|Oct. 1998 - Attitude: Queens of the Stone Age interview
Formed from the ashes of the legendary Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age are made up of Josh Homme (vocals, guitar), Alfredo Hernandez (drums), and Nick Oliveri (bass). Josh and Alfredo were in Kyuss before the band split, and Nick was with Kyuss for their first two albums. We managed to catch up with Nick and Alfredo before their London gig this August. (Josh was asleep in the tour bus!)
So how's the tour going?
Nick: (to Alfredo) Is this the first night?
Alfredo: Yeah - we got down here Wednesday.
Nick: This is like, what, our fifth show together in the band, Alfredo?
How's the new material going down with the crowd?
Nick: Oh, the new stuffs awesome. I think it's great, man.
'Cos people in the U.K. have only really heard three tracks, the stuff off..
Nick: Oh, the Kyuss split?
Yeah, the three tracks there. So is that similar to the stuff off the album?
Nick: Ahh, I don't know, man...
Nick: (to Alfredo) He's talking about the Man's Ruin split.
Nick: (to Alfredo) Is that Queens similar to the stuff now?
Alfredo: Oh yeah. Yeah, exactly. Very, very... uh... heavy, and like, you know, very... uh...
Alfredo: Yeah (laughs).
Do you think that Queens Of The Stone Age will attract a different fan base from Kyuss, or maybe a wider fan base?
Alfredo: I think we might get a different... uh, a different...
Nick: More girls! (everyone laughs)
Alfredo: Those that can handle less heaviness will like us.
Nick: Yeah. We're still just as heavy as Kyuss though, but we have more of a... more melodies and shit going on now
Alfredo: More detail
Nick: where it wasn't there before. You know, it was, but it was a different level.
Alfredo: Yeah, definitely a different level.
With Kyuss, you were always plagued with unsupporting record companies, and lack of publicity, and so has that made you more careful in choosing a record company?
Alfredo: Ah... no. Well, we have to be careful so we don't get...jacked.
So how does Loosegroove compare with your other record companies? Are you happy with it?
Alfredo: Well, they're off Sony, so, I mean, I wouldn't... I couldn't tell... (Nick laughs)... if they're good or not. We'll find out. (more laughs) Nick brought an ATT out here.
Nick: Yeah, we shipped it over here, and I'm gonna ride it on to stage tonight. My little three wheeler, man.
Alfredo: We're gonna jump... uh...
Nick: The crowd! (laughs)
Alfredo: Eighty metres fired.
Nick: Bring myself a ramp, dude, and start just going for it, right outside the venue. Goodnight!
Alfredo: Evil Oliveri! (everyone laughs)
Is there any truth in the rumours that there's an album's worth of Kyuss material unreleased, being held by your last record company?
Nick: Oh, unreleased Kyuss stuff? There's a lot of it- I don't think it's gonna be released. It's like a lot of demo stuff that we did over the years. Every record had... we went and did demos, and on it, you know... I was only on the first two, but for those, there's a lot of stuff that didn't make it to 'Blues For The Red Sun' that were good songs - you know, like '800' was a full length song that had different parts and layers and stuff, but it got cut down, and... some other songs, you know, that... I don't know about it ever being released, but... you never know, I dunno. You never can tell. Hopefully.
Nick: It's good stuff, man... it's real good, yeah.
So what's it like working with Josh again after all this time?
Nick: Oh, it's awesome, man... yeah, it's great, man, and I've always wanted to play with Alfredo - in fact, we had talked before about jammin' together, and it just never, y'know... I moved to Texas, and so it never happened, but... yeah... it's great to be playing with these guys - yeah, it's great to be back playing with Josh too, y'know...
Alfredo: The idea came up with playing with him when we were looking for bass players - Josh and I arranging stuff, and every bass player we played with was good, but the formula wasn't there... y'know, different levels... different approaches and stuff, but Nick obviously... I wish he would have been on the album, but he's not.
Nick: Aw, no, man, I'm not on the record, see, I was in Texas, playing in some other band, and uh... but yeah, man, the album I think is fuckin' excellent, y'know, and I'm kinda bummed out that I'm not on it, cause it's that good to me, y'know... I can sit down and listen to it and be really happy hearing it... it's cool, man, I'm into it. You guys'll hear it tonight.
Alfredo: We were thinking that he might be on the next album... (Nick erupts in laughter)
Nick: (sarcasitcally) We might let him go on the next one ... (laughs) ... and if he does good... (laughs again)
What are your biggest musical influences?
