|Oct. 9, 1999 - Hip Online interview
by Rick Hinkson
Queens Of The Stone Age arrived in St. Petersburg to open that night for weirdo rockers, Ween. The spawn of Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age are experienced in the dynamics of performing, so the show was amazing. The set was short, but Josh, Nick, and Dave managed to send anyone who was interested through a maze of fuzz and psychedelic rock that leaned more on noise than it did on precision. I had a chance to meet the incomparable Josh Homme, one of the greats in the Stoner Rock genre, and we had a great conversation about the band, the scene, and just about everything that came to our minds. It was a great moment in my life to meet him, and hopefully we'll cross paths again. Here's how it all went down.
How long have you been out with Ween?
About two and a half weeks.
Are you getting a good response?
Yeah. People that are into Ween are into everything. They play anything, so you have to be cool.
I heard the one new song. Are you doing any others?
Yeah. We've been switching sets around each night. We have old stuff like "Born to Hula" that's reworked, then we have new stuff that's not released, and then we do some Desert Sessions stuff. It's like a song bank; you just take whatever. So we switch up a lot.
Are you doing more Desert Sessions?
Yeah, five and six are out. Well, six is out in a week. I'm really into five and six. Brant Bjork [from Kyuss], Jeff from Fu Manchu, Black Jesus from the Dwarfs, Mario Lalli from Fatso Jetson, this band called the Aliens. They play out of one amp, and they always wear masks, backwards. Even when I recorded them, they still wore it. And I had to talk to them with these walkie talkie things they brought with them.
Do you still get people yelling Kyuss songs at you?
All the time. We hear it a ton. In Europe we were playing "Supa Scoopa And Mighty Scoop", from Sky Valley. We played it a few times, but we try not to do it too much, because it's done. We're doing new stuff now.
Do you still do most of the song writing?
I did for the first record, but now that Nick is here it's kind of split up. We've got two different ways of delivery. He's more aggressive vocally. I just can't scream, but it's all going to be really cool. He adds a really cool element that wasn't there before.
When did Gene start playing drums for you?
About six weeks ago, he's very new. Queens is kind of like, well, it's becoming the Desert Sessions in a lot of ways. Nick and I write a bunch of tunes and Dave Catchings, the lap guy, he'll put something in. We like to change the lineup, keep it moving. We've toured as a three-piece; our next one will be with two drummers.
Very cool. So do you plan on recording or putting out any stuff soon?
Yep. We're recording in December.
The cd's been out a year now. What's happened as far as expectations then versus what's going on now?
We didn't really have any expectations. We just wanted to put something out on an indie, just keep low for a while. We thought a lot of people would want us to be Kyuss, part II, but we can't just do that Stoner Rock thing anymore. A lot of bands are headed down that road, which is still very cool, but we just can't do it anymore. It's going to be that and more.
From watching you tonight, you haven't lost any heaviness; it's just more in depth.
Exactly. We have about twenty tunes and we put them in these categories. The heavy shit is heavy, and some of the lazy shit is just spaced out. Sometimes we just try to give you the spins. It's wider in every aspect.
Any plans for the millennium?
Yeah. We're having a party out in California, we're just not sure who or what or where. Dave will do something to get it together.
What's up with the spaceship on the cd?
Well, that's actually a Frank Kozik embellishment. He said, 'We gotta fuck with people.' I had said, 'Let's make that telephone pole a cross, so it's got the biblical overtones.' So he's like, 'If you're gonna do that, then you gotta do this!'
Is that picture at one of your houses?
Nope. It's at the Man's Ruins office, late night. He's smoking Camel non-filters, and I'm smoking joints. We were going to different directions, but it was cool.
In "Regular John", is that a phone number?
It's a number with one extra digit. It was just in there, but then I was thinking I can't put a real number in the song. I don't want someone calling it either, but I had to leave it. So it's a whole phone number, with one extra digit stashed in there. That's cool, man. You're the first person whose ever asked me that question. It's a bad number though.
Do you think you've made an impact in the last year?
You know, I really don't know. I get so focused on what we're doing; I don't care what the impact is. When we're done with something, I want to start something else. I like to be real busy. I love not to pick my head up, just keep it down and fucking go. Because I think if you keep stopping to look around you get stuck watching instead of doing shit.
Where did "I Was a Teenage Hand Model" come from?
I moved to Seattle before the whole Screaming Trees thing and I just wanted to move somewhere where I didn't know anybody and where the whole music scene was just dead. Everyone I knew in San Francisco was on drugs, and everyone in San Diego and LA just weren't doing it. So I went to Seattle, because I still wanted to be on the West Coast. So I was in this bar, there's a lot of bitter people there, especially music types. Anyway, I'm in this bar and there's this guy saying the stupidest bitter drunk rant about how he was a model when he was young. He was just a toothless bum screaming about being a child actor, model and shit.
Is Sky Valley a real city?
Yeah, but it's a big area, with no one living there. It's like a house, two miles of desert, then another house, a gas station. But the area is huge. That's where all the Hell's Angels used to live, where all the meth labs still are. There's a midget colony out there. There's spas and retreats, like the Heaven's Gate bullshit. And we used to throw parties out there because it was such a shitty place, nobody would ever fuck with us up there. It's the ass end of our town.
It was a great experience to hear from one of the pioneers of the genre. Had it not been for this man, my life and many others may have been lost in a whirlwind of chaos and confusion. Knowing four guys could create something so big, something so monumental that it would change the face of music forever, made the world seem a little bit better.