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Queens of the Stone Age
Queens Of The Stone Age
Background Information
Origin Palm Desert, California
Genre Hard Rock
Alternative Rock
Neo-Psychedelia
Stoner Rock
Desert Rock
Years active 1997-present
Label(s) MCA Music, Inc.
Interscope
Man's Ruin Records
Loosegroove Records
Roadrunner Records
Associated Acts Kyuss
The Desert Sessions
Foo Fighters
Fififf Teeners
Mondo Generator
Eagles of Death Metal
Screaming Trees
A Perfect Circle
Eleven
Masters of Reality
Sugartooth
Beaver
Jubilee
The Waxwings
Zilch
Tenacious D
Spinnerette
The Raconteurs
Wasted Youth
Website http://www.qotsa.com
Members
Josh Homme
Troy Van Leeuwen
Joey Castillo
Dean Fertita
Michael Shuman
Former Members
see Queens of the Stone Age contributors

Queens of the Stone Age (also known as QOTSA or simply Queens) is a hard rock band from Palm Desert, California, United States, formed in 1997.

Originally formed under the name Gamma Ray by guitarist Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age developed a style of riff-oriented, heavy music which Homme described as 'robot rock', saying that he "wanted to create a heavy sound based on a solid jam, and just pound it into your head". The band is frequently described as stoner rock, although they reject the term.[1][2]

"The term sucks. The only element of the audience I want to get rid of is the shirtless, sweaty, maxi-mullet jock dudes. We want sex to bleed into the music. At our shows, we want to see half boys and half girls in a utopian world, dancing and drinking." - Homme in interview with Rolling Stone, June 22, 2000[3]

Their sound has since evolved to incorporate a variety of different styles and influences.

HistoryEdit

Early career (1996–1999)Edit

Queens of the Stone Age began with Josh Homme in 1996. Originally called 'Gamma Ray', Homme changed the name to 'Queens of the Stone Age' in 1997 as German power metal band Gamma Ray was threatening to sue:

"When we were making a record in 1992, under the band Kyuss, our producer Chris Goss, he would joke and say "You guys are like the Queens of the Stone Age." The band was originally called Gamma Ray, but we got threatened with a lawsuit because someone else had it. So we were Queens of the Stone Age." - Oliveri (2000)

On why the band chose the name 'Queens of the Stone Age' rather than 'Kings of the Stone Age':

"Kings would be too macho. The Kings of the Stone Age wear armor and have axes and wrestle. The Queens of the Stone Age hang out with the Kings of the Stone Age's girlfriends when they wrestle, and also it was a name given to us by Chris Goss. He gave us the name Queens of the Stone Age. Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls. That way everyone's happy and it's more of a party. Kings of the Stone Age is too lopsided." - Homme (2000)

The band's first release was Gamma Ray, a two-track EP featuring the songs "Born to Hula" and "If Only Everything" (which would later appear on their self titled debut as 'If Only'), released in January 1996, featuring Joshua Homme (Kyuss), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden and Pearl Jam), Van Conner (Screaming Trees) and John McBain (Monster Magnet).[4] The band's first live appearance was probably November 20, 1997, at OK Hotel in Seattle, Washington.[5] In December of the same year, the band released a split EP, Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age, which was the first official release by the band under the name Queens of the Stone Age, and featured three tracks from the Gamma Ray sessions as well as three Kyuss tracks recorded in 1995 just prior to their break-up.[6]

The band released their self-titled debut, Queens of the Stone Age (1998) on Loose Groove Records (the album was also released on vinyl by Man's Ruin Records), which was recorded with Homme handling both guitar- and bass guitar-playing duties (though basswork is credited to Homme's alter-ego, Carlo Von Sexron), Alfredo Hernández on the drums, and included several other instrumental and vocal contributions by Chris Goss and Hutch. Prior to forming Queens of the Stone Age, Homme had played with the Screaming Trees as a backing guitarist for two years of touring[7] and asked Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan to appear on the record, but he was unable to due to other commitments. Soon after the recording sessions were finished for the album, former Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri and guitarist Dave Catching joined and touring commenced. A recording of a phone message which plays the voice of Oliveri stating his decision to join the band can be heard at the end of the album's final song, "I Was a Teenage Hand Model". From this point forward, the band's line-up would change frequently. By the time their second album was being recorded, Hernández was no longer in the band.

