Brant Bjork & the Bros

Brant Bjork & the Bros

Things often start in a weird way.
A stoner concert, something you expect to experience with a burning Death Valley wind, sunglasses and a cold beer on a wide open space eventually scattered by some new millennium hippies, is happening on a freezing London night, in a small obscure club where a shot of whiskey is not enough to warm up any of the post-metal British fans.
It is from strange situations that most interesting stories take shape.

Brant Bjork & the Bros

Brant Bjork, still in his mid thirties, has already a biography that would fill up as many pages as one about the entire life of a successful rockstar.
To make it short, he started drumming for Kyuss (the proto-Queens of the stone age band formed with Josh Homme, Nick Olivieri and John Garcia which disclosed Desert rock from Californian sun to worldwide audiences) then for Fu-Manchu and Mondo Generator. Crucial bands which reshaped hard rock in the last 15 years guaranteeing him a place among the most influential drummers.
In the meanwhile he produced, recorded, appeared as a guest and founded his own label, Duna.
With his label he started recording solo works and his own creature: Brant Bjork and the Bros. Surprisingly, he left the drum kit and takes guitar and vocal duties.
If you can think of some spare time, he has been touring the world incessantly which is also the reason he ended up on liveon35mm.

Brant Bjork & the Bros

I may have the weirdest friends around but the story tells that after leaving a Brant Bjork gig in Rome a year ago, enlightened, they ended up following his bus for the entire Italian tour.
A year on, they caught a plane to London to see the “unmissable concert” again in one of his passages to London.
I didn’t know a great deal about Brant Bjork’s projects, beyond Kyuss, before the friends’ enlightenment so, to catch up with them, I listened to some of his music and decided to follow them to this London concert. Albeit, I must admit, on records he does not sound as good as I was being told for months. Trust, that’s what friendship is for, isn’t it?

Brant Bjork & the Bros

Once there, I experienced a night of pure stoner rock in its purest, distilled, tasty juice.
Brant Bjork comes on stage with his Fender-Squire (?) sunburst (easy guess!) strat-guitar and plugs it to an amplifier head borrowed by the support, after its Marshall just burnt out. He then starts following a heavy, low and hypnotic rhythm designed by a simple as powerful drum and bass rhythm section.
That was it. A concentrated trio of pure desert rock or, as Brant Bjork put it down “I really don’t care what anybody calls it any more… If it’s stoner rock nowadays, fine. It’s all rock’n’roll, and we all smoke pot, so it all makes sense anyway.”

Ninety minutes of straightforward, stripped to the bone music that managed to warm up any single soul in the audience without any trick but their sound. Constant bass lines, powerful drumming (gently offered by jazz trained Alfredo Hernández the drummer who took Brant Bjork place at Kyuss) and Bjork persistent, psychedelic guitar riffs able to hypnotize the audience for minutes. The concert gives its best when Bjork stop singing and the trio immerse itself on his grass driven, stoned, musical trips .
Apparently, on that now legendary Italian tour, there was a lead guitarist added to the ensemble, which was missing this time. I cannot imagine how he would fit this music. Those must have been quite different shows, which implies I will be going to see these guys again and again.

Brant Bjork & the Bros

If you want to listen to Brant Bjork try here:
Brant Bjork and the Bros [myspace] [official site]
Brant Bjork [myspace] [Duna records]
Kyuss [fan myspace]
Fu Manchu [my space] [official site]

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Photo tip

This was quite rare, actually unique so far.
Backstage shooting. If you are a gig photographer write down this name, Camden Underworld.

The night didn’t start in the best way. The place is arranged with no pit and a platform to the side of the scene. Photographers are allowed to stand on this platform, left to the stage. Not a great position especially if your main act decides to locate on the right leaving, between you and him, two sets of amplifiers, a bass player, a drum kit and a huge drummer.
After a song I was annoyed to use my telephoto and I walked along this passage ending up to the rear. I managed to put myself in a position that I have been looking forward for years: the back of the stage.

I put on my favourite 35mm f/1.4 wideangle lens, I stepped as close as I could, stopping just inches away from the drumsticks, and shot the band with the audience on the back.
Unfortunately the lights were not ideal but you can’t have everything.
This is the perfect position to shoot daylight in a open space, but was also enough to try and to frame those fanatical friends with their hero. They are now keen to have an original print. My first Christmas presents are sorted.

Brant Bjork & the Bros

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~ by Valerio on November 25, 2007.

