|Welcome to Sky Valley|
|Studio album by Kyuss|
|Released||June 28 1994|
|Recorded||Winter/Spring 1993 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California|
|Genre||Stoner Rock, Desert Rock, Heavy Metal|
|Producer||Kyuss, Chris Goss|
|Blues for the Red Sun
|Welcome to Sky Valley
|...And The Circus Leaves Town |
Welcome to Sky Valley (also known as Sky Valley and Kyuss) is the third studio album by the American rock band Kyuss. It would be recorded in 1993 and released on 28 June 1994 after a series of delays. It would notably be the first studio album with bassist Scott Reeder and the last to feature founding member Brant Bjork, who left the band following the recording sessions.
Along with their previous album Blues For The Red Sun, Welcome To Sky Valley has been cited as a seminal stoner rock album and among the band's finest work.
Background[edit | edit source]
Writing and Recording[edit | edit source]
Welcome to Sky Valley was recorded in early 1993 and initially scheduled for release in January 1994. They sneak-previewed the completed album at Foundations Forum 93 and contributed the song "Demon Cleaner" to the sampler disc. Due to mild success from their previous album, Kyuss had been promoted from their subsidiary record label "Dali" to the main label "Chameleon." On 11 November 1993 Chameleon Records abruptly shut down. Their joint-venture partner Elektra quickly picked up the band and scheduled the album for release in March 1994. The album was then delayed for another three months after that, eventually being released on 28 June 1994 almost a year after being initially recorded. Singles for "Gardenia" were made along with a two-part single for "Demon Cleaner" and some radio stations getting a portion of the album, based on one of the movements the record is arranged. It's been implied that Welcome to Sky Valley was the most commercially successful Kyuss album.
This is the first Kyuss album to feature bassist Scott Reeder, who replaced Nick Oliveri in 1992 before the release of Blues For The Red Sun. Welcome to Sky Valley was the last to feature founding member Brant Bjork, who quit the band following the recording sessions. The song "N.O." was originally recorded by Across The River, a band fronted by Mario Lalli and featuring bassist Reeder. After Reeder left The Obsessed and joined Kyuss, Bjork suggested they record "N.O." as a tribute to Across The River. Lalli would also contribute lead guitar to the cover. In a retrospective via Roadburn, Scott Reeder would talk about his stories and the process behind Sky Valley:
|“||"Creatively, I felt completely welcome from day one. Josh and I threw a lot of ‘Space Cadet’ together the very first day we jammed. We had Pete Moffet from Wool and Government Issue come in and play on that one, coz’ Brant quit after he finished his parts.
Kyuss was just the same old standard guitar, bass and drums with a singer. Same thing that’s been done a million times, but there was some intangible thing about it that struck a nerve with a lot of people that heard it. There was just something about the combination of personalities pushing and pulling, churning out this weird sound. We were pretty inconsistent live, but when we were on, I don’t think there was a band on the planet that could touch us. I think everyone was really protective of what we had. We sensed that something special was going on, and we were really paranoid about the industry trying fuck to things up. We turned down a lot of things that most bands would’ve killed for. I think we were a little too paranoid, sometimes.
I think we were on too big of a label, though. We were competing for the attention of the same people who were pushing Metallica and Motley Crüe, and I think we were getting lost in the shuffle, because we were obviously not selling as many records as those guys! There was no conscious direction about which way the next record would go, we just messed around with ideas at sound check, and started incorporating stuff into the live set one by one.
We had acoustic guitars on the road and jammed in hotel rooms a lot. ‘Whitewater’ was written that way. A lot of the songs would start with someone bringing in a riff or two, and everyone helped arrange the stuff, and there were a lot of jam sections, so I definitely felt like it was a band effort. Its hard to keep an eight minute song with two riffs interesting.
When Sky Valley came out, though, the songs were credited to whoever brought in the first riff and with the credit goes the money. Every other band I’ve been in has split things evenly, so it was kinda weird. I’d really put my heart into Sky Valley. The record was held up for around a year, and Alfredo Hernandez joined a little before it got released. When it came time to do Circus, my attitude wasn’t really in the right place to do my best."
— Scott Reeder, Roadburn
On compact disc, Welcome to Sky Valley was originally released with its ten total songs contained in three tracks, with an additional, fourth hidden track. While there are versions of the album with the ten tracks separated most commercially sold versions of the compact disc contain the three tracks, a setup which is meant to encourage listeners to experience it as a full album instead of as a collection of separate songs. Guitarist Josh Homme claimed in an interview that the band "just wanted it to be like hell to play on a CD player". The album's liner notes instruct the listener to "Listen without distraction". The Cassette and Vinyl editions would arrange the songs slightly differently due to limitations. A music video for "Demon Cleaner" would be made, with all of the members except Bjork appearing in the video itself. "Demon Cleaner" would also retroactively appear in the video game Guitar Hero: Metallica and The Crew.
