Music Review, Kyuss; Blues for Queens and of the Red Stone Age Sun; Part 1 of 3

Ampersand DailyMusic

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song. My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is http://www.songmeanings.net/ so if possible I will use their site almost exclusively. Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review. https://www.spotify.com/us/for-music/ If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there. http://www.youtube.com/

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. Not to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

Lastly, I find that often lyrics listed in the albums inserts and album art are sometimes different from what is actually presented on the song itself. I strongly recommend reviewing the lyrics on Song Meanings and attempting to edit where necessary. This is the first part of a two page review. The reason I have chosen to divide it into two articles is because there is a controversial story to be shared about this band, it’s members, and it’s “intellectual property.” My wordpress page is for both entertainment and also to talk about more serious dilemma’s in the world that I feel are important to talk about. This whole scenario I am going to attempt to tell fits perfectly into the mission of this wordpress and consider this to be one of my more passionate pieces to date. I am not here to offend anyone, but if my opinions do offend you, please share the reasons, I am not closed minded to criticism in any way, so please do share your thoughts below. This albums holds a special place in my heart, along with most of Kyuss’ library. They are not a perfect band, they are not that uber success story that everyone loves to hear about. In fact, just lately, former members sued each other and fought legally for rights to the bands name and music. It is a tragedy in Rock and Roll that breaks my heart. I had the pleasure of seeing the second effort of this bands wonderful premise, straight forward, yet extremely unique blend of stoner rock and what I always felt was a strong mixture of 90’s and 50’s rock. Under the name and guise of the title Kyuss Lives! comprised of three of the four original members and two replacement members, the band toured Europe and the United States playing old Kyuss tracks for fans across the world. This was brought to a halt once they tried to gain the rights to the name “Kyuss” and two former band mates brought a civil suit against Kyuss Lives for copyright infringement.  This band eventually spawned to more successful project of the lead guitarist, Josh Homme, named Queens of the Stone Age, of whom I consider myself a fan of as well. However, the lawsuit has me angry with Mr. Homme at the moment and I do not feel obliged to buy the latest release, even though I want to. For this to happen to two of my favorite bands breaks my heart. Let’s get names out of the way, this is going to be a long, perhaps segmented music review because of my love for this kind of music, and also because of the important legal matters involved. It is perhaps not a unique situation all together, but it does have a bit of notoriety behind it so I feel obliged, being a big fan, to say my two cents here on my WordPress blog. Here is a list of both original cast of musicians Kyuss and of Kyuss Lives! so we can understand who, what, when and where what a little bit better. Each name will lead you to a wikipedia page about each musician.  Kyuss  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss) 1987-1995

Kyuss Lives! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss_Lives!)

2010-Current
I saw Kyuss Lives! in Chicago at The Vic on December 2nd 2011. In March of 2012, Josh Homme and Scott Reeder filed a lawsuit naming his former band mates as the defendants. The lawsuit was filed in federal court under the charge of “trademark infringement and consumer fraud by Kyuss Lives!”  
This is what Josh Homme had to say in a press release. 

“It sucks. To think we went to a meeting in January solely to help them with their request to continue Kyuss Lives! With open arms, we made every attempt to help them continue Kyuss Lives! respectfully. Only to discover while they looked us in the eye, Kyuss Lives! management and band had filed federal documents in 2011 in an attempt to steal the name Kyuss. This is desperately what we were trying to avoid. It’s a sad day for us and for John – but most of all for the fans. What a needless mess.”– Josh Homme

 

Scott Reeder made this post on his facebook page to comment on the situation as well. “Maaaaaaan, I’ve been called every foul name in the book, and all I did was make a choice to stand up to defend and retain small rights that I should be able to keep sacred and unhindered for the rest of my life and beyond. I didn’t have much of a choice: lose all of the rights in two weeks, or keep them forever. I didn’t choose to be in this situation at all — I was forced to react very quickly with a looming deadline, and it’s been rough. I saw people bitterly divided over this stupid stuff… crazy. But the overwhelming support from friends and family was very much appreciated and needed. Thank you.” -Scott Reeder

Kyuss from Dungeons and Dragons game.

