Brant Bjork & The Operators' Brant Bjork
Interview by Dr. Perky
Brant Bjork is an underground legend in his own time. Beginning with his tenure as the original drummer in Kyuss, Bjork has wowed fans of stoner rock with his musicianship and songwriting for almost 15 years. Bjork joined Fu Manchu following the departure of Ruben Romano to Nebula, a stint which recently ended when Bjork decided to focus on his solo career. Despite rumors that he would be joining former Kyuss members Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri in Queens of the Stone Age, Bjork is currently focused solely on his new album, Brant Bjork and The Operators, and his new record label, Duna Records. Brant was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions on his past, present and future for WTD.
WTD: Why did you decide to produce your second solo record under the moniker "Brant Bjork and The Operators"? Have you made up names for The Operators or do you just call them "Bass Brant", "Guitar Brant", and "Drum Brant"?
Brant: In late 2000 I went into the studio to record a solo record called Palm Desert Airlines. Soon after I began the record I was inspired by a name my girlfriend said she came up with back in the early 1980s called The Operators. I began re-arranging and writing songs as if I had joined this fictitious band. It was really fun to do. Kept things fresh. After the record was complete I decided to title it neither one or the other but both ... Brant Bjork and the Operators.
WTD: Originally you were going to release the album on Small Stone Recordings, but backed out in favor of a deal with The Music Cartel. What was the impetus behind that decision?
Brant: I was originally set to work with Small Stone but was approached with a better offer from Music Cartel. It was hard because Scott at S.S. is a great guy, but I simply had to go with what was best for me. The music business sucks.
WTD: You recently left Fu Manchu after three records, citing time commitment as the reason. How difficult a decision was that?
Brant: It was hard to leave Fu Manchu because Scott,Bob and Brad are great people and we had great times but artistically I was very confident that it was time to move on.
WTD: You have been a part of tremendous albums with 4 different bands: the almighty Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Che, and also your two solo albums. What record has been your absolute favorite?
Brant: I can't really say which record I've done is my favorite. I enjoyed making each one for different reasons. I had a lot of fun making the Brant Bjork and the Operators record.
WTD: Why did you leave Kyuss after the release of Welcome To Sky Valley?
Brant: I left Kyuss after Sky Valley simply because it wasn't fun anymore.
WTD: It was recently announced that you are reuniting with Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri in Queens of the Stone Age. Is there any chance at all that the 3 of you will talk John Garcia into a reunion tour, or has that bridge been severed?
Brant: I would love to do a couple Kyuss shows and I'm sure Johnny and Nick would be excited to do so but Josh is a very busy boy these days. I don't believe Kyuss is on his mind and rightfully so. Also, for the record, I did not join QOTSA. It was talked about but that was about it. I'm very excited to work on my own music.
WTD: What do you think of the name "stoner rock"? What constitutes "stoner rock" in your mind?
Brant: Stoner rock doesn't bother me. If thats what the people decide to call this musical movement then so be it. I just hope it doesn't become too formulaic. There is nothing wrong with Black Sabbath riffs and songs about weed ... I would just like it to evolve musically as much as stay the same.That way we can talk about stoner rock in 15 years and it will still be a vital and credible thing.
WTD: You're best known as a fantastic drummer, but your guitar work on both your solo records and in Che has been highly impressive also. What is your favorite instrument to play?
Brant: I don't have a favorite instrument to play. I just enjoy creating music.
WTD: Tell us about your "Ghettoblaster".
Brant: "My Ghettoblaster" is a song about growing up in the early 80s and watching the whole rap/break dancing culture explode. I thought it was so cool even though I was into punk and ska. A lot of people damn the 80s musically but I always felt it kicked ass at the street level.
WTD: What bands have you been listening to lately?
Brant: I've been listening to Charlie Hunter's new record, Soulive, The Jam, Thin Lizzy, Fatso Jetson, and Augustus Pablo.
WTD: Any final thoughts/comments/things to plug?
Brant: I'm looking forward to working with my label, Duna Records. We'll be ready for on-line sales in May. I'm gonna re-release a couple great CDs from the classic desert bands Solarfeast and De-con, as well as a limited vinyl release of Jalamanta and BB&The Operators.
WTD: Thanks a ton for the interview; you're a fantastic musician.
Brant: Thank you White Trash Devil.