So, here’s the skinny. You may remember a review (see related articles at the bottom) I did awhile back on the burgeoning Santa Cruz 3-piece, Doors to No Where. Well, DTNW is making a break for it, booking a colossal gig with the latest Nick Oliveri project, Mondo Generator, at the Catalyst this Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), in Santa Cruz.
You may know Oliveri as the former bass player from Queens of the Stone Age, who contributed to the QOTSA neo-classic record “Songs for the Deaf.” He’s an incredibly prolific chap who’s invested in countless project at any given time. His past projects include the stoner rock trailblazer Kyuss, Masters of Reality, The Mark Lanegan Band, The Knives and more. Currently, Oliveri fronts the aforementioned Mondo Generator, and plays in The Dwarves, Bl'ast! and Moistboyz.
So, when Marc Lewis, the frontman for DTNW, asked if I’d like to interview Oliveri - I kind of peed a little (from excitement, mind you). Not only could I hardly imagine Oliveri having two seconds for an interview, but this was Nick Oliveri! “Songs for the Deaf” is one of the few physical compact discs I keep in my car - right alongside a handful of Black Sabbath essential, some Bob Dylan . . . you get it.
What follows is my (somewhat twitterpated) email interview with Nick Oliveri and Marc Lewis.
EX: It’s obviously an honor to be speaking with you both, but instead of gush, I’m just gonna dig in. Nick, you’re so prolific. I’m interested in the way you choose your projects, and the decision making process that surrounds all that. What typically prompts you to take on - or decide to start - a new project, like Mondo Generator?
NO: Well, I do a lot of bands because I love it! Dwarves , Moistboyz, BL'AST!, Mondo Generator, Sun Trash, solo acoustic touring. To be honest, It beats getting a real job - and also some bands have a writing style that i would like to learn and hopefully work in to my style of writing. I'm learning from some of the best out there!
EX: A question for you both: Obviously, there’s a bit of a friendship between Mondo Generator and Doors to No Where. How did these two acts end up crossing paths?
NO: MG and Doors to No Where played a set together on MG's last US tour! Marc has also been a key part to making the BL'AST! thing happen for Me and Hoss (Wright). He has a great studio and was more than cool with us getting started with rehearsing with Mike Neider and Clifford Dinsmore.
ML: On the last Mondo tour we played a gig together. Nick was very good to us and spent the time to watch us and allow me to pick his brain. When the Bl’ast! thing came up I was more then happy to lend out my studio for them to get going. Bl’ast! is one of my favorite bands so I was stoked to help get that machine rolling. Having Hoss and Nick involved from MG was a bonus. It was killer to spend time watching high caliber musicians like Hoss and Nick learning and jamming Bl’ast! songs. Being born and raised in Santa Cruz and loving punk rock it automatically makes Bl’ast! part of my DNA. It was like watching Led Zeppelin learning Black Sabbath songs. Imagine seeing two of your favorite musicians learning and jamming songs from one of your all time favorite bands. It was a bit mind blowing. As a bonus Nick makes one bad-ass bloody mary!
EX: I hear a lot of style variation in the Mondo stuff, from punk to post-punk and general hard the rock. Are there any particular bands that influenced Mondo?
NO: Black Flag , Black Sabbath, Roky Erickson and the Aliens, C.O.C., Exploited , Cro-Mags , Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Ground Hogs, Can, D.R.I., Slayer, The Sonics, The Cramps, The Ramones, Dead Boys, MC5, New York Dolls, WEEN, Gx Gx A l l i N, MinuteMen, Butthole Surfers, (early 70's) Scorpions, NWA, Ghetto Boys,
B.G.K., the Feederz, and the list goes on………
ML: I’m sure Nick also wanted to mention Doors To No Where
EX: Speaking of influences, Marc, I hear a lot of QOTSA in the Doors to No Where stuff. Is is safe to say that you’re sitting next to one of your heroes?
ML: It’s very safe to say that. The Kyuss album “Blues For The Red Sun” made a large impact on my guitar playing and writing style. Nick is all over that record. The first three QOTSA albums are some of my favorites of all time. "Rated R" and "Songs For The Deaf" have some landmark songs on them. In my mind Nick belongs in the same category as other top-notch bass players like Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Lemmy (Motörhead). He has played with a lot of heavy weights. I heard a story that Dave Grohl once said that Nick his the greatest bass players he has had the advantage of playing with.
EX: Nick, I’m almost shocked that you didn't just up and join Doors to No Where; but then again, I heard some rumors that there might be something on the horizon. Would either of you care to comment?
ML: I'm hoping Nick will write and play every instrument on our new album!!! LOL Nick has to be one of the busiest guys in Rock N Roll. I know that Bl'ast! has big plans and a busy year of touring coming up. Nick is the real deal for sure! He really loves music and jamming. When he was in Santa Cruz to do some rehearsing with Bl'ast! I had a chance to have a short jam session with him. It was an amazing moment for me. I mean I look up and see the guy who played bass in Kyuss, which is one of the greatest bands of all time, and the first three QOTSA albums. Those first three albums in my opinion are amazing. Nick had a very large part in that. So I guess I got a little long winded, but my point is, if Nick wants to jam we will! Getting a chance to jam and learn from a musician of Nick’s caliber is a great experience.
NO: You never know…………………..
Thanks, Nick Oliveri
See both Mondo Generator and Doors to No Where (along with The Highway Murderers) at The Catalyst Club on Feb. 14th at 9 p.m. (doors at 8:30) - advance tickets are $5, $7 at the door. Visit the Catalyst Club website for tickets and further details.