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Mondo, Queens and Rock'n'Roll

Interview with Nick Oliveri of Mondo Generator and Queens of the Stone Age
by Christopher J. Kelter - September, 2000

    Now that Queens Of The Stone Age have finished their commitment to OzzFest 2000, the bass playing Queen Nick Oliveri was able to take some time to promote his side project Mondo Generator. If there ever was someone who was made for the rock 'n' roll lifestyle it is Nick Oliveri. Read on, good friends!

Rough Edge: Hey, Nick! I hear you're in the studio. Are you working on new Mondo Generator material?

Nick Oliveri: No, we're actually we're doing b-sides for Queens Of The Stone Age.  We're doing three songs for England.

Rough Edge: Will those songs be available as imports in the United States? 

Nick Oliveri: Yes.

Rough Edge: So, will you be doing any new Mondo Generator material in the future?

Nick Oliveri: It's possible; it's all a matter of having the time to do it. I've been really busy; it's tough to get time off from Queens Of The Stone Age to do some side stuff. There will be time to do it - it's just a matter of when. 

Rough Edge: Let's talk about your experience in the Dwarves; obviously, the Dwarves was a big switch from Kyuss. How did that change your approach to music with Mondo Generator?

Nick Oliveri: I did the first two Kyuss records and I was really into more of a punk rock direction with my friends in the Dwarves. They were looking for a guitar player and I was happy to quit Kyuss 'cause I was younger and I wanted to search out some other things. So I jumped up to San Francisco to play with the Dwarves; I was kinda pissed off at the time and it was a great outlet for me.

Rough Edge: So you switched from bass to guitar?

Nick Oliveri: Yeah, I played guitar for a couple of years; after a couple of years I went back to bass when Dan needed a bass player. I moved around a bit to where I was needed.

Rough Edge: Versatility is a good thing!

Nick Oliveri: Absolutely.

Rough Edge: "Cocaine Rodeo" was recorded a few years ago - what took so long for "Cocaine Rodeo" to get released? What held it up? 

Nick Oliveri: I had it on the shelf in my room and I was looking at it one day, took it down and listened to it, and found that I really liked it! I said to myself "this deserves to be heard." It was all timing after that. I called my friend Greg who has Southern Lord Records and he said "Yeah, I'll put it out!" Next thing you know, here it is! (chuckles) It's pretty much as simple as that.

Rough Edge: OK, so we all know you are Rex Everything - care to reveal the identities of Up N. Syder and Burnt Mattress? Are you willing to reveal the identity of those individuals?

Nick Oliveri: Yeah, Up N. Syder is Rob Oswald who plays in Karma To Burn; you should know them since you're from Baltimore. 

Rough Edge: Yeah, I like Karma To Burn - they're a great band. 

Nick Oliveri: Burnt Mattress is another Baltimore guy, too, who relocated from Texas - his name is Brent Malkus.

Rough Edge: Did you enjoy playing with Brent and Rob?

Nick Oliveri: It was a good band to have together. We were really just psyched to have a chance to play - we just never put our session out or ever really did anything with it. 

Rough Edge: It's obvious you don't like the term "stoner rock." Most bands hate labels anyway or hate putting labels on themselves. How would you describe the music of Mondo Generator to the unsuspecting listener? 

Nick Oliveri: I'd say it's in-your-face, really heavy raw music. I'm not pulling any punches with Mondo Generator - I'm not trying to hide behind anything. If you're in the mood for it, it's a really great record to listen to.

Rough Edge: It appears that the element of fun is very important to you with both Mondo Generator and Queens Of The Stone Age. How do you keep the music - and everything that goes with it like the touring, the long wait between the recording and record release - fun? 

Nick Oliveri: We change members a lot, add new life, we like to get our heads right. (laughs) A little bit of this, a little bit of that, anything to keep it new. A lot of times live at shows we change the songs up. With Queens we'll play some Mondo songs. We change things and make them different - whatever that keeps it new for us. It's important to me to keep things new and fresh. 

Rough Edge: From what I've heard and read you also seem to be quite the music fan - who's keeping you interested in music these days? Who really turns your ear up?

Nick Oliveri: I really like bands like Ween; anything that's diverse and not afraid to take chances. Just good rock'n'roll. I really like older stuff like Roy Orbison, Rocky Erickson, Thirteenth Floor Elevator - stuff like that. Then there's the obvious stuff like Black Sabbath. 

Rough Edge: Well, that's a good mix! Some people only listen to one style, but the really creative people will listen to anything. 

Nick Oliveri: I keep it interesting! (laughs)

Rough Edge: Will your tour as Mondo Generator? Or will your commitments to Queens Of The Stone Age keep you from doing that?

Nick Oliveri: Yeah, Queens is going to keep me from doing a tour just as Mondo Generator in the short run. But like I said, with Queens we are playing some of the Mondo songs in concert I get to do that side of the gig. It'll be a while before I can even consider doing Mondo Generator live and then I'd have to actually consider getting a touring band together. If I ever do get four weeks off I might go out and do it, but then again, I might just say I'd really like the time off. (laughs heartily!) It will happen, I just don't know when. 

Rough Edge: Anything you want to tell the Rough Edge readers?

Nick Oliveri: There's no message. We just like to rock and have a good time. 

Rough Edge: Thank for you time.

Nick Oliveri: Cheers.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
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