Tag Archives: Scott Reeder


sky valley

Last Saturday I was reminded of the 20th anniversary of Welcome to Sky Valley, the third album of the Palm Desert band Kyuss, and this time it’s made me give it a lot of thought, and listen to it again. I’m not one of those who worships this band as if there isn’t anything better in the world and I’m not looking forward to witnessing a reunion between John Garcia and Josh Homme because I don’t regard it necessary. I don’t criticize Homme for forming QOTSA working hard to rise to stardom, but I do get upset with Garcia for not managing to keep a single project steady for long time. There was a time and a place for Kyuss, and for that reason this band probably achieved the status of underground legend, and if its members decided to split ways, I’m sure there was a good reason for that, so there’s no point in insisting on a reunion. Believe me, I learnt the lesson with GN’R some time ago.

I love Kyuss records though I hate the diehard fans of the band, no offence. In my PERSONAL opinion, they are often too narrow minded musically speaking.

I’d say Welcome to Sky Valley is not my favorite album of the band, however every time I recover it and listen to ‘Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop’, ‘Whitewater’ and ‘Demon Cleaner’  I must surrender and admit it’s a masterpiece. Thinking of the first time I approached it and Blues for the Red Sun in cassette, I reckon the experience was totally mindblowing. Kyuss opened the gates to another musical dimension for me, and I learnt to listen to music in a different way, tasting and enjoying the different instruments, both separately and together, feeling the different vibes and atmospheres created thanks to the changes in rhythm, the guitar effects, and the distortions, and I also discovered my favorite instrument was drums. Kyuss could make me travel in my mind (no acid involved), and I think it didn’t happen again until I discovered Monster Magnet’s Dopes to Infinity.

Moreover, it was the first band that I reckon I felt passionate for which wasn’t mainstream, highlighting the fact that in that day even Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam were popular on a global scale, broadcast on MTV and any radio station. In the past it was more difficult to get acquainted with cult bands, due to the complexity of spreading the word, and getting to discover overseas bands in first place, mainly caused by a period of isolation our country was forced to go through for too many years. Also the fact that not many people around shared the same interest in music as me made things a bit worse. Whatever, the point I really intend to make here is that Kyuss was an unknown band for the majority of people here. I was introduced to the band through my friend Pablo, and he heard of, or better said, read about the band on a magazine, so we didn’t know the actual impact and popularity of the band in the States and abroad. As far as we were concerned they were some sort of gurus, with all the Palm Desert scene, playing in the middle of nowhere, just surrounded by cacti, and enlightened by the creative and magical power of weed…or something like that.

I think the cult towards this band had to do with this mysterious halo they were involved, at least we perceived it as such, and the evocative music combined with wonderful hard guitar riffs.

scott reeder

I was talking about Welcome to Sky Valley, huh? Getting back to it, there’s one more thing. I’d like to give the credit to one of the most remarkable bass players in rock/metal scene, Scott Reeder, who joined Kyuss at this point, but I think he earned by far enough credit to be recognized  as THE bass player in the band. His style, his rough way to play, and his attitude just made it. We always focus on the roles of John Garcia and Josh Homme, comparing them to another rock couples such as Plant and Page, Slash and Axl, or Tyler and Perry, as they’re more remarkable and easy to identify and analyze, and after all, their current bad relationship with suing involved makes us all wonder what happened between them, forgetting the rest of the members in the band and their contributions. I couldn’t affirm which is the main Kyuss drummer though, Bjork or Hernandez, no matter their influence on other musicians after their contribution to the band, however, regardless the fact that Nick Oliveri was there first on the 4 strings, Reeder won his place in rock history.



coup de grace

When an opening song of a rock-metal-whatever the hell you want to label it-record starts with a guttural super rough yelling FUUUUUUUUCKKKK within its first 15 seconds, it’s the right sign to stop what you’re doing and focus on the album. It might be a piece of shit or terrific, but just for that you have to give it a chance.

