Josh Homme: New QOTSA Album 'Shakes More Ass Than Ever Before'

Josh Homme talked a wide range of subjects from the new album to his love affair with vinyl to news of a new impending Eagles of Death Metal album.

Josh Homme: New QOTSA Album 'Shakes More Ass Than Ever Before'
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Era Vulgaris - which is Latin for Common Era - is the new studio outing for stoner-rock stalwarts Queens Of The Stone Age. Their fifth to date, it sees Josh Homme and co. expanding further upon their now distinct sound. This time by throwing in more grooves and fuzzed out aesthetics to underscore their brooding, twisted brand of rock. Homme has been the only constant in the band's line-up since day one and has moved on after the much public fall-out with former Queens bassist and long time friend Nick Oliveri in 2004. When Joe Matera caught up with Homme for this interview for Ultimate-Guitar, Homme had just arrived at his German hotel room and was mid way through another phone conversation. Once that call had finished Homme began immediately our interview, almost without stopping to catch his breath, and only for it - the interview - to be cut short soon after by Homme who mistakenly got his interview schedule confused. And though Homme is renown for giving almost machine gun like replies and brief answers to journalists questions, the interview that follows still managed to cover a wide range of subjects from the new album to Homme's love affair with vinyl to news of a new impending Eagles of Death Metal album to also his thoughts in the aftermath of Oliveri's exit. Ultimate-Guitar: How did the approach to Era Vulgaris differ to any of the previous Queens of the Stone Age records? Josh Homme: The making of this record was a lot different for us because at the start we didn't really understand exactly what we were going to actually go and do. And so because of that it involved looking at the making of it in a different way than our previous methods. Did you feel or place any pressure on yourself during the making of this album largely brought on by the success you achieved with the last Queens of the Stone Age studio outing, Lullabies to Paralyze? No as one of the main things I really wanted to get right prioritize right away was in making the whole recording process sort of fail, if you know what I mean. That way, I had got it out of the way right away. So then there was no pressure on myself or the record. I could then just look around in the studio and there will be nobody tripped up on the floor or anything which can happen when you're under pressure. So when some ideas didn't work it didn't matter as there were obviously ideas that did work and just sounded great straight off the bat.
"I think every one of our records should have been a dance record."
Era Vulgaris has a lot more groove to it that you could class it as more of a dance record than a stoner rock outing Yeah, yeah absolutely it is more dance-y. Though I think every one of our records should have been a dance record. But I think with this one, it shakes more ass than ever before. So should we expect then to hear in future that Josh Homme has taken to recording a bubble gum pop record? You know what? I wouldn't be against it if there was something I really loved about it. I love to chew bubble gum you know what I mean? But at the same time it hasn't been one of my main musical priorities so far. Speaking of dancing, you've claimed that a lot of your song ideas for songs come from dancing and walking? Absolutely! I like to go out on a stroll you know. When I am out and about on the streets walking, I'm hearing the sounds of my own foot steps. And I'm hearing the sounds of car alarms going off or of people backing up in trucks. It can even be listening to somebody driving by in a can. I can also be sitting in my car and listening to the windscreen wipers because they throw of a beat too you know? For me, there is music everywhere I turn and what I feel so lucky about is that I get to notice it all. When it comes to guitar playing, what is your philosophy that provides the impetus for it? I look at the guitar as a percussion instrument of sorts, because I think I've always been a confused and frustrated drummer. So do you give expression to that frustration by playing drums rather than guitar in Eagles of Death Metal? Of course, I've played drums on the last two Eagles of Death Metal records which for me required a great lack of mental stimulation. Something that I absolutely love! (laughs) With the Eagles, it is all about taking away the thinking for me and about just sitting on the groove for about an hour or so if need be. And that then becomes the most stimulating thing possible to me. Now that you've done the Queens album and its out, when can we expect another Eagles album? I can tell you right now that we're going to record the next Eagles Of Death Metal record like Led Zeppelin did, from town to town. Jesse and an engineer are going to come out on the road with Queens of the Stone Age and before and after each show, for about two weeks, Jesse and I are going to record the new Eagles of Death Metal record. And because we'll be changing studios and resetting up, it's going to be a great rock and roll story in the making. As to when you can expect the new album to see the light of day? All I can say is, I have no fuckin' idea when the album will be released as yet. Going back to the new Queens album, what guitars did you use for the recording of the album? On this record I used the brown sort of violin looking BB1200 Maton guitar as well as this MotorAve guitar made by Mark Fuqua. I used that a lot of the time, well to be honest, actually most of the time. I also used this other guitar called a Teisco which is this old Japanese guitar that wishes it was a Fender. It is a very strange guitar and I've never seen another one exactly like it. My friend Brian originally picked it up at a garage sale back in Boise, Idaho. I've had two guitars come from Idaho and it is very strange that these great guitars can come out of the middle of nowhere.
