For the dedicated folks who read our lovely newsletter we once again offer you a sneak peek of an upcoming feature. The following Q & A with Josh Homme, the leader, brainchild, and soul of Queens of the Stone Age is not available anywhere else! We hope you enjoy our little talk with Josh, and be sure to keep an eye on JamBase as the full feature will land sometime soon.
Kayceman: To jump into things a little bit, the music that Queens is making is not what I would consider 'pop music' or very easy to digest, yet the masses seem to be digging what y'all are doing. So I'm curious why you think your music is being so well received in today's music climate?
Josh Homme by Maggie St Thomas
Homme: I have no fuckin' idea man. For years I've been saying to myself, "It's kind of interesting to be all alone or to be outside of the situation." So when there are moments when people notice it and get into it, I feel almost like they are showing up to a party that's been going on for a long time, or I wonder if we are actually bending music towards us. But that's pretty fuckin' arrogant, so I usually understand that that's not what it is. It's just one of those things where I don't really spend too much time on it because it's kind of bizarre.
Kayceman: Would you consider Queens more of a studio band or a live band?
Homme: I think we're both. My favorite part is the studio because it's where you actualize the sounds in your head. And I've always looked at live as the explanation where you say, "It was kind of like this in the studio, kind of like this, and like this and like this." But it's also where, because we make records fast, the songs are not really like photographs - there's always room to maneuver around them, to alter them, and to do stuff to them.
Kayceman: And how much would you say, for an average song, how much development goes on while you guys are on the road? Do the songs grow and change as you are touring?
Homme: Oh, absolutely. I think that's the cool part of music, is that it's not static.
And in terms of playing live, what's sort of your favorite aspect of the live experience?
In terms of playing live, I would say what I like is just being able to move the songs around and to not accept them as completed. And I like going to see places that I've never been to as well. It's a bit like being a scientist - just collecting data and trying to figure out what the hell this spinning globe is.
How much of what you guys do live is improvised?
Quite a bit. It's fun to fuck around. And it's critical that we never get bored or just phone it in. And we have plenty of songs where we play them succinct because it's nice to hear yourself have a completed thought as well. But at least half of the songs are available to be manipulated at any time.
Queens of the Stone Age
You just mentioned that you are reading a bunch of Grimm Brothers and stuff like that. In terms of your creative output - a lot of folks draw inspiration from drugs, or they get pissed off at the world, or they dig into their heartbreak, or the uncle who abused them, or whatever. Is there something that you draw from consistently?
I think that, for me, I don't like the laws of man. That sounds very high-drama, but it's very simple. The speed limit is 65, today it's 75, and now it's 65 again, and if you are going 75 you're wrong! That shit doesn't mean anything to me. And I always recommend that someone only follow the law in situations where they may get caught. And so I often sing about things that act like they have true meaning but that aren't judgmental. I don't know better, I just know what I do. I think in the past in wanting to talk specifically about songs I've said, "Oh it doesn't mean anything." And I think actually some people believed that, but it couldn't be further from the truth. Everything means a lot. So I think it's all tied into what I call 'The Philosophy,' which is making music which is also a way to live your life. The yardstick that I use for success is not about record sales, it's like with each record, do you become a better person? Do you understand life better? Do you understand the situation that you are in? Do you understand yourself better? Because that way it's like some people ask, "Where do you go from here?" And it's like, "Keep going up, man." And I think their concept of 'up' is two million records or something, but that's cool too. None of it's wrong.
Josh Homme by Jason Schneide
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