July 2005 - Zane Lowe: Radio1 interview
transcribed by Kimmaay
Zane Lowe: The last 18 months or so there's been a lot of talk about the band as well as a lot of listening. Now I know you prefer the later rather than the former. But it all sort've started when you started going out with Brody but that was just some kind've dime store gossip. But it really kicked off when you and Nick parted ways. (Josh: yeah) And ever since then, you talk about QOTSA, it's impossible without the separation coming up. So once and for all, what's the story with that and why did it happen?

Josh Homme: Well, I mean you know, it's the ...the hardest to do is to try to remain friends, and it's something that has made me sad along the way. And so, ...in trying to be friends, you just try to hold up your end of the bargain by keeping your mouth shut. And I had a few moments where I just got angry and so I didn't do as a good job of keeping my mouth shut but I also didn't say everything you know.

So, kind've in the hopes that we'd work stuff out, but ...the hard thing to do is keep things out of your face cause now that I know how to email, people just email me stuff anyways. So even if I would stay away from reading something, it'd be like 'Oh, guess what?' BOOM.

ZL: Yeah but there's a lot of people out there who are gonna do that and it's not necessarily going to the way it is. You must be aware of the fact that there's people out there that wanna blow this out of proportion and continue to do so cause it's in their nature.

JH: Well yeah, it's something that has made people pick sides and stuff like that.

ZL: Yeah which sux and I don't know quite why that is. I know that people had a lot of love for you two as a partnership and you pretty much launched QOTSA together obviously Nick wasn't necessarily involved in the first album but as far as people were concerned, when Rated R came out, you were a tag team. Has it surprised you how freaked out people have been since the demise of your partnership?

JH: Yeah I mean, it has, and it's made it hard to...cause I've never really come out and just said 'Hey, this is why I fired Nick'. And it's made it hard to keep that secret, cause on one hand I want to protect my friend from himself, and give him a chance to get him some, I dunno...And now he's playing in the Dwarves I guess.

ZL: So what's the story with the Dwarves then, what happened with that cause now I know that you got a record. Now you seem like the nicest man I know in rock'n'roll along with Dave Grohl, why have you got a record all of a sudden.

JH: Well I wish I could talk about the actual events because I find them, casually entertaining.

ZL: Well what's a little jail time, you're already on probation. Go on, spill the beans, let's put you in the clink.

JH: Well it was going to be a lot, it was going to be 111 days.

ZL: Man, you're kidding. Seriously.

JH: [laughs] Yeah. And that's the thing. It's just something about what happened between Blag and I. I shouldn't even speak of it. But then, I see now that Nick is playing with Blag, and..

ZL: Has this affected your relationship?

JH: I think so. I think that Nick said he'll never join the Queens again or something. Did you read that?

ZL: No I haven't read that. That's distressing to me.

JH: I dunno, I think he was on XFM or something like that. And with Blag and I think I saw Blag's arm up Nick's ass speaking for him. And it's just one of those things where you..

ZL: Couldn't he just still be angry though? Cause he's hurt, he's not in the band, bottom line is, I mean we still haven't gotten to the bottom line of why you and Nick aren't working together. And I'm not going to press you on it, if you don't want to tell us that's fine but couldn't he just be upset at the fact that you guys aren't making music together? Hurt takes a long time eh?

JH: Well, yeah I suppose but it's weird, I've always tried to protect the situation you know. So I ...uh now I wonder why I even bother. Cause you hold up your end of the friendship with somebody and then they don't and you sit there and wonder. Cause I've taken a lot of rocks upside the head. I have a new title I play guitar, I sing and I'm also a Nazi dictator.

ZL: You know what though man, you can still be a gentleman about it. At the risk of incurring the wrath of a lot of very curious people out there who are still dying to know what's on the tip of your tongue, you can still be a gentleman about it if you want. You know you don't necessarily have to go into detail and tell people about what went on between the two of you. Cause ultimately, it don't affect the records does it, we talked about it in Austin, does it?

JH: Well, it's just one of those things where I don't even know. All I know is that I wish I could say 'Hey, let's just play music' And Nick's thing, one of Nick's things was that 'I'm never going to play in Queens again, that's what he said'.

ZL: Have you spoken to him about that though? Directly?

JH: I talked to him before I left. It's been about a couple of months now and last time I spoke to him I was gonna try to help him with a few things. But I think you get people that influence the situation you know.

ZL: Look I can tell you are struggling to say what you want to say but I'm not going to push you into that cause there's a song you wrote that kind've sums everything up beautifully and you played it acoustically for us once.

[Lost Art of Keeping a Secret played]

ZL: That was QOTSA - Lost Art of Keeping a Secret.

JH: I guess I'm the only dumbass who keeps that.

ZL: True.

JH: You know what's the crazy thing man is when you reach a situation where you're the only one acting a certain way and everyone else around is sometimes like. The question is, if you're trying to be good about something and everyone else around you isn't, what do you do? What do you do, do you fight fire with fire or do you ...

ZL: Nah man you listen to your heart.

JH: do you sit there and burn.

ZL: You gotta look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day mate and no amount of back slapping from anyone who hears the truth and suddenly goes 'Oh Josh Homme's a good guy after all' is going to make you feel better if you didn't want to say it in the first place so I say you do whatever you wanna do. And if you wanna hold it down, you wanna hold it down mate.

[blah blah blah]

JH: I think for me one of the strange things is that I know lots of bands and they feel blessed by just the chance to play. I feel the same way, except if no one listened to the music I would still play because it's my life and the playing of music is the same thing. One thing doesn't stop the other one.

ZL: That's in an ideal world. Ultimately what you had between was great, it was a partnership based on character and when people saw you live there was you, there was the person holding down the music and in a lot of cases playing the riff playing the music worshipping as you said to me at the alter of music. And then you've got Nick who as you say is larger than life and full of it.

