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QOTSA's Josh Homme Speaks,… But Not To Us


This week, Homme is on the cover of the LA Weekly and there is a long article inside entitled ‘Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme Is Our Last Real Rock Star’. The fact that I am about to party with QOTSA for Halloween was not the only reason why I got interested… I agree with the title,…. never mind Dave Grohl!

However, nothing too exciting, I got the impression the author got the chance to hang out with Josh in his studio, while chatting with him, his wife Brody Dalle and some of his friends (growl included). But what do we learn in this article? First of all, QOTSA has been called by Trent Reznor ‘the best rock band in the world’ that ‘could kick your ass if you ran into them in a bar somewhere’, and a lot has been made of Homme’s Elvis-Presley-like charisma … I crossed his path in the corridor of the El Capitan theater before he took the stage for the band’s Jimmy Kimmel Live performance, and was he tall and impressive! He was once called ‘the Ginger Elvis’ and ‘it stuck’. They caught him when he was replacing the Elvis painting at his Pink Duck recording studio, and Homme described the new portrait: ‘That to me is post-’68 comeback, where he’s feeling good, he’s back on top, and he’s just starting to dress funny.’… so Josh likes Elvis, and the comeback thing has a lot to do with his own life too.

We are talking about his dramatic knee operation gone badly in 2010, so bad it let him dead on the operation table… He was revived but he took him a very long time to recover… his wife Brody Dalle had this to say about it: ‘It was terrible and awful, and I wish it didn’t happen, but I wouldn’t take it back, I think it was important for him to go through this metaphoric rebirth.’ Happy she feels this way, sure we got the new QOTSA’s album, ‘…Like Clockwork’, out of this, but wow, talk about tough love!

‘…Like Clockwork’ was the band’s first to reach No. 1 on the Billboard top 200, but Josh Homme cares much more about authenticity: ‘You can either create, or re-create or emulate. The war for second place, I have no interest in that. It’s not about winning. It’s about being your own thing.’

He learned even more about this kind of attitude when he was playing with the desert stoner band Kyuss:

‘If you want to follow your own path, this is the job for you. People hated Kyuss. I got so used to not being liked, you just go, ‘Yeah, because you don’t get it.’ It starts to be your mantra. That’s how you can carve a scene. That’s how you start a sound. The goal is not to be with everybody.”

Homme talks about his friendship with Dave Grohl, Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal), Nick Oliveri, he refers to Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and describes his creative process: ‘I feel less in control of the music than ever. I’m doing whatever I feel that I’m being told what to do.’

Homme was born in the desert, Palm Desert, and since he was the son of a construction contractor, he grew up learning what hard work is as his wife Brody Dalle says:

‘They’re all fucking hard workers. They built what they have from nothing. They had to earn it. That’s how you get respect in the family as a man. Josh wasn’t given anything. He was planting fucking trees when he was 5 years old. And not just a few trees — try 500 trees. He and his brother worked their little asses off.’

His first musical experiences with Kyuss in the desert made a big impression:

‘It could be the most amazing surreal experience possible, and it can also be really scary. No one was there to stop it. So whatever starts — whether people on LSD or people fucking over there or a fight — people just would back up and you would have to finish it. When I look back in hindsight, I can’t believe that 300 people’s parents, not one of them were like, ‘We’ve got to put a stop to this.”

However, Josh is not exempt of controversy, he was once called homophobe after insulting a kid who had thrown a shoe at him at a concert, by screaming ‘Turn the fuck around, you chickenshit fucking faggot!’… It is stupid of course as he reveals that ‘his brother has had the same boyfriend for 22 years. Which is nobody’s fuckin’ business. I’m just not PC.’ okay, Josh’s brother is gay!

The band has gone through a lot of line-up changes since its existence, but Oliveri’s exit was the most publicized and difficult as Homme explains:

‘It was confusing. It was frustrating because it felt like, ‘Shit, I fired my best friend. Could you do that?’ I did it to his face. I didn’t want to. That’s hard, man. I felt like, what do you know about it? It was the first time it became antagonistic. That’s about the time I stopped reading anything ever again. This is not healthy for me.’

The two have reconciled since, and Oliveri is even on the bill at this Halloween party at the Forum. Homme has a lot in store for 2015, he will put out a new Eagles of the Death Metal album, plan to work on a new QOTSA album, and work on a secret collaboration,…

‘Next year will be a year of science and collection of ideas. There’s no reason to wait. There’s no reason to be hasty. I’m just moving at a good clip and looking really wide to see if there’s any interesting pathways that seem scary and cool.’

Next week, their Halloween party has promised ‘The Kills, JD McPherson, Suicide Girls burlesque dancers, a wandering Día de los Muertos mariachi band’, Nick Oliveri, and games! At the top of this, there will be ‘a truly disturbing haunted-house attraction from the notorious Blackout company’, and ‘everywhere will have the presence of The Cramps’, a band dear to Josh Homme:

‘People should know about that shit. I think of me, a 13-year-old kid with a mullet, with a Bad Music for Bad People shirt on, walking through a suburban town. What if I had never heard that shit? That was the most punk shit ever. Punk is outsider music, and they were the outsider’s outsider.’

I have the feeling it’s gonna be a long, exciting and scary night at the Forum.

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