Terrific trivia on Josh Homme and Co.
Is there anyone left for QOTSA frontman Josh Homme to collaborate with? He’s rattled through musicians from some of rock’s most iconic bands including Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam and Primal Scream. Now that he’s announced a new album with Iggy Pop and Arctic Monkeys’ drummer Matt Helders it’d be easy to forget how he made his name. So here’s 50 things you never knew about Homme’s main outfit Queens Of The Stone Age.
We’ll start with the revelation that Homme’s life before music was all about throwing “bricks into a dumpster”. With deadpan understatement he says, “It wasn’t great”.
Homme’s career got underway in 1987, playing guitar for Kyuss. They released four full length albums before splitting in 1995 with Homme enjoying a stint in The Screaming Trees. At one point Queens Of The Stone Age – formed in 1996 – were entirely composed of ex-Kyuss members.
On naming the band, Josh said, “Kings would be too macho. The Kings Of The Stone Age wear armour and have axes and wrestle. The Queens Of The Stone Age hang out with the Kings Of The Stone Age’s girlfriends when they wrestle. Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls. That way everyone’s happy and it’s more of a party.”
Before Queens of The Stone Age the band was called Gamma Ray.
The band had to change their name owing to the threat of being sued by a German metal band also called Gamma Ray. The Queens Of The Stone Age name was minted in 1997.
Josh Homme began playing guitar at the age of nine after his parents wouldn’t let him have a drum kit. Very sensible of them, considering how things turned out.
Homme was inspired to play guitar by rockabilly legend Carl Perkins. Homme declared, “The first record I bought was a Carl Perkins record, because I saw him at The Festival at Sandpoint, Idaho. I loved Elvis and I found out that he [Carl Perkins] wrote ‘Blue Suede Shoes… That’s when I realised I wanted to play guitar”.
His first band was called Autocracy and he joined at the age of 12.
In 2007, QOTSA were forcibly removed from a rehab facility where they were meant to be playing a show. The reason? Josh thought it would be funny to open with ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’…
Homme came up with the lyrics “Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstasy and Alcohol” for the ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ by simply listing what was in his system after a three-day bender.
When they were recording ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’, Judas Priest singer Rob Halford was in a studio nearby. He was invited to pop in and, on seeing the lyrics, smirked, “A rock’n’roll cocktail, I know this one.”
When Nick Oliveri was fired from the band, Josh would not reveal why. It was only when he started attracting abuse himself that he reluctantly revealed it was related to domestic violence.
Despite Nick Oliveri being kicked out the band in 2004, Homme and Oliveri remained friends which made it “easy” when they joined forces to create QOTSA’s 6th album, ‘…Like Clockwork’.
Josh Homme is also well known for his outlandish remarks and Glastonbury 2011 was no different. At the same gig where Beyoncé was headlining the Pyramid Stage, he simply said “fuck Beyoncé!” Even Zane Lowe proudly announced he saw QOTSA instead. What a man.
Before their headlining slot at Glastonbury 2011, QOTSA allowed fans to vote for their favourite songs spanning their entire discography which was then filtered into a 10 song “best of” set. One of their best performances to date.
During Queens Of The Stone Age’s gig at the Norwegian Wood festival in 2008, Josh Homme was so irritated with a fan that he threw a bottle at him. This was to return the gesture to the culprit who Homme deemed a “miserable fucking c***”. Before the man in question was evicted, Homme asked the Oslo crowd if they “wanna throw something at him too or are you all cool?”
Josh Homme isn’t the kind of man to mess around with especially when he is 1.93 metres tall. That’s a gigantic 6’4″ in old money.
However Homme has declared, “I don’t care about being macho or bullshit like that”.
After the incident at the Norwegian Wood festival, Homme was accused of being a homophobe. This was due to hurling words like “faggot” and saying he would “butt-fuck” the man who hurled his shoe at him. This prompted Homme to defend his actions by saying “my gay family & friends, as well as myself, KNOW I am not a homophobe. For years now I’ve known gay is not a choice”.
Homme died on the operation table due to complications during a knee operation in 2010. Thankfully he joined the likes of Slash who have died only to be resuscitated and the incident prompted the creation of “…Like Clockwork”.
The album title, “…Like Clockwork”, is an inside joke. The band use the phrase “it’s going like clockwork” when things are going well and say it sarcastically when things are going badly.
A young British artist called Boneface created the bleak, blood-splattered animation accompanying the release of the album and singles such as ‘My God Is The Sun’.
‘Era Vulgaris’ is Latin for ‘the common era’.
