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Yawning Man
Yawning Man
Background information
Origin La Quinta, California, USA
Genres Stoner Rock, Desert Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Experimental, Instrumental
Years active 1986 - Present
Labels Alone Records, Cobraside Distribution, Lay Bare, Heavy Psych Sounds
Associated acts Across The River, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Brant Bjork, Fatso Jetson, Ten East, The Sort Of Quartet,Vic du Monte's Persona Non Grata, Big Scenic Nowhere, Yawning Sons, Dark Tooth Encounter, Waterways, Orquesta del Desierto, Oddio Gasser, Noon Day Mad Dogs, Dead Issue, Family Butcher, Gusto, The Rubber Snake Charmers
Website Yawning Man Official
Current members Gary Arce
Billy Cordell
Greg Seanz
Past members Mario Lalli
Larry Lalli
Alfredo Hernández
Bill Stinson

Yawning Man is an American experimental rock band from La Quinta, California. The band originally formed in 1986 not long after the dissolution of the original desert rock band Across The River. However the band never composed a single studio album until 2005, nearly twenty years after forming.

They have been noted to be one of the first influential bands in the desert rock scene, being an inspiration on not just bands within the Desert Rock scene such as Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Fu Manchu and Masters of Reality to scratch the surface but stoner and instrumental bands all around the world, Sons of Alpha Centauri and Karma To Burn being examples. Their music can be categorized as experimental rock and largely instrumental, often looping into freeform jazz, latin, dark psychedelic and heavy rock influences. However some songs do have vocals, notably "Catamaran" as covered by Kyuss on their 1995 album ...And The Circus Leaves Town.

Since their formation, Yawning Man has released four studio albums and a host of other releases, including two demo tapes recorded in the band's original run in the 1980s. Upon releasing said albums the band became more of a worldwide touring unit, performing all over the world since then. The band was founded by Gary Arce and Alfredo Hernández, with Mario Lalli joining soon thereafter.

The name of Yawning Man comes from a character from the Tom Thumb series, notably the character who would put the other toys to sleep.


The Birth of Sol: Birth and Influence (1984 - 2002)[]

Yawning Man was born in 1986, founded by Gary Arce and Alfredo Hernández, both of whom were unemployed at the time and just jamming together. Eventually Mario Lalli would join on bass and Larry Lalli would join as a second guitarist. Previously Hernández, Lalli and Arce had played in a hardcore punk band called The Breed before Lalli and Hernández would form Across The River.[1] At this time, the band started to play marathon jams from the garage to the desert. The word spread of these "generator parties" and large crowds began to show up. One of their earliest known gigs was alongside Saint Vitus and Always August.[2]

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. According to a 2005 interview with Stonerrock.com, Arce stated that the band only ever performed in the desert with exception to one live performance at the Anti-Club in Los Angeles.[3]

In an interview with L.A. Weekly, Brant Bjork would speak positively of the early days of Yawning Man:

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, L.A. Weekly (2002)

From 1986 - 1987 roughly 30 - 40 songs were recorded on two different demos but no official Yawning Man album ever came to light at the time. In the late eighties Yawning Man's sound 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. Another project would also form at the time known as Ten East but through most of the 90s Yawning Man's status was relatively unknown.

Notably when Alfredo joined Kyuss the band would record "Catamaran" for their fourth (and final) album ...And The Circus Leaves Town, exposing many listeners to Yawning Man and a band Kyuss were heavily influenced by.

Rock Formations and Pot Head (2003 - 2009)[]

In September 2003 Yawning Man would return to the live stage with a four-date tour of California alongside Brant Bjork. Their sound further involved into instrumental desert rock, also blending surf, Middle Eastern sounds and folk. Thus the lineup of Hernández, Lalli and Arce would begin recording their first studio album nearly twenty years after the band had formed. 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", Yawning Man's debut album Rock Formations was released via Spanish label Alone Records on 7 March 2005.[4] A release party was held at The Scene Bar in Glendale, California on 4 March 2005. Rock Formations would be praised by critics at the time but even more heavily praised retroactively.[5][6][7] Yawning Man would go on their first ever tour that June in support of Rock Formations but Billy Cordell would take Mario Lalli's place on bass as Mario had moved and was unable to perform the tour or recordings on the next EP.

In an interview with Stonerrock.com, Arce explains Cordell joining that summer:

“Mario had moved out from the desert some years ago. So we tried to develop a long distance practice/record system, which worked to an extent, but eventually it got to be too much and practicing got harder to do. Mario was the last person to stop us from playing so he gave us his blessings to move on with Billy. We did and Pot Head was the result. In my opinion, I actually like it better than Rock Formations. Its got more of an early Yawning Man feel.”
— Gary Arce, Stonerrock.com [8]

On 26 June 2005, Pot Head would be released on Alone Records, featuring four songs and a slightly darker and heavier tone throughout. Yawning Man would follow into the next February/March with a more extensive European tour, a seventeen-date jaunt through Germany, Switzerland and Belgium. Yawning Man would also tour throughout Europe once again in 2008, mainly performing at the Azkena Rock Festival and with Mario Lalli back on bass.