I can’t remember when I purchased this album. Probably in the US or Japan, which means it was 3-6 years ago, however I started playing it more often a couple of them ago. I had always thought the 2 previous one Time Travelling Blues and The Big Black were my favorite, but at some point I changed my mind and Coup De Grace and A Eulogy for the Damned occupy the podium nowadays, probably because they are less metal, and the vibe is more hard rockin’.

I like Coup de Grace because the influence of punk is very present, leaving aside the cover of The Misfits’ song We Bite,, but also 70’s hard rock is there. Probably the result of the guitars is the most remarkable feature of the albums, with very powerful riffs and fast solos and also the bass lines and drums keep on the same solid level. I reckon it’s a very straightforward album which avoids too many ornaments in the songs, becoming one of the grooviest ones.

These album is full of many different references in the style, being Scott Reeder (Kyuss) the producer, featuring John Garcia (more Kyuss) in Made of Rats and the extraordinary Jesus Beater, under the adorable drunk Lee Dorrian‘s (Cathedral) record label Rise Above  and Frank Kozik, the renowned artist and founder Man’s Ruin Records, responsible for the super cool artwork.

This is the typical underrated record which contains awesome songs such as the above mentioned Jesus Beater, which is quite accessible to not so into hard rock music, yet the riffs are absolutely brilliant, or my personal favorite, Rage of Angels, which totally reminds me of 70’s British hard rockers Nazareth and includes a super cool sampler from the movie “Convoy”. And then you find instrumental Graviton, a break which brings you back to the paths of a more lysergic trip. That’s the greatness of Coup De Grace. The mixing of styles makes this album very enjoyable and dynamic, so you don’t feel like there are songs which should have been left out.

In my coolrockmeter, the measure is quite simple. If I’m headbanging from the first song, that means the record is great, and this is what always happens to me every time I listen to this album. I never get tired of it and puts me in high spirits. Well yeah, sometimes I’d like to throw a TV set through the window, but believe me, such desire is another sign of the great quality of what I’m listening.

 I leave you with a song while I’m finishing packing. Catching a train to my hometown in a couple of hours. This is my birthday celebration party weekend and I got the feeling is gonna be one of the wildest parties in the last years considering the lineup of friends who are gathering. If I survive I’ll tell you about it. In the meantime, enjoy the tune and have a fab weekend, friends!



circus leaves town

I’ve just discovered that, inexplicably, there isn’t any album by Kyuss commented here up to date. I’d even say it’s unacceptable I had allowed this to happen, thus first of all I’d like to apologize and amend my mistake immediately.

I wouldn’t spend so many cheap words into something meaningless, but Kyuss is one of these bands which back in the day also left a mark on me.

I’m not 100% sure of having explained the way I got acquainted with this band from Palm Desert, so briefly I will give the credit to my friend and also a great artist EvilMrSod, who used to record albums in cassette almost 20 years ago, and he sent me three tapes with one of the holiest (stoner) rock trilogy in my life: Blues for the Red Sun, Welcome to Sky Valley,…And the Circus Leaves Town.  Inevitably Kyuss drove me crazy and managed to earn all my attention, but sadly they broke up too soon.

These guys had something special, a combination of many features which turn them into something genuine, unique. As usual, everybody highlights John Garcia’s powerful voice and the amazing riffs created by wonder boy Josh Homme, but their legacy and future influence over many musicians and rock lovers are beyond them. Drums by both Brant Bjork and Alfredo Hernandez marked a difference, Scott Reeder’s bass lines merging perfectly with drums and guitars, building a heavy and solid body of sound, their style moving from pure heavy metal to progressive rock, the simplicity of some of their compositions facing other complex pieces…

For long time I used to be obsessed with understanding the lyrics, till Ben Ward  said “who the fuck cares about their lyrics when they play awesome?”. That was the end of the discussion. He was right after all. Years later, let’s say lyrics aren’t their strength nor key for their music.

