Uh-oh. Remember when John Garcia and Brant Bjork announced their plans to tour the world under the Kyuss Lives! moniker, playing songs written when they were both members of Kyuss? They even recruited Nick Oliveri on bass (until he, err, decided to take on an LA SWAT team in that is) on bass to make it seem even more legit.
Well, news has arisen today that Josh Homme, the only absentee member of the classic Kyuss line-up not included in Kyuss Lives!, and Scott Reeder, the Kyuss bassst who KL! recruited after Nick Oliveri…err…decided to pick a fight with an entire LA SWAT team, have filed a lawsuit against their former Kyuss bandmates alleging trademark infringement, misrepresentation, and a whole heap else besides. Oo-er!
Homme is, remember, the stated reason as to why Garcia and co. chose to operate under the Kyuss Lives! name, rather than simply as Kyuss – Homme being both the main guitarist and songwriter behind most of Kyuss’ classic work. According to Garcia, they never even asked Homme whether he wanted in when “reforming” – partly because he’s said on numerous occasions that he had no interest in reforming his old band, and partly because as the bossman of Queens of the Stone Age, Homme is rich and successful enough now to not need to go shilling his former glories about to earn a crust.
At the time of Kyuss Lives! formation, we played Devil’s Advocate speculating on whether or not a Homme-less Kyuss Lives! was indeed any real substitute for the real Kyuss, but not even at our most pessimistic did we imagine a situation as glum as the one that’s come about. In a statement, Homme and Reeder said the following regarding their decision to launch the lawsuit against Garcia and Bjork:
“It sucks. To think we went to a meeting in January solely to help them with their request to continue Kyuss Lives! With open arms, we made every attempt to help them continue Kyuss Lives! respectfully. Only to discover while they looked us in the eye, Kyuss Lives! management and band had filed federal documents in 2011 in an attempt to steal the name Kyuss.
“This is desperately what we were trying to avoid. It’s a sad day for us and for John - but most of all for the fans. What a needless mess.”
Interestingly enough, Scott Reeder actually replaced Nick Oliveri in the Kyuss Lives! touring line-up after the latter got involved in that aforementioned SWAT team stand-off, and for him to take the side of Homme against Garcia and Bjork…well, even if this court case eventually gets settled amicably, and turns out merely to be a case of accidental or mistaken tomfoolery on the part of Kyuss Lives! managerial and business representatives, it doesn’t exactly bode well for the future of your band when band members are suing each other, now does it?
Still, at least we’ve got our memories of when Kyuss Lives! came to London….
Kyuss Lives! @ Manchester Academy - 05 April 2011 courtesy of Matt Thomas - http://mattthomas.co.uk
As a side note, there are legal provisions as to why Homme and Reeder are pressing this lawsuit beyond a simplistic “AW HELLS YEAH GIMME $$$” angle that plenty of people will probably assume is the cause of this legal beef. Under US law, if Garcia and Bjork (or their representatives) did indeed file federal paperwork in an attempt to seize control of the ‘Kyuss’ name, then if Homme and Reeder have to raise a legal objection now, as to do otherwise would prevent them from doing so in future.
What do we mean by this? Well, let’s say for a minute that Homme and Reeder decided to let this move by Garcia and Bjork slide – if they want to claim any legal rights to anything ‘Kyuss’-related in future, they’ll be left legally adrift. Not only will Garcia and Bjork have seized control of the name, but the judge at any future legal proceedings would most likely hold the fact that no objections were raised at the time against Homme and Reeder: “If it mattered so much to you, why didn’t you fight for it in the first place?” And so on.
Ahhhh, the intricacies of intellectual property law. Such light, weekend reading.