Ex-Queen of the Stone Age and occasional TMZ star Nick Oliveri has decided to quit the current, troubled incarnation of Kyuss, and re-focus on his band Mondo Generator.
Queens frontman Josh Homme’s fierce dismissal of Oliveri in 2004 has been gossiped into the ground, as has the occasional restraint unfortunately forced upon the manic rocker by Johnny Law. Yet this is the first time Oliveri has voluntarily walked away from a band, and it comes as a surprise even in light of the lawsuit that has been brought against the current incarnation by original members Homme and Scott Reeder. At the end of the day, it’s assumed that the legal battle is a battle over a name, and as the so-called “Kyuss Lives!” lineup plans to enter a studio this fall to begin recording a new album, this additional schism was hardly predictable.
When we learned of Oliveri’s decision, we invited him to sit down with us, but our agenda was made clear: Get comfortable, and order some drinks, because we’re going there. The drugs. The allegations of domestic abuse. The lawsuit. The so-reported armed standoff with the LA SWAT team that led to his arrest last July, which could ultimately find him in prison. And getting fired from Queens. (“I would have axed me, too.”) While we’re at it, let’s throw in the $100 “meet and greet” packages that have done nothing to alleviate suspicion among fans that the rehashing of Kyuss is anything more noble than a petty cash grab. (“I don’t feel comfortable at all [doing that], I never did. Talk about the most awkward feeling in the world…”)
My own personal expectations, walking in, were cynical. I considered, as I always do, all of the different ways the night could go bad: He might show up high. He might lie to me… Do I know enough to catch him if he does? Am I really going to ask a madman like Nick Oliveri direct, personal questions about hitting women? If so, after how many drinks? Better intentions have led to fist fights.
Fortunately, our Devil couldn’t have been more gracious. There’s a nobility in his decision to part ways with John Garcia and Brant Bjork, and there’s a humility in his acceptance of what he seems to consider cosmic punishments his indiscretions have brought. He rambled his ass off, but he was real. And we got some answers.
The night has been distilled down to this 20 minute documentary, digging into all of the aforementioned topics, sorting fact from rumor, and allowing Oliveri to explain his perspective on Kyuss as well as his decision to leave. And as each layer of the story is peeled back, the horns shrink, and Oliveri manages to creep inch by inch out from under the reputation that has occasionally overshadowed his abilities and passion as a musician.
Mondo Generator is planning shows with the three-piece configuration of Nick, Hoss, and Ian Taylor behind their fourth full length album. That album, to be called Hell Comes To Your Heart, was recorded at Josh Homme’s studio and at Thunder Underground in Palm Springs, where Harper Hug produced, and is now being mixed for an expected 2012 release. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, Nick has sent over an exclusive preview, the new and previously unreleased track Hang ‘Em High:
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Devil artwork by Steffen Winkler.
Much thanks to the always classy Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub in West Hollywood for hosting us on short notice. If you like smashing guitars and drinking whiskey, you might want to join the Black Eye Society at rnrpub.com.