Mondo Generator, ‘A Drug Problem That Never Existed’ (Rekords Rekords/Ipecac) ; Fu Manchu, ‘Go For It…Live!’ (SPV)
Back in 1995, when Kyuss finally disintegrated, nobody outside of a certain sunburned cult could’ve predicted that the Palm Desert goliaths would turn into an influence–that their wide-open spaces, deep-focus guitar, and lizard-killing low end would spawn an entire genre, known as “stoner rock.”
But here we are. And as it turns out, the best stoner-rock bands–and the ones most likely to push the form’s boundaries–are the ones that feature Kyuss alums, like Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri’s Queens of the Stone Age. Mondo Generator is Oliveri’s side project; and the band’s second album,A Drug Problem That Never Existed, traffics full-time in thek ind of raw, godless punk rock that’s relegated to a handful of cuts on Queens’ albums. “Four Corners” is the closest this work of unfettered id comes to the Queens’ determined grind, although album standouts “Do the Headright” and “Me and You” feature Homme plowing away in true Stone Age style. A tour de force of blown-amp mess-making, Drug Problem gets off on its own will to howl.
Brant Bjork, who guests on Drug Problem, was the only Kyuss member to involve himself with Fu Manchu, a crew of Southern California earthmovers who shanghaied Kyuss’ “trippy, dude” groove and drove it down the PCH in a shag-carpeted Chevy van. Bjork left the band before this two-disc live collection was recorded, which is a shame; Fu Manchu are perpetually one toke away from self-parody. But the inherent absurdity of the double-live format fits these doofs like a grimy wife-beater–there’s even a drum solo on “Anodizer.” If only the Fus’ (admittedly addictive) porterhouse guitar sound offered more “trippy” and less “dude.” All of Homme’s children are out there playing his licks, but stoner rock always forgets.