JH: Yeah I know, I hope to make that so.

ZL: Is he in trouble? Is there a problem in Nick's life that you're worried about?

JH: Well, you know, there's problems in everyone's life man. The thing is that people will say Nick got kicked out for fighting too much, or partying too much but I do both of those things

ZL: Yeah I was going to say that and I don't remember when rules were put in place.

JH: And it was nothing like that. It was just...as I said, I play music the way I live my life too. And so the only rules you have about playing music are the same ones that I have in life. And so I think my drive is always to protect friend in situations and the luxury of this life that we have. But then when you discover some things that you don't... Basically I fired Nick because he was doing something that in my life I couldn't accept, I couldn't support.

ZL: Do you miss him?

JH: I miss having a good time and he's got an infectious laugh. I miss that sutff but I don't miss the clean up crew aspect of..

ZL: ..the drama aspect of it.

JH: ..well yeah but..

ZL: There's always a sense of that in your band - anything goes, anything's going to happen. A lot of people will say at this point in time that ultimately, that's why they were jumping to their own conclusions that you had to make your own record, that it was musical differences, all these kinds of things because no one really expects QOTSA to come with any kind of rules.

JH: Well I think when you try and harness the chaos you win and lose that battle and eventually in the exploration to find a rule, to find a wall you eventually hit one.

ZL: Are you getting hit from people at gigs and things like that? Are there people who come up to you and say you're band's not the same without Nick, all that kind've stuff. Does that ever happen at shows?

JH: Oh yeah. Yeah that happens sometimes. But I don't care about that part of it. It's just I don't care about that part of it because I've played before. I played when those people didn't even know who I or Nick was anyways.

ZL: Do you want to work together again with him. This is an important conversation to have cause you've never really gone this deep into the whole situation but you know are you extending an olive branch in some way. Can you see yourself doing that?

JH: No.

ZL: Damn that's a shame.

JH: One of the things that Nick had said I guess of late was that he was hoping to come back into Queens.

ZL: What changed? Was it the incident with the Dwarves?

JH: A couple of years ago, I spoke to Nick about a rumour that I had heard. My friend Allen Natasha's house out on the steps. And I'd said 'If I ever find out this is true, I can't know you man' And flash forward to a couple of years later when we were in Australia and the reason...you know what the reason I fired Nick was because I found out he was beating up his girlfriend..and that's basically what it is. That's not me, that's not who I am you know, and that's not something that for music...because music and my life are the same thing, there's no rules until something massive happens. Then he was over here with Lanegan and then something happened again and he almost didn't make it out of the country you know. And that's something where you just, sometimes you're last act as a friend is just to say 'Goodbye.' Because that's not music anymore. It has nothing to do with music. It's this inexplicable part where music peals off from life. And it's just life, and it's just the crap side of life sitting there.

ZL: Well ok, you've come out with it and you've got your reasons and there you go I guess that's the reason. And I'm not sure I wanted to hear that.
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ZL: We ended the conversation about five or six minutes ago on something that will come as a huge shock to people. You have something else you want to continue saying for a minute?

JH: Well, I think what I wanna say to finish all that stuff is just that cause I'd like to move on, is that everyone needs to... when you're taking rocks for not saying something and some of the rocks come from the person themselves, you start to wonder why you're even keeping yout mouth shut. For me this is a particularly weird time because I ...I don't see why I'm protecting anyone but myself and my family you know, or why I shouldn't just protect myself and my family and just let everyone else take responsibility for their own actions. Because for me, something like physical abuse or something, I can't have any part of and I can't have any respect for. I'm not talking about fighting. Sometimes I think that you and me, if I'm being an idiot, the best thing you can do is hit me with a right cross.

ZL: I've tried, a few times.

JH: I just didn't feel it when you hit me.

ZL: That's true.

JH: But I think people that can't....I've always been a bully killer my whole life you know, and the second I found about abuse towards women, that's just not who I am and I think everyone just needs to carry the responsibility for themselves cause I don't really feel like taking rocks anymore. Especially from Nick or Blag, cause Blag, he's actually known about it for a while, before I did.

ZL: Ok you made your decision and you've got your reasons and QOTSA is your band and you're entitled to make whatever decision based around what you see fit and right. I'm sure that there are a lot of people that won't agree with you and there might be some people out there that think you're overreacting but it's not really about that...

JH: But you know what, those people are outsiders and they always will be. They don't understand what it's like to just sit there and feel helpless to something. So when you have a chance to make a statement about it which for me was firing Nick, that's what I did. Because some stuff just ain't right. What would you do? I'm asking you, what would you do?

ZL: You know I would do the same thing. That's fair enough, you've told everybody exactly why that is and I guess it's up to you and him now. There's a level playing field and you don't have to take rocks anymore.

JH: You know what, it's not about clearing myself, it's about everybody taking responsibility for their own things. There's not way I'm ever going to take rocks. You know, if you're going to be different, you're going to get hit with rocks. You just need to learn to like rocks and I understand that. If you think you can take me down, bring it. But the point is that you should carry the weight of your own actions and you're responsible for yourself.

ZL: You're absolutely right. Josh I was gonna, I can't say it's been a pleasure cause it really hasn't in a weird way. It's been an important thing for you to get off your chest and you've chosen this to be your medium to do so, and we're buddies so that's cool. And there you go, anyone there listening over the last 40 minutes and has heard us building up to this point and were looking for answers, you got your answer and I don't know if you feel better about it or not.

JH: Well you know, it's like you wanted your answer, you got it. Now you can take it home and suck on it for a while.
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ZL: Let's never speak of this again.

JH: Let's never speak again.

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