The Real Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Kyuss Q&A

When Kyuss formed back in 1987, what sort of music was turning you on?

I was getting into The Misfits and The Descendents, but all along I was still getting turned on by ZZ Top and by Earth, Wind And Fire and by a lot of the early-seventies disco.

When did the band first stumble onto the classic Kyuss sound?

I remember Brant Bjork [drummer] saying: “Here are some lyrics. Try fitting them to this song.” So I did. And it was more of a punk rock thing – really wordy and without any melody. Brant goes: “No, no, no. Try singing it like this…” And he sang me this really beautiful, pretty melody. And that’s what got me. They were playing something heavy and hard and mean, with this beautiful lyric and melody over it. It married very well once we got it.

Kyuss and the term ‘stoner rock’ often go hand in hand. What sort of drugs were in the mix for the band back then?

I think there was some recreational use now and then, but we never woke up in the morning and took a bong rip and sat down in the middle of the desert with our acoustic guitars and ate a bunch of mushrooms.

To what extent did living in the desert affect the band’s creative process?

How much of the desert and how much of the nothingness applied to what I was writing? Honestly, I don’t think it came into play.

Kyuss eventually attracted an enthusiastic following in the metal community. As a self-proclaimed punk did you resent that attention?

At the time we did resent that. We didn’t want to be lumped into metal. I think we associated ourselves more with punk rock than anything.

What was the band’s high point?

From Wretch to …And The Circus Leaves Town, to the time we broke up, I look at it as one giant high point.

History has somewhat obscured the fact that Kyuss’s break-up was actually quite amicable.

Josh Homme and I sat down at the Red Barn in Palm Desert, and I looked at him and I said: “Hey, I wanna change some things around in this band…” Before I could even finish saying my piece he looked at me and said: “I think we should break up the band.” And I immediately toasted him and said: “Cheers.”

Do you ever look back and wish it could have gone on a bit longer?

I think that 99.999 per cent of the time, my answer is going to be that breaking up was the best thing that ever could have happened.

What was the secret of Kyuss’s success?

A big part of it was Josh and Brant, and I was very lucky to be a part of that. It was a combination of four guys who just happened to have the same passion for music and who wanted to be in the same room with each other.