Brant Bjork Gets ‘Funky and Free’ on ‘Duke of Dynamite’

Brant Bjork solo
(Photo by Adam Cohen)

There’s no stopping consummate multi-instrumentalist and Palm Desert, California, native Brant Bjork, who’s been crafting funky, groove-laden rock-and-roll to get baked by for the last 33 years. This spring, Bjork will issue his 13th solo studio album—an unpretentious, eponymously-titled effort that honors his downtuned roots while building upon his legacy.

In April, the stoner rocker will release Brant Bjork, which unfurls over eight laidback, fuzzed-out tracks featuring plodding, hypnotic riffs and dense rhythms—with Bjork handling all of the record’s instrumentation and vocals.
Today, SPIN brings you a little taste of his new LP in the form of “Duke of Dynamite,” the record’s fifth track, which you can stream below.

Of the song, Bjork tells SPIN: “It’s ‘Duke of Dynamite’ … our rock-and- roll savior—the star who makes everyone feel funky and free. Basically, I’m a huge fan of glitter and glam from the early ‘70s. Throw some bubblegum in the mix to go with it—you know, one of the few last rock scenes that was groovy and fun before disco took over and punk burned down the place.”

Bjork (who is not related to a certain Icelandic songstress) needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated, he was the founding drummer for desert rock stalwarts Kyuss. The astoundingly influential band first took shape in the late 1980s, and boasted eventual Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and current Dwarves—and erstwhile QOTSA—member Nick Oliveri on dual guitars, with John Garcia of Slo Burn providing lead vocals, and Chris Cockrell handling bass duties.

When Kyuss broke up in 1996, stoner rock forerunners Fu Manchu quickly recruited Bjork to replace their drummer, who’d left citing creative and personal differences. In 1997, the musician would prove his formidable chops once again during the recording sessions for The Action is Go, Fu Manchu’s sublime fourth LP, which was produced by White Zombie guitarist Jay Noel Yuenger.

Over the years, Bjork has enjoyed considerable solo success, releasing a dozen studio sets—all while manning the kit for both Oliveri’s quirky rock outfit Mondo Generator and Vista Chino, a stoner rock band that’s fronted by Garcia.

Like the rest of the new album, “Duke of Dynamite” is a mid-tempo rocker that’ll have your head bouncing involuntarily before it’s over. As you’ll hear, Bjork still knows how to write catchy riffs, and when he wants to, the man can still rip it up on the guitar.

Bjork’s forthcoming self-titled album is scheduled to be released on April 10 release via Heavy Psych Sounds.

Check out Bjork’s tour dates below:

3/28: San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill (Heavy Psych Sounds Fest with Yawning Man, Hot Lunch, Disastroid and more)
5/23: Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s (Stoned and Dusted Festival with Corrosion of Conformity, Masters of Reality, Earthless, Helms Alee and more)
5/28: Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive (with Nebula, Mondo Generator, and El Perro


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