Mondo Generator

Interview - Nick Oliveri


AbsolutMetal gets QOTSA/Mondo Generator bassist/vocalist Nick Oliveri on the phone in NYC

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Sam: Just got the Mondo Generator cd a few days ago, there's a really interesting mix of stuff on there...
Nick: "Yeah, it's a bunch of stuff that, you know, there wasn't room for on the last Queens record. And stuff that maybe I wouldn't even attempt to put on a Queens record. I feel like I didn't even censor myself."
Sam: A couple of the songs actually reminded me of Queens songs.
Nick: "Yeah, some of the stuff, was stuff that you know...there are 3 different singers with Queens, so, maybe there's not enough room for, on an 80 minute cd, which I think is a long disk, but, there's not enough room for it, on one record. Some stuff gets left off, and I think it's all good stuff. It's just another avenue for me, so Mondo is definately a nessesary thing for me."
Sam: Do you plan on touring with that project anytime?
Nick: "Yeah, I want to do November and December for starters you know. Queens, we're going to be busy for um...we're on tour until Halloween. Then we have November/December off and I plan on doing that with Mondo. And hopefully doing Australia with Mondo and with Queens in January.
Sam: That should be cool
Nick: "Yeah, that should be fun, then we're going to make a new Queens record. I'm hoping everytime I do another Queens record, the songs that I don't put forward to the Queens record, I'll put on the next Mondo record.
Sam: I read somewhere the Mondo Generator was supposed to be a short-lived project, how long do you see it going on for?
Nick: "It's one of things where it could go on for as long as I want it to really. I can always do another record, you know what I mean? I'm gonna keep it that way, you know, not have anything that says I have to, or I don't have to. I just want it to be able to happen as much as it can. It's a cool band, you know, it started out as just something I was doing, but I've got a really good band backing it. So, it's interesting, it's really cool, it's alot of fun. It's different than Queens, so it's a nessesary thing for me, you know?
We're doing Lollapalooza right now, so with the barriers and security that's beyond Queens' control, we don't like it but I guess it's a nessesary thing, but with Mondo, there's no barriers, there's none of that. You're playing with people instead of to people. It's a nessesary thing for me to do, it helps me appreciate this thing, (QOTSA) you know?"
Sam: Are you guys playing any Mondo songs right now in your set?
Nick: "Well, "13th Floor" which is "Tension", is originally a Mondo song. I think we're gonna start doing "So High, So Low". Lanegan sings "Four Corners" which is that last song on the Mondo record, so that's something I can see happening as well. We cover some Desert Sessions songs as well, it's one of those things, if we like a tune it doesn't matter where it comes from or who wrote it, or anything like that, it's is it a good tune? Do we enjoy playing it? kinda thing. So, I think we're gonna do some of the stuff, just because it's fun to do. I love pulling out some of Josh's Desert Sessions, and sometimes we'll do like 'Rick Shaw', or 'Ecentric Man', or 'Groundhog Song', and stuff like that we'll pull out every now and again and it's alot of fun to throw that into the set you know? It's an enexpected thing, maybe for the people who are at the gig as well as us, you've gotta keep it new for yourself as well. We change our set every night, so we do inject some of the songs from Desert Sessions and from Mondo as well.
Sam: Why did you leave Kyuss when you did?
Nick: "I was moving in a different direction, that's all. The thing with Kyuss was that it's not that it was limited, but it was kinda confined to...I don't know, what's the right word for it...we had to play a certain way and we couldn't really move around from song to song maybe as much as Queens can. And it was set up that way. It was set up to be heavy, and heavy only, and that's it. We were kids when we did Kyuss, we were 17/18 years old, some of us were 16. We were still growing up as far as musically, and we were kids, you know? I was moving in a different direction, I wanted to play faster music, and it wouldn't have been right for Kyuss, so I did the right thing and I left. I went to the Dwarfs which was fun for me to do, and it ended up working out because my favorite Kyuss records are the ones I'm not on. I'm on the first 2, I'm on 'Wretch' and I'm on 'Blues For the Red Sun' but 'Sky Valley' is my favorite one and maybe if I was on it I wouldn't be able to enjoy it to this day."
Sam: I though it was interesting that you went from something slow and heavy to a more punk feel.
Nick: "I've always liked fast punk rock, but I love heavy music too. I guess there's only a few bands that have really been able to come across with that and be heavy and punk rock, I guess some of the Exploited records have been the heaviest things I've ever heard. Most bands can't get away with the heavyness and still have the attitude, you know?"
Sam: Are you working on any videos for this project?
Nick: "I don't have any plans for it, I haven't really thought about it. I'm thinking of doing maybe...put together a cheap, cheap DVD just because I have footage of all the different shows. Maybe put together the best footage and sell it for like a cheap $9/$10 DVD on the website or something. Other than that I don't plan on doing any video, I don't see it really getting played anyway. It's not really what it's about, it's not really, you know, let's get a single and push it out there kind of driven thing. That's not what Ipecac needs either, it's not that kind of vibe. It's about art and putting out a record as a whole. It's another avenue for music."
Sam: Is there any meaning behind the title or is it just more of a humorous thing?
Nick: "It's kind of a humorous thing, just to, you know, some of the content on the record is kind of fucked up and dark. I got a divorce so alot of the shit sounds bitter or whatever. It's all a good thing, but yeah, I mean the title of the record it's from this band The Frogs and that's why it just says on the inside 'A title that never exsisted - the Frogs'. It's a band, they say in their song, 'it's a drug problem that never exsisted' so... I thought it was kind of funny, the ripped up picture of me on the's something that I used to get yelled at...past relationship shit, so it's sillyness really. I think it's funny, but, it's kinda silly."
Sam: I thought this was funny, awhile ago, I think it was one of the songs off "Rated R" ("Feel Good Hit Of The Summer"), I guess one of those crazy political religious groups went all nuts and put up an internet site trying to ban you guys... (QOTSA)
Nick: "Yeah, I don't know what that was about, it's silly you know? It's funny because we censored ourselves on that record."
Sam: Really?
Nick: "We called it 'Rated R' so they wouldn't put the...we didn't want it on the new record either, the parental advisory, 'cause that isn't what we wanted on our artwork, you know what I mean? We turned in a red cover with a pitchfork, we didn't have a parental advisory on it. That's something that they just put on there, and I think it's bullshit. So the other record, before they could touch it and try to censor it, we just censored ourselves and just called it 'Rated R'. Like, 'this isn't for kids', not that what we're saying was bad, or we're saying yes or no, or you should do this or do that, 'cause we're not. But we just went ahead and censored ourselves before anyone could fuck with our cover."