Rated R (1999–2001) Edit

Main article: Rated R (album

2000's Rated R featured a plethora of musicians familiar with Homme and Oliveri's work and "crew" of sorts: among others, drummers Nick Lucero and Gene Trautmann, guitarists Dave Catching, Brendon McNichol, and Chris Goss contributed, and even Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, recording next door, stepped in for a guest spot on "Feel Good Hit of the Summer".[8] The album garnered positive reviews and received a lot more attention than their debut, despite the lyrics to "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" almost causing the record to get pulled from discount store chain Wal-Mart's shelves.[9] The success of the record also earned the band notable opening slots with The Smashing Pumpkins, the Foo Fighters, Hole, and a place at Ozzfest 2000.[8]

During the Rock in Rio 2001 show, bassist Nick Oliveri was arrested for going up to the stage naked, with only a bass guitar. In an interview he said: "Whoa, people in Carnival here dance naked why can't I do the same?"[10] Following his work on the album, former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan joined the band as a full-time member, a position he'd hold until late-2005.[11]

Towards the end of the Rated R tour, the band's performance at the 2001 Rock am Ring festival in Germany was, according to Homme, "the worst show we've ever played and it was in front of 40,000 people."[12] The band decided to tattoo themselves with the starting time of the performance, "Freitag 4.15":

"Me, Mark [Lanegan], Josh [Homme] and Hutch, our soundman, have the same tattoo, it's from Rock am Ring festival. The time we had to play was 4.15 in the afternoon and it was just a terrible show. It sucked, it was horrible. That's why I tattooed it on my ribs, where it would hurt, so I'd never forget." - Oliveri interview with Daredevil Magazine (2005)

Songs for the Deaf (2001–2004)Edit

Main article: Songs for the Deaf

Frequent touring for Rated R generated support for the band which grew when Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl joined in late 2001/early 2002 to record their third album. Songs for the Deaf was released in August, again featuring Mark Lanegan, as well as adding former A Perfect Circle guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen to the touring line up following the album's release. Although Songs for the Deaf gained major attention, Grohl returned to his other projects and was replaced on the European leg of the album's supporting tour by former Danzig drummer Joey Castillo, who joined the band full time. Also featured on Songs for the Deaf for the final track Mosquito Song were former A Perfect Circle bassist Paz Lenchantin (on viola and piano) and Dean Ween on guitar.

Songs for the Deaf was a critical and commercial success and its popularity peaked when the album reached gold status in 2003, with sales peaking at over 900,000 copies.[13] The singles "No One Knows" and "Go with the Flow" became hits on radio and MTV, with the former voted Triple J radio's number 1 song and peaking just outside of the Billboard Top 40. Constant touring continued, culminating in a string of headline dates in Australia in January of 2004, after which Oliveri was fired from the band by Homme for what was said to be disrespect of the group's fans and excessive partying. In July 2005 however, Homme claimed in a BBC Radio 1 interview that Oliveri was fired when Homme had become convinced that he had been physically abusive to his (Oliveri's) girlfriend. Homme said, "A couple years ago, I spoke to Nick about a rumor I heard. I said, 'If I ever find out that this is true, I can't know you, man.'"[14] Oliveri countered in the press that the band had been "poisoned by hunger for power" and that the band without him was "Queens Lite"; later Oliveri softened his opinion and said, "My relationship with Josh is good. The new Queens record kicks ass."[15] As of October 2006, Oliveri remains interested in rejoining the band.[16]

Lullabies to Paralyze (2004–2006)Edit

Main article: Lullabies to Paralyze

In 2005, Homme, along with Eleven multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes and remaining band members Van Leeuwen and Castillo recorded the Queens' fourth studio album, Lullabies to Paralyze, a title taken from a lyric in "Mosquito Song" from their previous album.[17]

The release featured the appearance of several guests, most notably ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Despite Lanegan reportedly turning down an invitation to remain with the band, he recorded vocals on new tracks (notably the solo vocalist on the opening track This Lullaby) and appeared with the band on the supporting tour as scheduling and his health permitted. It had been rumored that Homme fired Lanegan; however, this was subsequently refuted:

"Basically, if there was a negative rumor that someone brought up to me I would just encourage it... like when someone was saying: Well, Mark got fired, Lanegan, you know. And I was like: Yeah, Mark is fired, too, yeah. But he was just touring his own solo record, you know." - Homme (2005)[17]

Lullabies to Paralyze was leaked onto the internet in February 2005 and was aired by Triple J radio in Australia on March 3, 2005 as an unsubstantiated 'World Premiere'. Lullabies was then officially released on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 in the USA, debuting in the number 5 slot on the Billboard Music Chart, the greatest initial success of any Queens record to date.

