May 1999 - Guitar World: Queens of the Stone Age
by staff
Josh Homme, frontman for Queens of the Stone Age, uses the term "robot rock" to describe his new band. Actually, the Queens' self-titled debut is one of the msot organic, human-sounding records to come out of the hard rock world in years. While the guitars are dirty and loose, not super-saturated and processed, the drums sound like someone actually banging on a kit, not booming claps of thunder.

"Well, I guess when I say 'robot rock,' I'm referring more to the idea and delivery behind the music," explains Homme. "We had this idea of, 'What if the songs were being played by old robots that are now broken and obsolete, and being manipulated by idiots?' What you wind up with is this very repetitive, trance-like vibe that runs through the entire album."

Fans of the band Kyuss are no doubt aware that Queens of the Stone Age actually consists of three-fourths of those now defunct sludgemeisters. The only real holdover from those Kyuss days is Homme's mammoth, heavily compressed lead guitar squiggles ("like a warm, wet blanket") and skwered songwriting, all held together and propelled by an insistent low-end rumble. While Kyuss' legacy is clear in the murky, angular rhythms of "Walking on the Sidewalks," [their mispelling, not mine] it is conspiculously absent on tracks like the more upbeat "If Only," which boasts and honest-to-God chorus.

"One of the things that I learned from Kyuss was the importance of dynamics," says Homme. "You can be heavier by doing four heavy songs a record, rather than 10, because you're not beating people over the head with it. Back then, I would completely shy away from writing a chorus, or even a catchy hook, because I didn't think that was what people expected of us. But the days of me basing my decisions on the opinions of people I don't even know are over. It's a guilty feeling, and I don't want to feel guilty about playing music, because that's what I love."

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