Josh Homme: 'I Didn't Want to Play Music Anymore Because I Died on an Operating Table'

The Queens of the Stone Age frontman talks about how his circumstances forced him to create "...Like Clockwork."

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Josh Homme has told the Irish Independent that the latest Queens of the Stone Age album was inspired by the singer's near death experience.

Homme is lucky to be alive after serious complications arose from routine knee surgery. "I woke up and there was a doctor going, 'Sh-t, we lost you'," says Josh. "I couldn't get up for four months. When I did, I hadn't got a clue what was going on.

"But in all honesty, the last couple of years of failure and anguish have been the best thing to ever happen to me. It gave me a chance to figure out what's really important to me."

He continued: "My grandpa used to say, 'Everyone gets knocked down, but it's the style in which you get up that matters.' Well, it feels like I got to stand up my way. Does my grandpa mean a lot to me? Well, his name is tattooed on my fingers.

But at the same time there was a chance to hear nothing new from QOTSA anymore, Homme reveals.

"I didn't want to play music anymore because I died on an operating table," he confesses. "i didn't give a shit about little things anymore, and music had become a little thing.

"So I'd call up Trent (Reznor) and we'd go and have coffee and talk for five hours about other things. It became part of the process of feeling whole again."

As Homme notes, it was the encouragement of his wife Brody Dalle that got him working on music again:

"The wife and I have a little shack out the back of our house, so I put a little studio in there. She encouraged me to go in there as much as possible and told me not to worry about what I wrote.

"So, I went in and the first song I wrote was 'The Vampyre of Time and Memory.' I hated it. I thought, 'Who wants to hear this?' Then Brody reminded me, 'Who f--king cares?' You got to start somewhere and the bottom can be a really great place."

Trent Reznor and Brody Dalle appear to be just two of various guests featured on the band's sixth studio album. Josh has also commented a huge amount of them.

"I'm almost regretfully realising that we had too many guests, but to be honest, it was really like a buffer for me.

"For example, Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) might come over for five hours, drink some tequila and maybe sing something. It would be a little mini-vacation away from how much work it took to make this record.

"Having your friends over is important and that's what they are rather than guests. Jake Shears (of Scissor Sistors) is my TV buddy. Alex (Turner) is my mate who lives in LA now, so we ride motorcycles. Nick (Oliveri) made his record in my studio and we've remained friends since we parted ways all those years ago. It was time to let the air back into that one, so we went for lunch.

"And I go to the movies with (Mark) Lanegan all the time. These are real friends."

Finally, Queens of the Stone Age frontman showed his respect to Sir Elton John, who participated in "Fairweather Friends."

"The funny thing is he called me. It was a Sunday and I was at home with my son. The phone rings. 'Josh, Elton John here.' At first, I thought it was somebody f--king with me. He told me the only thing my band was missing was a real queen. I said, 'Honey, you've no idea.'

"Elton is just a lovely, funny, excited guy," Homme enthuses. "Whether he's signing cellists from Croatia off YouTube or finding kids in Ireland who are 15 and sound like the Beatles, he's just so passionate.

"He's a total workaholic too. He shares my attitude that work has always saved him. Although it's f--ked me up too, but lets face it, but it's always saved me in the end."

The entire "...Like Clockwork" album along with a bunch of older stuff was played at the band's most recent show at the Wiltern Theater in LA. The band has recently informed that they will stream the entire album via iTunes starting May 28.