On May 14, 2005, the group was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, hosted by Will Ferrell. One of Ferrell's popular Saturday Night Live characters, fictional Blue Öyster Cult cowbellist Gene Frenkle, made a re-appearance on the show, playing with the Queens on their first song of the night, "Little Sister." Frenkle played the song's wood block part using a cowbell along with the band, drawing much applause.

On November 22, 2005, the band released a live album/DVD set called Over the Years and Through the Woods, featuring a live concert filmed in London, England, and bonus features which included rare videos of songs from 1998 to 2005.

In fall of 2005, the group supported Nine Inch Nails on their North American tour of With Teeth along with Autolux (for the first half of the tour) and Death from Above 1979 (for the second). NIN's guitarist Aaron North appeared as an onstage guest with the Queens for the songs "Born to Hula", "Regular John", "Avon", "Monsters in the Parasol" and "Long, Slow Goodbye" at the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles on December 19 and 20 2005.

Another onstage guest for the December 20 performance was Homme's former Kyuss bandmate John Garcia, the first time that Homme and Garcia had played together since 1997. As a special encore they performed three Kyuss songs: "Thumb", "Hurricane" and "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop".[18]

Homme has stated that the band's lowest point was during the Lullabies era,[19] but that the record "took the lead jacket off" the band following the firing of Oliveri in 2004.[20]

Era Vulgaris (2006–2008)Edit

Main article: Era Vulgaris (album)

On Valentine's Day 2007, the band's official website announced the new album would be titled Era Vulgaris, and would be released in June.[21] Later in February, teaser videos surfaced showing Homme, Castillo, Van Leeuwen and Johannes in studio.[22][23] Several sites reported that the album would include many guest vocalists, including Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails, Julian Casablancas from The Strokes, Mark Lanegan, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top,[24] and in what might be an example of Homme's dry wit, deceased humorist Erma Bombeck.[25] Former Wikipedia:Death from Above 1979 |Death from Above 1979]] bassist Jesse F. Keeler had been expected to play bass on the studio recording of the album, but not to tour,[26] however due to schedule conflicts he stated he would not be appearing on the album. When questioned in an interview with Ultimate Guitar Archive about the band settling down with one line-up, Homme replied with the following:

"Does it seem like there will be? I don't know. Long ago I lost the opportunity to be in U2 -- where it's the same four guys. I respect that, but at the same time this is the search to try to take advantage of playing with certain people, even if they can't stay, and then there's other times that you need to humble yourself at the altar of music, and if you don't (makes a throat cutting motion)." - Josh Homme Ultimate Guitar Archive in March 2007[25]

Era Vulgaris was completed in early April 2007[27] and released in June 2007 in the U.S.[28] The tracks "Sick, Sick, Sick" and "3's & 7's" were released as singles in early June.[29] Homme has described the record as "dark, hard, and electrical, sort of like a construction worker".[30]

Bassist Michael Shuman (Wires On Fire, Jubilee) and keyboardist Dean Fertita (The Waxwings, The Raconteurs) took over touring duties from Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider respectively.[31][32] In July 2007, Van Leeuwen stated the band had written new material, "still in its infancy"[33] which Homme later suggested might be released as an EP.[34] Following a subsequent interview with Homme, The Globe and Mail reported that the EP "could contain as many as 10 B-sides recorded during the Era Vulgaris sessions."[35] It was since reported however that the EP would not be released due to the record label's unwillingness to put out another QOTSA release at this time.[36]

The band began a North American Tour in 2007 which they named the "Duluth Tour" due to the fact that the band are going to many small towns and cities they've never played before, such as Duluth, Minnesota.[37] The tour has since been extended to other areas, such as the United Kingdom, where the band played more shows than on any of their previous UK tours. The band toured in Australia in late March to early April 2008, on the V festival tour including a string of side shows. Throughout the beginning of May 2008, the band completed the Canadian leg of its touring.[38] Following Natasha Shneider's death from cancer on July 2, 2008, qotsa.com was updated with a memorial message by Homme replacing the normal front page.

On August 16 2008, Queens of the Stone Age performed a concert in celebration of Natasha Shneider's life at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. They were joined on stage by Alain Johannes, Jack Black and Kyle Gass, Matt Cameron, Brody Dalle, Jesse Hughes, Chris Goss and PJ Harvey, playing a variety of QOTSA and non-QOTSA songs. Proceeds from the concert went to defray the costs associated with Natasha’s illness.

