Interview: Kyuss’ Brant Bjork Talks New Album, Tour & Favorite New Bands

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Photo by Matt Grayson

Catch Brant Bjork at any point during a given year, and he’s probably doing either one of two things – playing a show or recording an album. Last year, he issued his latest solo album, Tao of the Devil, which shows that he still possesses the knack for penning tunes that sound like they were plucked right off a time travel machine, arriving from 1973. And soon, US fans will get a chance to catch Brant live – on a bill that also features Royal Thunder and Black Wizard (and the one and only Pentagram for a handful of dates). Brant recently gave Alternative Nation the scoop about his latest album, upcoming tour, and future projects.

First off, what is the correct pronunciation of “Tao” in the album title?

It’s actually pronounced like the letter d as in dog, so it’s “Dao.” I think it’s a good, solid effort. I’m quite content with this record.

Any favorite tracks off the new album?

Usually I don’t have favorites. I always look at my records as a body of work. It’s like your kids – it’s hard to pick a favorite. I think all the songs sit next to each other well and I’m really proud of the way the band performed. I think all and all, there are no favorites – I stand behind all of the tracks.

What do you recall about the filming of the “Stackt” video?

That video was a pleasure to make. It looks like a good time and it was a good time. My management, he got together with some of his other cronies, and they kind of put the whole thing together as a concept and location – just the whole thing. I trust those guys – they always seem to do some cool stuff, so I just said, “Hey man, put it together, tell me when and where, and let’s do it.” And it came out alright – I enjoyed it.

What can fans expect from the upcoming US tour with Royal Thunder and Black Wizard?

The first headlining we’ve done in the United States in a long time. I’m excited to get back out there and play some rock n’ roll for my fellow Americans. We just love to play and we want to get on stage and make sure everyone has a good time. That’s basically what it’s all about – about having a good time.

Are you looking forward to playing some shows with Pentagram? 

Yeah, of course. I think that will be exciting. It’s a real honor to hit the east coast and play some shows with Pentagram.

Ever see the great Pentagram documentary from a few years back, Last Days Here?

I did see that. It was very entertaining!

Who are some new artists you enjoy? 

We just did a tour in Europe with an Italian band called Black Rainbows that I thought were really good. We’re doing a desert festival here in April [Desert Generator, on April 8th], and all the bands that are playing on the bill are exciting bands – Earthless is great, Orchid are really good, and the Shrine are exciting. I don’t really have a fondness for any particular band for any particular reason. I just get excited about the fact that there is a lot of American rock bands – or even rock bands internationally – that are really bringing the rock back. And are dedicated to that, and enthusiastic about that. So I just get excited about that, really.

Future plans beyond this upcoming tour? 

I make records and I go tour. That’s what I do – that’s the plan. We’re going to hit the States, and then right after we finish our American tour, we’re going to go down to Australia and do a couple of weeks down there and a couple of dates in New Zealand, then come home, and then we’re going to start recording a new record this summer – for RidingEasy, which is a record label right here in Southern California. So we’re really excited about that. Also, we are in the process of mixing a live record that we recorded last year in Germany – in Berlin. We’re going to release that through Napalm in Europe, and then through RidingEasy in the US. That will probably come out sometime in August or September.

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Bio: After having his articles posted from other outlets on Alternative Nation (and before that, Grunge Report) for years - heck, he was even interviewed by GR back in 2009! - Greg Prato finally began contributing articles to the site in 2014. He has written for various sites/mags over the years (Rolling Stone, All Music Guide, etc.), and is the author of quite a few books. And as evidenced by such titles as Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon, and Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets, he also has a deep fondness for alternative rock n' roll music. You can check out info on all of Greg's books here, see what he's up to on his Twitter page here.