In 2007, Yawning Man was to release a collection of past material on a double CD known as The Birth of Sol Music. It was to be a collection of 30 older songs from the late '80s with an extensive booklet including information about the band and the whole Palm Desert connection. According to band member Gary Arce, this release had 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.

2009 would only see a handful of shows as Arce and Lalli would collaborate with British band Sons of Alpha Centauri to form Yawning Sons, whose only studio album Ceremony to the Sunset on 23 July 2009 via Lexicon Devil.

Nomadic Pursuits and Historical Graffiti (2010 - 2017)[]

In the downtime from performing, the trio of Hernández, Lalli and Arce would begin work on a second album. With seven new songs, Nomadic Pursuits would be released on 22 June 2010 via Cobraside Distribution. Nomadic Pursuits would attain positive critical acclaim,[9][10][11] reaching #9 on The Obelisk Top 20 of 2010.[12] Yawning Man would tour Europe that year in support of the album, which included appearances at Hellfest and Stoned From The Underground.

In an interview with The Aquarian, Arce explains the process of making Nomadic Pursuits and the 2010 tour:

(On recording and writing Nomadic Pursuits)“Nomadic Pursuits was half and half. I had these ideas in my head and me and Alfredo would jam at his house, just me and him, for like half the songs. We worked out songs there at his house, and Mario walked in and he learned the songs in a couple days, and we went in off the cuff. We did each song two times, and we took the one that was the best. A lot of that record is improvised, just me and Mario going here and there. We work that way a lot. A lot of it is basically improvised.”

(On the 2010 European tour and Zach filling in)"It was really good. We played some really big shows, then right in the middle somewhere, we were supposed to play Russia, and it was kind of a last-minute thing, so what ended up happening was we couldn’t do it and we played some really weird gig in the middle in East Germany. We played a biker party (laughs). It was pretty trippy. German bikers. They didn’t speak a word of English, and then there’s us. The opening act, I don’t know who he was, but he was a German rock/folk singer that did covers of Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he didn’t speak a word of English, but he’d learned the words. It was bizarre, dude. We were just sitting there, drinking beer, tripping out (laughs). He wanted us to be his backup band. Yawning Man. I don’t really do cover songs, I’ve never done cover songs, but I had a couple beers in me, so I went for it, and me and Alfredo [Hernandez] and Zach [Slater] ended up doing “Sweet Home Alabama” with this Germany guy doing vocals. I don’t even know the song, I was just improvising over the top of it. I wish it was on film, just to have it. That was the highlight of the tour, I think. Watching us do this song with this German guy. Trippy.

Zach. Mario just didn’t feel well, and Zach was given short notice, but he pulled it off. He’s a great bass player, a great musician. I think a couple times he got kind of lost with me, because I go off on my guitar a little bit. I tend to improvise a bit, so I think he was kind of getting lost at a couple of the shows when I started jamming out. He was looking at me like, “Dude, where you goin,’ bro?” But Mario’s used to me going off.

Unfortunately, we’ve gone to Europe four times, and Mario’s only gone once. We went last year for a week. First time we went was with Billy [Cordell]. He went with us the first two tours, Mario went with us for the third tour for a week, and this last one was Zach."

— Gary Arce, The Aquarian [13]

Yawning Man would return to Europe that next June with the lineup of Arce, Lalli and new drummer Bill Stinson. This two-week tour with Blaak Heat Shujaa also included shared dates with Karma To Burn and began with an appearance at Duna Jam.[14] Billy Cordell and Greg Seanz would take over in the rhythm section around 2012 but no information of the band touring or performing that year is available. The next year the original lineup would tour with Fatso Jetson for the Legends of The Desert tour which included marquee appearances at DesertFest London and DesertFest Berlin. Both bands also released a split LP together for the tour on 26 April 2013.

Stinson would rejoin as drummer in line for a 2014 European tour through August and September. Work would also begin on a new record. The next year would see a second Legends of the Desert tour with Fatso Jetson through February 2015. In one of their busiest touring years yet the band also made appearances in South America for the first time and toured Europe again later that summer, though it'd be partially canceled. A live album of the band's performance at Maximum Festival would also be released in 2015.

After a six-year gap and recorded in a single evening at at Ion Studio in Buenos Aires, Historical Graffiti would be released on 18 August 2016 to positive critical acclaim from the likes of The Obelisk,[15] Echoes and Dust,[16] Sputnik Music,[17] The Sludgelord[18] and Outlaws of The Sun.[19] The trio would return to Europe for a 26-day tour, including appearances at Up in Smoke Festival, Berlin Swamp Fest, Villa Pace and Reverence Festival.