50 Responses to “Brant Bjork & the Bros”

  1. Hi Valerio!
    must tell you about some weird austrians!
    we saw bb as opener for danko jones in vienna 2006
    we saw him 5 times since then, 4 times in austria
    and we also went to london by aeroplane last weeekend
    to see the ‘unmissable’ concert in london underworld.
    you see there are some crazy congenial brant fanatics
    all over the world.
    i also met a guy in underworld who came from austin texas to
    whatch bb

    Walter

  2. V. convertito all’hard spaziale !?!?
    The Power of Stoner

    Trippin’ slo burnin’ cheers
    Akabnz

  3. hi vale,

    here you can find some photos from “that” tour, in the first one on top you can actually see me pretty well…

    http://www.stazionebirra.it/brantbjork.htm

    if i can sugget something don’t miss out Witchcraft playing London quite soon (5 Dec @ The Borderline)

    if it wasn’t on a wednesday i would have even considered coming over.
    actually i see i have a lot of unused leave days…

    ciao

    ahh pure bonzo is here, one of the few simpatici from “the blog”

  4. I love camden underworld!!

  5. fuckin’ PROVA!!!

  6. Grazie per il simpatico.
    Non ti ho ancora riconosciuto con questo nick, ma chiunque scrive “pure bonzo is here, one of the few simpatici from “the blog”” non può che essere altrettanto simpatico.
    V. I beg your pardon

  7. Hi Vale, this is going to be the coolest Xmas gifts ever!
    Yes, I’m one of the freaks who flew to London not to miss BB gig @ Underworld (and to have some great time with you guys there of course), and by the way the one who actually followed BB on his 2006 italian tour (only three dates, Walter from Austria beats me for one! By the way, were you the guy in a black hat looking like James Hatfield after an haircut, leaning his arm on Dylan’s monitor?)
    Let’s deal with music, too: I must say that being the Bros only two this time around, something was kinda missing to my rude ears: I’m talking about what I call the “dreamy/cosmic side” of their music, the Kyuss’s unconquerable ‘something’ that Brant Bjork was sometimes able to bring us – when playing “Chippy Bones/Automatic Fantastic” to give a name – through the astonishing guitar style of his missing third Bro, Cortez.
    Because of Cortez’s loss, a lot of great songs had to be left out of the set, resulting in a more framed musical structure;
    But don’t get me wrong out there, I’m not complaining at all: no more everlasting jams but sort of derailing hard’n’roll, sometimes slowed down to hell to resemble the very effects of pot on young californians from Joshua Tree, sometimes driven to punkish fast rides by the unbelievable rhythm machine provided by A. Hernandez & D. Roche…..that’s quite a fuckin way to have fans definitely stoned & hypnotized, I tell you!! It leaves you breathless. Until next time, then again.
    I guess that’s it by now, only one more word to send a huge THANX to Vale for what he’s doing here with liveon…
    It means a lot to the bunch of “born too late” rock and roll addicts out here.
    CaptainLovestar’67

  8. I think I saw my pretty bold head in the very same photo suggested by chippy_bones, actually I was there together with our beloved AndyCandy, ya know who ya are…..
    Cheers

  9. i really wish they had a song named “Chippy Bones/Automatic Fantastic”: that would finally be a sort of recognition (what for??).
    Maybe on the next album…

  10. Oh f**k, I totally f***d up my mind!!
    The song was “Lazy Bones”, I do apologise for that
    Recognition? the stuff you chew and spit out on Novamuzique is not that bad at all, man…
    Re-cheers

  11. Just had a look at the Italian set photos sent by chippy bones. How on earth can you see a Brant Bjork gig sitting on a chair I would really like to know… it’s criminal.
    I don’t know about their previous drummer, but Alfredo Hernandez confirmed once more that he’s one hell of a drummer: no frills, clinical and crisp style. Took me back to the late kyuss/early qotsa post-desert sound, when things were more about fun.

  12. nice to know i have at least one reader… lorenzo, ci conosciamo?
    -
    x regularstef (anything to do with “regular john”??): you’re right.
    it’s criminal to sit down at gigs, still have to admit that in the pic i’m doin it (there’s the proof!).
    alfredo hernandez is probably better, but maybe is because he was playing on that 1st qotsa album (in kyuss brant bjork was the best they had)

    i’m off now to cook something now

    chat later

  13. Scusate ma se siamo tutti italiani perché ci parliamo in inglese? Vale io ho ascoltato Saved by Magic ma non è che mi abbia molto impressionata.
    But:
    1 what a fig!
    2 you have attached the subjonctivitis to the Bunz

    Both are remarkable goals. So next time I come too, if you promise that you see me home safely. Potwise, I am not as holy as you are.

