Supergroups. The Raging Genius of Josh Homme

What happens when geniuses collide?

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Supergroups. The Raging Genius of Josh Homme
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Let's face it — we all like it when musicians of some particular genre who got successes before, come together to make a great and powerful record (or maybe several). Big artists', exotic band's names and long-lasting months of waiting for the album. Sounds familiar, right? There are so many supergroups now, that you can easily get lost in the titles. And the amount of them is constantly growing. Maybe it's caused by the increasing number of excellent musicians who hit their 40's and 50's and want to try something new and fresh in their careers. But is any supergroup a definite success? In that piece, I'm going to talk about some good examples of them.

In the early 2005 rumors about one untitled supergroup began to spread across the internet. Originally it was Dave Grohl's idea to join forces with two legends — Josh Homme (from Queens Of The Stone Age) and John Paul Jones, a former bassist of Led Zeppelin. At first, Homme liked the idea, but no specific steps were taken to make it real. Until January of 2009, when Grohl celebrated his 40-th jubilee and introduced Josh to John at his birthday party. Next month newly formed trio immediately hit the Pink Duck Studio owned by Homme and recorded the material from February until July. The band chose to be named Them Crooked Vultures. They released a self-titled debut that was an incredible mix of good-old hard rock with a slight touch of Homme's classic stoner-flavor. Critics acclaimed their album as "one of the best rock albums of the past several years," and they deserved it. In addition to that just a few weeks ago in a short promotion-interview of his upcoming QOTSA record, "Villians," Homme mentioned that maybe he would try to resurrect Them Crooked Vultures for another record in the coming years.

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Another example of a good supergroup is (oh God yeah) also connected with Josh Homme. In late 2015 he made another one but didn't give it a name in order to pay respect for the life and work of a genius (and actually a pretty wise old man) Iggy Pop. The title was simple — Iggy Pop. Just like it's one of his regular solo albums. But if we'll go into the details — we can easily appreciate their one and only "Post-Pop Depression" as a supergroup album. Matt Helders from the Arctic Monkeys, who keep on making one good album after another, on drums, Dean Fertita (also a very talented musician from QOTSA), Homme and Pop. Fertita, Homme, and Helders were not just a backing squad for Iggy's raging punk. As they say, they made the album together, and the contribution of each member of the team to the record is incredible. Anyone who knows Iggy's and Josh's works and has heard the album can definitely say that it's true. They came out of the studio with a fantastic mix of Homme's typical riffs and melodies plus Iggy's late-years' melancholic mood. And the name of the album perfectly expresses what they were going through after the sessions in Pink Duck and Rancho De La Luna studios (both belonged to Josh). The guys even have a documentary entitled "American Valhalla" coming out this summer.

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Judging by my previous words, the universe of supergroups is circulating around Josh Homme but that's not true. In 2010 Cedric Bixler-Zavala, mainly known for his works in The Mars Volta and the recently brought back in action At The Drive-In, made a psychedelic rock band with elements of folk-music and progressive rock called Anywhere. Now they have two records and a few singles, and that's an entirely surreal experience. Why did I use the term "supergroup"? During their career, the line-up has changed a few times. But it included former The Stooges drummer and even Nirvana's Krist Novoselic. In case you didn't know about Anywhere — give it a try, it's worth listening to.

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I'm going to continue the list of successful supergroups in my next articles. There are also questions that remained unanswered — who were the pioneers of supergroups? Were there any all-star bands that released questionable records? I'm eager to share some stories on the matter in the coming weeks.