Nick: Aw, shit, um... my favourites are like... I like Floyd a lot, I like Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick, uh... Frank Sinatra, y'know, I got a pretty wide range...
Alfredo: Johnny Cash?
Nick: Johnny Cash, absolutely, Johnny Cash.
Alfredo: Mine is, uh... from the late sixties, probably Pink Floyd and Santana, and the seventies, say Yes and Black Sabbath, and the eighties, Devo, and punk rock, from Government Issue to Black Flag, Pistols...
Nick: Discharge and Rudimentary Peni, major influence.
What would be your top three albums of all time?
Nick: Okay, I'd say, um... Volume 4, Black Sabbath, Damaged by Black Flag, and... it's hard to say, because I'll be leaving out too many good ones, y'know, just to narrow it down to three, but uh, I really like Cheap Trick - In Colour, In Black and White, that's a great one, but I also like Heaven Tonight, and the first one, y'know, there's so many that I love, but yeah, it's a good one. (To Alfredo) What are your top three, man?
Alfredo: From beginning to end, Stand Up - Jethro Tull, uh... Colt - Love Album...
Nick: That's a great record.
Alfredo: and uh, let's see, Are We Not Men - Devo.
Nick: Oh, yeah (Nick laughs)
If you could choose one band in history to have never existed, who would it be?
Alfredo: Oasis. (laughs)
Nick: That goes for me, too.
Alfredo: Bush. (more laughter)
So what was the last gig you went to?
Alfredo: Oh, my last show was the Gypsy Kings, at the Hollywood Bowl.
Nick: Mine was uh, was it Two Itarrah? (to Alfredo) Two Itarrah? The drummer from Screaming Trees... I went to go see Two Itarrah in L.A.. And I missed the Spice Girls - I wanted to go and see the Spice Girls, man... right on the 15th...
Alfredo: That would have been the last show for both of us
Nick: Yeah, man...
Alfredo: But we didn't have a chance...
Nick: I'm into it. I wanna spice up my life! (Nick laughs)
Alfredo: I wanted to be under the stage... (everyone laughs)
Nick: With the glass...
Alfredo: We'll have to check the oil! (more laughter)
(to Nick) Do you do any vocals throughout the set?
Nick: Oh yeah, yeah. I do all the backgrounds, and then there's a couple of tunes that I sing lead on, and Josh kinda liked it that way, and Alfredo as well, and it kinda like gives Josh a chance to play guitar, cause y'know... he's doin'double jobs now, you know what I mean, he's got the guitar and the vocals now, but he's into it, and it sounds great, so it's cool, man. Good fuckin' chemistry, y'know?
In this week's Kerrang!, Josh says that, "To preserve everything that was special about Kyuss", he "had to destroy it", which would suggest there's gonna be no Kyuss reformation...
Nick: I think a lot of the stuff that was printed in Kerrang! was made up
Nick: I can't say for sure, y'know, but uh...
Alfredo: We speak English and they speak French. (Lots of laughter)
Nick: But, you know, there was like, two truths to the twenty like, made up things, or whatever, I don't know. (Nick turns to Alfredo) But he IS a mountain man, he's... (Nick laughs)
Alfredo: a pro-wrestler. (more laughter)
Nick: What's funny is that Alfredo and Josh did the record together, and I came in later, so the thing that was funny for me when I was reading through it was like, Okay, wait, it says here that me and Josh... with Alfredo! Yeah! It was like, wait dude, come on... y'know, and... yeah,cause I've been spending the past like five-six years playing in The Doors [Dwarves], so, y'know, these guys are still fucking hammering this shit out, and I was doing a different thing, so... but I'm happy to be back, for sure, man, y'know. It's a fucking good place to be.
(to Nick) How did your last band go?
Nick: Oh, Mondo Generator? Yeah, outta Texas? Yeah, it went great, we had a really good drummer, and a guitar player, and we did a tour, and put out a single, and it was cool, and I got a full-length record that I haven't released that I'd like to. But, you know, put right now in the back... It started I was living in San Francisco, and I went down to the desert to record a couple of tunes that I had, and I asked Josh and Brant, the original drummer of Kyuss, as well, to play. So we got that together, and we did that, and got John (Garcia) doing backgrounds, with Chris Goss, and... y'know, it's a pretty cool tape, and uh, but we're doing those couple of tunes now, and so it's better, and it's gonna be re-recorded and done right, y'know.
(to Alfredo) - I think I read on a fan's internet site that 'N.O.' from '...And The Circus Leaves Town' was a cover of a song from one of your old Bands?