  14. E dai Airid, facciamo i cosmopolli che il Vale lo leggono anche oltreconfine…
    It looks like BB on a studio record

  15. Dicevo,
    it looks like BB on a studio record is way far from what he sounds like when on stage, everybody do agree on that.
    I love Saved by magic anyway, it has the power of launching me in deep space!
    CaptainLovestar, over

  16. Ehm captain lovestar, lo sapevo che la pensavi così. Ok let’s stick to English. Vale: when we meet I will tell you something about your style. Then you might ban me from the blog. Then I will say I did it out of love and friendship! And i will come back under another nickname.

  17. Valerio, never thought that on your site could have been so much nostalgia !!
    Kyuss, Saint Vitus, your fiend talkin’ bout P.Chain on the “other blog”…this evening I was supposed to see Chemical Bros…but news are that there’s no way for a free ticket … so I’ll remain at home listening to Vincebus Eruptum and Sea Shanties, if you know what I mean…
    Bye
    Airid “subjonctivitis” ?

  18. your friend, not fiend…
    Lee More Touchy

  19. Lee! Chiunque scriva chiunque scrive è affetto da congiuntivite. In Valerio who is both from Rome and an expat, that’s a cronic desease you can’t handle.
    The akab is not allowed to keep on this track.
    I cannot post in “the other blog” any longer (maybe i’m too young) so I say it here: in Paris you were criticized for not including bodycount.

  20. Non è congiuntivite, è demenza senile (in larghissimo anticipo obviously).
    Body Count non sono così rappresentativi, 2nd me, comunque è vero, avrei dovuto mettere un’altra 20na di nomi…ho scordato gli Stones…come ho potuto…
    Continuo a beggare il perdono di V…

  21. sì ma for your guilt ora me ne ritrovo 2 cd, arma letale contro il vicino e unicamente per questo molto utili.

  22. Wow fantastic, I leave the place with a good excuse (an awesome QOTSA concert at Brixton) and the rest of the stoners left without a ticket gather on liveon35mm!! You managed to get the best day ever! Be proud!
    Write whichever language you like, it all depends on who you want to understand. I kind of understand both.

    Walter, if you are still there, I guess you are now enough to arrange a bus to follow BB tours, it should save some money.
    I’d love to hear from the guy from Austin, though.

    Apart from Airid and Lorenzo, that could easily meet in Milan next gig, I like to have all of you reading here, unless we want to arrange a big meeting on the 14/3 for the Mars Volta @ Brixton. I just got a ticcket. I Have to go, you think about it.
    ciao

  23. aha! ho scovato una confraternita di mutanti malvagi!

  24. L’hai trovata indeed.
    What day is the 14-3? How much is the ticckkett?
    Perché non riesco più a postare on zi azar blog?

  25. friday. Vale you could organize a meeting called “Anthropology and chemistry” and send an invitation.

  26. I’ll check Ryanair to see if I can get one more return tckt to Stansted for 25 neuros, Mars Volta live must be quite a trip.
    Let’s meet under the “Antrhropology & Chemistry”flag then, Vale will be showing it up out of the international arrivals gate…

    Airid: if you stick around in Milano and your ears are though enough you colud try Pelican + High on Fire tonight @ Musicdrome, I’ll be there too: check out the only 40yearsold prick with a ridiculous Turbonegro Tshirt, it will be me!
    Cheers

  27. thinking about “london gig trips” yesterday i was looking into a possibility to go and see Witchcraft on dec the 5th, a ryanair flight came up for 20€! (just taxes) but having to take 2 days off is a real letdown.
    so i guess it will have to be another time
    -
    i wish i was going to see High On Fire tonight (but at least i have NoMeansNo tomorrow)
    ciaoz

  28. I’ll leave Witchcraft to Londoneers, their new cd sounds like veeeery weak to me.
    I was at their gig in Rome on January 2007, I can wait. By the way it was a fantastic concert, never heard such a vintage sound before. Weird young swedish countrymen….
    High on fire + Pelican is going to be the next ticket hung upon my fridge

  29. Lollo, if iu laik Pellican et Hai on Faiar toonite, pliis cam tu Londinium a decembre, the diciaseeteth. I hev dè ticchet.
    Dario Fo

  30. ai ev to disagrì uit iu lollo, after a disappointing start “the alchemist” it’s really growing on me

    but, you know, the gustibus…

  31. Hi folks! I was the only one missing, so here I am. What the f*** is this? A new Italian “stoned” connection (siamo nati all’Italia!!!)? Anyway at Underwolrd the BBB had not repeated the breathtaking performance I’ve attended last year in Rome; as a power trio the sound was not … like … Fu Manchu-meet-Funkadelic in a relaxed (aka doped!) desert jam but only a nice, retro-oriented hard rock. Nothing enlightening: the music didn’t groove and the man didn’t vibe (you know, I hope, what I mean).
    Ciao!
    PS The photo shot with 1973 tattoed on Brant Bjork’s arm is my favourite.