I’m experiencing a kind of stoner revival lately thanks to bands such as Orange Goblin, or my last two discoveries: Baroness and Clutch (finally, after some friends talking wonders for years. This new decade seems to bring back the essential stoner, closer to classic metal, separating from the doom tendency predominating  years ago. Thus, with this thought, first I paid my respects to the great Lullabies to Paralyze, and then I stepped back further to Down on The Upside.

It was just a matter of time Kyuss came to mind, thinking of the impact they had on me back in the day. Musically speaking, they meant the end of the Seattle sound chapter, and the starter for the stoner rock, which lasted several years too, sharing their hegemony with the Scandinavian punk rock bands. It’s overwhelming to think of certain bands as the beginning/end of different musical eras, huh? At the end of the day they also mark stages in life.


With memories and ideas twisting in my head I went straight to the CD shelves and chose my favorite album by Kyuss, which is …And the Circus Leaves Town. Love its title, by the way.  It’s one of my Winter albums. It spreads a scent of coldness and abandon hard to explain, which evokes the dead season.

Whenever I say  it’s their best album, diehard fans react surprised as Blues For The Red Sun is considered the best. Gotta say one of the reasons I got a bit tired of Kyuss has to do with their radical defenders. Narrow minded, too obsessed monothematic. You know what I mean,  for them John Garcia close to be a Messiah. Too boring!

…And The Circus Leaves Town is probably one of their most complete albums, combining trademark killing riffs in One Inch Man, lysergic passages such as in Catamaran or Phototropic, powerful in crescendo tracks such as the amazing Rodeo, those unique Hernandez’s drums in Hurricane or Thee Ol’ Boozeroony

But there’s a song I will never get tired of, which probably reflects the essence Kyuss at its best. It’s the fascinating Spaceship Landing, including a sequence of different parts, plenty of fuzz, riffs and solos, effects in voice, repetition, cymbals… so many details, one time is never enough to discover new things. I can easily imagine these guys playing this song at night in the middle of the desert, enjoying the effects of some heavy weed and perhaps some other downer, just allowing the music flow. So good…

Fate is tough and unpredictable. Josh Homme achieved stardom with QOTSA, Garcia the leader and one of the most charismatic frontmen in the last 20 years is doomed to start and eventually abandon every single project he’s gets involved with, and for some awkward reason, Hernandez plays for minor musicians keeping us deprived of his awesome skills. How come Kyuss was always a band for minorities? Some of the bands inheriting their legacy  however, are quite popular.

Anyway, sometimes it’s necessary to recover some classic albums I have to, and feel really good when I do it, because these records, already to be considered part of my life, bring back lots of past memories. This time it’s been greater, coming with this feeling of the stoner rock more alive than ever. Yeah, I dig!


Some months ago I told you about me attending Fu Manchu’s The Action is Go 15th anniversary show in London. Well, as it’s always been said, what’s worth enjoying takes its time to arrive, and once here, the pleasure it causes is very intense but too brief.

I purchased tickets for this show mentioned early March, and since then many things have occurred. The event took place on Saturday evening, and I’m already back home, relived after resting in my own bed (God bless!). 36 hours invested in London, just to see one of my favorite bands’ live show. Likely you think I’m nuts, and this has been an excess, a whim, but you know, this is the way I am, and this show was something I couldn’t miss, for many reasons, some of them personal, as to close a circle which started in London, in 1999. You can call it nostalgia for the good old times. I won’t disagree. As explained, my love for Fu Manchu started with this album.

Everything had been quietly arranged in advance, with my favorite gig flash trip partner, Verónica, who’s also devoted to the Orange County boys. A low cost stay in London for a couple of nights being Saturday the day to wander around. I’ll explain about meeting London later on, because I have many feelings which need to be processed first.

Saturday arrived and we spent most of the day walking and enjoying one of the coolest and most beautiful days I’ve ever remembered in the city. We’re not used to early scheduled shows and as the doors opening were announced at 6pm, we managed to be around early, so we could be told the actual hours and the name of the supporting band.