2017 would see a string of shows throughout March supporting Greenleaf and Truckfighters in what would be the band's first ever North American tour, 31 years after their formation. A tour of Europe would follow along with an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas and a 28-date North American tour and a mini-tour of Europe to close out one of the band's most extensive touring years. Work would also begin on a fourth studio album.

The Revolt Against Tired Noises and Macedonian Lines (2018 - Present)[]

Yawning Man's first notable appearance of 2018 would see them perform in the desert at Stoned and Dusted, also featuring a guest spot by Brant Bjork on drums. On 18 May the band would announce their fourth album was set for a 6 July release along with a European tour in support.[20] The Revolt Against Tired Noises would be released on 6 July via Heavy Psych Sounds to widespread critical acclaim from the likes of The Obelisk,[21] Ghost Cult Magazine,[22] Echoes and Dust,[23] More Fuzz,[24] The Sludgelord,[25] Sputnik Music[26] and Outlaws of The Sun[27] among others. Notably it's also the first Yawning Man studio album to feature vocals, with Mario contributing to two tracks. This would include "Catamaran" as covered by Kyuss.

Following a string of California shows supporting Dead Meadow, Yawning Man would embark on a seven-week European tour in support of The Revolt Against Tired Noises and also release The Birth of Sol on double cassette and double LP in support. The trio would go into 2019 on a month-long North American tour with Mondo Generator and Freedom Hawk. On 10 April 2019 Yawning Man would confirm a follow-up album was set for a June release via Heavy Psych Sounds with pre-orders and further details set for 16 April. Yawning Man would confirm the name of the album as Macedonian Lines on their Facebook.[28] Macedonian Lines would attain positive reception among the stoner and desert communities as the band toured Europe in support of the record. That August, Yawning Man would announce they would be touring Australia for the first time in 2020. The tour in itself would be successful as The CO-VID19 Pandemic would follow right after.

On 13 July 2020 Yawning Man would announce that a new live album, Live at Giant Rock, is in the works. It would be a concert film released on DVD or Blu-ray with a complimenting LP, recorded in the Spring of 2020.[29] Further details would be announced on 9 September for Live at Giant Rock, including a release date of 30 October 2020.[30] Live at Giant Rock would see critical acclaim.

Yawning Man would perform once in 2021, on 17 July at Indian Cove Ampitheater in Joshua Tree with Sean Wheeler as direct support.[31] On 16 December the band would announce that a 2022 North American Tour with Stoner was in the plans.[32] In June 2022 Cordell would rejoin the band as Lalli would form a new project known as The Snake Charmers. A sixth album is in the works.

On 30 March, Heavy Psych Sounds would premiere Yawning Man's sixth album Long Walk of The Navajo, set for a 16 June release. It would be the first Yawning Man full-length with Billy Cordell on bass. On 16 April 2023 it would be announced that Greg Seanz would be rejoining the band for their 2023 European tour and recording of a double album slated for 2024.


Studio Albums[]


  • Yawning Balch Vol. 1 (With Bob Balch) (2023, Heavy Psych Sounds)
  • Yawning Balch Vol. 2 (With Bob Balch) (2023, Heavy Psych Sounds)

Other Releases[]


Current members[]

Former members

  • Alfredo Hernández - Drums, Percussion (1986 - 2010, 2013)
  • Mario Lalli - Bass, Vocals (1986 - 2005, 2008 - 2022)
  • Larry Lalli - Guitar, Bass (1986 - ?)
  • Zach Slater - Live Bass (2010)
  • Justine Ruiz - Guitar, Bass (2016)
  • Brant Bjork - Live Drums (2018)
  • Randy Reantaso - Percussion
  • Jerrod Elliott - Percussion (Deceased)

List of Known Tours[]

External Links[]

Official Links[]

Archival Material[]


V·T·E Yawning Man
Current Members Gary ArceBill StinsonBilly Cordell
Past Members Alfredo HernándezMario LalliLarry LalliGreg Seanz
Albums Rock FormationsNomadic PursuitsHistorical GraffitiThe Revolt Against Tired NoisesMacedonian LinesLong Walk of The Navajo
Other Releases Pot HeadThe Birth of SolYawning Man & Fatso JetsonLive at Maximum FestivalLive at Giant Rock
Yawning Balch Yawning Balch Vol. 1Yawning Balch Vol. 2Bob Balch
The Sort Of Quartet Planet MamonKiss Me Twice I'm SchizoBombas de AmorVictim À La Mode
Yawning Sons Ceremony To The SunsetYawning Sons / WaterWaysLegends Of The Desert (DesertFest Vol. IV)Sky Island
Big Scenic Nowhere Dying On The MountainVision Beyond HorizonLavender BluesThe Long MorrowThe Waydown
Associated Bands Across The RiverAcross The River (Demo)Fatso JetsonKyussChéQueens of the Stone AgeThe Desert SessionsBrant BjorkOrquesta del DesiertoVic du MonteVista ChinoWaterwaysTen EastZun • The Perfect Rat • Dark Tooth Encounter