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Nick Oliveri

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Biography

Nick Oliveri is best known as the bassist/singer for Queens of the Stone Age and an original member of Kyuss. But in addition to his more renowned projects, he's also been a member of shock-punkers the Dwarves, and fronts his own side band, Mondo Generator. Hailing from Coachella Valley in California (a small resort community of the Palm Desert -- near the Joshua Tree National Monument), Oliveri befriended local guitarist Josh Homme early on. The two would eventually begin to jam on punk favorites together (due to the intense desert heat, rehearsals were held in bandmembers' bedrooms rather than garages), and when singer John Garcia and drummer Brant Bjork eventually signed on, Kyuss were born in the late '80s. Instead of specializing in any of the then-prevalent hard rock styles (thrash, glam, etc.), Kyuss' music often resembled classic Black Sabbath, due to its slow grooves and detuned guitars -- yet Oliveri's punk roots could be detected in the mix as well. The group's hot and humid surroundings also found their way into the music and approach as well, as Kyuss quickly built a following by playing all-night "generator parties" out in the middle of the desert. A collection of early tracks, Wretch, followed in 1991, but failed to capture what the group truly sounded like. With the emergence of such similarly styled bands as Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, the musical climate seemed perfect for a group like Kyuss, and the group delivered one of the decade's most underrated (and subsequently influential) releases, 1992's Blues for the Red Sun. Shortly after its release, however, Oliveri found himself growing further and further away from Kyuss' musical path, as he sought to go in a more punk-based direction. His wish was soon granted, as he left Kyuss and joined up with the Dwarves. Performing under the alias of Rex Everything (supposedly due to his habit of breaking things), Oliveri appeared on such Dwarves releases as 1997's Dwarves Are Young and Good Looking. The latter part of the '90s saw Oliveri launch his own band, Mondo Generator (named after a Kyuss song he penned for Blues for the Red Sun), which continued on the path of confrontational punk. Although an album's worth of tunes was recorded around this time, it was ultimately shelved and not issued until 2000, under the title Cocaine Rodeo. The late '90s also saw Oliveri team up once more with Homme (Kyuss had disbanded in 1997) in a new outfit, Queens of the Stone Age, which proved to be more musically varied than either of its leader's former outfits. With such subsequent releases as 1998's self-titled debut, 2000's R, and 2002's Songs for the Deaf, QOTSA also obtained something that Kyuss never did -- commercial success, as the band quickly became one of the finest and most acclaimed in all of hard rock. Additionally, Oliveri has appeared on several volumes of Homme's ongoing Desert Sessions series and guested on a pair of projects by Melissa Auf der Maur, 2002's Live in Los Angeles by the Black Sabbath tribute Hand of Doom and 2004's Auf der Maur, her solo debut. Tension between Oliveri and Homme would result in the bassist parting ways with QOTSA in 2004, though he stayed busy with his own music, releasing a solo record, Demolition Day, later that year. Oliveri also continued to collaborate with the Dwarves and Mondo Generator, and in 2011 he reconnected with John Garcia to play with Kyuss Lives!, though his time with the re-formed desert rock outfit would be short-lived. In 2014, Oliveri returned with another solo album, Leave Me Alone, this time under the name Nick Oliveri's Uncontrollable. The following year he joined the Svetlanas as their bassist, and he released the first volume of his N.O. Hits at All career retrospective early in 2017 on Heavy Psych Sounds. ~ Greg Prato
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