"We're going to record the next Eagles Of Death Metal record like Led Zep did, from town to town."
How did you go about capturing the guitar tones? I would never tell you that in a million years! I think that what I have always loved is the fact that it has taken me years to really develop something and something that does sound different. So because of that, why would I want to reveal the secret? What I love is the search and so I would never ruin that search for any one else. Or quickly toss my search aside and reveal all, you know. I think what is important is that it should not be so easy for anybody. As I understand it, it is the work and the quest that makes it so good. On one of the tracks off the album I'm Designer you sing: My generation's for sale/ it's a steady job. Many of the tracks are along the same lines and seem to be a discourse on modern society. Yeah, but it is more of an observation on our society rather than a finger in the face by any means as I love today's generation. I think this generation that we're all in is awesome. There is a lot of opportunity and it is not nave and it wants to party and wants to be rewarded. It wants to have a good passionate job and it laughs at things that are ridiculous like the Paris Hiltons of the world. I hear you are a big vinyl junkie? Yes I am. So what drives your passion for buying and collecting vinyl records? I just like the focus of vinyl where you can listen to it and then obviously you have to go over and turn it over to the other side because it is little more engaging than a CD. A vinyl record is not background music it is foreground music because you have to be involved with it. When it comes to something like that, I need something that will grab me so I can pay attention to it. What was the most recent vinyl you acquired? The last piece of vinyl I bought was Grinderman. In a recent interview with UK's Kerrang! magazine you stated that after the whole incident with Nick Oliveri went down, all anybody wanted to know about were the hows and whys behind you and Nick's fall out. Yet nobody cared to ask you the question of how you actually felt firing Nick considering he and you had been friends since childhood. You know that was the question that I had just wished that I had been asked the whole time as it was the hardest thing I had ever done you know. And I had to do in front of everybody and then I had to try to stay out of the way of listening to everyone's version of how they thought I did. 2007 Joe Matera

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    rockstar18
    Nice wee review! I don't know still what to think of the new album because it started to grow on me then quickly wore off again.
    iamweasel
    The new album is interesting. It's not grown on me as quickly as all the other QOTSA albums, but I know there's a lot of potential in it. Lullabies is my favourite QOTSA album. I think it's criminally under-rated, and every song on it is killer.
    recliner33
    fcolbert wrote: Queens original intent was to be hard enough for the guys and sweet enough for the ladies, was it not? I guess they are just starting to be for the ladies haha, still like them though
    QOTSA has always been a band for the ladies. I heard they were gonna be called kings of the stone age but they settled on queens because kings sounded too macho or something like that. Josh wanted both chicks and guys to be in his music since day one of qotsa.
    Th3 Ro0sT3r
    i still dont understand josh talking about his music always being ass shaking music and i disagree because ive never been listing to little sister, no one knows , feel good summer, or my fav burn the witch and been like i wanna shake my ass and dance! ass shaking music=pop music! and rock=headbanging music! QOTSA is rock not pop therefor it is not ass shaking music!
    recliner33
    No. ass shaking music doesn't have to be pop music. Boogy rock is all about the ass shaking, just look at the eagles of death metal. If you ask me, qotsa can be both headbanging music and ass shaking music at the same time.
    fcolbert
    Queens original intent was to be hard enough for the guys and sweet enough for the ladies, was it not? I guess they are just starting to be for the ladies haha, still like them though
    skinje
    I'm loving the new album. I first discovered QOTSA when R dropped, after finding that he was the guitarist in Kyuss I gave it a listen and loved it. People who are saying this is comparable to the St.Anger release in terms of band evolution are wrong. St.Anger is just a poor, lazy album. This is a clear progression from Lullabies. Josh wants every album to be individual, that was always his intention. People who are demanding SFTD clones every release are going to be dissapointed, they need to realise what Queens are all about. All the albums have something in common though, they all absolutly OWN!
