I have thought about this particular case a lot since it’s happened. I know one of the reasons why is because I just absolutely love Kyuss’ music. Anything that tarnishes the awesome music they produced makes me feel a bit angry at those responsible and I have an emotional reaction to it. This part of the 3 part article is to install a sense of contrast. Perhaps I am wrong for feeling the way I do in some ways and I believe in challenging yourself in order to understand yourself better. To know why you feel the way you feel and to learn whether or not your initial reaction to a situation is a factually correct reaction to have. This case, as a whole, provides a lot of very important lessons one can use in other areas of life and for that reason, I chose to go into great detail and write a blog entry about the case in order to both share the story and also hopefully grow my understanding of ideas like “intellectual property”.
When this case first hit the web, my initial reaction was to throw my anger towards Josh Homme and Scott Reeder. That anger has the potential to be misappropriated because as Josh and Scott point out, Brandt and John filed papers as well, to claim ownership over the name sake Kyuss. This goes against my idea of intellectual property as well so why should I just be angry with Josh and Scott? After thinking about this further I’ve discovered I now feel quite differently about everything that happened. I find myself dividing that initial frustration unto Brandt and John as well. Why do they all believe that they should own Kyuss? Don’t they remember the excitement that came with writing and performing those songs? Has their successes and failures in life lead them to forget what it was like to be a fan of your favorite rock and roll band? Is it no longer about the fun, joy, and challenge of creating something special with their given talents in order to embrace the cold confines of financial security and ownership of ideas? Looking at the picture below, it makes me realize that at one time all these guys were friends, band mates, and colleagues. Somewhere along the line, something must have happened between them that lead to all this. That said, maybe, just maybe, something else can happen to lead to another fully fleshed out Kyuss project down the road. Though I’m not getting my hopes up.
Perhaps then there is an alternative way for someone like myself to view such a tragic situation such as this. I don’t have to like that Kyuss is no longer going to ever exist or perform any of their classics or create anything new for audiences to enjoy and pay for. It’s all about the money to all of these men when it comes to Kyuss it seems. Though I did appreciate being able to see Kyuss Lives! for the last time and I appreciate the effort of continuing Kyuss by Brandt and John I find I must place some blame on them as well for not trying to work harder with Josh and Scott on finding a private resolution to this situation. While I still disagree with Josh and Scott’s lawsuit, I can say now that I understand why they did what they did. I just wish everyone involved could have found an agreement and not ruined one of the greatest unknown 90’s hidden gem of a band that has inspired me for quite a long time now.
What’s done is done however, the past is the past for a reason. From here on, I will find myself enjoying Kyuss for the epic band they were, the songs for the classics they are, and also all of these musicians career’s as they continue to write their stories with Vista Chino and Queens of the Stoneage. I must admit though that my frustration with Josh and Scott lead me to pre-maturely boycott the release of Queens of the Stoneage’s …Like Clockwork. Perhaps it is time for me to let the past be the past and press play on the present so that I can enjoy what I know will be a quality effort from Josh Homme with Queens of the Stoneage.
So, at the end of my frustration with this story, I find myself fine with the squabble between the former band mates. I see now that it is their failure to find an agreement that lead to this situation, not that my ideals are failed. I keep thinking back to Wizards of the Coast and their Dungeons and Dragons character. They must have heard about this story by now and still, no news of a major lawsuit against any one of the former members of Kyuss for reaping the rewards of being in a band with the name of a character which they indeed created for their monetary interest. Perhaps then there still are good people who just love to have a good time, share ideas freely, and let each other benefit from one another without putting up barriers and walls to divide ourselves from one another. The Devil’s Advocate has failed to persuade me that I had everything all wrong. That I should just forget about my principles, that the right things happened here, and that I am just being too critical or overly sensitive. Obviously, music and art mean much more to me than the average person. These things have an obvious and much welcome impact on my life and I am not ashamed to admit that. That is why I cared so much about this case.
Now that I feel I’ve explained this as much as I possibly could in two parts, it is time to do the review of the album. The next part of this series is going to focus specifically and only on the album Blues for the Red Sun by Kyuss. There will but no mention of any of this behind the scenes drama and will be strictly about the albums qualities and why I love it so much. I hope that by the time you read this article in full you would have already listened to the entire album and understand why it is a tragedy that Kyuss can no longer exist no matter what anyone says or thinks or feels.
And now, Blues for the Red Sun
Please come back for the 3rd and final installment!
