Yawning Man is an American experimental rock band from La Quinta, California. The band originally formed in 1986, although they released no studio recordings until 2005. They have been noted to be one of the first influential bands in the desert rock scene.
Yawning Man was born in 1986, originally founded by members Gary Arce, Alfredo Hernández, Mario Lalli, and Larry Lalli. At this time, the band started to play marathon jams from the garage to the desert. The word spread of these 'generator parties', and all kinds of people would show up. Their music heavily influenced the likes of John Garcia, Josh Homme, and Brant Bjork (who would later form the legendary stoner rock band Kyuss) to name only a few. When Hernandez played in Kyuss on their last album '...And the Circus Leaves Town' they even recorded a cover of Yawning Man's song "Catamaran".
Yawning Man was the sickest desert band of all time. You'd just be up there in the desert, everybody'd just be hanging, partying. And they'd show up in their van and just, mellow, drag out their shit and set up right about the time the sun was goin' down, set up the generators, sometimes they'd just go up there and drink beers and barbecue. Sometimes it would be a scene; sometimes it would be very intimate. It was very casual and loose and everybody would like, while they're playing, everyone would just lounge around. They were kinda like a house band. It wasn't militant like Black Flag. It was very drugged, very stone-y, it was very mystical. Everyone's just tripping, and they're just playing away, for hours. Oh, they're the GREATEST band I've ever seen.- Brant Bjork (2002)
From 1986-1987 30-40 songs were recorded on 2 different demos but no official Yawning Man material was ever released until 2005. Yawning Man's music began to mutate into strange loops with an almost dark / freeform jazz punk sound, and the name of the band just didn't fit the music anymore. The band changed name to The Sort of Quartet and in the mid 90's released three albums on SST Records and one on German label Hot Wax Crippled Dick. Also during this time the Lalli cousins achieved recognition with their band Fatso Jetson, which briefly included Arce.
In 2005, the first LP 'Rock Formations' was released on the Spanish label Alone Records. Rock Formations is a collection of 10 tracks recorded in late 2004 and described as "a melancholic mix of acoustic space rock with elements of surf music, as well as middle eastern guitar style". Months later,'Pot Head', a 4 track EP, slightly darker, with a heavier tone would be released. In 2006, Rock Formations was re-released with a limited edition bonus DVD recorded at W2 club in Den Bosch (NL), on June 17, 2005, during their European tour.
In 2007 Yawning Man was to release a collection of past material on a double CD: The Birth of Sol Music. It was to be a collection of 30 older songs from the late 80's with an extensive booklet including information about the band and the whole Palm Desert connection. According to band member Gary Arce this release has been postponed indefinitely. In 2009 The Birth of Sol Music (The Demo Tapes) was released on iTunes as a two disc set containing 24 songs.
This year will also feature the dawn of guitarist Gary Arce's next project, which may go by the name Echo Friendly Approach or Dark Tooth Encounter. Gary and Billy Cordell are joined this time by Ten East and The Perfect Rat drummer Bill Stinson. Contributions will be made by Australian master didjeridoo player Simon7 (Didjworks) with potentially some other surprise musicians- friends of Gary's from SST Records.
In 2007, an LP called Vista Point was released by Yawning Man. It is a combination of the Rock Formations and Pot Head releases.
2009 saw the release of an album entitled "Ceremony to the Sunset" under the name Yawning Sons, a collaboration project between Arce, Mario Lalli and members of British band Sons of Alpha Centauri.
In 2011, Yawning Man returned to Europe for a two week Summer tour in June with guitarist Gary Arce, bassist Mario Lalli, and new drummer Bill Stinson.
In 2012 Billy Cordell rejoined as a touring member. A new album will be recorded during the summer, to be released by Cobraside Distribution, with new tour dates to come.
Gary Arce - guitar (1986-present),
Mario Lalli - bass (1986-present),
Alfredo Hernandez - Percussion,
Larry Lalli - guitar, bass,
Billy Cordell - bass (2005-2012),
Greg Saenz - drums (2011-2012),
Bill Stinson - drums (2011),
Randy Reantaso - percussion (†),
Jerrod Elliott - Percussion