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"tao of the devil"

"...he presents yet another piece in his catalog that should be considered essential to longtime fans and novices alike. Very clearly one of 2016’s best albums." - The Obelisk

 
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BRANT BJORK

 

With Tao of the Devil, Brant Bjork reconfirms his position as the Godfather of Desert Groove. Across sprawling jams and classic rockers, the multi-instrumentalist frontman celebrates the other, the self and the Californian landscape he calls home, following 2014’s Black Power Flower – his first album for Napalm Records – with an even more resounding execution of memorable songcraft and inimitable, heavy vibe. In the company of The Low Desert Punk Band, he brings to bear the fruits of one of rock and roll’s most storied careers and, as he always does, pushes forward in ongoing, seemingly unstoppable growth.

Brant Bjork has spent over a quarter-century at the epicenter of Californian desert rock. From cutting his teeth alongside Fatso Jetson’s Mario Lalli in hardcore punkers De-Con to drumming and composing on Kyuss’ landmark early albums, to propelling the seminal fuzz of Fu Manchu from 1994-2001 while producing other bands, putting together offshoot projects like Ché, embarking on his solo career as a singer, guitarist and bandleader, founding his own record label and more, his history is a winding narrative of relentless, unflinching creativity.

For someone so outwardly laid back, he’s never really taken a break. And while Bjork has shown different sides of himself on albums like his funk-laden 1999 solo debut, Jalamanta, the mellow Local Angel (2004), 2007’s mostly-acoustic Tres Dias, and heavier rockers Somera Sól (2007), Gods & Goddesses (2010) and the two most recent outings with The Low Desert Punk Band, he’s maintained a natural representation of himself in his material, whether that’s coming across in the Thin Lizzy-isms of the faux-full-band 2002 release Brant Bjork and the Operators (actually just Bjork playing mostly by himself) or the weedy, in-the-jam-room spirit of “Dave’s War” from Tao of the Devil. When you’re listening to Brant Bjork, you know it, because there’s no one else who sounds quite like him.

That fact and years of hard touring have positioned Brant Bjork as an ambassador for the Southern California desert and the musical movement birthed there in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. As underground interest has surged in recent years, Bjork has been a pivotal figurehead, realigning with his former Kyuss bandmate John Garcia to drum and write in Kyuss Lives!/Vista Chino, celebrating and building on that legacy while giving a new generation of fans the chance to see it happen in real-time.

Having told his story in films like Kate McCabe’s Sabbia (2006) and the documentaries Such Hawks Such Hounds (2008) and Lo Sound Desert (2015), he’s represented desert rock at home and abroad with no less honesty than that which he poured into the music helping to create it. The same impulse led to the founding of his Desert Generator in 2016, an annual festival held in Pioneertown, CA, with an international reach capturing the intimacy and timeless aura of the desert culture, including music, a van show in conjunction with Rolling Heavy magazine, the Stoned & Dusted pre-show in the wilderness, and an evolution that looks to continue into the foreseeable future.

Bjork’s work, with any project, has always had a rebellious sensibility. He’s always walked his own path. But more, his career through Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Ché, Vista Chino, and his crucial solo work has been about freedom through rock and roll, attained by the truest representation of the person and the place as art. This, along with a whole lot of groove, is what has helped Brant Bjork define desert rock as a worldwide phenomenon, and whatever comes next, it is what will continue to make him its most indispensable practitioner.

By JJ Koczan, The Obelisk

TAO OF THE DEVIL

(NAPALM RECORDS, Sept 30, 2016) 

Vocals, Guitar / Brant Bjork
Guitar / Bubba DuPree
Bass / Dave Dinsmore
Drums / Ryan Gut

 

BLACK POWER FLOWER

(NAPALM RECORDS, Jan 23, 2015)

Vocals, Guitar / Brant Bjork
Guitar / Bubba DuPree
Bass / Dave Dinsmore
Drums / Tony Tornay

 

 

Brant Bjork Partial Discography:

With Kyuss as drummer, songwriter:

1990 Sons of Kyuss

1991 Wretch

1992 Blues for the Red Sun

1994 Kyuss, aka Welcome to Sky Valley

2000 Muchas Gracias: The Best of Kyuss

 

With De-Con as drummer:

1995 Balls for Days

 

With Fu Manchu as drummer:

1994 No One Rides for Free (Producer only)

1997 The Action is Go

1999 Eatin' Dust

1999 King of the Road

2001 California Crossing

 

With Ché as guitarist/vocalist/composer:

2000 Sounds of Liberation

 

With Mondo Generator as drummer:

2000 Cocaine Rodeo

2003 A Drug Problem That Never Existed

 

With Vista Chino as drummer/composer:

2013 Peace

 

Solo and solo bands:

1999 Jalamanta

2002 Brant Bjork and the Operators

2003 Keep Your Cool

2004 Local Angel

2005 Saved by Magic (Brant Bjork & the Bros.)

2007 Tres Dias

2007 Somera Sól (Brant Bjork & the Bros.)

2008 Punk Rock Guilt

2010 Gods and Goddesses

2014 Black Power Flower (Brant Bjork & the Low Desert Punk Band)

2016 Tao of the Devil

 

Others:

1995 Solarfeast, Gossamer (Producer)

1998 Desert Sessions Vol. 1 & 2 (Drums, Bass)

1999 Desert Sessions Vol. 5 & 6 (Drums, Guitar)

2004 Auf Der Maur, Auf Der Maur (Drums)

2005 Yellow #5, Demon Crossing (Drums)