By Dave Pehling
OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A powerful three-band bill takes over the Elbo Room in Oakland Tuesday when touring Greek stoner rock band 1000mods is joined by desert rock legends Fatso Jetson and Portland, OR-based group Ape Machine.
Formed in 2006 in the small town of Chiliomodi, 1000mods mined a heavy psychedelic sound that drew on classic proto-metal influences of Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer as well as more modern bands like Mudhoney and Kyuss. The quartet built a local following and recorded a pair of self-released EPs that led to them making their first proper album with noted stoner/doom engineer and producer Billy Anderson (Melvins, Sleep, Buzzov*en, High On Fire), Super Van Vacation, in 2011 on German label Kozmic Artifactz.
The album’s slowly flowering, psychedelic epics helped the group make inroads to the European continent, playing two tours and appearing at Rockwave Festival, Desertfest and Lake on Fire. The band would expand its following with its two subsequent albums — Vultures in 2014 and Repeated Exposure To… two years later — and additional well-received jaunts through Europe. Last year in spring, 1000mods made its first trip to North America, playing extensive dates in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
Fresh from recording it’s fourth album in Seattle with producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), 1000mods returns to the road, bringing its current tour to the Elbo Room in Oakland Tuesday. The band is joined by one of the pioneering bands in the desert rock scene that produced Kyuss, guitarist Mario Lalli’s long-running group Fatso Jetson.
Lalli had already emerged as a major force on the Palm Desert scene in the mid-1980s with his group Yawning Man that featured cousin Larry Lalli (bass), guitarist Gary Arce and future Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age drummer Alfredo Hernandez long before Fatso Jetson came together. Yawning Man became a staple of the infamous underground generator parties held in remote parts of the desert, playing extended psychedelic jams that helped shape the minds of then teenagers Josh Homme, Brant Bjork and John Garcia prior to them forming Kyuss.
After Yawning Man ran its course for the time (the group would eventually reform and start releasing albums in 2005), Fatso Jetson came together in 1994 when the Lallis teamed with drummer Tony Tornay. Mixing elements of heavy rock, surf and psychedelia, the trio would be signed to Greg Ginn’s SST Records, which released its first album Stinky Little Gods in 1995. While Mario would also spend time as an auxiliary member of Queens of the Stone Age and contribute to Homme’s Desert Sessions recordings, Fatso Jetson would regularly tour and record through the rest of the decade for a number of labels including Man’s Ruin, Bong Load Records and Homme’s Rekords Records.
The band has continued to produce vital new music, now playing in an expanded line-up that includes Mario’s son Dino Von Lalli on second guitar. Fatso Jetson released its most recent effort Idle Hands on noted hard-rock imprint Heavy Psych Sounds in 2016. On this current West Coast swing of dates, former Bay Area resident and guitarist for the bands Totimoshi and All Souls Tony Aguilar fills in for Larry Lalli on bass. Portland, OR-based powerhouse group Ape Machine opens the show with songs from their latest effort for Bay Area label Ripple Music, Darker Seas, an album they recorded with Portland punk legend and longtime drummer for Poison Idea Steve Hanford (aka Thee Slayer Hippy) not only producing the record but hitting the road with the band behind the drum kit.
1000mods with Fatso Jetson and Ape Machine
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 9 p.m. $15
Elbo Room Jack London