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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Queens of the Stone Age Interview — Josh Homme on Jimmy Iovine, Interscope, the Grammys and Hollywood

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 1:15 PM

Queens of the Stone Age lead singer Josh Homme melts San Francisco faces tonight and tomorrow night at the Warfield — a momentous occasion for Bay Area fans of crushing, pounding riffs, a party atmosphere and the possibility of some ass. A lower class kid from the bum-fuck desert who became a world-famous rock god, Homme is equally as stoked as his fans to be up in San Francisco this week. “It's very much a 'yeah, baby' situation,” he says during a half hour talk with the SF Weekly.

Feast thine corneas on some interview excerpts about playing drug songs to rehab patients, the fallout from telling his label to suck his dick, and crazy Grammy after-parties. —David Downs

Tell me about the rehab story from November.

"We played just for little bit. I had a friend that was on the 'road to recovery' and he asked if we would play the place he was staying [cough] sort of the place where you can ride horses on the beach and leave and other stuff. We went there — what with all the Lindsey Lohans of the world — we wanted to do our part. I thought it would be good to do “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” [ featuring the lyrics “nicotine valium vicodine marijuana ecstacy and alcohol” and chorus of “c-c-c-c-c-cocaine!”] during a set, 'cus the thing is — people take it wherever they want to."

"If you think it's negative and endorses drugs then it's negative. Ultimately it's a list. A manipulative list. The only other word in the song is “No.” So it could be anti-drug. This kind of Nurse Rachet figure was really not into it and all hell broke loose."

Did the crowd like it?

"The crowd was stoked. It was awesome. I think so from the smiles and bewildered looks, and my friend oh, he was stoked. The funny thing is, he's been to rehab three times. I'm not bragging, but he did say this was his best time."

So did Nurse Rachet pull the power, run behind the stage?

"They didn't run behind it. They came in with the orderlies and it was on, and it was short. The word “sue” got thrown around and someone was talking "legal action", which I thought is when you get some at a law firm Christmas party."

Playing that song, there, sounds like performance art.

"I think good art should elicit a reaction and I've always tried to chase that idea. Some people would not put our music in the art category, but whatever."

Have you heard from Jimmy?

[Homme recently told a blogger that his label Interscope and its head Jimmy Iovine could suck his dick for being wasteful, backward luddites. He chided Iovine for taking private jets and flying first class to tell a band they're going to get no tour support. He called them retarded children. It was epic.]

"I actually heard the other day that he was upset a little bit, but I'm still standing over here feeling that I don't give a shit. I didn't say anything that I didn't believe to be 100 percent true. An hour after I did the interview, Interscope wanted to talk to me about it. “Do you have to name names? Do you have to be so explicit?” And I said, 'That's the problem, you just don't listen. If you'd listen you'd know that the details of it is what's important.'

"I'm not — I actually read that interview. I don't read my own interviews, 'cus it's not really needed. The only thing I wish it would have said is, 'this interview was conducted while giggling and laughing the whole time.'"

You guys were riffing.

"That basically was it. I'm saying like I see it — my experience. My response to their request to 'be frustrated in silence and not name any names' was like, 'No, this is not Germany.' He and Interscope will always have the opportunity to prove me wrong, which is great for me. I make music and I want to make a plan to work and I want us all to carry out that plan."

When are you done with them?

[Laughs] They just picked up my option, crazy enough.

For another album?

Yeah, another recording, assuming they take it.

I don't really see them letting you go.

I can be replaced at Interscope. ...

I disagree. ... You guys got nominated for a Grammy for “Sick, Sick, Sick.” Do you care?

That's the fourth year in a row actually. I think it's always nice to have somebody — I want people to like the music, as many people as are available. Something like that always feels good. It's not the breath of life or kiss of death of for this band. Funny ‑ the Grammy and the Interscope thing came out at roughly the same time, and I like to think they're like chocolate and peanut butter holding hands, as we all know those two go well together.

Are you going to go?

We went one year. We were really interested in high-end free food and we got that. It was awesome. I like to party, so maybe we'll go to some of those incredible mansion parties. ... They always decry Hollywood, but they've never stayed up for four days here with me.

Lightning round. Kill or save it.

The Grammys.

"Kill it."

A free, democratic Iraq.

[Pauses, laughs.] "What's that?"

The Guitar Hero, Rock Band Phenomenon

"Save it."

The Internet

"Kill it."


"It's already dead."

Lastly, when you think of San Francisco, how do you feel?

"It feels like when you're trying to dig a ditch outside and sweating your ass off and some hot chick brings you lemonade. It's like — when you're on tour, by the time you get to SF, you also just did Seattle and you're close to home, you know you're on a good run.' It's very much a 'yeah, baby,' situation."

For more on a QOTSA DVD, new record, Homme's low desert history, new Eagles of Death Metal, and thoughts on America, check back here tomorrow or send me an email and I'll send you it.

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David Downs


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