A lot of people credit KYUSS with being the originators of desert rock. But the members of that band will be the first to tell you that's a huge misconception. That honor belongs to Mario Lalli. Josh Homme, speaking with J. Bennett about "The Making of Kyuss' Welcome to Sky Valley" (available for your reading pleasure from Decibel along with the tales behind 24 other "Extreme Metal Masterpeices"), put it this way:
Every musician from the desert reveres Mario. He's one of the few guys I've ever ripped. I've taken one Hendrix thing that no ever ever seems to notice, a Billy Gibbons thing and a couple things from Mario. He was so original. Every single band Mario has ever been in is about two and a half years ahead of its time. ACROSS THE RIVER is a great example - they broke up, and two and a half years later? Grunge.
Homme's cohort then but not now, BRANT BJORK, added on:
Because Kyuss got signed and left the desert, people think they're the premier desert rock band, but in actuality, the band that probably deserves that title was ACROSS THE RIVER. They influenced me a lot, and I definitely brought that to KYUSS.
That's another fact that seems to get buried over time. Bjork was not just the drummer of that band. His songwriting contributions were a major factor in KYUSS's legendary status. It also makes it even stranger that Bjork will be finishing up his set at Roadburn less than an hour before "Garcia Plays Kyuss", and he supposedly won't have anything to do with it. But Bjork left KYUSS without looking back, going on to lend his trademark sound to FU MANCHU when he joined them for five of their best years before finally embarking on a solo career that keeps getting better. When I want to keep it a bit heavy but not scare off the guests, his solo records are a first option. Despite being quintessentially Californian in style, like Mario, Bjork's primary success today is found in Europe. The disparity in support has reached a point that a local Bjork gig is hard to find. That says something about us.
But this week, the desert stars align for us. Bjork has two LA gigs: a somewhat odd but sure to be fun St. Patrick's Day gig at The Echo (opening for OLLIN who will play THE POGUES' Rum, Sodomy and the Lash) and then a free in-store at Vacation Vinyl at 7 pm on Thursday, both in support of his new record Gods & Goddesses due out March 30th on Low Desert Punk. You can download a track and stream the whole album at the Vans website. Then on Saturday, Mario takes a night off from his restaurant to play the Relax Bar with FATSO JETSON. We've got a pair of tix to give away for that one. The 4th person to contact us at email@example.com wins them.