Queens Of the Stone Age’s second album ‘Rated R’ cemented the notion that QOTSA were one of the most daring and adventurous rock bands at that time. NME gave the album 9/10.
As well as the CD release of ‘Rated R’, there was also a vinyl issue simply entitled ‘X’. It featured additional bonus tracks, a plain red LP sleeve, no barcode and ref number 000 000-0. You had to know what you were looking for to obtain this rarity.
The debut album track ‘Mexicola’ was named after a mixed drink made with tequila, lime juice and cola.
QOTSA’s logo has changed over time, playing on the image of the capital Q. Once an egg and a sperm for ‘Songs For The Deaf’, it’s now a zero being split in half by a bright blue shard for ‘…Like Clockwork’. Very inventive, guys.
During the UK tour for ‘Songs For The Deaf’, a support group for the hard of hearing turned up en masse, having got the wrong end of the stick. One of them was holding a balloon so they could feel the vibrations. They were given a refund.
The title of ‘Lullabies To Paralyze’ was intended to bridge the record with its predecessor ‘Songs For The Deaf’, its name being a line from that album’s final track, ‘Mosquito Song’.
The main riff on ‘No One Knows’ originates from a Desert Sessions tune ‘Cold Sore Superstars’, which eventually emerged on ‘The Desert Sessions Volumes 7 & 8’.
The track “Make It Wit Chu”, originally recorded for ‘The Desert Sessions Volumes 9 & 10’, is reportedly “one of the best songs about screwing that [Josh] has ever got to play on.” Dirty.
Homme told NME his reluctance to spend leisure time with people he doesn’t know aids song writing; instead of spending time with unfamiliar faces he writes new material with Oliveri amongst others.
The ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore is the latest of many drummers that have played in the QOTSA. The long list includes Dave Grohl, Joey Castillo and Gene Trautmann.
Joey Castillo, who took over the drum sticks from Dave Grohl in 2002, described the role in the band as “a difficult drumming situation”.
During an Interview published in NME in October 2002, Josh Homme, despite being on the ‘Take Only What You Can Handle Tour’, still cares for his body by taking vitamin tablets… with vodka.
Josh Homme also claimed that “Monday’s a sleepy day, a necessity. Saturday’s every other day.” It’s safe to say QOTSA take more than vitamin B tablets whilst on tour.
In the same interview Homme stated that Australia is QOTSA’s favourite tour destination. Homme declared, “They’ve got the whole way of living down” which Nick Oliveri agreed by saying, “Beer, beautiful women. Beaches”.
The humorous side of the band is one aspect that keeps them together. Homme is on record saying, “If we stop joking around, we’re going to break up”.
Josh Homme cemented his ‘funny guy’ reputation with exploits including featuring in a fake infomercial promoting the last Scissor Sisters album, ‘Magic Hour’.
Homme has regularly been included in NME’s Cool List. He held the very respectable position of 21st in 2002, 33rd in 2008, but didn’t feature in 2011’s list.
However, NME writer Leonie Cooper suggested, “There’s only one person in the world who’s cooler than Josh Homme, and that’s Tom Waits”.
Josh’s alter-ego in Eagles Of Death Metal is Baby Duck.
Elsewhere he’s referred to as ‘The Ginger Elvis’.
During an interview on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ this year, Homme joked about corrupting the Arctic Monkeys which led to them, one-by-one, all moving to Los Angeles.
Producer Dave Catching is the owner of the legendary Rancho de la Luna studio Joshua Tree. The idyllic live-in desert studio is where crucial early Queens sessions took place, and the place where Arctic Monkeys recorded ‘Humbug’.
Homme produced ‘Humbug’ and also sang on ‘All My Own Stunts’, from Arctic Monkeys’ 2011 album ‘Suck It And See’.
Josh Homme has to balance being in Queens of The Stone Age with the life of a family man. He and his wife, Brody Dalle, have a daughter called Camille Harley Joan and a son called Orrin Ryder Homme, born in 2006 and 2011 respectively.
In November 2010, three of Kyuss’s members – John Garcia, Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork – announced plans to tour under the moniker “Kyuss Lives!” with guitarist Bruno Fevery replacing Homme. However Homme filed a lawsuit against them for improper use of the Kyuss name, thus resulting in a cut-short tour.
“I think if you play music and you join a scene you’re already too late.”
Homme has professed that QOTSA are “not part of a scene”. He also believes that “Music… isn’t about jumping on a bandwagon. It’s an expression of your reality.”