    recliner33
    I agree with you, but I have a tough time deciding what the best qotsa album is, it is all great. I like this new album alot because some of the jams that they go through in it sounds like dfa 1979, it kicksass.
    grungeisdead312
    songs for the deaf and lullabies to paralyze were great albums...era vulgaris is to queens of the stone age as st.anger is to metallica
    Th3 Ro0sT3r
    After listing to the new album i find that QOTSA is going down a path that metallica went down. they both started with rock that was absoulutly amazing and slow brought out slower and popier albums. the new records hit (sick.sick.sick) is ok but nothing close to the songs for the deaf album. and after reading this interview i change my thoughts about josh being a rad hardcore dude that i invisioned while listening to his older better music. QOTSA MAKE HEAD BANGING MUSIC NOT ASS SHAKING MUSIC!!!!
    recliner33
    Th3 Ro0sT3r wrote: After listing to the new album i find that QOTSA is going down a path that metallica went down. they both started with rock that was absoulutly amazing and slow brought out slower and popier albums. the new records hit (sick.sick.sick) is ok but nothing close to the songs for the deaf album. and after reading this interview i change my thoughts about josh being a rad hardcore dude that i invisioned while listening to his older better music. QOTSA MAKE HEAD BANGING MUSIC NOT ASS SHAKING MUSIC!!!!
    QOTSA has always been ass shaking music, that's what boogy rock is all about. And the only slow song on era vulgaris is into the hollow and it's not even that slow, I heard slower songs on their previous albums. And what is wrong with slow? People consider qotsa as stoner rock and stoner rock is usually slow. And there is nothing poppy about this album, if anything lullabies to paralyze was more poppy.
    recliner33
    ^ oh and make it wit chu is a slower song too, I forgot that song was on the album.
    str84ever
    Im not a huge QOTSA fan but i have Songs for the deaf and Lullabies to paralyse and that single i heard sick sick sick i think it was called wasn't too great in my opinion.
    Justin_cv87
    Like Metallica? I don't know where you guys are getting this stuff. This album sounds kind of similar to their first album, but with a bit more talent and better recording quality. When Lullabies first came out, people were upset Nick wasn't in it and that it had a different sound, but I'm glad they did Lullabies like they did, bands need to expand and grow. Listening to Era Vulgaris, you could hear a mix of all their previous albums but with better execution, and I think it's their best album yet. However, it's all just opinion. QOTSA is far from sucking though, as d00diseeyou would have you believe. Anyone that refers to them self as "d00d" probably doesn't know much about great music, or anything else.
    Guitaroooo_Man
    grungeisdead312 wrote: songs for the deaf and lullabies to paralyze were great albums...era vulgaris is to queens of the stone age as st.anger is to metallica
    I would say lullabies was the ST.Anger in their collection to be honest.
    shotgunfacelift
    Personally, I liked Rated R and Lullabies to Paralyze more than SFTD. But Era Vulgaris is definately one of those albums that grows on you over time.
    alexeipaish
    This album is amazing, as is all of their other albums. They are all different, and fantastic in their own way. The revolving door of musicians in QOTSA offer different creative imput, yet Josh keeps it all on the level. If you dont believe it, listen to the drumming throughout the bands history. You can tell when the drummers switched. And honestly, would you want another SFTD without Nick? It just wouldnt be the same....and a true QOTSA fan wouldnt want a SFTD copy anyways. Generic duplicates is just not their style man. By the way, does anybody who's already seen them this tour know who's opening? Im going in september and i'd like to know who it is. Peace.
    recliner33
    alexeipaish wrote: This album is amazing, as is all of their other albums. They are all different, and fantastic in their own way. The revolving door of musicians in QOTSA offer different creative imput, yet Josh keeps it all on the level. If you dont believe it, listen to the drumming throughout the bands history. You can tell when the drummers switched. And honestly, would you want another SFTD without Nick? It just wouldnt be the same....and a true QOTSA fan wouldnt want a SFTD copy anyways. Generic duplicates is just not their style man. By the way, does anybody who's already seen them this tour know who's opening? Im going in september and i'd like to know who it is. Peace.
