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Queens of the Stone Age cofounder/former bassist and Mondo Generator leader Nick Oliveri likes to play concerts in the nude. But, as Oliveri can readily attest, his, shall we say, "naturalist" approach is not without its hazards. He very nearly landed his naked ass in a Brazilian prison after Queens of the Stone Age finished their set at the 2001 Rock in Rio festival. Shuddering and laughing at the same time, Oliveri recalls the incident with enthusiasm.
"It was a buzz-crash, for sure," he says. "I was detained very forcefully. I didn't know what the hell was going on, in a scared kind of way. They were speaking Portuguese to me, and I'm going, 'Whaaaaaat?' What was even more scary is, they were wearing these jackets. I don't think they were totally, like, on-the-level police or security dudes. They took me in this van they wouldn't let the road manager in with me to this little portable trailer. I'm, like, 'What the hell is going on here?'"
"This chick comes up wearing a Harley-Davidson hat," he says, "and goes, 'Don't worry. There was an on-site judge who was here with his 16-year-old daughter, and he thinks you should apologize to him and do a public apology.' So I was, like, 'Sorry! Do you want me to say hi to her or anything?' He was, like, 'no.'"
Having been out of QotSA for three years now, Oliveri who is also an alumnus of stoner metal outfit Kyuss, as well as legendary punk outlaws the Dwarves can get as naked as he wants when fronting Mondo Generator. Originally a side project during downtime from Queens, Mondo has become Oliveri's main focus these days. Fans of the bludgeoning, syrup-thick distortion of Queens and Kyuss may take a while to appreciate the raw, punk attack Oliveri favors on Mondo Generator's new album, Dead Planet, but make no mistake: Oliveri's out to make your balls sweat.
So what is it about playing naked that appeals to him? "The Cramps, Iggy Pop, and Blag from the Dwarves always did it," he says. "I don't see it as sexual, but scary and weird. More like shock value. And I sweat a lot when I play. It's kind of uncomfortable, like getting pushed in a pool with a pair of Levi's on. That sucks. Nudity isn't weird for me. Clothes are confining and weird."