|August 2002 - Blender: Deaf Jam
by Michael Leonard
DEAF JAM - Music's freakiest duo summons Dave Grohl and other pals for a
Queens Of The Stone Age
Songs For The Deaf
WHAT CRAZIES Queens of the Stone Age are. With one perv-dwarf (Nick
Oliveri: bass, cockflashing) and one freak-Elvis (Josh Homme: guitar/vocals,
spookiness), they became almost famous in 2000 with Rated R, a
psychedelic-retro hard-rock masterwork. Their "nicotine, Valium, Vicodin,
marijuana, Ectasy and alcohol" chant in "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" made
them critics' faves, a cheeky diversion from the hand-wringing moan of
millennial nu-metal. With Songs From The Deaf - dudes, you're killing us! -
the odd couple will be taken much more seriously.
QOTSA 2002 have added former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, ex-Screaming Trees
singer Mark Lanegan and comedy-rock dweeb Dean Ween. Pushed by Grohl, the
Greatest Living Rock Drummer, this post-grunge commune utterly revels in
Deaf kicks off by resurrecting the robo-punker "Millionare" (previously on
the fifth volume of their Desert Sessions side project), then stretches out
with "No One Knows" (a Britpop strut/fuzz-rock hybrid) and "First It Giveth"
(tumbling with falsetto verses and a pummeling chorus), which demonstrate
QOTSA's canny songwriting. While cliches abound, from druggy references
("We get these pills to swallow/How they stick in your throat/Taste like
gold") to ballistic drum breaks that seem to arise from John Bonham's
coffin, this huge music is delivered with panache. By the time Lanegan
croaks "Song For The Dead" and "Song For The Deaf," both Arabic-gone-goth
grooves that conjure visions of Black Sabbath rockin' the pyramids, you can
Bong-blitzed teens will still dig Queens, but the pop smarts of "Go With the
Flow" and "Another Love Song" (a pristine slice of '60s psychedelia-lite)
could also position Songs For The Deaf as crossover metal, if the world is
willing to embrace Homme and Oliveri's freaky faces. QOTSA execute their
hoary AOR moves with irony and conviction, having fun while making fun,
creating a world where every month is Rocktober.
Huge thanks to Thomas (TyCobb) for typing this up!