    Yeah I'd like to know who's opening for them too because I might be seeing them in August
    Tedward
    i hate the new single sick sick sick its just plain annoying. thats the only song by them ive heard so far that i didnt love. Gonna listen to some more though.
    youwillbowtome
    Lullabies was an incredible album. Not a great album for singles but definately my favourite album. love acoustic intro, great melodies and slide guitar on everybody knows your insane. great hooky tunes, dark, bluesy. skin on skin wud be ace in a film. i never came is just awesome. As for this new album, i wudnt say its the st.anger at all as that was a dissapointing return to heaviness for tallica, id say its much more of a kid A for radiohead (which departed their popular sound of ok computer for more arty sounds). its obscure and intelligent, hard to digest but very good.
    recliner33
    ElephantTalk wrote: i can hear a lotta foo fighters early stuff in the new album. also the fu.cking tones are easy to capture..get a 335 big muff and an amp and turn the bass down and the mids up
    Yeah I also see alot of death from above 1979 in this new album. Some of the jams in the songs sounds like something by dfa 1979, espescially songs like sick sick sick. Yeah and did Josh play out of a bass amp on this album too? I know he did in kyuss in all the other qotsa albums. It sounds great. I wanna get a bass amp for my guitar too.
    ElephantTalk
    i can hear a lotta foo fighters early stuff in the new album. also the fu.cking tones are easy to capture..get a 335 big muff and an amp and turn the bass down and the mids up
    GimmeToro
    Awesome. Haven't heard Era Vulgaris yet, but will definitely get it. Love all their albums, favourite's probably Rated R. Josh Homme is a phenomenal guitarist, but he's also got one of the best voices going in rock.
    metallica99
    I previewed it at HMV, and it simple sounds like their early stoner rock stuff. Not impressed.
    ZepDeadSabbath
    QOTSA is a damn good band and Josh Homme is the luckiest mother****er alive cuz hes married to Brody Dalle!
    ADropps7
    igor1901 wrote: Era Vulgaris is the best QOTSA album ever. And when you hear them play it live, you will know what I mean. Joey Castillo and Michael Shumann are way better than I ever imagined anyone could be. If Josh decided to bring back Nick, it could only be as a vocalist to help out on a few songs (although I love the way Josh sings), as Michael is like ten times better in playing bass guitar than Nick could ever be.
    Shuman wasn't even on the record, so I can't really judge his bass abilities, but I don't think thier lineup will ever be as good as it was on SFTD. Dave Grohl was by far the best drummer they've had, and they were a better band with Olivieri on bass than they are without him.
    Dark_Axel
    Era vulgrais is great album an Josh Homme is one of my most favourite artists EVER. Keep on smokin' on the free world, Josh ;
    JoeBender
    Josh Homme seems like a neat guy. I love Era Vulgaris, it does make you tap your foot a lot more than other stuff you listen to! About the interview though, why does everyone always have to ask him about Nick? That was 2 or 3 years ago!
    TheDev01dOne
    +1 on the stealing of his guitar collection. Seems like he has quite a few nice ones. I dig the album I like the extra groovyness it has to it. Though I think they're maybe slowly turning into EODM sound.
    tsunami bomb
    go listen to it some more then! who wants to steal his guitar collection with me? anybody?
    skippy_moogoose
    sweet Im loving the new album espeically the title track done with trent reznor and suture up yuor future,and make it wit chu and... hahah,thre whole album
    Guitaroooo_Man
    huge-o wrote: coming from a person whose all time favorite album is Songs for the Deaf, it really hurts me to say that this album is TERRIBLE. It probably would have been good if Jesse Keeler or Nick Olivieri would have been in it.. but oh well
    its not really suprising at all, You like heavy rock albums obviously. this is too much of a departure from that for you. I wouldn't judge it from the album tho, see them perform the new songs live... Battery Acid and Misfit love are ****ing AWESOME live... they really are.
    huge-o
    coming from a person whose all time favorite album is Songs for the Deaf, it really hurts me to say that this album is TERRIBLE. It probably would have been good if Jesse Keeler or Nick Olivieri would have been in it.. but oh well
    F-ing Hostile
    "Though I think every one of our records should have been a dance record" Dance record ay? I never got that vibe at all, but whatever the new album and the last 3 albums have been awesome.