Kyuss Lives! Respond to Josh Homme, Scott Reeder's Lawsuit
In March, former Kyuss members Josh Homme and Scott Reeder filed a federal lawsuit against ex-bandmates John Garcia and Brant Bjork over their involvement in the band Kyuss Lives!, alleging "trademark infringement and consumer fraud." The lawsuit came as a surprise to Garcia and Bjork, as well as the band's longtime fans – Reeder actually played some shows last year with Kyuss Lives!, and a YouTube clip appeared to show Homme enjoying a Kyuss Lives! set in France last July.
Homme formed Kyuss with Garcia and Bjork in the late Eighties, with several bass players coming and going (Nick Cocrell, Nick Oliveri, and Reeder) and Bjork eventually being replaced by Alfredo Hernandez. In the process, the band issued several albums that are considered stoner-metal classics: Blues for the Red Sun (1992), Welcome to Sky Valley (1994), and ...And the Circus Leaves Town (1995). After Kyuss split in 1995, Homme went on to form Queens of the Stone Age (which saw him reunite with Oliveri for a spell).
It was announced last year that Garcia, Oliveri, and Bjork would perform Kyuss classics under the moniker Kyuss Lives!, with guitarist Bruno Fevery taking Homme's spot. All seemed merry in Kyuss Lives! land until the aforementioned lawsuit was filed – and to further complicate matters, Oliveri exited the group.
Garcia and Bjork have largely kept silent since the lawsuit's filing, but they recently agreed to answer questions from Rolling Stone over email. Here is the complete exchange:
Did the federal lawsuit filed by Josh and Scott in March come as a surprise?
John Garcia: Completely. Originally, the suit was only filed by Josh. Scott was not even involved; just recently, he has decided to join Josh in the suit.
Brant Bjork: Was I surprised? As far as Scott is concerned, yes, I was very surprised. I wasn't surprised by Josh at all. They don't want to mention that they trademarked the name Kyuss after I left the band, assuring that I had no rights in Kyuss' future. They're both accusing John and I of doing something that they actually did themselves. Their inner conflict is this: both Josh and Scott want control and money from Kyuss Lives!, but they don't want to participate and they ultimately don't want us to exist. The double standard is unbelievable.
Due to Nick's [Oliveri's] personal legal issues, Scott played multiple shows with us last year. The shows were great, the fans were stoked and we gave Scott the salary he asked for, which made him the highest-paid member of the band. We have a lot of respect for Scott as a musician and had a lot of respect for him as a person. Based on the fact that John and I jammed with Nick at Hellfest in 2010, we asked Nick to be the bass player and its quite obvious Scott is bitter about that. Scott's stance is weak and shameful.
In the summer of 1987, I started a band with my best friend, Chris Cockrell. This band would ultimately become Kyuss. Kyuss was a name I found in a Dungeons and Dragons book called Fiend Folio. Kyuss is a big part of my life as a musician, and when someone asks me formal questions about Kyuss, or wants to discuss the band casually, I can't help having a point of view that is naturally inherited by someone who is the original founding member.
Josh filing this lawsuit is not an issue of today … it's an issue that began over 20 years ago. That is why the band was short-lived. Josh and I were the creative force within the band and after the completion of our second record, Blues for the Red Sun, we developed an opposing view on how the band should exist and operate. In 1992 Josh discovered publishing, which is the financial revenue stream for songwriting. After that, he wanted to write all the songs. As a drummer I couldn't make him play my songs. I wasn't going to compromise my heart and soul and play drums for Josh to make money in a band I started. So I left the band. I was a confused, angry and sad 19-year-old idealist who sacrificed my love of my band for what I believed in. Two-and-a-half years later, Josh would break up the band after John confronted him about the same thing; his need to control the band for personal gain.
After Kyuss broke up, Josh started a new band where he could have ultimate control. This band was Queens of the Stone Age, and with this band Josh arrived at the level of success and rewards that he was in pursuit of with Kyuss. It's very clear that Kyuss was not meant to be his vehicle for personal gain. Queens of the Stone Age was the effort that was proper for bringing him his fame and fortune. For years, understandably, there has been a misconception that Kyuss was Josh's band. I assume this is the result of his controlling the songwriting on the remaining records. This untruth has affected Josh's ability to accept historical fact to the point that he truly believes he is entitled to dictate what we do with a band that we are all responsible for. The simple fact that we got the band back together and successfully brought Kyuss back to the people without him has left Josh's ego bruised. Even though I respected the music Kyuss made without me, I swallowed the bitter pill of watching the band carry on after I left, and now Josh is getting a taste. I dealt with that taste by learning the music business and carrying on with new bands and a solo career for the last 18 years. Josh is dealing with this taste by taking John and I to federal court. I've known Josh since I was 10 years old. How a person who has experienced the richness of life that he has would take the time to take his past band members and friends – guys who directly contributed to his ability to go on to have his own successful career – is sad. I feel sorry for him. But no, I'm not surprised. This is a classic conflict fueled by power, control, money and greed and this lawsuit leaves no question who is part of the problem and who is part of the solution.