|January 2003 - Loaded Questions Queens of the Stone Age
by Danny Plunkett
Big thanks to Juha for typing this article up.
Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri of the rifftastic psychedelic rock band on fighting, nudity, tiny Swiss people and Jordan
We got 6,000 pills in for this shoot. What goes through your mind when you see that?
Nick: Why are they empty?
Josh: It's déjà vu. Just 'cos of Nick and I's past mistakes we're always asked to shake hands with drugs. We like to have a good time but it's not out priority.
You developed your spaced-out, heavy rock playing parties in the desert near your homes in Palm Desert, California, often jamming on hallucinogenic drugs. Do you still do them?
J: Nick and I had out last acid trip in Switzerland about three years ago, or my last acid trip, and it was such a good one, I chose not to do acid again. I know too much to take it again.
The next time might not be so good?
J: I'll go into negative land, which I never want to go to, 'cos I live in positive land. We have a very positive attitude. We realise that the world, when you look at it, it like trying to find diamonds in shit. People think diamonds are special - if it was all diamonds and very little shit, we'd all be looking for shit. So if most of the world is bad, it's only there to make the good stuff look good. Our new record was almost called Diamonds In Shit.
Then Limp Bizkit did Chocolate Starfish...
J: Oh, Chocolate shitface and the booty covered smile...
Was there one great moment that summed up that acid trip in Switzerland?
N: Not really one thing, it was all things at once... the show... we played everything we knew, in a mad place.
Did the audience stay? Did you notice?
J: I think so. They melted together and became one sort of giant person, that had two giant hands and this body... I don't know if there was one giant Swiss person there or 2,000 small Swiss people.
N: I believe that they stayed. That was an amazing show. I don't want to hear a tape of it or anything, though.
Your third album, Songs For The Deaf, has been pulling the audiences in this year. So much so that 37 deaf people turned out to see you in Hull.
J: Well, they should. We're loud enough. We've got the bass frequencies. Actually, there's a gig in DC at the college for the deaf where they have bands perform deaf shows. They stand close to the speakers for the bass response and they hold balloons.
N: It's like if you're standing next to a train going by, you don't hear it with your ears.
So they hold balloons to hear in the high frequencies?
N: Hey, this guy's shampooing you!
J: He's shampooing me? Hey, you can't shampoo a shampooer, mister!
J: That's what we do here at the Queens Of The Stone Age corporation: we confuse and dismay in a very partying way.
Let's move on. I take it you're going back to the desert for Christmas. How do Satanists celebrate the birth of Our Lord?
J: People thinking we're satanists is a recent development. A woman in America said we were, on her website. It's more devilish behaviour than devil worship that we're into, that we're all into, that Jordan's into. She sounds like my type of girl. She wants to have a good time, but looking for true love. That's what it says here in Loaded. On the way to true love I'd like to have a series of really good and really complicated shags.
You've known each other since you were kids, you started playing together at 14 and in the early '90s gained cult status in psychedelic rock band Kyuss. Are you the fucked up products of early fame?
J: Shit, no, I wouldn't change a thing. I was humping bricks into dumpsters, he was a roofer. Music's gotta be better than that.
Are you Yin and Yang? You are, hair-wise.
N: Well, no really, I had long hair for a long time.
J: And I've had short hair for a short time.
You make a pretty good double act. Are there any other double acts you admire?
J: Wham! was a huge influence on us, in fact the other members of the band refer to us as Wham!
What about other duos? PJ and Duncan or Bruce and Eddie the Head of Iron Maiden?
J: We're more like Paul Di Anno-era Iron Maiden.
In his recent biography Di Anno confesses to shitting in someone's chest of drawers.
J: We're not him then.
N: I only shit in my own drawers.
J: We're like Atomic Kitten.
What, you like them?
J: No, we're like them. We're more than just a duo. Nick and I are like a trio. We're like 45 Ronnie James Dios in each of our trousers. You could put four Jordan breasts in each of our trousers as well, just as a courtesy, really.
If there was a Queens TV show, like The Osbournes, what would we see?
J: I wouldn't enjoy people seeing our version of reality. We're the band that wrote "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret". We like to keep certain things under wraps including our personal lives.
What would surprise people?
J: That we drink water and brush our teeth?
N: We wash each other in the shower.
J: It just takes forever. We use long brooms.
N: And a big fire hose.
J: There's no touching.
Nick famously got arrested for being stark bollock naked in front of 250,000 people in Rio de Janeiro. Was that embarassing?
J: Embarassing? It was about as rock trio as you can get!
N: No, it wasn't embarassing. I thought it would suck to go to jail down there, didn't know when I'd get out. In the end I apologized, they let me go. I play naked a lot. It feels good to play naked.
Are there any other hazards in playing with your tackle out?
J: I like to stare off into space and get into the music, but I have to stare at his ass.
N: That's the hazard. If Josh is looking at my ass, then that's the only hazard.
Your drummers must get even more of an eyeful. Is that why you get through more sticksmen than Spinal Tap? There's been three in the last two years alone, including Dave Grohl.
J: You'd have to ask those assholes, not these assholes.
At a rock festival in the UK, Nick got arrested for fighting with the band Terrorvision. Do you go looking for trouble, or does it come looking for you?
J: What happened was I took care of three guys. Nick saw I had blood on my hands, so he went in to talk to 'em about it, saw that one guy had a big lump round his eyes so he picked up a bucket of ice and smashed it in the guy's face, which is clearly a gesture...
N: I was trying to help the swelling.
J: Nick always gets in trouble accidentally and it's not his fault. All I can really say is that we never really enjoy that part of it, 'cos fighting and getting arrested is not a pleasure.
N: It sucks actually.
J: And then people come up to us and say, "What's up, tough guy?" and we have to beat their ass too, and that sucks.
N: The thing is, we're out here to play music.
J: Tell him our philosophy.
N: Life is hard and people get scared.
J: Life is hard and people get scared!? No, it has to do with love and hate...
N: Oh, I love love and I hate hate.
J: I love making love and I hate making hate. Can you get Jordan to our London aftershow?