Screaming Trees On Adding Kyuss Guitarist To Touring Line-Up

Getting the machine ready for the road.

It's an occurrence that has been happening since the early

days of rock and roll, and probably long before that: two artists are

unknowingly recording at the same studio. Upon discovering each other, they say

(a la Spinal Tap's David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel), "Why not join up?"

That's how Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen got together to write "Because the

Night," and that's how an untold number of other rock and roll pairings before

and since have taken place.

It's also how former Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme

ended up playing with Screaming Trees for this summer's Lollapalooza and the

club dates before it. Well, their conflux was actually one step removed. Trees

bass player Van Conner recounts the tale by phone from his home in

Washington.

"When we did Dust [the new Screaming Trees album, out

June 25], Chris Goss from Masters of Reality, he produced a couple Kyuss

records ­­ he was next door. And our producer George Drakoulias was

friends with him. And we were huge fans [of Goss]. He came over and we had him

sing some back ups. We were so excited to have him on the record because he's,

like, a legend to us. He sang, and he told me about this thing he was doing

with Josh Homme up here in Seattle, 'cause Josh moved up here."

That thing

was Homme's new project called Gamma Ray. "Josh gave me a call a few days

before [going in to record]," Conner continues. "He said, 'I have no idea what

we're gonna do. Come down to the studio at this time.' I said OK. I didn't even

know Josh. I came down there, and Vic the Stick as they call him [Victor

Indrizzo of Samiam], was the drummer. He's a great drummer, I've always wanted

to play with him. He's also in Magnificent Bastards, that band with [Stone

Temple Pilot] Scott Weiland, and [Circle Jerk] Zander Schloss. So I went down

there and we just started playing these songs, and they turned out really good.

I had a good time hanging out with Josh and playing on his songs. I think one

of them is gonna be on a benefit album of some kind, and I think he's gonna

release some of them on his own record."

Fast forward some time later.

Screaming Trees were unsuccessfully trying out second guitarists for touring.

As Conner tells it, "None of 'em worked. They just didn't click with the band,

musically or personality-wise. We were sitting around talking, and our friend

Mike Johnson, we were calling him up, he's the bass player for Dinosaur Jr. We

were talking to him, and he suggested Josh. And we were like, 'Oh yeah, Josh,

he's a cool guy.' Called him up, and he was into it. He came down.

"It was

just like ­­ I don't know why this always seems to happen with us,

the few times that we've had other people in the band. We do hook up with

somebody, and it's just like, before we even practice, we kind of know what's

gonna happen. We called [Josh], everybody was just kind of, like, he'd be cool.

He showed up and he was cool."

The rest is history waiting to be made.

Screaming Trees hit the road with Homme in tow next week for a series of 11

pre-Palooza club shows beginning in Boston. Will Homme be part of the band

after this summer? "Right now, you know, it's kind of up in the air about

everything," says Conner. "Basically, he's on the tour, he's not a member of

the band."

Still to come: Conner anticipates the Lolla tour and proves that

he's no computer geek.