Kyuss; D&D Character

http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kyuss

Disciple_of_Kyuss

Disciple of Kyuss; D&D Character.

http://ddadventuresystem.wikia.com/wiki/File:Disciple_of_Kyuss.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyuss_(Greyhawk)

The above pictures and links are there to provide the fact that it was not Josh Homme who invented the name Kyuss, not even a little bit. So I have to ask myself, why didn’t the “true owners” of this character, name, and likeness not come forward when Kyuss was first formed to begin with? All I have to go on is a theory, but I imagine that certain people view sharing ideas and information differently than others. I have heard a lot of fans say that just because Josh Homme and Scott Reeder didn’t have to sue, doesn’t mean they should just let the members of Kyuss Lives walk all over them. That said, it still remains they could have chosen to let this go in favor of a friendship, for the fans sake, and also for the survival of a band that is beloved by many people. Allowing something you worked really hard on to continue to live on with your former band mates and friends to me would seem to please most people I know, especially considering the level of success Josh has gained for himself with Queens of the Stoneage. It’s easy to take the route where just because it’s legal, means he could and should have sued, but I honestly believe everything would have been much better if Josh Homme would have let this go and let his former work continue to live on. He should consider the fact that Wizards of the Coast nor Hasbro gave him any legal trouble when Kyuss first hit the scene. He and his band mates were able to create music that inspired a whole bunch of people based on a characters name that was lifted from a campaign in the table top game of Dungeons and Dragons. To me, this is hypocritical of him to sue.

Brandt Bjork had this to say in an interview with Rolling Stone.

“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.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kyuss-lives-respond-to-josh-homme-scott-reeders-lawsuit-20120521#ixzz2XyikRlGM 

Before moving on I’d just like to say that I admire all of these musicians for their extremely creative and talented attributes. Their music, even their side projects, have inspired me to learn more about music in general and have even helped me get through tough situations by providing me with amazing music to inspire the best in me to come out and shine, like all good music should do. I realize my opinions don’t really hold sway over the situation, but I think it’s important to share our opinions openly so despite having the unpopular opinion here, I side with Kyuss Lives! in this situation. Mostly due to the fact that they at one time were all friends and if I were in Josh Homme’s shoes I would be happy to let my old band mates and friends use the name Kyuss and even claim it as their own. Simply because they were there from the beginning too, they helped create the project and made it into the band all the fans still love today. I would have been happy to know that something I was heavily involved with was going to see new light and perhaps have a second chance to take off. I realize there are monetary concerns here, but sometimes money shouldn’t be what’s important. Again, this is just my opinion on how I believe I might have handled the situation. Considering both Josh and Scott both enjoy very much alive music careers, especially Josh with Queens of the Stoneage being as popular as they are. This should have been a situation where he could sit back and enjoy the fact that his creativity has allowed his friends to enjoy the benefits of working with him on something that many fans still hold on to. 
Obviously I have a biased opinion on this because I really just love Kyuss, the band, and am sad that the project simply cannot continue because of money. I’m not sure how I would react if I were Josh Homme in this situation, perhaps the same way, perhaps not. I understand that Brandt Bjork and John Garcia attempted to claim ownership of the name “Kyuss” as well, and I think that’s just as wrong as Josh suing them for it, but at least Brandt acknowledges where the name actually comes from in his interview with Rolling Stone. Josh to me, along with Scott Reeder, seem to have done this simply because they could. It’s not as if John Garcia and Brandt Bjork weren’t there from the very beginning or anything like, this isn’t a perfect stranger coming along and stealing material right out from under Josh and Scott. It’s as if I’m supposed to forget that John and Brandt had EVERYTHING to do with Kyuss as a band becoming a reality. Josh and Scott definitely played their part, Josh more so than perhaps anyone else which is why I say, if I were him, I would have been more than happy to let Brandt and John continue to play old Kyuss songs under the name Kyuss and generating a buzz for the band as they continue on to make new albums. I know the objection to my argument is obviously that Brandt and John filed for ownership over the name, but like I said
I realize by now this is old news, but it presents me an opportunity to express a concern I have about intellectual property while also reviewing one of the best rock albums from the 90’s that I feel not enough people have heard. When listening to this album, please ask yourself, if you think it is of high quality. Should anyone own an idea? More specifically, should anyone, myself included, be allowed to force others to pay them for using an idea that either resembles their or is a direct copy of their idea? I think force in any situation is bad and that if you have to use it, your ideas are wrong to begin with. But that is just my humble opinion and you did not come here to read a bunch of band drama, or maybe you did, nevertheless this part of the article has run it’s course and I feel it is time to start the actual album review. Which you will find in Part 2 as soon as it’s finished. 

We are not done here!

Devil’s Advocate:

I am writing this into this article because after some serious thinking, there is another angle to be considered here. I have a strong emotional connection to Kyuss which could blind me from anything outside of allowing the project to continue unobstructed. That is why I have added this section to the article, to provide a train of thought that contrast what I personally want and gives Josh Homme and Scott Reeder my benefit of doubt. They claim that John and Brandt tried to file for ownership over the name Kyuss. If that is the case I have to send some negativity towards John and Brandt because of how I feel about intellectual property. Again, why didn’t the originators of the name Kyuss, at Wizards of the Coast ever sue anyone when Kyuss the band gained their popularity in the early and mid-90’s? This goes back into what I said previously that perhaps some people in this world view things differently, what a surprise right?

Please come back for part 2 if you are interested in hearing an alternative view point that perhaps contrast what I’ve said here. 
Thank you for reading! 

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