Reception and Legacy[edit | edit source]
At the time of release it saw positive reception from the likes of The Daily Republic (A-) and Entertainment Weekly (B+) though some critics were not as receptive such as Rolling Stone (Three Stars) and Robert Christgau, who disliked the album. The progressive metal band Tool covered "Demon Cleaner" on two occasions in 1998 with slightly altered lyrics: 27 March 1998 at The Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and 29 March 1998 at The Rimac Theatre in San Diego. Scott Reeder joined the band on bass for both performances.
However retroactively the album has attained significant praise in the stoner rock and desert rock scene as a whole. Decibel Magazine would induct the album into their Hall of Fame in 2008 for their forty-fifth issue. Rolling Stone would rank the album #25 on their "Top 40 Greatest Stoner Albums". Stereogum, in their own ranking of every Josh Homme album, ranked Welcome To Sky Valley at #2 on their list, only behind "Songs For The Deaf" by Queens of the Stone Age. A wide range of recent reviewers and publishers such as Angry Metal Guy, Doodlehound, The Obelisk, Metal Reviews, Unsung, Last Day Deaf and Spectrum Culture just to name a few.
The Welcome To Sky Valley sign featured on the album cover (76861 Dillon Rd, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241) has developed a bit of a cult following in itself, with several travelers visiting the sign every year. Notably the fan group Kyuss World has held a yearly event where fans from around the world congregate at the sign to pay ode to the band. It should be noted the sign itself has been replaced and replicated in the years since it's release. In 2019 a group of vandals actually tried to steal the sign, with Scott Reeder sharing a photo of himself repairing it a week later.
Tracklist[edit | edit source]
All songs by Josh Homme except where noted.
I[edit | edit source]
- 1. Gardenia (Brant Bjork) (6:54)
- 2. Asteroid (4:49)
- 3. Supa Scoop and Mighty Scoop (6:04)
II[edit | edit source]
- 4. 100° (2:29)
- 5. Space Cadet (Homme, Scott Reeder) (7:02)
- 6. Demon Cleaner (5:19)
III[edit | edit source]
- 7. Odyssey (4:19)
- 8. Conant Troutman (2:12)
- 9. N.O. (Reeder, Mario Lalli) (3:47)
- 10. Whitewater (8:00)
Hidden Track[edit | edit source]
- 11. Lick Doo (0:57)
Personnel[edit | edit source]
- John Garcia - Lead Vocals, Producer
- Josh Homme - Guitar, Backing Vocals, Producer
- Scott Reeder - Bass, Acoustic Bass (5), Backing Vocals, Producer
- Brant Bjork - Drums, Producer
- Mario Lalli - Lead Guitar (9)
- Peter Moffett - Additional Percussion (2, 5)
- The Madman of Encino - Backing Vocals
- Chris Goss - Producer
- Joe Barresi - Engineer, Mixing
- Jeff Sheehan - Assistant Engineer
- Wade Norton - Assistant Engineer
- Alexe Campbell - Assistant Engineer
- Brian Jenkins - Additional Engineering
- Eddy Schreyer - Mastering
- Alex Solca - Photography
- Skiles - Art Director
External Links[edit | edit source]
- / Welcome To Sky Valley on Discogs
- Kyuss World Interview with Chris Goss on Sky Valley (23:00 - 55:00)
- Article on Sky Valley via WZOZ
- Article on Sky Valley via Louder Sound
- Article on Sky Valley via RamZine
References[edit | edit source]
- [Morris, Chris (January 15, 1994). "Kyuss Lands on Its Feet and Keeps Climbing". Billboard.]
- Roadburn via Wayback Machine
- Roadburn via Wayback MachineKyuss Retrospective accessed 17 June 2020
- [DeCicco, Nick (March 25, 2013). "Our Music Year No. 84: Kyuss, 'Welcome to Sky Valley'". Daily Republic. Retrieved November 26, 2013.]
- [Ehrlich, Dimitri (July 15, 1994). "Sky Valley". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 15, 2020.]
- [Randall, Mac (2004). "Kyuss". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 473. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.]
- [Christgau, Robert (2000). Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved June 15, 2020.]
- Decibel Magazine
- Rolling Stone
- Angry Metal Guy
- The Obelisk
- Metal Reviews
- Head Heritage
- Last Day Deaf
- Spectrum Culture
- AWOL7 Music Pilgrimages That Are Way Better Than Abbey Road, accessed 17 June 2020]
- Ron's Log
- Ghost Cult Magazine
|Past Members||Josh Homme • John Garcia • Scott Reeder • Alfredo Hernández • Brant Bjork • Nick Oliveri • Chris Cockrell|
|Albums||Wretch • Blues for the Red Sun • Welcome to Sky Valley • ...And The Circus Leaves Town|
|Compilations||Muchas Gracias: The Best of Kyuss|
|Extended Plays||Sons of Kyuss|
|Splits||Kyuss/Queens of The Stone Age|
|Associated Bands||Vista Chino • Peace • The Desert Sessions • Queens of the Stone Age • Mondo Generator • Hermano • Fu Manchu • Unida • Slo Burn • Ché • Chris Goss • Masters of Reality|