appeared on the Sons of Kyuss EP. Under-produced and poorly financed, the album was a poor representation of the "Kyuss sound", and it ultimately depicted a young band still searching for its true musical identity. Album sales were sluggish, though the band was quickly making a name for itself as a live act. Guitarist Josh Homme soon gained a reputation for his unique downtuned, psychedelic style of guitar playing, and his convention of playing electric guitars through bass guitar amplifiers to create a bass-heavy sound.

In 1992, the band, along with new producer Chris Goss, began work on their next album, Blues for the Red Sun. Goss understood the band, and was able to accurately capture their live sound in the studio. Released in June that year, the album was critically hailed and is today widely regarded as a pioneering stoner rock record. By the end of 1993, they were invited to open nine dates for Metallica touring Australia. Comparisons to stoner rock godfathers Black Sabbath became common, though Homme claimed to have little prior knowledge of the band. Bassist Oliveri left the band following completion of the album and Scott Reeder, who had been approached about joining Kyuss five-to-six months earlier during a West Coast tour with The Obsessed, made his debut at the release party for Blues for the Red Sun.

The band then took the next step and signed with major label Elektra Records after Dali Records hit financial problems, and released a self titled album in 1994. Originally intended to be titled Pools Of Mercury, the album commonly came to be known among fans as Welcome to Sky Valley. The album, once again produced by Chris Goss, received critical acclaim and, musically, demonstrated a much more psychedelic and mature sound. However, personal problems emerged and drummer Brant Bjork left the band following completion of the recording sessions. Bjork cited his extreme distaste for touring and band relationship problems that disintegrated out on the road from this. He was replaced by Alfredo Hernández, who had played with Reeder in the band Across the River during the mid-80s. In July 1995, they released their fourth and final album, ...And the Circus Leaves Town. The album was not as successful commercially as Sky Valley, though a video was made for "One Inch Man", the album's only official single. Artistically, the album was a success, and demonstrated a subtle progression of the band's heavy, psychedelic sound.

Shortly after its release, Kyuss decided to disband in October of that year.

Post-break up (1996–present)

Shortly after the break up, Homme toured as the rhythm guitarist with The Screaming Trees, and began work on the The Desert Sessions series, which continues to this day. In December 1997, a transitional split EP was released, featuring three songs by Kyuss ("Into The Void" (a Black Sabbath cover), "Fatso Forgotso" and "Flip the Phase") and three by Queens of the Stone Age ("If Only Everything", "Born to Hula" and "Spiders & Vinegaroons"). Homme and Hernandez formed Queens of the Stone Age in 1998, and recruited Oliveri as bassist after completion of their debut album.

Hernandez later played with Fatso Jetson, Che and Yawning Man, while Oliveri later formed the band Mondo Generator, named after the only Kyuss song credited solely (words and music) to him. Drummer Brant Bjork went on to form the band Brant Bjork and the Bros, recorded and performed with Fu Manchu and Mondo Generator, and has recorded several solo albums.

John Garcia went on to form Slo Burn, although the band was short-lived and released only one EP, Amusing the Amazing, before disbanding in September 1997. He was also briefly associated with the band Karma to Burn. In 1998, he began working with the bands Unida and Hermano, and with each he has recorded two albums. Garcia has more recently been working on a solo album.

In 2000, a compilation album, Muchas Gracias: The Best of Kyuss, was released. The album is a collection of the band's singles, as well as B-sides and live material.

Although Kyuss left behind some "rarities", many of them were released on Muchas Gracias, and further releases from the band appear unlikely. Singer John Garcia told in a 2005 interview:

In 1997, Homme, Bjork, and Oliveri recorded three songs together ("13th Floor", "Simple Exploding Man", & "Cocaine Rodeo") for Mondo Generator's debut album Cocaine Rodeo, released in 2000. Also featuring Garcia and producer Chris Goss on one track, the songs are considered by many fans as the true final Kyuss recordings.

Possible reunion

Since the band's breakup in 1995, there has been frequent and persistent speculation among fans regarding the possibility of a Kyuss reunion. When asked in late 2004 about whether the band would ever re-unite, Homme replied that this was unlikely to happen in the near future. However, on December 20 2005, Garcia made a guest appearance onstage with Queens of the Stone Age during their encore at the Wiltern LGmarker in Los Angeles. They performed three Kyuss songs together: "Thumb", "Hurricane" and "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop". The band has reportedly received numerous offers to re-form, all of which have been turned down:

Scott Reeder also commented on a possible Kyuss reunion in early 2008, saying "I think everyone but Josh would do it in a heartbeat". This is due to Homme's commitments with his current band. Reeder also noted that he would "do it for free beer again".


Kyuss personnel
Dates & releases Members & prominent instruments Notes

The band was known as "Katzenjammer" at this time.

Sons of Kyuss
  • John Garcia – vocals
  • Josh Homme – guitar
  • Chris Cockrell – bass
  • Brant Bjork – drums
The band was known as "Sons of Kyuss" at this time.

Wretch and

Blues for the Red Sun
  • John Garcia – vocals
  • Josh Homme – guitar
  • Nick Oliveri – bass
  • Brant Bjork – drums
First line-up as "Kyuss".

Welcome to Sky Valley
  • John Garcia – vocals
  • Josh Homme – guitar
  • Scott Reeder – bass
  • Brant Bjork – drums

...And the Circus Leaves Town
  • John Garcia – vocals
  • Josh Homme – guitar
  • Scott Reeder – bass
  • Alfredo Hernández – drums
Last line-up before disbanding.

Studio albums


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