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

    soundsabbath
    Come on boys, album number 2!
    Maiden95
    Them Crooked Vultures is one of the best supergroup albums ever. It's basically as cohesive as a band that had been together for years.
    Eifler121
    Good subject matter and ideas, but your writing is kind of a mess. Your grammar and phrasing is a little awkward. Post-pop Depression is a great album if you were to replace Iggy Pop's vocals with almost anyone else. If Homme had sung on it, it could be the best QotSA album he's done. The riffs and songs are all awesome, but Iggy Pop's vocals are cringe-worthy on that album. You should also consider that QotSA is in a way a super group; being derived from Kyuss, and with a constant rotation of high profile members. Dean Fertita was a Jack White collaborator before Queens. Temple of the Dog is, in my opinion, the greatest supergroup of all time. I think they made one of the best albums of the 90's, vocally, conceptually, and just as a time stamp of their era.
    meetmeatseven
    Thank you for the critics. Can't wait to hear new QOTSA, the first single was a pretty shocking experience.
    Eifler121
    I like the new single, all except the claps, it's one thing I don't believe has a place in tasteful music. I like the art direction. I want another long form music video like the one for ...Like Clockwork, but I know it's unlikely.
    meetmeatseven
    And I really like that dark sounds at the end of the sound which I guess will turn into the next song. I think it's going to be a really different from the previous records but exciting experience 👍
    Eifler121
    The Arcs is a very solid supergroup, featuring members of the Black Keys, Shins, Menahan St Band (Charles Bradley's backing band), the Dap Kings, and Latin Grammy nominated Mariachi band For de Toloache. Dan Auerbach's other supergroup, BlackRoc is one of the best mixes of rap and rock around. Jack White is also a master of supergroups, the Raconteurs and Dead Weather are both very solid, and only the third Dead Weather album has a bad track on it. I might argue that he has had the most success outside of his main project out of any current artist. It's rare to find a super group putting out material on par with their previous works, and I personally feel like the aforementioned groups, Temple of the Dog, and Them Crooked Vultures are among the few that did a good job.
    The_Crank3
    Yes blackroc was one of the best rock/rap albums I ever heard and this is coming from someone who rarely listens to rap. I try to tell people about blackroc but it usually falls on deaf ears. I even met people who say they love the black keys and are big fans yet they never heard of blackroc even though it's way better than the black keys later albums.
    Eifler121
    I would only say it's better than Turn Blue. I get that El Camino is like their "pop" rock album, but they do it pretty well. To me, they made it pop by adding elements of early R&B and 60's pop rock. Brothers, I believe, belongs among the pantheon of all-time classic albums. I definitely agree, though. Blackroc goes underappreciated, certainly. Surprising given that they'd release Brothers the next year, and Wu-Tang and Mos Def are pretty high profile. The Arcs made up for Turn Blue for me. In my opinion, Yours, Dreamily is the logical successor to Brothers.
    meetmeatseven
    Oh yeah, I'm planning to dedicate the whole article to Jack White, and another one — to Cedric & Omar's genius.
    maidahpuhname
    Can i just say thank you for considering the genius that is Cedric and Omar. Brilliant minds with a wonderful penchant for the unknown musical universe they create. Definitely not for everyone, but if you're on the fence, watch a video of them performing, you won't regret it.
    meetmeatseven
    I think Cedric and Omar will definitely go down in history. It's just incredible, what they are doing.
    Eifler121
    Great. I bought my first guitar, and switched from bass, because of These Stones Will Shout by the Raconteurs. Looking forward to it!
    meetmeatseven
    Oh yeah! That's your favorite Racounteurs track? I know it's hard to pick one because it's such a great band but maybe? My choice is rather obvious but I can't do anything with that cause they're so awesome — "Steady As She Goes", "Carolina Drama" and unforgettable "Broken Boy Soldier". BBS just turned me upside down when I was 17 and I still have shivers when I hear it.
    Eifler121
    I really don't know if I have a favorite by them, because I rarely listen to them without finishing either album, but I kind of consider Level and Store Bought Bones as one thing; which may be my favorite. These Stones Will Shout was the third song I heard by them, and it just solidified a lot of what kind of music I would love, and I had to learn that riff.
    soundsabbath
    Audioslave?
    Eifler121
    I personally love Audioslave and their first two albums, and they were my gateway into much of what I listen to (Soundgarden is my favorite band), however, I think the other bands I mentioned more consistently match or exceed their previous acts and more consistently than Audioslave did.
    BiggusDickus
    You know rock is in critical condition when Dave Grohl is considered a rock genius. 
    terranraptor
    as someone who very much dislikes seing Dave Grohl's name and face on this site, I thank you for that comment!!!
    Jcubs79
    Can I ask why you don't think that Dave Grohl is at least influential on the rock genre? The man is very passionate about music. I'm not the biggest Foo Fighters fan but I like the passion he brings.
    Spinnerweb
    Both Led Zeppelin and Guns N' Roses are technically supergroups too. Them Crooked Vultures rule.
    cmvideo
    I hate the term 'super group'. Just because a bunch of guys were in previous bands does that really make their new collaboration 'super'?? Meh. I think that term should be reserved for bands like Chickenfoot. Satch, Hagar, Anthony, Smith. All 4 guys had HUGE success in their own careers. Now that is a super group
    SFosterS
    TCV was the same. Zep, Foos/Nirvana, Kyuss/Queens. Just too bad Chickenfoot didnt make a super album with their supergroup. TCV is far more deserving of the supergroup title than Chickenfoot.
    stef123
    Deep Purple were formed by gathering the best possible musicians, I'll count them in.
    angry.terence
    What about the crème de la crème  of 'Super Groups' The Travelling Wilburys: Jeff Lyne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison. Or The Highwaymen: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Wayon Jennings It is nearly inconceivable that these groups even existed at one point.