Sometimes in life I run into situations where I find myself unable to easily accept the situation going on around me. All of which happens on a small personal scale, local scale, and even larger national or global scale. I’ve been told that I only hear what I want to several times by several people and I have to admit that sometimes this is true. Though I don’t celebrate this fact, I know it to be a true weakness not only of myself but by humanity in general. I always try to look at things from different perspectives and I thought this “catch phrase” would be an interesting idea to explore in some detail through my word press.
First of all, I question whether or not this behavior is always a bad thing or a weakness. Sometimes, what you want to hear, is probably the ideal outcome of the situation you find yourself in. In a world so ruthless and unforgiving, I’m sure many human beings have begged and wished for a better situation in life. Is it not that desire which sometimes pulls us through difficult times and tough situations? The idea that you can over come and the imagination of your goals being accomplished can give you the positive energy you need to get through. Only hearing what you want to hear in these terms to me simply means you want to maintain a good thing in your life and keep it a healthy part of what you’re trying to achieve with your life. This though, is not why you hear people saying “You only hear want you want to.”
The reason you usually hear someone saying “you only hear what you want to” is when you are being stubborn on an issue and unable to process difficult information without making an ass out of yourself. This is when you get in an argument over politics or sometime more simple like who should clean the living room. I would say that most of the time, only hearing what you want to hear only has it’s downsides because you are incapable of allowing communication to take place between yourself and another which in turn ruins any chance of a productive and healthy outcome. The real honest truth is often very difficult to hear and often interferes with our plans, but avoiding the truth is often more dangerous and risky than it is to face it head on and accept the challenge of that situation.
I think it comes down to a healthy regulation of one’s ego to over come this situation where you simply aren’t going to listen to anyone’s advice. Remember that you alone will never always be right about certain things. The people in your life who love you and would look after you no matter what are there to help you, don’t forget that. We live in a world of endless distractions and ways to escape reality, don’t allow that, no matter how entertaining, to get between you and significant others in your life. This doesn’t mean simply give up on your ideas and beliefs, but it does mean adapting to the reality going on around you in a way that benefits not only yourself, but those around you as well.
Speaking of only hearing what you want to, if you like this article, I have other philosophical articles that relate to politics, religion, and even pop culture. This blog is intended to speak my mind on a plethora of different topics and try to consider all kinds of different perspectives. There are a couple of music review articles on the way and also am working on my first movie review. I’m always working on new articles and want to truly be a daily source of new information, but have found it difficult to keep up. If you aren’t a fan of one of my articles, like this one, please check out my other articles. You may find yourself enjoying a topic you may never have considered before. That is my goal here, to get people to start being curious about the world again so they CAN start hearing good news, the things they WANT to hear coming true. I want to be part of anything that helps that process for even one person on the planet.
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. This is not intended 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.
To begin I think I need to start talking about the history behind the albums I’m reviewing a little bit at the front of these post. For this I will also provide a link to Wikipedia so you can check out additional information in your own time. With these first post on this subject I am looking to provide a good review, but also develop my ideas into a more organized a professionally done blog through the feedback I get from readers. Please take time to comment as I will be soaking in suggestions and perhaps using those ideas to present a better article for the readers of this WordPress.
Before we begin the actual review, I want to remind every one of part 1 of this article where I focused on the modern-day lawsuit that took place between the members of this band. I only chose to discuss that because I love Kyuss so much. I am using their album art and talking about their songs and I can’t help but worry that by some strange set of circumstances that for whatever reason I could somehow fall into legal troubles with any of the members of this amazing band. That is why I feel I must point out that the band Kyuss owes its name to the picture below. I want that to be a reminder of why I felt so strongly about the lawsuit in the first place. The people who produced the first incarnation of the name Kyuss never sought monetary or legal ramifications from the band Kyuss, why should anyone else sue another human being, much less a friend and former band mate. The link below will take you to a page dedicated to the character Kyuss and his entire back story. It really bugs me that such a cool character and cool band was met with controversy like it was. I do take relief however in believing that the people who created Kyuss to begin with wouldn’t have minded that Kyuss the band used their idea and name and made a bad ass rock band with it. That’s why I don’t like the idea of owning an idea, art to me is as much about communication as it is about expressing your ideas. Taking in ideas is not a crime, using those ideas to express yourself is not a crime, and even copying something doesn’t really have any victims. Thinking of it as theft to me seems wrong and out-of-place when considering it’s your former friends and band mates you are suing. At the end of the day, my opinion might be absolutely and terribly wrong. But that is how I feel. I mean no disrespect to any side of the argument by sharing this with the world. Just expressing myself and how I feel about the things I care about and enjoy thinking of. No harm intended.
