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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



We catch up with Brant to check out how the band is gearing up for the BIG DAY OUT...


Everyone by know that Vista Chinbo is the band formerly known as KYUSS LIVES! And everyone knows that last year's debut album 'Peace' was something special. We catch up with Brant now that the dust has settled to discuss what's next and to talk BIG DAY OUT 2014!

Mark: Hi, Brandt, how are you?

Brandt: I’m good, how are you doing?

Mark: Good thanks. It’s great to see you guys coming over for the Big Day Out, so soon after “Peace” was released. What’s it like to be coming back to Australia?

Brandt: We love Australia; we always have a great time when we come down there. Being a band from Southern California, I always feel there are a lot of parallels between Southern California and Australia, its mellow and we like to rock and roll and surf, so we’re really looking forward to it.

Mark: We’re looking forward to hearing the new album as well, it’ll be fantastic, and it was one of our albums of the year here, so we are all behind it! I guess, now that there’s been a period for reflection, with the court case and the resulting name change. To outsiders like us, it seems that the band has been given a new sense of freedom, so looking back on everything that’s happened over the last year or so, has it been a liberating experience at the end?

Brandt: Yeah, I feel like we’ve liberated ourselves from an experience that we were anticipating as having to liberate ourselves from!! It feels good, not to repeat myself, but it feels good to survive a storm that we didn’t expect to come. I guess you could say there was liberation, which is a good thing.

Mark: Do you think that lifts the expectation off you now? Because, with the Kyuss name in there, there will always be people who expect you to sound a certain way, now that’s gone do you think you’ll be free to do whatever you like?

Brandt: Yeah, I suppose. Speaking for myself, music to me is a thought provoking and a sense-provoking art form, that’s just a couple of the main, wonderful things about music that I fell in love with when I was younger, and even now that’s what it’s all about for me. The band and the music I fell in love with constantly pushes people’s ideas and expectations, it’s all about shattering expectations, everyone loves Kyuss today, everyone being our fans, but when we were first around, the kind of music we had, not everyone did like us.

Mark: You’re right, that’s an interesting point you make, there has been a revisionist history of Kyuss, I remember when I bought “Blues for the Red Sun”, it was a wonderful new album, but no one knew about it or had heard about it, and in the intervening years when the band first split up, there’s the mythology that was built up around the name, and it must have been hard for you in the early days as Kyuss.

Brandt: Yeah, it was. We were doing something that was a little bit different, and I think that was what made it effective, we were coming from a place that was a little different, you know, its rock and roll, man, I understand the concept of business and branding, and all that stuff. Kyuss was not like a tube of toothpaste, we were kids playing rock music!! Part of the reason why I chose the name was because it didn’t lend itself to any particular style of music. You hear the name Metallica, or Slayer, you know what music you’re going to get!! The same goes for Black Flag and Motorhead, even though these are bands I enjoy, at least I at the time certainly understood them in the past and that was the same spirit that motivated us to go back, and put the band back together. To me it was the same motivating inspirations and challenges of being in a band in the first place. For example, I did an interview in France, a couple of months back, with this girl, and she was arguing with me about what Kyuss was!!! She had developed such an intimate relationship with the band, she felt that she knew who it was! I think in the end she even surprised herself that she had developed such a relationship with the band! I mean, we’re not here to piss people off; we’re here to keep them on the journey, and that’s what we did, we continued the journey. Part of that was having to change the name itself, and that was the price we had to pay, to continue things forward, it was the price we had to pay.

Mark: That’s a great story, but, it is interesting how some people get so attached to the music they listen to. I love the fact that you always refer to Kyuss, as a Blues band! How do you see Vista Chino, is it any different, are you still a Blues band? There are some great new sounds on the album, and some wonderful songs, but, is your take, essentially the same?

