Nick Oliveri Quits Kyuss Lives! While Facing Lawsuit, Pending Jail Time
Even though there is lawsuit hanging over the band's head and the bassist is facing possible jail time over a domestic incident that saw him engaged in a standoff with cops, Oliveri said he's bouncing because he wants to focus on Mondo Generator, not because of ill will or those pesky legal headaches.
Kyuss Lives!, which features fellow former Kyuss members John Garcia and Brant Bjork, have been touring the U.S. and beyond. They were recently slapped with a lawsuit accusing them of trademark infringement and consumer fraud by former members Josh Homme (currently frontman of Queens of the Stone Age) and Scott Reeder; Oliveri was previously in Queens of the Stone Age with Homme, so this situation is all sorts of tangled and incestuous, legally speaking. But it wasn't the reason Oliveri elected to bolt.
Oliveri told Antiquiet that he is leaving the band simply because it has morphed into something different and he has other things he needs to focus on.
Oliveri said that when he was asked to be a part of the project, he believed it was a vehicle to help spread the word about other endeavors. "We were going to do a tour and promote our solo bands," Oliveri recalled. "Seeing John do it already with Garcia Plays Kyuss at such a big level...Wow, man, we could actually reach some people with our solo stuff in a very honest way and play the tunes that we have mad respect for and love as well. Basically, at the end of the day, that's what I'm doing. I'm gonna bow out and do Mondo Generator, because that's what we were supposed to be doing originally."
He insists that it's not about loot, either. "To me, you can make money doing whatever you wanna do, but it isn't about that at the end of the day," he said. "To be in Kyuss, if I'm not having a good time, it's like, when I was a kid, I had a great time doing it. It sucked being out of it. I don't wanna be fired from any band... again. I figure to walk away with my head up high and do my own thing is a respectable thing, and I think I need to do that."
The subject of the lawsuit over the usage of the trademarked name did inevitably come up, with Oliveri saying, "When people sue each other, it guarantees that a band will never be together. It just guarantees that those people will never play in the same room together again." That sounds pretty final and not entirely optimistic about Kyuss Lives! eventually dropping the "Lives!" in order to play as Kyuss with the full original lineup. Most fans want to see Garcia and Homme on the same stage together, but it's not looking likely.
Oliveri is playing the role of Switzerland and remaining neutral as the legal issues unfold. He said, "I am friends with both sides, and I also disagree with both sides at the same time, so it's a real weird place I'm in." That's an understatement.
But Oliveri also has other major matters to be concerned about. He has pleaded not guilty to five charges relating to his arrest last summer in Los Angeles. He had a domestic dustup with his girlfriend, cops were called and he ended up in a standoff with the authorities, resulting in the SWAT team getting involved and drugs and guns being found on his property. His pre-trial is set for April 13.
If he is indeed convicted, he is starting down a 15-year jail sentence.