By at 8:45 AM Tuesday, July 3rd 2012


Kyuss Emails, Court Documents Tell a Damning Tale

Kyuss, Music


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.


Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. Thank you for a clear cut and insightful article. After reading the Rolling Stone article, I was a little confused about what was going on here and felt like it was a load of garbage put out by Bjork and Garcia’s PR people. It’s too bad these guys can’t all just let what was so amazing remain that instead of tarnishing it with this legal bullshit. I would love to see Reeder, Garcia and Bjork make some new material, but that doesn’t make it Kyuss anymore than if Homme wanted to make something new with Reeder and Bjork.

    Also, a desert tour with all the different acts that spawned from Kyuss would be fucking epic and I would travel across the country to see that shit since I’m sure it wouldn’t hit the east coast.

  2. Tiffany says:

    Geez, I thought my divorce was messy………..

  3. noel says:

    nice scoop on the court docs but i disagree with your interpretation. it seems to me homme is exploiting a loophole in 20 year old contracts to retain control of a band name he isn’t currently using. also, the injunction rests on the argument that somehow kyuss lives playing old kyuss songs will hurt sales of kyuss’ back catalogue, which seems pretty fucking stupid to me. if anything, it would have the opposite effect, surely

    • Matt Smith says:

      I think the issue is less about Homme trying to retain control, more about having it forcefully take from him. What right does Garcia think he has taking the trademark away from the others without consent?

      • noel says:

        for me it’s not so much a question of whether homme is within his rights, because he obviously is. i just don’t find myself sympathising with him in this situation. perhaps i am biased towards bjork/garcia because i prefer their work to homme’s but taking the situation in as fully as i can, it seems like homme is just being a big baby. it’s my opinion, take it for what it is worth

    • Jake says:

      The implication is that people would listen to Kyuss Lives, think it sucks, and not buy any Kyuss records. It’s definitely possible.

    • Chris says:

      The agreement was for ALL of them to be Kyuss. Not one of them, if he sees fit or happens to be running low on cash to be able to just conjure the exalted Kyuss name for a quick buck because his taxes are due. Why do you think there’s the standing pun about how lame it is to see a “Foghat” show. (ie; they played with as much enthusiasm as Foghat live”).. That is to say a band SUCKED.. Now, I have seen Foghat live and it was not a pretty picture. You have a bunch of burnt out old dudes, none of which were ever in the original Foghat, all because precedent was allowed and overlooked until it became too late to stop it. Josh and Scott don’t want that to happen to Kyuss and I’m glad they care.. If Kyuss is going to be honored, it should be done with the approval of all of the members so it won’t be prostituted out by any one member or pretty soon, some guy who once carried their gear will be calling his band something like “Kyuss After Death”, or “Brandt Bjorks KYUSS”… That’s how you preserve the integrity of something that was truly special.

  4. Casey says:

    If even a fraction of this is true, I’d sue the hell out of those guys if I were Josh.
    Bjork left the Kyuss organization, yet continued to pocketed publishing revenue? That’s worth a lawsuit in itself.
    The allegation that Garcia and Bjork were actively trying to keep their expanded recording and touring plans from Homme is alarming, to say the least.
    It sucks that the Kyuss name is being dragged through the mud, but what would you do? Just say, ‘awww, it’s okay bro’, it’s cool. Keep on stabbing me in the back and stealing from me. I don’t have a problem with that.’

    • This says:

      This. There are reasons for legal things like “Partnerships” and exit agreements – so that one day, in the future, this kind of thing is avoided. And some of that backstory is pretty intense. What a drag. I hate when bands just can’t get along. I think it speaks a lot that Oliveri left the ‘reunited’ KL once he got wind of the ‘real plan’

  5. Cut it loose says:

    New era, new name. Stop trashing the legacy. Josh didn’t need to name his band kyuss2 to make a go of it.

    • matt says:

      No but he did need to put out a kyuss/QOTSA split that promoted his new material on the back of kyuss. While Josh and reeder may have had legal right to stop kyuss lives, it all reeks of petty selfishness to me.

  6. Jeremy says:

    This is easy to see right through.
    Josh = huge doucher who in his heart thinks Kyuss is “his” band, so he is going to any level to stop the rest of the guys from anything Kyuss realted. Spolied power hungry washed up (QOTSA is garbage, sorry) druggie with an ego almost unmatched.

    Reeder = almost as bad, having a hissy fit because Nick was picked for this over him. Had he been asked to do Kyuss Lives instead of Nick he would have never joined the suit.

    Pink Floyd went on without Waters, Kyuss can live without Hommes. Seen both Kyuss Lives and QOTSA, and I can tell you with a straight face that Kyuss Lives would blow them off the stage. Fuck Josh.

  7. William says:

    Look at the Bjork/Garcia fanboys getting angry. You sound just like Axl fans vs the rest.

    They should try to prove themselves with a new name and new music – not by riding on the coattails of a legacy laid to rest over a decade ago.

    I still remember the first time I heard about the Garcia vs Garcia plan, but as Garcia Plays Kyuss/Kyuss Lives accepted more shows the plan became forgotten and swallowed by greed.

    Btw, when Oliveri actually manages to quit before getting fired from a band, it speaks volumes.

  8. J says:

    Looking at the comments here is like reading a transcript of a playground fight between a bunch of kids.

    It’s a legal partnership and involves trademarks because unfortunately that’s how music is made and sold as a commodity which – guess what! – you lot bought.

    Well done to those of you that actually bothered to read the documents and comment AFTER reading them, instead of just going ‘This band sucks, this guy’s a douche’.

  9. Diego says:

    I’m eally sad because that name, KYUSS, is becoming something else than what has ever been. Three people want to use that name to fill their own pockets once again (nobody come to me to say otherwise!) whereas the fourth “outsider” member is too proud to accept of playing with three people who already decided to start the “green” machine. Characters. Nothing else. Too many “leds” in a band. In fact, all the members (Olivieri, Reeder, Bjork, Homme and Garcia) have done something else not so band along their own career, isn’t it? There were meant to create something special but not to last in the years. That’s my opinion.
    Diego in Ivy!

  10. tc says:

    Firstly – that this nonsense is even taking place is a total bummer.

    I just finished reading the motion. There seems to be clear and ample evidence that Garcia is acting in bad-faith: After reading the Rolling Stone article etc, I thought he was being spun bs by Kyuss Lives management, but clearly not. Big downer. I saw Kyuss Lives in Glasgow and they delivered.

    I reckon Garcia/Bjork should:
    – fire their management,
    – say sorry to Josh, Scott, and every Kyuss fan
    – pick a new band name
    – build a new legacy

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