With Queens Of The Stone Age tearing up the charts, fans have been left wondering what Josh Homme's former bandmates in Kyuss are doing.
With Queens Of The Stone Age tearing up the charts, fans have been left wondering what Josh Homme's former bandmates in Kyuss are doing. The band's former singer, John Garcia, now fronts Hermano, a largely studio-based outfit which has just issued its second album, "Dare I Say."
Unlike the good old days when bands cranked up the amps and let it rip in a sweaty rehearsal space, Hermano's latest was written and recorded with the aid of computers. This approach proved essential, since its members are scattered throughout the United States.
"Typically, when you go in the studio, all the band members are there," Garcia tells Billboard.com. "And you usually go in and you do drums and bass first -- that's the basis of the recording. We didn't do anything like that; we did it completely backwards. We never saw each other during the recordings. All the elements were up against us; records are not supposed to be made that way. I didn't even know what the record was going to sound like until I went to the mixing. It was a very weird and stressful way to do the record, but we somehow pulled it off."
Technology has made it as easy as a click on a laptop to collaborate with the others, as Garcia explained that a big, expensive studio was replaced by "A couple of Apple G4's and an external hard drive. Throughout the year we passed CD-R's back and forth to each other. You have two great songwriters -- [bassist] Dandy Brown and [guitarist] Dave Angstrom -- and they send me these beautiful open palettes, these 'paintings,' that have all these cool colors to them. As far as recording goes, Dave put down the scratch guitar with these Casio drums to it, and that's basically all we had: just this little tiny shell of these songs. So he sent the external hard drive to Dandy, put down bass, then I went in and did my vocals."
Expectedly, Hermano's sound does feature some of Kyuss' trademark elements, from the heavy guitar riffs to Garcia's bluesy singing style. But the artist is quick to point out that this is not a solo project. "It was all part of Dandy Brown's vision -- he's what you'd call the 'mastermind' of Hermano," Garcia says. "He kind of started it all. I had no idea who he was or what he was all about. And he's calling me, saying, 'Why don't you come up to my house and lets jam out?' I went, 'Dude, who are you?' [laughs] And he was a nice enough guy. But it was Dave Angstrom that was the [deciding factor] for me, because I knew him. After the first few songs, we knew this is really cool."
Although the group recently toured Europe, a full-scale North American run in support of "Dare I Say" doesn't look promising. "It's kind of hard," admits Garcia. "All of us, with the exception of two guys, have kids. You've got a veterinarian technician [Garcia], a high school English teacher, a manager at a publishing company, an owner/manager of a coffee shop and a manager at a cellular-wireless network. All of us have these normal jobs, normal families, and lead normal lives, [so] it's hard to tour."
It's a contrast to Garcia's days with Kyuss, when the group toured the world for lengthy periods, playing with the likes of Metallica, Soundgarden and Faith No More. Kyuss also left behind a wealth of rarities, some of which were compiled a few years ago on the import-only "Muchas Gracias," but it seems unlikely any more will be released.
"There are so many untitled songs that have never been heard, that I have up in my little crawl space up above my bed," Garcia says. "I don't see those songs coming out anytime in the near future. Everybody's too busy to do stuff like that. It's a job to go back and listen to it, and then if you want to re-record them."
Years after Kyuss' split, Garcia still follows Homme and QOTSA closely. "Queens rock! When you play with somebody for 10 years, they have a certain style, and you learn to love that style," he says. "Josh and I are like brothers, you know? He's doing his thing, I'm doing mine, and I'm so very proud of him for kind of waving that flag and paving the way. Josh is an extremely intelligent guy; he's an unbelievable songwriter. As long as he's alive, he's going to be making waves."