Jan. 27, 1999 - Ottawa Sun: no title
by Joshua Ostroff
It's amazing how sometimes a label just sticks.

Take Queens of the Stone Age for instance. Kyuss, the California-based band's previous incarnation was once described as stoner rock.

Now, four years after Kyuss disbanded, the Queens are being billed as "excellent to smoke out to the next time the bong is hit."

"We hate it," says Queens ringleader Josh Homme.

"That phrase took off in Europe but I mean we're not a stoner rock band. What is that? If anything it's something we were doing four years ago before they called it stoner rock."

But marketing teams know their demographic and there is every likelihood that parking lot potheads will dig it.

"What am I gonna do? Call everybody and say 'Stop the madness?' I just show up and play, you know."

What Homme and his bandmates play is very heavy rock and roll, a style currently out-of-vogue following the death of grunge.

Kyuss was an influential cog in the alt-rock machine, avoiding the limelight more successfully then Nirvana and earning their indie cred.

"We played for respect mostly," says Homme. "We deliberately sabotaged any chance at selling records or being famous. People dug the fact that we were playing for music's sake."

People also dug that the band -- who had started touring with White Zombie, Metallica, Soundgarden and Faith No More --broke up in their prime, avoiding a backlash and building a legend.

For his part, Homme wanted to quit because Kyuss was all he knew. He had joined at the age of 15 and was hungry for something different, even though he still loved what he was doing.

"(1995) was just the right time. We made four records and we just wanted to have a good solid ending with a finishing point."

As hard rock was dying all around him, Homme moved to its former epicentre, Seattle, where he toured with the Screaming Trees for two years before starting a new band.

With former Kyuss drummer Alfredo Hernandez and bassist Nick Oliveri (who had left Kyuss after two albums to join the Dwarves) the Queens Of The Stone Age made a stab at starting a new legend.

After a local gig, Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard heard the band and signed them to his indie label Loosegroove.

"We weren't looking to be on a major label because we wanted it to be kind of casual and art-related. They let us do whatever we want without the pressure of selling a million records," he says.

As the Queens take their self-titled debut CD on the road, Homme is feeling the pressure of the past. But he can handle the comparisons.

"It's certainly not a bad thing. Kyuss was the reason it was packed in Montreal.

"A lot of those people have never heard us. But they had a great time and so did I."

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