  32. WHAT? I can’t hear you

  33. Shall I have the feeling Pelican gig was just a bit loud?

    Andy, many die-hard brant bjork fans are reading…you lucky the e-mail is kept private!

  34. Witch misery! Not ze pelican, zi azer.
    Ma sei matto a dirmi “un trio tranquillo”?

  35. Valerio, you know, “die-hard approach” to the music is not mine. I merely mean miracle didn’t happen again (fortunately, in one sense). A nice gig, not an astonishing one. That’s all.

  36. WHAT? can’t hear you either…..MORTACCI!
    comments will follow

  37. So I get there after my dance class, tired, a little hungry and thirsty. Surprisingly enough, the youngest in the musicdrome are the players. It’s very cold inside but i think that the atmosphere will heat up.
    Of course by the time we get in the Pelican have started to play. They are interesting mogwaylike, but row. You can phone during the music. I get a beer and Lorenzo’s coat as it gets chillier (Lorenzo is a tough guy and does not need it).
    After the HoF first two songs, “songs”, I think I am likely to fall asleep in spite of the volume. Then they get a little more embodied. They have someting like a tune for let’s say 15 minutes. Lorenzo pretends he is not freezing and his ears are ok and his friend, long lean and bald, sits on a sofa because of a bad back. Then it gets back to a good flatness. The guitar is good but my ears no longer are.
    We finally get back using a map. It’s so nice to use a map after a concert.

  38. My thoughts on Pelican’s set are greatly summarized by Airid’s “you can phone during the music”: unexpected, at times causing disappointment.
    I’ve loved every second of HoF performance instead, but this is a different story: as I used to be a long haired, testosterone-fueled metal kid back in the eighties, I could not resist what the three little pigs on stage had to offer to the (small) audience.
    You see, I’m not going to spend a single word on the very music played by HoF, all I have to say is “I want more!!!”
    Tanx Airid for directions while driving, and promise me you won’t tell Vale what I said about himm looking like J. Blunt. (OPS!…)

  39. last night i went to see NoMeansNo, despite age and grey hair (actually they always had grey hair) they still know how to to deliver a great show.
    so today all i’ve been listening to is their classic Wrong
    -
    BE STRONG
    BE WRONG
    -
    now.. that’s a a motto!

  40. Dear lovely friend Lorenzo,
    I think you are right, a James Blunt picture will actually fit much better than a Brant Bjork one in your house. Accidentally I did photograph him too, you lucky bastard!

  41. Ehi, Nomeansno tonight playng Milano.
    If the old pump still underpins me I could be going…
    (Si mme regge la pompa pò esse che vvado)

    By the way Chipz, we don’t know each other.
    Me and AndyCandy are ooooooold friends, we grown together in tha same ghetto.
    Valerio and I both got “the piece of paper” at La Sapienza, Chemistry but met each other a few years after, when beating other tracks

  42. I have a nice t-shirt of Nomeansno. On the backside it says: “Stay home, read a book”. Around the sun of Henry Rollins’ back.
    Ok, tonight I’ll stay home BUT I’ll listen the Hansom Brothers. Have a drink on me.

    V, I saw ZU with MELVINS somewhere in Emilia. Good guys.

  43. I am finished

  44. VAle, akab has seen everything. Meeting him is a unique experience. Akab is THE cultblogger.

    (Bz, hé hé hé)

  45. I am actually looking forward to meeting akab, (and you) Airid!
    Listening to his concert stories should be like listening to Sitting Bull’s tales.

    Before moving on, I want to thank you all to contribute to BB& the Bros making it the most successful artist on liveon35mm so far. He’ll keep being in the archives but the Desert Trilogy moves on with his pals, the Eagles of Death Metal.
    You’ve got pictures, review and music to comment, so the party is not over, has just moved to the toy room, follow me everybody.

  46. così viene meglio?

  47. Macchè Cultblogger ! E pure Sitting Bull ! Mi sono perso migliaia di concerti, mi sa anche i Mars Volta…Ma non è detto.
    Lee More Touchy !!!

  48. One of the hardest setlist we ever see and heard at a BB&B-gig! “The Underworld” fucking rules! Hey “captainlovestar`67″, Hetfield am I! Greetings from Germany. Frank.

  49. A big HELLO to Frank from Italy,
    Underworld was damn full of people coming from everywhere!
    Any British hard rockers, out there?
    I was just near you close to the stage, I remember you and your friend wearing the FuManchu Tshirt
    See you maybe in Tilburg, Holland at the next Roadburn Festival!
    Cheers
    Cpt.Lovestar’67

  50. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific web site. Best wishes, Ilona Skrocki

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