In addition to being a member of two of the '90s leading stoner rock bands, Kyuss and Fu Manchu, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Brant Bjork has issued solo albums on his own, produced others, and runs his own record label.
Bjork first became known in the late '80s as the drummer and founder of stalwart West Coast stoner rockers Kyuss. Post-Kyuss, Bjork became a fixture in the Palm Desert rock scene, delivering the decibels via multiple vehicles, including Mondo Generator, Fu Manchu, Ch'e, and Vista Chino. In 1999 Bjork released his solo debut, Jalamanta, which retained the gritty, psychedelic aspects of his work with his other projects but also offered a quieter, more reflective sound. He would go on to maintain numerous solo iterations throughout the next two decades, operating under both his own name and as Brant Bjork & the Operators, Brant Bjork & the Bros, and Brant Bjork & the Low Desert Punk Band.
Hailing from Palm Desert, California, Bjork began playing with guitarist Josh Homme, bassist Nick Oliveri, and singer John Garcia while they were still in high school, resulting in the formation of Kyuss. The group's Sabbath-like sound fit in perfectly with such other then-current bands as Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, which resulted in the release of the 1991 indie debut Wretch, before the band signed on with Elektra. Kyuss issued what has gone on to become one of the decade's landmark metal releases, 1992's Blues for the Red Sun, which almost single-handedly created the ensuing stoner rock movement. Bjork also showcased his songwriting talents, single-handedly penning two of the album's highlights, "Green Machine" and "50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)."
But the original lineup began to splinter shortly after the album's release as Oliveri left, and Bjork did the same after the release of 1994's Welcome to Sky Valley. After his exit, Bjork kept himself busy by producing others, like Fu Manchu's 1994 release, No One Rides for Free, another album that is held in reverence by hard rock fans. Bjork joined the group as its drummer a few years later, appearing on such subsequent Fu Manchu releases as 1997's Action Is Go, 1999's Eatin' Dust, 2000's King of the Road, and 2001's California Crossing. Throughout the '90s, Bjork also found time to create his own indie label, El Camino Records (which would later be renamed Duna Records), appear on other artists' recordings (Josh Homme's Desert Sessions series, etc.), and launch a solo career with the 1999 release Jalamanta. Also during the late '90s, Bjork was briefly an early member of Homme's post-Kyuss band, Queens of the Stone Age, but exited before appearing on any recordings.
The early 21st century saw Bjork form a trio named Ch'e (issuing a lone album in 2000, Sounds of Liberation), in addition to playing as part of former Kyuss bandmate Oliveri's project Mondo Generator (2000's Cocaine Rodeo and 2003's A Drug Problem That Never Existed) and issuing further solo releases (2002's Brant Bjork & the Operators, 2003's Keep Your Cool, and 2004's Local Angel). In 2007 Bjork closed up shop on Duna Records and started a new label, Low Desert Punk Recordings. Arriving in 2008, Punk Rock Guilt, a collection of recordings from 2005 that he referred to as the "New Jersey Sessions," would be LDP's first official release. It was followed in 2010 by Gods & Goddesses. That same year, Bjork formed Kyuss Lives! with Bruno Fevery, Nick Oliveri, and John Garcia, and headed across the pond for a European and Australian tour. The band changed its name to Vista Chino in 2012 and released its debut album, Peace, the following year via Napalm Records. In 2016 Bjork issued a new solo album, Tao of the Devil, followed by Mankind Woman in 2018. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi