There were moments over the past few years where it seemed like bassist Nick Oliveri was on the brink of imploding, stuck in that weird, almost dreamlike universe (inhabited by the likes of Courtney Love and Katt Williams) where an entertainer’s fans ultimately just accept that there’s a good chance the performer might die any day. Oliveri’s ornery streak has been consistent but it started out manageable — just some usual Rock & Roll debauchery. Then, in 2004, Oliveri was kicked out of Queens of the Stone Age after Queens frontman Josh Homme suspected he had been physically abusive to a girlfriend.
Luckily for Oliveri, he had a few side-projects to fall back on, touring with his group Mondo Generator (who comes to Newport’s Thompson House this weekend), as a solo acoustic act and with veteran Punk sensations Dwarves. With his continued musical activities, things seemed to be going OK for Oliveri until last summer when he was arrested following a four-hour standoff with a S.W.A.T.
team. Law enforcement generally tends to frown heavily upon such behavior and Oliveri was looking at a possible 15-year jail sentence. Somewhat remarkably, Oliveri struck a plea deal that kept him out of the big house.
Punished with only some community service, anger management classes and three years of probation was an extremely lucky turn of events for Oliveri, who seems to be throwing himself full-on back into music. He’s also apparently made some amends with at least one former buddy, Homme, who reportedly invited Oliveri to guest on the next QOTSA album.
The collaboration came even after Homme sued some of the members of his (and Oliveri’s) influential early band Kyuss. Oliveri had rejoined the heavy, Stoner Metal icons during their attempts to relaunch as “Kyuss Lives!,” which led to Homme’s lawsuit. Oliveri’s exit right around the time Homme filed his lawsuit may be another sign that the billy-goat-bearded bassist is in a better mindset these days. Oliveri announced in November that he was re-rejoining the Kyuss tribute project, perhaps suggesting the start of a big love fest amongst the Kyuss band members.Mondo Generator has been perhaps the most consistent part of Oliveri’s life since 1997. Blending the Hard Rock of his previous projects with more Punk Rock chaos, Mondo has built a strong cult following for itself. But, with the way things are going as Oliveri continues to rebound, it’s anyone’s guess if Mondo will go back to “side project” status at some point.
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