Brant Bjork doesn’t need any introductions. He’s been a member of legendary bands such as Kyuss and Fu Manchu and has also made some serious work going on with his personal band. A true rock figure who never went in or out fashion because he doesn’t care about fashion or trends. It’s only rock n’ roll that matters to him. His continuous flow of work for almost twenty years proves this fact.
As if he’s coming from another time when things were simpler when talking about rock music, it’s interesting to hear him talking about his own work and the things that are going on in the music industry. As we were talking about his experiences so far with Kyuss Lives, his future plans with his own personal band, it’s easy to understand that rock is Brant’s life, not work. Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, Mr. Brant Bjork…
* You can also listen to the audio format of the interview here.
So Brant I think you’ve been resting for a couple of days after a big tour so far. From what I’ve seen Kyuss Lives’ tour starts again on May 4th am I correct?
Yeah, May 4th in Australia.
I think that the tickets for most of your gigs both past and present over these months have been sold out, the attendance has been great. How does this affects you and the rest of the band?
Well, first its fantastic. Youre always excited to see a sold out show, to see people come out and get enthusiastic about the show itself and the tour and its also interesting because, you know, throughout the years we all worked individually, been told how people have come to really love Kyuss and surely weren’t doing sold out albums back in the day, any incarnation of the band never did sold out shows, so it’s really exciting how people have come up to love Kyuss over the years.
I’ve also been in a Kyuss concert. There’s only one person misssing from the original line up of the band. I am talking about Josh. Even if he was sort of replaced by a great guitarist, many people miss him. Will we ever know why he didn’t join the band?
That’s a question for Josh. I don’t know why and, to be honest, it’s not super important to me. At this point of my career and my life, I’m very excited to be back with the guys, playing Kyuss music and I’m equally excited to be playing with Bruno. I know that a lot of fans might be wanting all four of the original members but that’s something I don’t have any control of. Of course Josh has every opportunity to be part of it and if he chooses that, well, what can we do?
For many years it was difficult for a European band to break the barrier and tour in the States. We’ve seen that it was also difficult for an American band to tour in Europe. Over the last years, especially in Greece, we’ve seen bands that we couldn’t imagine of like Kyuss, Clutch, Electric Wizzard and Pentagram. Has it become easier to tour in Europe, did you see any increase of support here that made American bands to come in Europe and make successful tours?
I think things have just evolved over the years and they’ve evolved to a place where American bands and European bands are able to participate in the European market, even trying to reach for shows in the Eastern block of Europe. You know South Americans are getting bands that are our level and you know, it has something to do with the particular genre of music, you know, heavy rock, stoner rock, stoner doom, whatever you call it, there might just be more of a demand for this music in particular. I know that the United States are still a very difficult market but that has not something to do with the type of music. It’s more economics and business and the structure of how these things set in the States. It’s a lot like England, it’s very saturated, the corporate dollars run things and if you try to do anything on a street level, it can be very difficult to make things happen.
You, Garcia, Oliveri and Homme have participated in many great projects and have made records with these bands. The flow of inspiration and lust for good rock music must be continuous right?
Yeah, of course, we all love rock music and we dedicate ourselves to help rock music stay alive and little forward.
I mean, from the moment you started your career, luckily you’ve never been out of job, there’s always demand for your music.
Yeah, I think there’s always a demand for rock music. I think rock, rock n’ roll or pop rock or heavy metal or any of those genres, I kind of look them as cousins of each other and they’ve always been in demand, they never truly died. They’re not always the most popular music in any particular market but it’s always there, people always want them, wanna rock out and you know we enjoy creating this type of music. It’s what we grew up on and I see a positive future for all of us.
Let’s talk about your own plans. Your personal band made a great record in 2010, “Gods and Goddesses”. What can your fans expect from you in the near future, given the fact that Kyuss are rumoured to make a new record soon?
Well I am halfway through on a new record and I’ve got a side project called “Jacuzzi” and it will be an instrumental record, I’ve got two instrumental records set for release this year and of course there is a new solo record that is set for release in the spring of next year or next summer the latest. You know, I’m staying very busy with my own projects as excited as I am to be back with Kyuss and for the new record. I’m still very busy and motivated with my solo work and I’ll be back playing solo shows in Europe next year.
Is the rest of the band affected by this fact? I mean, Oliveri has his own band, Garcia has also made some serious work with Unida and Hermano. I think all these have to be put aside in order to focus on one thing and make something great or is it possible to it all at them same time.
We are all busy with our own individual projects but we are all aware of the fact that we’ll have to do some serious time management in order to nurture our solo work and also give Kyuss what it needs to sustain a new life. So, you know, it’s just a matter of us to make sure that we give everything in order to not neglect one or the other. We are all excited about our own work and our work with Kyuss so there’s a lot of motive that’s fueling everything. I think we’ll be just fine, we’ll pull it off, no prob.
Have you made any material yet, is there any new stuff with the rest of the band?
With Kyuss no, we just collectively decided to make a new record about a week or two into the new tour. We’ve jammed a little bit but we haven’t come up with any new songs or particular musical directions. We’ve worked on our chemistry but we’re very excited, we feel comfortable playing together, I think there’s a great natural chemistry there and I just feel a lot of good music.
We saw in Greece, on 25 March and we will also see Kyuss Lives in a few months during the Rockwave festival. Given the fact that in many years we didn’t have the chance to enjoy a Kyuss gig, how did those two gigs come up so soon?
To be honest, I don’t know the answer to that question. A lot of the tours and the festivals is supply and demand. We are asked to do a show and we do it, it’s just the outcome of offers coming in and we say yes.
After so many years, when looking at the audience of a gig, did you see old people or younger, did you see new fans of Kyuss coming in?
The most exciting thing of this tour was seeing the new generation coming in. I was really surprised to see younger kids coming out to the show and having said that, I also saw older people as well. The crowd was a mix of two, three maybe even four generations of rock n’ roll fans and for me, you just can’t beat that, that’s awesome.
You have also participated in another band, Fu Manchu. Do you have any connections with the rest of the band until now? How they’ve been doing?
I actually haven’t stayed too much in contact with the Fu Manchu guys. I mean, we’re still very good friends we still have respect for each other. I talked to Bob the guitar player and I’ll talk to Scott, the singer, every once in a while but really we’ve been so much busy in our own individual paths, we haven’t stayed in touch too much unfortunately.
And as far as we are concerned about your new record with your own personal band, do you have anything to say about its musical directions will it be the same or something will change?
I’m recording a lot of music at my house out in the desert. I am using all analog gear like I’ve always done and I am going for a more raw, live recording. It will certainly be rock music. It’s definetely more in a rock direction but I am really excited with what I’ve got so far, it’s going to be great stuff.
May I wish you all the success in everything you do, anything to say to your fans in Greece and worldwide?
Thanks so much for the support all over the years, I’ve worked so far to sustain a life and music and I do everything to provide everyone with what I feel is good honest rock n roll and as long as they’re supporting me I’ll keep making music for them.
Ok thank you for having you on board Brant. Its been an honour.
Interview by: Chris “Wild Child” Zarkadakis.