Getting Intimate with Josh Homme

Listen to Queens of the Stone Age on Rhapsody and/or MySpace...

By: Andrew Bruss

Josh Homme by Brian Appio
While a new generation of rock stars have injected political correctness and socially progressive ideals into today's music community, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme has been hard at work bringing good old fashioned rock 'n' roll ruckus back to the scene. Put bluntly, Homme's lyrics put the sex and drugs back into rock 'n' roll.

For Homme, the group's gravitational center, his musical roots start in the deserts of Southern California where he founded Kyuss in the grunge laden early '90s. The group soon disbanded, and from the ashes Homme formed Queens of the Stone Age, a kinky hard rock outfit that's gradually seen a significant change in their sound, as well as their lineup.

QOTSA spent their first few albums working closely with bassist Nick Oliveri until a falling out left the group's leadership entirely in Homme's hands. Following Oliveri's departure, their fourth album, Lullabies to Paralyze, was met with critical acclaim and seen by many Queens fans as a bold new direction. This summer saw the release of Era Vulgaris, a freaky, tweaked out trip through the always-interesting mind of Homme, and was once again seen as a far-out step in the right direction.

For one reason or another, several months after the traditional publicity campaign for Vulgaris was complete, Homme dispatched word that he wasn't done talking. Seizing the opportunity, JamBase caught up with Homme to discuss everything from his media friendly tendencies to creative habits and even his experiences with groupies.

JamBase: It seems like you enjoy doing press and giving interviews, which is pretty rare in this business.

Josh Homme: I enjoy it?

JamBase: Well, it seems like you're pretty willing to do it where many artists find it to be a hassle.

Josh Homme - QOTSA
Josh Homme: When I compare it to hot tarring roofs, the thing that sucks about hot tarring a roof is a lot tougher than the thing that sucks about making music. It's something that you come to understand. It's been 15 years for me now, you know? Wait, sorry, 16 years on tour and playing.

JamBase: You've become known as a guy who can give a pretty good quote. Do you ever feel this creates pressure to keep an interview lively or make a provocative statement here or there?

Josh Homme: One of my hobbies is being a smart ass, and I just like to mess with language, so I never worry about that. I just talk. It's always in the interaction with somebody, and trying to find a way to say something that you've said before.

What keeps you occupied while you're on the road? The time spent on and off the stage seems pretty unbalanced.

I always look for something. It's sort of like trying to chase down a scent you've never smelt before. I try to keep myself moving at all times, and keep myself looking for anything that I've never done before. It doesn't matter how perverse it is, whether it's a movie or going to a bookstore or what used to be a record store - which is pretty hard [to find] right now - to playing WhirlyBall in Atlanta.

You've said in past interviews that as you've traveled around the world you've felt like a scientist learning about the world we live in. What do you feel you've learned about America as a culturally diverse country? Whether it's Southern California or New England, do you feel there's a consistent, defining characteristic of the United States?

QOTSA by Matthew Field
I think that the United States' size is its diversity. It's too big to be [pauses] - even though we have The Body Shop and all that stuff, in every mall - it really is because of the geography. [It is] different in the South than it is in the Northwest. I think our size is kind of our personality. It prohibits you from copying everybody no matter what The Body Shop says. And nobody does dumb like the States, you know? I'm a huge dumb fan, like the expression, "Keep it simple stupid," that really is one of my favorites. Nobody keeps it simple like the United States, and that's something I miss when I'm in Europe.

As far as geography goes, it seems as though the deserts of Southern California have played a pretty big role in the development of Queens Of the Stone Age. Coincidentally, it seems that with your music, you're big on themes, or what some folks might call concept albums. So, I'm curious how you feel that you're connection to the desert has seeped into the music you've made over the years.

What I love about the desert is what I love about any situation. The best way to put it is you're not in a hurry in the desert. You get the chance to make a completed thought. Which is why I think, more accidentally than anything else, Queens' records are kind of the amalgam of an idea in total. It's not really a delivered concept record but they end up being a completed thought, or a certain examination of a certain thing. That's why it's never like 2112 [by Rush]. The desert is more like getting a chance to really look at something without the hurried pressure lots of cities have. When you're in the city you've got to get it on or get swallowed. I don't feel like that time pressure is the same in the desert.

Continue reading for more with Josh Homme...

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