Alfredo: One of my old bands, from the late eighties - Yawningman, which was the guitar player and bass player from Fatso Jetson from California also...
Nick: They're fucking awesome! Fatso Jetson, man - heavy.
Alfredo: and we got together - we had the band together back then - back when Kyuss were getting together, we were starting to get together too, and before that I was in bands like Across The River...
Nick: I saw him play at my high school, man.
Alfredo: I'm a little older - I'm five years - six year older.
Nick: I was in high school, and these guys played, man, and fuckin' blew me away, it was awesome, man. They were called Across The River - Mario, and Scott Reeder, and... Mark?
Nick: Mark Anderson.
Did you release any albums?
Alfredo: No we were about to get signed on a major label, but we broke up right before that. (Nick laughs) Wasn't meant to be.
Most of the bands that revolve around Kyuss and you guys, it seems to be hard to find material and releases from, especially early Kyuss stuff.
Nick: It's hard to find the first things? I don't even own 'em! (Nick laughs) I don't even have 'em, I gave all mine away, right? I always figured, "Yeahy I'll be able to get another one", you know? Now I gotta buy it, so I'm like, "Naaaaahhh", I know what it sounds like, I like it, you know, but I don't really need to listen to It, but uh, yeah, man...
Alfredo: He works double to get his stuff. (Nick and Alfredo laugh)
Nick: Gave all mine away, man - every time I got a batch of 'em I handed them out to friends and shit, y'know...
Do you still keep in contact with John (Garcia)?
Alfredo: Yeah. I go see him - him and his father; his father's down from Utah to spend time with him, so I go see him and his dad, and then I see Scott (Reeder, Kyuss bass player that replaced Nick), too. Scott owns a pet shop, in Palm Springs - he owns over, like, I don't know, fifty different kinds of animals and fish, and shit.
Is he still in the music business?
Alfredo: No not right now, he's just... he plays here and there,. he's played...
Nick: (to Alfredo) He does soundtracks, and stuff, right?
Alfredo: Yeah, he did the music for like, commercials, and, you know, soundtracks and stuff, and he was playing with Tool for really a while, y'know, just...
Nick: and Nebula, he played with Nebula for a short time.
Alfredo: and John has got his own thing, he's got a few different projects, Y'know, which - he's working. Always working.
Nick: Yeah, John's cool, man - he's such a cool bro'.
Alfredo: He's the family.
Nick: They were just in the studio - Chris Goss' studio, Monkey, in Palm Springs, and me and Josh stopped in there and I had a couple of shots of Bourbon with him... it was cool, y'know? Yeah! Johnny keeps busy, y'know? He's always doing something cool.
Are you touring with Queens Of The Stone Age for the rest of the year, or...
Alfredo: We'll be around for this year.
Nick: Next year as well.
Alfredo: And we're gonna work on the material as we go along.
Nick: We're gonna keep going, man.
Kevin: - Try not to break up again!
Nick: We're gonna keep going. We just did some shows in California, and Fatso jetson... they're hooked up, they got a... they're on Bong Load now, they were on FST, and we went and did some shows with them, and it's fucking awesome, man - those guys... check out Fatso Jetson- check that shit out, man, cause you guys will be blown away. It's fuckin' - some shit, man - it's the real deal. It's cool.
Alfredo: Another thing too is the Desert Sessions that came out - volume 1 and volume 2 - there's another one, volume 3 and volume 4 - Nick was in volume 3 and volume 4, and a bunch of other people... Fatso Jetson, and then Josh has a project - (to Nick) Eagles of death metal?
Nick: Eagles of death metal. Man, it's like bluegrass, with a death metal singer over it (laughs - Nick proceeds to do a demonstration of the vocals!) - it's awesome! And Josh plays drums on it. It's kinda cool, man.
Alfredo: You gotta hear it, you'll love it.
Nick: It's kinda cool. It's fucking good shit.
Alfredo: That's coming out I guess next month.
Nick: These guys (pointing to Alfredo) did a great fucking song, it's called, "Monsters In The Parasol", and it's got Chris Goss from Masters Of Reality, and Josh singing, and Alfredo on drums, and then it's got the Fatso Jetson guys playing the music - it's fucking awesome, man. You gotta trip out on it. It is fucking trippy! (Nick laughs)
Alfredo: It's everybody from the desert that grew up together there, y'know, that played music together, it's all combined together, finally - should have been done earlier, but, y'know...
Nick: Better late than never!
At this point, Nick and Alfredo turn the conversation to talk of midget girls, Irish beer, and some stuff that can't really be printed...