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Brant Bjork at the Magic Bag, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

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For a founding father of stoner rock -- a term he doesn't entirely embrace -- Brant Bjork has had a productive career.

He helped start California's Kyuss, the flagship band in the genre, then moved on to Fu Manchu, among others. He released his first solo album, "Jalamanta," 20 years ago (an anniversary edition came out this year) and has kept releasing ever since, under his own name and alongside bands such as the Operators, the Bros, the Low Desert Punk Band. He released a new set, "Jacoozi," back in April.

Bjork's Kyuss Lives! reunion with John Garcia was cut short in court by onetime bandmate Josh Homme, while the subsequent Vista Chino is currently on ice. But Bjork, 46, isn't given up on either as he moves forward making music by any means, and under any moniker, necessary...

Bjork prefers the term desert rock to stoner, since that's where he and Kyuss came from during the late 80s. But even then he's reticent to accept any specific classification. "I think for any artist or musicians there's this need to want to disown or rebel or even kind of depart from your foundation or your roots and not be pigeonholed," Bjork says by phone. "I think even the Beatles were like, 'God, we're just a bunch of dudes from Liverpool...' So as much as I love being from the desert, I was at some point, like, 'I don't want to be known as this desert guy.' But it's there. I was reading a book on New Young, and in the end he was like, 'Well, I did represent the late 60s counter culture.' Sometimes you just have to own it, y'know?"

Bjork is planning to release another wen album next year, which he plans to record this fall and describes as "A quick one that won't take up too much time." His main focus is on "kind of a concept/rock opera" called "Vietnam Rock," which he says is "a fictitious story about a band in California in '65 and how the Vietnam War affected music in that era. It's my interpretation of that whole era, musically. My father and my uncle were Vietnam vets, and some of my friends' dads, so I've always been fascinated with that, and with the heavy music that came out of that era. So it's a combination of all my deepest interests, rolling it all up into one big project. If nothing else I'll really enjoy the process. It's a full-on fantasy project for me."

Despite contentious issues with Homme, now leading Queens of the Stone Age, Bjork hasn't given up on reviving Kyuss Lives! and even getting the original band back together. "We continue to and just recently got some pretty shocking offers for Kyuss Lives! to get back together. The rest of us would love to do it, but...Josh is just not into that. He's a very stubborn person and, to be frank, he's very greedy and kind of egotistical. He won't let us use the name, and he's got us tied up 'cause he's got deep pockets for the lawyers. We're very frustrated, but the rest of us are in talks now about ways we could potential make things go forward -- even potentially confronting Josh. It might be healthy for him to get back involved in Kyuss and go out and play Kyuss songs. It's our roots. We should get back out there and keep it alive."

Brant Bjork and Ecstatic Vision perform Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors at 8 p.m. $20. 248-544-1991 or themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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