By Johnny Firecloud at 8:45 AM Tuesday, July 3rd 2012
The Kyuss band name has been dragged through a legacy-tarnishing conflict that continues to boil and reverberate with terrible consequence, through both the fan community and the musical family that comprised the legendary desert Rock band. The plot thickens this week, as communications between members have been made public, through court records, from the time when continuing with Kyuss Lives was still merely an idea being kicked around.
Kyuss, which consisted of Joshua Homme, Brant Bjork and John Garcia, and later Nick Oliveri, Scott Reeder, Alfredo Hernández and others during its existence between 1988 and ’95, is a cornerstone fixture of desert Rock lore and an often-referenced influence among the few modern Rock heroes worth their weight in stank-ass leather pants. Kyuss’ music set the foundation for Queens of The Stone Age, Mondo Generator and countless other projects, and has long been a source of reverence among fans.
Things got shitty, however, when after a successful live-act revitalization under the Kyuss Lives moniker re-lit the torch without Homme & Reeder (though Scott joined the band on select 2011 dates), discussions began to expand the Kyuss empire in 2012. Steps were allegedly being taken by Bjork and Garcia to establish ownership over the Kyuss name, something which Homme & Reeder were entirely unaware of. This ultimately undermined the arrangement between friends that had allowed Kyuss Lives to operate.
Homme, while previously outspoken in his support for the group, had an apparent change of heart when it became clear that the modern version of the band was planning to record new material and release live material under the Kyuss Lives name, with all the associated – and profitable – merchandising and licensing bells and whistles.
A dispute followed, and Homme filed suit in a race to beat the clock on a trademark deadline that would’ve shifted control to Garcia and Bjork. Reeder soon joined the suit alongside him. Then Garcia and Bjork gave their story to Rolling Stone, and shit snowballed mightily. It was during this time that we gave the mic to Nick Oliveri in a lengthy sit-down interview, and he laid out his side of the equation and why he decided to quit Kyuss Lives.
Last week, Josh Homme and Scott Reeder asked the Los Angeles Federal Court to issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent their former bandmates from using the name Kyuss Lives any longer. What had begun as a supportive environment for a widely celebrated nostalgic run devolved earlier this year into crossed lines, broken agreements and a primary focus on the almighty money hunt. With the record now available to the public, the initial correspondence discussing the band tells an interesting story.
Let’s take a leap back to November 3 of 2010, where emails between Garcia and Reeder indicated a desire to keep all parties content.
Reeder responded with well-wishing enthusiasm, but was already indicating a personal discomfort in the idea of being a part of a new incarnation of Kyuss without everyone involved:
There is a brotherly care and solidarity evident between the men, despite the business discussion at hand, and there was even talk of a traveling mini desert festival with the various bands the members of Kyuss have been involved in:
Garcia signs off with “Josh?” at the conclusion of the third, a clear indicator that Homme’s inclusion would be necessary for such an idea to happen. The court filing does not include any emails from Homme in response to this chain.
This brings us to the present, or at least to March 26, 2012, when Reeder sent an email to Brant and John establishing a concrete understanding of his reasons for joining Homme on the suit. In addition to exposing Brant’s attempts to get Scott to flip on Homme and join the band once more, Reeder identifies Homme’s legal team as the same one that helped Jim Morrison’s estate put an end to the Doors of The 21st Century nonsense that took place a few years back with Ian Astbury fronting the exhumed outfit.
Reeder continues, and his words of support for Josh – as well as the details laid out – tell plenty about the dynamic between the men involved. Finding himself in the unenviable swing vote position in deciding the future of the band, Scott chose to support Josh and the original agreement among the bandmembers:
We like to talk about music. This is an unfortunate situation in a tabloid climate, however, and the spins on the story being published and discussed among message board mercenaries tend to abstract the equation. So we hope you’ll forgive the nuts and bolts of the drama unfolding here, as we attempt to get the straight story.
What better way to do that than read an unfiltered version yourself? Read the full dirt, the entire court statement below, wherein the lawsuit is spelled out plainly:
Thanks to City of Devils for doing the legal legwork.
Finally, lest we forget why we’re really here and how we know these guys’ names in the first place, we’ve got a bit of musical news for you. While working on new Queens of The Stone Age material, Homme has broken a little something off for a new film called The End of Watch, which we’ll see likely by the end of September. Josh’s song – which Dave Sardy produced and has been described as “really beautiful” – may or may not be part of a proper soundtrack to the film, but the new track will be present in some form. And of course, we’ll bring it to you as soon as it’s in our grimy paws.