I also had a very important target to accomplish, which was to purchase the limited re-edition of The Action is Go gatefold album, in red and blue vinyl. I HAD to have it, since I wanted it for so many years, and wouldn’t allow it to run out in front of my eyes. I’d feel miserable. So I had to make sure I could get it and keep things under strict control. After a beer at a pub nearby, with full of people watching soccer and long haired guys in rock-metal t-shirts likely to be also attending the show, we got in the venue.

I was frisked in a way I had to ask the security lady what she was looking for. She didn’t care about my camera, but opened and registered my wallet, looking for drugs (!!!). I couldn’t believe it.

Once in and after our visit to the merch stand, we were finally ready for the show. The Shrine, a Venice Beach trio, were the opening band. This punk-hard-heavy-metal-rock band, delivered several powerful tunes from his recently released album Primitive Blast, for half an hour, starting to warming up the audience, quite large, considering there was still an hour before Fu Manchu hit the stage. Their performance was really solid and the tunes were quite good. Wild riffs, very influenced by metal 70’s bands, and their song quite punk speed,  their formula is likely to hook many new fans during this tour, as they sounded very intense and fun, and songs were catchy. These young guys confessed being  pretty stoked for this  first time in Europe, and super honored to open for Scott Hill’s band.

Quarter past 8, Islington Academy sold out. Tony Alva’s aka The Action is Go skater’s anniversary design banner shining on top of the stage, everybody is nervous, we are in second row, in front of Brad Davis, the bass player, and we’re excited and hysterical.

It was kinda obvious the hit which would open the show, Evil Eye. In fact, they followed the correct track list, with no changes. The audience got crazy with Burning Road, Laserb’last and Strolling Astronomer, and I was delighted, singing and dancing nostop. Fortunately there was not massive mosh pit, as the last times I had seen them in Spain, and even though we received some shoves, it wasn’t too dramatic nor unbearable, and could remain in our current position for the whole show.

More fuzz and distortion than ever, Scott Hill and his poses, with his Fender Jaguar and his SSD classic see-through guitar, seemed to be really happy for being in London, as this is a very special city for them. Davis seemed more histrionic and funnier than usual, having Coronas all the time, Balch, as usual, playing his riffs in another planet, and, Oh God! Scott Reeder, the drummer (reminds me of Guy Pearce, by the way), playing sharp and accurate, yet with this groove, he was awesome. With the voice delay effect, the fuzz and other distort pedals beyond my knowledge, those slower tempo tunes, there were very lysergic moments creating a dreamy atmosphere. Some other times they were groove as Hell making audience dance merciless as if in a kind of celebration. So damn cool!

When they came back to stage to play the encore, we were all uncontrolled. Hill asked which songs we’d like them to play fo the night, and obviously we wanted all of them, but finally the winners were real Fu Manchu anthems: California Crossing, King of the Road, and the acid trip of Godzilla. What can I say? When the show was over, and the roadie guy attended my request of having Bob Balch’s set list (Hell Yeah!) I was plain and simply happy. I couldn’t care less about the rest of the world. I had seen Fu Manchu for the 9th time in my life and the show had been one of the most intense and fun I had enjoyed. The feeling of being in London, listening to The Action is Go songs, and then meeting Ben and Joe from Orange Goblin as it used to happen when I was living there, brought me back a familiar feeling as recovering those good old times I enjoyed in London 12-14 years ago. Time’s passed, but I had the same feelings and my mind was as fresh as young as back then. It was wonderful.

Thus, on Saturday I renewed my Fu Manchu fan vows for at least another 15 more years, and now it’s time to wait for a new album, said to be released next year, and the 15th anniversary of the wild King of the Road. In Spain? I don’t think so, the band seemed to lack motivation when playing if front of barely 100 people, and it’s justified they don’t feel like coming back here. Spain, musically speaking, and with pain in my heart, we get what we deserved, and sometimes even more.

Hail to Fu Manchu, one more time! Hope to see you soon, in London, Tokyo, LA… with you, anything goes, dear friends!