Josh Homme’s Kyuss lawsuit is ‘double standard’
Tension: Kyuss in 1992
Former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork has slammed ex-guitarist Josh Homme for taking legal action against the Kyuss Lives project.
The pair co-founded Kyuss in 1987 and were its combined driving force until Bjork left after their relationship broke down. The outfit split in 1995 after which Homme created Queens of the Stone Age.
In 2010 Bjork and singer John Garcia decided to reactivate the old band, and while Homme refused to take part he gave them his blessing. They toured as Kyuss Lives with no issues until discussions began about recording a new album. At that point the former guitarist became unhappy.
In March he filed a federal lawsuit alleging trademark infringement and consumer fraud, arguing that their name suggested a link to Homme which didn’t exist. Bassist Scott Reeder then added his name to the legal action.
But Bjork says the move is the result of Homme having his ego bruised – and an extension of problems which arose in 20 years ago.
The drummer, who points out he named the band, tells Rolling Stone: “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 accusing John and I of doing something that they actually did themselves.
“Their inner conflict is this: Josh and Scott want control and money from Kyuss Lives – but they don’t want to participate, and ultimately don’t want us to exist. The double standard is unbelievable.”
Bjork believes Reeder is bitter that Nick Oliveri became bassist with Kyuss Lives, even though he stepped in when Oliveri’s own legal issues made it impossible for him to appear with the band.
“Scott played multiple shows with us last year,” says Bjork. “We gave him the salary he asked for, which made him the highest-paid member of the band. We have a lot of respect for him as a musician and had a lot of respect for him as a person. Scott’s stance is weak and shameful.”
And he insists the recent turn of events is a continuation of tensions which appeared in the 1990s. “That’s why the band was short-lived,” he says. “Josh and I were the creative force and we developed an opposing view on how the band should exist and operate.
“In 1992 Josh discovered publishing, which is the 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 paly drums for Josh to make money in a band I started. So I left.
“I was a confused, angry and sad 19-year-old idealist who sacrificed my love of my band for what I believed in. Two 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.”
Bjork argues that the idea Kyuss was Homme’s band is a misconception. “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’re all responsible for.
“The simple fact that we got the band back together without him has left his ego bruised. I swallowed the bitter pill watching the band carry on after I left – now Josh is getting a taste.”