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51 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    rockfreak611
    It's always cool to see that some of your favorite musicians are good friends in real life, but this is some inspiring stuff. Great to know that Homme was able to find support in these guys and get himself back together.
    Krieger91
    Well, this is one of those things that proves how important it can be to have people around you in your life.
    HardRock369
    The phone rings. 'Josh, Elton John here.' At first, I thought it was somebody f--king with me. He told me the only thing my band was missing was a real queen. I said, 'Honey, you've no idea.' I lol'd hard
    kcmoon5150
    "I woke up and there was a doctor going, Shit, we lost you" I will never have any kind surgery on my knees.
    iommi600
    "So I'd call up Trent (Reznor) and we'd go and have coffee and talk for five hours about other things." My mind was blown just by imagining their conversations...
    timo96
    How do you die during a routine knee surgery? I'm glad he's ok though.
    andyscoot
    With any surgery using general anaesthetic, there is always a risk of death.
    TryTheKetchup
    NME reported something went wrong and his heart stopped.
    ashowe
    A kid I went to high school with had a routine knee surgery with full anasthesia, and he flatlined like Homme. They explained to us that it was actually caused by his being in such great physical condition (best athlete in the county) that his heart rate was already so low that the anasthetic slowed it enough to stop beating. Maybe the same thing happened here?
    hairypineapple
    Doubt it man, the amount of drugs Josh takes suggests he's not a very good athlete.
    Rorok_89
    Nurse here. Full anaesthesia consists of giving you enough drugs to get you unconscious enough that your lungs become paralyzed (yup, you depend on your doctors to insuflate air into your lungs during surgery or you will die/have brain damage). There is a fine line between the amount of drugs needed to stop your breathing and the amount needed to stop your heart from beating, and that is precisely the reason anaesthesia is a medical specialty which requires extra studying and training. Not an easy job by any means.
    Democrab
    There is an extremely fine line between fully awake, anaesthetised and dead.
    fayderek14
    No mention of Grohl here. Dude must never be around since he is constantly doing something.
    Elderer
    Josh...some Vultures please...
    DystoCreativity
    Dave Grohl is too busy feeding children in Africa with his tears (which are only slightly less nourishing than the tears of angels), saving the entire musical industry with a 4-track, and defending himself against Courtney Love's ridiculous accusations - admittedly, the internet tends to help him with that last bit.
    jrandmb
    I used to be a musician like you but then I took a guitar to the knee. In all seriousness, I can not wait for this album.
    MaXiMuse
    You know you can already stream it right? Or are you a die-hard waiting for the hard copy to fall on your doormat?
    Suitemike
    I heard the album on the stream and it was awesome, but I'm still just as excited for the actual release date, there's something about owning that physical copy that makes it that much more of a connection to the music, in my opinion at least.
    whywefight
    "The wife and I have a little shack out the back of our house, so I put a little studio in there. She encouraged me to go in there as much as possible and told me not to worry about what I wrote." "So, I went in and the first song I wrote was 'The Vampyre of Time and Memory.' I hated it. I thought, 'Who wants to hear this?' Then Brody reminded me, 'Who f--king cares?' You got to start somewhere and the bottom can be a really great place." :3
    CurlOfTheBurl
    lol the Irish Independent? I'm irish, but i didn't know they were the hip QoTSA fans they clearly are!
    Esse94
    Thats what I was thinking, our newspaper reputation has now skyrocketed thanks to qotsa
    shreducator
    I wish I could call Trent and go out for coffee and talk for 5 hours about anything, cool how he can just mention that in passing, lol.
    "Tez"
    Homme has a habit of lying in interviews.
    xstatic44
    Can you elaborate here? I'm actually curious.
    "Tez"
    He said it himself in a interview years ago, wish I could find the interview on YouTube. Plus he also claimed the band performed appendix surgery on a fan backstage a couple years back.
    Benjirob
    This scares me. I like Queens, I tore some of my knee ligaments last weekend and am having my first op on Thursday. Hopefully not a sign!!
    LeperDog
    And here we go: a ton of sympathy and publicity just because an over-rated "musician" like Homme talks about near-death experiences and connecting with fellow artists. Sick, sick, sick.
    TryTheKetchup
    >Sick, sick, sick And there we go: someone, bashing Homme, uses the title of QOTSA song for it. Mission accomplished, I guess.
    FenZ
    " I used to be a musician, but then I got an arrow to the knee "
    Cazman
    Way to make that joke after two posts above you is already a better version of it.