Brant Bjork

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Brant Bjork

Here at Forte we love punks – particularly Low Desert ones. Enter the incomparable Brant Bjork and his hand-picked band of rockers: “I’m excited to come back, man. It’s pretty obvious I love Australia, so I’m bringing some good buddies of mine and together we’ll bring some serious rock!”
Encouraged by his last trip Down Under, with rock juggernauts Vista Chino for Big Day Out 2014, Brant wasted no time assembling an arsenal of seasoned musicians he describes as his “most ideal unit yet”. The line-up consists of Bubba Dupree (Void, Hater) on guitar, Dave Dismore (Che, B’last) on bass and Tont Tornay (Fatso Jetson, Chuck Dukowski) on drums.
“This will be our first run of shows together and I can’t wait to play the new material we’ve been working on. In fact, we’re recording an album right now – I just finished in the studio about an hour ago. It was time to stop for the evening so I’m just kicking back – it’s all fun, good times ahead! I hope to have the record out sometime in August, but you’ll definitely hear new stuff at these shows,” Bjork promised, “but of course I’ll play a handful of older tracks, too.”
Bjork is the first to admit he’s no new kid on the block. He met his future Kyuss bandmates – John Garcia (Vista Chino) and Josh Homme (QOTSA) – in high school during the mid-eighties, where they bonded over their mutual love of Jimi Hendrix and Black Flag.
At thirteen years old Bjork knew he’d found his future and adopted the sentiments of legendary jazz icon Duke Ellington to become a musician – with no plan B. After leaving Kyuss due to creative differences he floated around lending his considerable talent in all facets of musicianship (including songwriting and producing) to various projects, most notably Southern Californian rock outfit Fu Manchu, before founding the first of his independent record label El Camino (now known as Duna Records).
In 1999, after five records and years of endless touring, Bjork took the inevitable step and released his first solo record, Jalamanta. Bjork performed all the tracks and mixed the record himself in a week of sessions, dropping all the drum tracks in one late-night session. The end result was so well received that Bjork left Fu Manchu and put together Brant Bjork and The Bros. Together Bjork and his bros have recorded ten releases on his own labels, Duna and Low Desert Punk, while touring around the world.
Every bit the renaissance man, Bjork admits he couldn’t choose just one artistic outlet. “There’s not a specific element that I love the most, what I love the most is the big picture. I love being an artist, expressing how I feel and how I see the world. I really enjoy the creative exchange. Yes! That’s it! That’s what I love most of all.”
To bear witness to the exchange first-hand, and be part of Aussie live music history, catch Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punks at the last ever CherryRock in AC/DC Lane alongside alt-legends The Meat Puppets (who coincidently are in town to play their first Australian shows in over twenty years). “I love The Meat Puppets, I’m a huge fan. They’re an amazing, awesome band. I really look forward to playing with them and meeting the other acts.”
Bjork seemed interested to find out more about the other bands on the line-up, so I felt a duty to mention some friends of Forte, including King of the North, NZ’s Beastwars, long-haired lady killers Drunk Mums, and Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk.
“You sure know how to put on a festival down there, and I love hanging out with other bands. At the Big Day Out this year, it goes without saying I had a wonderful time – the crowds were great. We had a lot of fun hanging out with other bands like the Deftones, and we spent a lot of time with the guys from Mudhoney. They’re wonderful people.
“All in all it was an amazing experience though, I must say,” Bjork reminisced. “I remember at the start of the tour I heard that one Australian referred to the Big Day Out as the Big Day Off … I didn’t quite get it then but by the end of the tour I completely understand what he meant. There were quite a few days off and I’m certainly not complaining, but when you have that much time off, especially surrounded by other musicians, you can have a little bit too much fun! You know what I mean?” he laughed.
“But I’d love to do it again, and I’m very grateful … maybe with my new band, who knows?” Bjork pondered. “I appreciate that you guys love rock ’n’ roll music, and I’ll see you soon.”
WHERE&WHEN: Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne – May 29 & The Barwon Club, Geelong – May 30
Written by Natalie Rogers