Now comes the part of this review where I forget about modern drama between the members of this band and focus on what makes this album and Kyuss so special and unique that no other band will ever be able to replicate, though I have hope for Vista Chino making a triumph out of the tragedy that is Kyuss the former band. Before we jump in, Kyuss generally gives off a deep rock and roll vibe and I mean that as a good thing. They very much capture the rebellious spirit in rock history yet find ways to blend different styles together. I say that because at times I feel as though I’m really just watching an artsy film noir of a rebellious biker who drives through the desert who also owns a Muscle Car and a giant black semi-truck. I can’t help but imagine that Mel Gibson as Mad Max could have inspired the vibe Kyuss gives me. After all, Kyuss would often perform live shows in the desert and even released albums called “Dessert Sessions”. The desert motif is certainly a vibrant part of Kyuss and I very much enjoy it.
This is one of my most beloved pieces of music, despite the lawsuit, I have nothing but respect for the work and artistry put into this and other Kyuss albums. In that spirit I will avoid any further reference to modern-day history and only focus on the album and why I love it so much.
The easiest way to look at this album is to just stare into the album art, consider the title of the album, and begin to listen to its first track. Even thinking about this album can excite me and I hope you can see why once the entire band enters into the ethereal void created by the intro sound effects. The music is this incredible blend of rock clichés yet organized in a very special fashion, and then combined with the innovation of each musician. I keep thinking, red-hot rod, dessert road, blistering white sun, bones on the ground, and over all hot-blooded nature. I think this song represents that rebel without a cause part of 1950’s pop culture. That guy who wears all leather, owns a bike, and a muscle car, and kicks people’s ass just because he’s that cool. At the same time some of the music provides this a sense of complexity and sophistication that only the best kinds of musicians can pull off. I really love this blend of artistic contrast not just in this track, but throughout this entire album. This song means to make sure you realize it doesn’t care what you think, it’s going to be the song it wants to be, and that’s what I love about it and this album.
This song represents to me a giant middle finger to the greedy on our planet. If I am right and this song is about a desert rebel warrior, this song would be about him confronting bankers and politicians who exchange money for life on a daily basis. This is the part of the story where they pick the wrong man to mess with. I get mental imagery of a man leading a revolution against the wrong doings of a society drunk with power and violence. The song itself rips and pumps as though you’re listening to the exhaust sounds of a war machine of some kind, perhaps a Mad Max style vehicle with machine guns on it. Snake Pliskon listens to this song when he finds himself missing the good ol’ days.
3. Molten Universe(Instrumental)
This is the part of Kyuss that really grabs my attention, their ability to carry themselves on musical ability alone. Not that the singing isn’t welcome, it’s more than welcome, in fact I think the singing by John Garcia is brilliant work. That however, is not what this song is about, and I love that about it. Just listen to the slow and heavy guitar riff at the very beginning dressed with background drumming and a consistent bass tone. Very temporal and then suddenly the guitar gives a high pitch tone setting off the rest of the band. The extremely heavy, lumbering, laboring music explodes in full form. A song with the name “Universe” needs to sound gigantic, big, alive, and working. Kyuss pulls it off brilliantly I must say. But what about the “Molten” part of the title? Are you listening to how it melts, boils, and to how heavy the bass is? When I hear this song it becomes easy to imagine the “Universe” to become “Molten”. This prog-rock like diversion from the rebellious and fast paced nature of the first two tracks leads into the perfect complement for Molten Universe.
Immediately you’ll feel the quickened pace, but more. This song surpasses the first three songs in one very critical department, intensity. Everything about this song is going, moving, jumping, and motoring through a blurry background and smoke is coming out of tail pipes and they’re starting to glow red. A bit of literary fun there to illustrate how this song makes me feel. How would you feel if you could live and survive a fall into a black hole and experience everything the universe had to offer? What if you were exposed to all of the realities of all of nature in all of its forms. This of course would kill any one of you out there, including myself. I think this song is meant to celebrate the idea that we should be curious of the world around us. Nature in general is a giant mystery that even the most brilliant of scientist have failed to understand. That is what makes nature so remarkable to me, the very idea that even if you lived 50 million years and were able to ponder all of realities possibilities that you wouldn’t even approach one half of everything there is to know. That exploring knowledge has its risk and rewards and there is choice and consequence as well. Just as you begin to ponder soft philosophical principles the song hits a wonderful plateau of wide open spaces. You’re still traveling at the speed of light, but the space you’re in is so grand and epic and huge that it feels like a cosmic low rider traveling through the stars. This song is a real trip and that’s why I love it.