On August 22 and 23 2008, Queens of the Stone Age performed their last shows of their Era Vulgaris tour at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK, and Josh Homme announced in an interview with the BBC and during the show that he would be returning to the studio to work on the next album.

Recent (2008–present)Edit

In a September issue of NME, Josh Homme stated that he was going back to make the new QOTSA and Desert Sessions records along with remastering the 1998 self titled album for an early 2009 release. Homme also stated Queens' new album is going to be a "desert orgy in the dark."

MembersEdit

For more details on this topic, see Queens of the Stone Age contributors

As of October 2008, the Queens of the Stone Age are:[31]

  • Joshua Homme – Founding and only permanent member of the band. He is primarily the band's lead vocalist and guitarist but has occasionally played bass, keyboards, piano and drums as well as other instruments. (1997-present)
  • Troy Van Leeuwen – Has been the bands second guitarist since tour following the release of Songs for the Deaf, has also played lap steel, keyboards, piano, bass and provided backing vocals during live performances and subsequent recordings. (2002-present)
  • Joey Castillo – Was called in to replace drummer Dave Grohl for the European leg of the Songs for the Deaf tour and has been a permanent member since. (2002-present)
  • Michael Shuman – Joined the band as their bassist and backing vocalist for the tour following the release of Era Vulgaris. (2007-present)
  • Dean Fertita – Replaced the late Natasha Shneider as the band's keyboardist and backing vocalist, also plays guitar and various percussion instruments. (2007–present)

DiscographyEdit

Further information: Queens of the Stone Age discography
Date of release Title Record label
September 22, 1998 Queens of the Stone Age Man's Ruin Records, Loosegroove Records, Roadrunner Records
June 6, 2000 Rated R Interscope Records
August 27, 2002 Songs for the Deaf Interscope Records
March 22, 2005 Lullabies to Paralyze Interscope Records
June 12, 2007 Era Vulgaris Interscope Records
TBA Sixth studio album Interscope Records

Award nominationsEdit

References Edit

  1. Queens set out to explore musical boundaries
  2. Rock (No Stoner Required)
  3. A guide to the new stoner rock
  4. Discography entry for Gamma Ray
  5. QOTSA | FAQ - 1.2
  6. Discography entry for Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age
  7. Queens of the Stone Age Review
  8. 8.0 8.1 Queens of the Stone Age - The weirdest band on Ozzfest
  9. Queens of the Stone Age Feel Good About Foos Tour
  10. Um Oliveri incomoda muita gente?
  11. Queens Of The Stone Age Explode
  12. Album Reviews: Era Vulgaris
  13. MTV.com: Queens of the Stone Age: A Stone Unturned
  14. Homme Comes Clean On Oliveri Firing
  15. Jenkins, Sacha. "Ready to Rumble." Spin. May 2005.
  16. Nick Oliveri - Mondo Uncontrollable
  17. 17.0 17.1 Queens of the Stone Age Interview
  18. Queens Of The Stone age joined by unexpected guest
  19. Queens of the Stone Age interview "The lowest point has been…like somewhere in Lullabies…that was very confusing…"
  20. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE: "THIS IS A DANCE RECORD" NME 05-05-2007.
  21. I was at the Sizzler today.
  22. vnu_content_id=1003558815 QOTSA Rocks Hard, Fast On 'Era Vulgaris
  23. 'Queens Of The Stone Age Creating Era Vulgaris', Youtube.com
  24. Casablancas, Reznor Rumored Guests on QOTSA Album
  25. 25.0 25.1 Queens of the Stone Age Will Not Settle Down, Except For Fans
  26. Mel in the Morning interview with Jesse Keeler
  27. Smoking Section: Playing poker with the Strokes, Foo Fighters album news, Marilyn Manson's "dirty" film, Roger Waters calls from the road
  28. Queens of the Stone Age official website
  29. Queens of the Stone age unveil new album artwork
  30. Ask the Band
  31. 31.0 31.1 Queens of the Stone age unveil new album artwork
  32. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE Films 'Sick, Sick, Sick' Video
  33. Queens Of The Stone Age discuss Duluth tour
  34. Queens new material
  35. Princes Charming – well, almost
  36. http://web.archive.org/20081231080650/www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003660097
  37. Queens of the Stone Age: The "Duluth Tour" Details
  38. Pumpkins, JAMC, QOTSA, Air, CSS Rock Aussie V Fest

External links Edit


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