Brant Bjork

Nombre Brant Bjork
Birth date 1973
Paîs USA
Ciudad desconocido

Brant Bjork (born March 19, 1973) is an American musician from Palm Desert, California, who is a drummer, producer, guitarist and one of the more notable figures in the stoner rock and Palm Desert scenes.

Early Career

While in high school, Bjork got together with locals Josh Homme, Chris Cockrell, (later Nick Oliveri), and John Garcia resulting in the formation of Kyuss (previously known as Katzenjammer and Sons of Kyuss). Kyuss was signed to Elektra Records and became the first desert rock band to achieve international success. Bjork helped issue what has become one of the decade's landmark releases, 1992's Blues for the Red Sun, which helped create the ensuing stoner rock movement. In 1993, Bjork left the band following the release of Welcome to Sky Valley citing that it wasn't fun anymore. After Sabbath’s Bill Ward and the Melvins’ Dale Crover, Bjork is the name most often cited as an influence by other drummers in the burgeoning genre, based primarily on his groundbreaking playing on the first few recordings by Kyuss: Wretch, Blues for the Red Sun, and (Welcome to) Sky Valley.

Named after “the sons of Kyuss,” monsters in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Kyuss first came together around guitarist Josh Homme and vocalist John Garcia in the small Southern California town of Palm Desert in the late ’80s. The band members moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and signed to Chameleon Records after 13 performances in the big city. All of their dreams seemed to be coming true, but after two years of non-stop touring, Bjork abruptly quit and ceded the drum throne to his friend and fellow desert rat, Alfredo Hernández.

“ I just burned out...I was drinking too much and smoking too much—I was an 18-year-old kid who was playing in this crazy rock band and I had no idea of what I was doing. I was just lucky that I was smart enough to realize that I had to stop before it killed me.


One aspect of Bjork's drumming is a huge wash of massive ride cymbal that hovers over a heavy riff like an ominous storm cloud. “It probably comes from growing up in the garage,” he says. “It was loud, and I was never the best drummer. I was never technically very good—I taught myself how to play—and I just wanted to be heard and to make noise. I didn’t know what the difference was between a ride and a crash. When you’re playing punk rock and heavy rock as a kid with loud guitars, there were a lot of areas where in between riffs where the music would breathe, and I didn’t want to hear that little ping-y sound. When you ping on the ride, it’s almost like playing a note on the guitar, and when you crash on the ride, it’s like playing a power chord on the guitar. So I just kind of filled up some space.”

Bjork has always filled a bigger role than just playing drums; he also plays guitar and bass, and he wrote some of Kyuss’s most memorable songs, including the anthemic “Green Machine”, "Gardenia", and "50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)". He contributed to the songwriting for Fu Manchu and produced the band’s first album, 1994’s No One Rides for Free.

Bjork joined Fu Manchu as the drummer for 1997’s Action Is Go - a role he continued to fill until his departure prior to the tour for their 2002 album California Crossing.

He has also recorded several solo albums including the psychedelic and soulful, Jalamanta (Originally released on Man’s Ruin, 1999), Brant Bjork & the Operators (2002), Keep Your Cool (2003) and Local Angel (2004), the latter three being released on the music label Bjork founded, Duna Records.

“ I’ve never said, ‘I wanna be the drummer.’ I just loved music and I wanted to make records...[a]s a kid, I was almost listening as a producer, before I even knew what that word meant. Punk rock allowed a kid like me with low self-confidence to get involved in music and start performing. I chose drums simply because they looked like the most exciting instrument, but I was equally compelled to play guitar and bass and create music as a whole. It was sort of a challenge, because I was caught in this stereotypical role of being the drummer—the guy with the backbeat who sits in the back and holds the rhythm—but I also wanted to take on some responsibilities as far as creating and art and writing songs. I had things I wanted to express. ”

As for how his drumming has developed, Bjork is self-deprecating to a fault. “I was never a studious drummer; I was interested in playing great songs,” he says. “Let’s face it: It begins and ends with songs. If you don’t write great songs, big deal. In Kyuss, I never even thought like, ‘I’m the beat guy and I’m gonna lock in with the bassist to play a tight rhythm.’ I was like, ‘I’m gonna lock in with Josh and watch the way he strums and the way we move from chord to chord and the progressions and I’m just gonna roll with him.’ It was just kind of a natural thing.”

Proudest recorded moments: “There’s a song on Welcome to Sky Valley (Elektra Records) called ‘Demon Cleaner’; it was a first take, and there was a roll that was kind of my version of Ginger Baker. It probably sounds nothing like Ginger Baker, but that’s kind of where my head was at the time—this rhythmic roll thing on the toms. And I really liked the drumming on the first track of the last Fu Manchu record [King of the Road, Mammoth Records], ‘Hell On Wheels.’ I thought that was a good one; it just had a lot of energy and it kind of flowed nicely. I always like to hear flow.

His gear:

“ I don’t really have any endorsements; I’m not real good in that department. I’ve played Ludwig drums my whole life. Ironically, I’ve just ordered and received today a new kit that I’m gonna try out for the new Fu Manchu record, and if I like it, I’ll tour with it. It’s a clear Fibes. I bought some Ludwig Vistalites a few years ago, and I used them on the Brant Bjork and the Operators record. They’re beautiful, and I love the Vistalite sound. But my Ludwigs are ’75, and I didn’t want to take them on the road.

Brant Bjork Solo

In October 2003, Brant Bjork toured Europe under the title "Brant Bjork and the Bros." He was backed by the talents of Dylan Roche on bass guitar, Michael Peffer on drums, and Mike Pygmie on guitar. Pygmie left the band after the tour and was replaced by Scott Cortez for further touring in the US and Europe in 2004. In 2005, the Bros went into the studio and recorded Bjork's fifth album Saved by Magic. It was released on August 1, 2005 and features 2 full discs. The music style is a mix of Jalamanta, and The Sounds of Liberation. Brant Bjork and the Bros. have opened for bands such as Danko Jones and surf rock pioneer Dick Dale.

“ Make no mistake...we’re a real band. Musically speaking The Bros bring it. Organic Rock. It grooves. It Flows. It’s psychedelic. It’s tough. It’s beautiful. It’s Classic. The future is now and Brant Bjork and The Bros are here. - Brant Bjork

2006 saw the release of Sabbia, a stoned-out "visual soundtrack" by film maker Kate McCabe. Sabbia brings the low desert and landscapes of California onto film with a full soundtrack by Bjork. Brant cites that the motivation of Sabbia was to bring the desert scene to a lot of people who haven't experienced it for themselves.

A new live DVD and 3 new records are on the shelf; one with the Bros and a couple of solo efforts. The first solo album, entitled Tres Dias was released on February 27, 2007 followed by a Bros album Somera Sól, May 2007. On September 25, 2007, "The Native Tongue", a song from "Tres Dias', was featured on a Poison Tree Records compilation called Road To Nowhere. During 2007, the label Duna Records failed and has changed to Low Desert Punk Recordings. Brant cited that it was a beast requiring too much time and energy. The first release on the new Low Desert Punk Recordings will be Punk Rock Guilt, May 2008. This album had previously been known as the untitled "New Jersey Sessions" recorded back in 2005. The album title seems to be in response to Josh Homme's claims while defending his own band Queens Of The Stone Age's commercial leanings, that Brant Bjork' suffers from "punk rock guilt". Brant Bjork explained in a 2009 interview:

"It's just something I've heard over the years and a few people suggested I had it. Like I was an underachiever and I don't want to sell out or become mainstream because of my punk ethics. "I don't understand why someone would feel guilty for growing up and being super-excited about an art movement that I consider to be really important. I wouldn't feel guilty for being into any art movement. So I thought it was a silly term and decided to use it for my record."

During the Bro's 2008 UK tour their Glasgow show for 22 November at the Barfly was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the band's control. This didn't stop the Bro's and with very short notice re-scheduled that date for Newcastle Upon Tyne at The End Bar.

The Bro's kicked off 2009 with their first tour to New Zealand in late March. The Dunedin show at the tiny Arc Cafe was quoted by Brant as "the second best show" they had ever played. A full tour of Australia followed.

As of November 2009, the "the Bros" moniker was dropped and shows will be billed as "Brant Bjork" instead.