Oct. 2002 - Stance Magazine: Article about Nick
by Spence D.
Nick Oliveri plays bass in a band called Queens of the Stone Age with guitarist-singer Josh Homme. The Queens are not sellouts. Never mind that they are signed to a major label. Never mind that Foo Fighter Dave Grohl is now their drummer. They are not, repeat, not sellouts. "To me, selling out is like *NSync doin' the baby back ribs commercial. You already got a few mil, motherf--ker, what the f--k you doin' Chili's commercials for? That's sellin' out," laughs Oliveri in his rich baritone.

In person, Oliveri cuts an imposing figure. Sporting a bald pate that reflects the sun in a blinding glare and an elongated goatee that would make ZZ Top proud, he's a bit intimidating. But start talking to him, and you quickly realize that he's a down-to-earth cat who not only enjoys a leisurely trip to the barber, but also has a penchant for not wearing any underwear.

Staying in tune with his sellout vehemence, one should not expect to see the shiny-domed Oliveri hawking razors for extra spending cash anytime soon. "Gillette razors," he says dipping into a mock commercial voice, "I only shave my head with Gillette." He adds, "I'm not vibin' on that shit. I just want to play music, that's where I'm at."

If Oliveri won't endorse razors, then what the hell does he use to clean his cranial casing? That, my friends, is a moot question because the man rather enjoys having it professionally tended to. "Sometimes I just go have it done, dude!" he says with enthusiasm. "You ever go to a barbershop? It's killer. They give you a shave, the hot towel. Even when I had long hair, I used to go just to get my face shaved. Especially on tour, 'cause I'd look like a bum. I'd just scrape whatever money I had together and be like, 'F--k it, I'mma go get shaved.' It's a beautiful service, man."

The fact that Oliveri is comfortable being bald is one thing. But couple that with the fact that he's rather in tune with his manhood, and you've got some other shit going on. It's not secret that he likes to rumble on the thunderstick au naturel from time to time. This could date back to his Kyuss days, when the band used to perform in an abandoned nudist colony out in the desert. Perhaps. "Heh-heh-heh-heh!" laughs Oliveri at the suggestion. "It kinda comes from the fact that I hate clothes, as far as they're confining, you know? I'm not trying to sound like a hippie, but it's not natural to have underwear on, dude. I gotta freeball it, man!"

True to his word, Oliveri was sans undergarments when we spoke. "I got a pair of pants on," he fessed up, "but yeah, I don't f--k with the underwear. I'd rather just change my pants every day, you know? I don't wear the same pants every day in a row, so why f--kin' wear underwear? It's like, 'Why two layers?' Dude, I hate one. I mean, you gotta let your balls breathe."

As for Oliveri's penchant for disrobing during live shows? "It's fun for me to scare people," he laughs. "It's definitely not a prety sight. It's more like an intimidating thing, you know? Like a freaky f--kin' dude who's nude jumps into the crowd, and he's touching you and he's next to you. That's f--ked up, dude. I mean that's scary shit. So it's more to scare people than anything else. And it kind of comes from nerves too--sometimes I'm nervous to go out onstage, man. The only way to get over being nervous is to take off your drawers. 'Cause if you got nothin' to hide, there's nothing' to be nervous about, right? If it's all on the table, dude, you gotta throw down with the hoedown. It's, like, 'I ain't got nothing' to hide 'cause I ain't got nothing' on, motherf--ka. There ain't nothing up my sleeves, 'cause I don't have no sleeves.' You know what I'm saying'?"

Scaring people. Calming of the nerves. Admirable enough reasons to let the ol' reproductive apparatus taste a little fresh air, but the real question is whether or not Oliveri's lack of underwear promotes creativity in terms of music. "You know, I'll put on a pair of underwear today and try to write a song and see what happens," he laughs loudly. "And I'll let you know how it goes, brother."

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