|June 2003 - Lollapalooza Magazine: Get Lost! - Queens of the Stone Age
by Mya Stark
For those who have wondered what it would be like to hang out with Queens of the Stone Age - the answer is it can be a mind-expanding experience. I spent some time with them in their dressing room at the Jimmy Kimmel Live talk show before they wnt on, and left with a spinning head and a bottle of Corona. In honor of the band's loose, no-rules "Mediterranean values," this article has been laid out in such a way as to "let the reader decide." There's a beginning and an end, but the middle is in random order, and you are free to wander the psychedelic deserscape of facts, jokes, impressions and surreal snippets of dialogue between Lollapalooza Magazine and QOTSA's Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan, Joey Castillo, and Troy Van Leeuwen. Have a good trip.
QOTSA came together in 1998 A.D. as an outgrowth of the Desert Sessions, where Josh would get together with other musicians to record music for music's sake. (There are several volumes of these, which are available at the Rekords Rekords label site, www.rekordsrekords.com) Possibly as a result of this, QOTSA has always had a somewhat rotating lineup, which most always includes Josh and Nick, who were together in the legendar early-90's heavy band Kyuss. They were teenagers when they started Kyuss in the desert outside of Los Angeles that spans from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea. This area is known for its small towns, retired people, meth labs, and the generator parties at which Kyuss played.
JOSH: Have a beer. Now.
LOLLAPALOOZA: What is your intention for playing Lollapalooza?
MARK: My intention is to get an erection.
LOLLAPALOOZA: If it was socially acceptable and very common to have a stuffed nude woman in your house, would you?
JOSH: How'd you get in my house?
NICK: I have some taxidermy in my house. A coyote. A zebra.
MARK: I had to do a weasel for school.
LOLLAPALOOZA: I've never done drugs. What drugs should i do?
MARK: Herbal anything
JOSH: Herbal X. Herbal pot. Herbal tea.
LOLLAPALOOZA: But what if you want to free your mind?
TROY: Just don't let your ass follow. That guy was lying.
LOLLAPALOOZA: Your talk of life in the desert reminds me of that movie, Over the Edge.
NICK: That was a big movie for us - for us stoner kids.
JOSH: That was big for me too.
LOLLAPALOOZA: You could never make that kind of movie anymore. People are so afraid of how stuff will affect kids, like it will ruin their lives or something. From an adult perspective, do you feel that movie benefited you or hurt you?
JOSH: Well here I am.
LOLLAPALOOZA: It's just so strange how people have flipped, the baby boomer generation.
JOSH: The baby bummers.
LOLLAPALOOZA: Yeah. They used to be so against that shit - now they are so overprotective.
JOSH: Yeah, now they want you to wear a bike helmet and stuff. You should never wear a bike helmet, because you might fall down and not get killed, and then you can go on to do even dumber stuff.
NICK: Let he who rides decide.
Queens of the Stone Age is usually (over the band's objections) labeled as "stoner rock." "Stoner" or "doom" rock appears to have something to do with pot, the devil, hot rods, Ozzy, and California. Also the 70's. It doesnt seem to be quite sufficient to describe QOTSA's music. It just sounds like rock - without someone rapping, scratching, or whining over
it like you tend to find these days. Since it seems that if you write about music you're supposed to give it a name, I would call it maybe "Cool Hand Rock" because I dont think anyone's named a musical genre after a movie yet and I want to start.
LOLLAPALOOZA: What would you like to see in the future?
JOSH: I'd like to see a return to Mediterranean values.
JOSH: Relaxation. Meditation.
NICK: Some meditate, some hesitate, some marinate.
JOSH: Go Southern-style.
LOLLAPALOOZA: Is there anything you've ever wanted to do besides music?
JOSH: I've been doing this so long I don't remember.
MARK: Didn't you want to be a fireman?
JOSH: Oh yeah, a fireman and a police officer, and a ballerina. I wanted to be a balleriny fire officer. I wanted to be a superhero, a superhero that was gay I guess.
The band got its name from a joke. Chris Goss, who is in the Masters of Reality, joked that Nick and Josh's former band, Kyuss, sounded like "queens of the stone age" when they recorded. It appealed to their sense of humor and stuck. Some also say that the name helps drive away the overly testosterone-fueled element of their audience and makes it more girl-friendly. QOTSA feels boys and girls together make a better party.
LOLLAPALOOZA: You guys (Josh and Nick) have been friends since you were kids. What's your secret to long-lasting friendship?
JOSH: Hugs, Turner Movie Classics. Me time. Time outs.
LOLLAPALOOZA: You give each other time outs?
NICK: Yeah when he bugs me.
Josh started playing guitar when he was nine years old and claims he began with two years of polka lessons. Polka oritinated in Czechoslovakia in the early 1800's and is definied as a "vivacious couple dance" in 2/4 time. Make what you will of this.
LOLLAPALOOZA: A lot is written about you guys being from the desert. Does the desert have more freedom?
JOSH: Yes, because theres nothing to do. You have to make your own fun. That and you can see someone coming from far away. Youre like "look, someone's coming." And then, twenty minutes later, "look...they're still coming."
LOLLAPALOOZA: Do you think a guy with a wooden leg should have a Harley insignia on it and walk around in shorts a lot? (Mark sits up, looking really offended. Josh knocks on his knee and on the table at the same time, making a wooden sound)
LOLLAPALOOZA: How do you feel about living in America?
JOSH: Proud to be an American. Glad I'm not French.
LOLLAPALOOZA: What would happen if you were?
JOSH: I would talk lak zees (French accent). I'd like to be French Canadian, though. I'm trying to become more French Canadian.
LOLLAPALOOZA: Dogs or cats?
MARK: Dogs are cats.
TROY: Dogs and cats.
JOSH: Dogs and cats, living in sin.
LOLLAPALOOZA: Did you (Josh and Nick) see each other change over the years?
JOSH: Yeah, he just saw me change a few minutes ago. This is the dressing room.
In the Jimmy Kimmel parking lot, located in an alley behind Hollywood Boulevard, a small, tented stage has been erected. On it stand black-painted cactus flats, towers of amps, and the Queens of the Stone Age. Jimmy Kimmel gives them an intro, and they begin to play. You can feel the music in your ass. A small and almost tender mosh pit forms. After going to
commercial, Josh asks the crowd if they mind if the band plays some more songs. They don't mind. This isn't some "studio audience" but true fans who shave waited here in the parking lot for hours. In between songs, Josh yells, "kiss your neighbor. This is your chance to be together." Far away from Hollywood, the stars shine.
Thanks to tom latchford for typing this up!