We can just get this out of the way: Nick Oliveri is the most underrated bass player living today. In the early days of his career with pal Josh Homme in Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, the two were basically in sync when it came to music—so much so that his presence is still missed some 13 years after being kicked out of the Queens. The band’s current bassist, Mikey Shoes, is great, but will never hold a candle to Oliver’s natural badass attitude.
Since his exit from QOTSA, there have been some run-ins with the law as Oliveri continued to perform and make music with Mondo Generator, Kyuss Lives, Dwarves, Turbonegro, and most recently, Bloodclot. His new six-track EP, N.O. Hits at All, Volume 3 (Heavy Psych Records), is comprised of released and unreleased collaborations with many of the above.
The first track, “R’N’R Outlaw,” credited to Royale Daemons, is peak Oliveri. On drums is his former Queens and current Bloodclot bandmate Joey Castillo, who has also played with Mark Lanegan, Scott Weiland, and Danzig. Combined, the pair bring a Motorhead-laced train engine sound that is perfect for “burning gas until I feel alright.”
The Dwarves’ ”Fiction” (listed here as “Luv Is Fiction”), a highlight from their The Dwarves Invented Rock & Roll album, is one of my favorite songs by the band and it showcases Oliver’s powerhouse of a voice. Queens fans might be excited to see a song named “Medication” on the tracklisting, as QOTSA have a track titled the same, but this one is credited to Dwarves guitarist He Who Cannot Be Named and is underwhelming by comparison.
The album also features a song by Kyuss Lives, Oliveri’s short-lived reunion with Kyuss bandmates Brant Bjork and John Garcia. Titled “Kyuss Dies,” it is perhaps a reference to the band renaming themselves Vista Chino after losing a lawsuit to Homme, their former Kyuss bandmate. Meanwhile, “Country as Fuck” is hardly that. The straight up rock & roll song could potentially cause cravings for shots of Jack Daniels and a bar fight or two. The final track on the album is a high octane version of Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” that unfortunately only makes one want to listen to the superior original. Whatever shortcomings this track and the aforementioned “Medication” may have, though, the four other cuts completely make up for it, and the album is a must-have for Oliveri fans.