Brandt: Yeah, I think so. We’re really just celebrating our love of music and our musicianship together, which is what Kyuss was. Speaking for myself, and I’ll go so far as speaking for Bruno as well, because we sat down and did a lot of writing and talking, and there was a very intense and beautiful relationship between him and I, with the drums and guitar for this record. We love jazz, punk rock, Jamaican music, and he loves classical, I’m learning a little bit of that now as well. We just love music, and I think that for Kyuss and now for Vista Chino, really, we just love so much music, and we happen to be a band in the world of rock. We’re putting ourselves in that rock format, but kind of celebrating the wide variety of music that we enjoy, and to answer your question, one of those is the Blues, and essentially with Vista Chino because Bruno is a very prolific and exceptional Blues guitar player, and him and I have a deep love of this music, there’s Jimmy Paige, and Jimmy Hendrix, it’s all over the record, in little bits and pieces.

Mark: It’s a great record, and you have touched on it there a little bit. Kyuss, was mainly you and Josh writing, but now that Bruno’s there, you already seem to have created a very fruitful writing partnership, would it be fair to see each partnership was very different, as far as writing goes?

Brandt: Oh, yeah, of course. Josh and I had a very natural relationship for that period in our lives. I certainly don’t want to discredit our situation, or make light of it, but the facts and the reality was that we were just two kids that discovered Punk Rock, and luckily for us I played drums and he played guitar. There was like four other kids that played guitar, even though two of them didn’t have a guitar or amplifier even! So, the options were very limited, and we essentially made something from nothing! Even though we were very different, pretty much on every level, we had enough similarities that we were able to celebrate our love of Punk Rock, and turn it into a rock band, that magically went on to do something. The relationship I have with Bruno is, of course, it’s 20 years later, Josh and I were kids,  we are now men, we have families, we have years of experience with artists and musicians, and though the love of music is the same, our experience and our talents and ambitions, is an entirely different thing.

Mark: You get to sing on the album, and our favourite track was “Planets 1”, can you tell us a little bit about that track, was it something you were always going to do on the new album?

Brandt: No, not at all! “Planets 1” which I wrote the music for and Bruno wrote the music for “Planets 2”. That was one of the first songs I demo’d for the new record, it was just a natural riff that fell out of me, and there wasn’t a whole lot of thinking going on there! It was just a feeling; it kind of hung around the batch of songs that we talked about for weeks, for whatever reason it hung in there. I really have a specific feeling and attachment to this song, and I thought it would be appropriate for me to sing it, and I spoke to John and said I’d really like to get this off my chest, and John said go for it, man. So the next day I did it, and we got it first take, we didn’t worry too much about the sound, it was just all feeling.

Mark: It’s a fantastic song. Is Mike Dean, a fully-fledged member of the band now, or do you think Nick will be back at some point?

Brandt: All I can say is that Mike committed to Vista Chino for the yearly tour cycle, which will complete with our tour of Australia next week, and after that, we’ll just have to wait and see. We don’t know what the future holds for Vista Chino, but I can say we are very happy with Mike, and he is very happy with us. It’s a very positive relationship, and we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Mark: Taking it right back to the beginning, and you’ve already mentioned your love of Punk Rock, with Josh, what was it that first inspired you to pick up the drum sticks? Was there a defining moment?

Brandt: I grew up in a neighbourhood with a lot of kids, and I was the youngest, and my neighbourhood mentor who lived across the street, played drums, and he was obsessed with Peter Criss from Kiss. I looked up to him, and he eventually found his way into a punk band in the early eighties, called “The Swankers”, and I used to go and sit in his house and watch them rehearse when I was a kid, and that’s kind of where it started to happen.

Mark: I think we’re out of time now, it’s great to see you coming back to see us, it’s only a week away, are you flying out soon?

Brandt: Yeah, Wednesday, and I’m pretty excited about it!

Mark: Have a great tour, and we’ll see you here, we are in Sydney and Perth, so we’ll catch two of the dates. Thanks Brandt.

Brandt: Thanks, so much, man!





Friday January 17th – Western Springs, Auckland
Sunday January 19th – Metricon Stadium & Carrara Parklands, Gold Coast
Friday January 24th – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Sunday January 26th – Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney
Friday January 31st – Bonython Park, Adelaide
Sunday February 2nd – Claremont Showgrounds, Perth




Brant spoke to Mark Diggins January 2014




waNt more? 2013 INTERVIEWS | 2012 INTERVIEWS | 2011 INTERVIEWS

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