“Horray for, horray for youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
If you’ve ever slept with someone you shouldn’t have, someone you don’t even like, someone you actually can’t stand, this is the song you should feel when you realize you made a giant mistake.
I do these reviews as I’m listening to the album and I must admit, this song has always been a weaker song in Kyuss’ discography. Though I do enjoy the slick little intro and the obnoxious way in which Garcia sings the “Horray for you” part. Other than getting a laugh out of the few mistakes I’ve made when it comes to women I don’t really make a strong connection with this song like I do many of the others. Still absolutely have to listen to this song in order to appreciate this album and Kyuss in their totality though, so don’t skip out just because I don’t like it as much as you might!
6. Apothecaries’ Weight(Instrumental)
Another really interesting, twisty, groovy, and epic instrumental experiments with the excitement in Green Machine and the slow big sounds from Molten Universe. You can feel that coolness factor from the very beginning of the song. This song is one of those experimental mind expansion songs that bands like The Doors might do. The guitar soloing towards the front of the song makes the song so alive and up beat while the bass maintains a steady and consistent inspiring theme with consistent and good drumming. Once the song barely begins to change it up a bit with a tiny little bridge, you’ll feel the song gearing up for an even bigger change of pace as the guitar solo becomes more focused and centered. One last chorus into a high-pitched guitar squealing into heavy riffs and more intense drumming. The chorus returns, but seemingly with more heart, more passion, and more fire in its belly. The fuzz of the background clears and a small time later the biggest and heaviest part of the song begins. It’s as if all chaos and all things are flying by you all the sudden as you are thrust through a black hole and come out the other side a new thing entirely. Epicness all around you and then, it just ends….What a fun journey this song provides my imagination.
7. Caterpillars March (Instrumental)
I almost began to introduce this song as “and with yet another instrumental” but then I stopped myself and just listened to what Kyuss were trying to communicate with this song. Heavy emphasis on riffing for this intro, both bass and guitar in harmony with a rock and roll drum beat. So far I’m loving it, especially the bass. I do really like this song, but I have to say one thing about it, why couldn’t it have been used as the outro for Apothecaries’ Weight? I’m not dogging on Caterpillar at all, I’m simply saying it is only a two-minute instrumental. Or maybe some how introduced into the next song some how. I don’t know what it is, but this song, while it is very awesome, and yes, you MUST listen to it in order to call yourself a Kyuss fan, you must also respect it for what it is.
This song returns us to the story of this album, which to me is represented by a desert warrior character, like Mad Max, only more bad ass. I like this song so much that I’ve read other people have to say about it and I think people are taking this song to seriously. For me, I get this incredibly vivid image of a guy who just stole a bunch of gold from The Fed and plans on using it to bring down the system some how. He’s being pursued though, through the dessert of course into an eternal setting sun towards freedom, if only he could just have a few more horsepower, he would make it with ease, but where’s the power? I have to admit that I enjoy this song a little too much, in fact, I enjoy Kyuss way too much and this song is one of their top performances in my mind. It just captures this entire album up into one bad ass rock and roll song with prog rock elements and strong lyrics brilliantly belted out by a fantastic singer.
Okay, this one really is just another instrumental. I think it’s bad ass, but I know most people will not tolerate it. Just to mention how I do feel about it though. Imagine if the most bad ass tribe in the universe and Kyuss started to jam together and there you have it. The demonic mask the tribe would be wearing would suite the next song very well.
Have you ever been watching the television and during what seemed like an endless stream of commercials felt a bit awkward about reality? What I mean is, have you ever noticed how people seem to always agree with what the TV says? Maybe this song has a broader meaning though, maybe people will do just about anything to fit in, to be cool, to be popular, and be part of the herd. This song is a lecture to those who are slaves to pop culture. Who cannot develop their own thoughts about reality without consulting mass media first. Or perhaps they are the one’s perpetrating the lies that people fall for in the economic and political scenes. This song gives me a big over tone of syndicalism. Maybe not that specific of a political stance, but certainly an anti-consumerist idea that comes through heavily in the lyrics and over all feeling of the music. This song is quite dark and might turn off some people, but to me, this song is the drudge of the album. It’s the one song that goes to that place that maybe only a few people on the planet will “get into” which is the point of the entire song to begin with and for that, I really appreciate this song for what it really represents. The idea that we are free, independent, and beautiful human beings and that getting your identity handed to you by the market or by politics is quite sad. Be yourself!
11. Capsized (Instrumental)
Here we have one of the best shortest acoustic guitar performances I’ve ever heard. I’m not sure how much I can actually say about a song that’s under one minute long and seems to serve better as a means to carry you to the next song. My opinion though is that this song deserves a very close listen only so I can express my dissapointment that it was never fully developed into an epic full length feature song. I hear that beautiful, solemn, and very dark guitar work and I can hear so many epic musical possibilities considering Kyuss’ style and sound. The acoustics plunge me into a “blues” type of feel that I feel Kyuss would be wonderful with, and they are! It’s just only a minute long and you can so feel another 5 or 6 minutes missing from the end of the song. I really love this little bit of music and only wish I could have heard more from the stream of music I always stop to listen to. I’ve never had so much to say about such a short song. Anyways, let’s move on to the next song.
Please look up the lyrics for yourself as my favorite website for lyrics seemed to be incorrect! I used an alternative site this time. Enough of that though, this song is so much fun. Ever feel ill-equipped to deal with a drastic situation which required a lot more out of you than you ever thought yourself capable of? This song celebrates the attitude that all you get is what you get and you have to make it work anyways. Not only with what you have to work with, but other people’s jealousy of your accomplishments, and wrath for your failures. Life can feel like being thrust into an industrial strength clothes washer while being told to reprogram a lap-top computer with nothing more than an Allen Wrench at your disposal. With all that turmoil in the song itself, it still manages to leave me feeling ready to take life on. That’s what makes this song stand out from the others and that’s why I love it.
Our sun is a giant energy source which shares all of its power with our planet and the solar system. Without it, there is no system, there is no orbit, there is no order, and certainly no life in our solar system. It gives us day light and allows us to farm for food and get a nice tan during the summer. The way I interpreted this song falls in line with the rest of the album in that I still feel like I’m listening to a story of a rebellious outlaw who thrives among the sand dunes and cactus riddled landscape of the desert. I think about how the sun itself has been used in art, song, pop culture, politics, and even religion. I imagine our rebel on his last leg . This song wraps this album up very nicely in that it celebrates all aspects of the album without feeling like a gimmick just to end the album. You really need to read the lyrics as they are quite difficult to understand on a first listen. There you will find the out pouring and angry lyrics of a man at the end of his rope.
It’s almost as if he’s regretting the decisions he’s made in life and is selfishly blaming everything and everyone else, including and especially the sun which is cooking him alive in the middle of the desert. As if the world has collapsed around him and there is nothing he can do but complain about it. I imagine him kicking and screaming retching as he pays his dues to the sun. The sun here represents a form of God and the rebel is shaking his fist at it with everything he has left. Rebel until the very end, do not accept your fate, or what society tells you to be.
However, nature is not going to be fooled. What you take from it, you must repay some day. On that day, nature itself will humble you and force you to accept your fate. Not our rebel though. He is angry that he must give his life in order to pay his debt. He is frustrated and still kicking over it. He has unfinished business and is on his knees before the Sun begging for regeneration, to be bathed in a new life where he can make the right choices.
Perhaps I’m looking to deeply into this song, but this is always how this song has made me feel. There is something very natural, yet spiritual about this song that always inspired me, despite the desperation expressed in the lyrics. In any case, our album reaches it’s conclusion with a fantastic musical performance that celebrates both the intensity and elaborate prog-rock elements that give Kyuss their own unique sound a feel. By the last note I really do feel like I went on a ride with a bad ass leather wearing dessert bad ass, sitting shot-gun in his Dodge Challenger as we blasted passed the bounds society built around us and into a spiritual realm of esoteric themes and good old-fashioned rock and roll rebellion.
In light of my very strong positive reaction to this album and everything it represents to me, I hope you understand why I feel so strongly about this band and it’s members. I respect all of them for their own artistry, creativity, and musicianship. Even today, while I’m not a big fan of how they ended up treating one another, still support their efforts, even if I completely disagree with them on certain things. I just hope this review and article can turn just a few more people on to a band I think never really got the exposure they deserved. I was able to see them once live as Kyuss Lives! before any of the drama went public so I consider myself very lucky to hear those amazing songs being performed for perhaps their last go around.