queens of the stone age

Showing 21 posts tagged queens of the stone age

Track

Regular John

Artist

Queens of the Stone Age

Album

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age - Regular John

From their first, self-titled album.

I heard about this album long before I actually heard it. I enjoyed Kyuss and was pretty much infatuated with Josh Homme, but for some reason I hesitated to buy this. Then my buddy at Mr. Cheapo’s records – who always seemed to know what I would like – talked me into buying the CD.

It was late fall, maybe early winter of 1998. Either there was some kind of meteor shower going on or I was just into stargazing late at night in the cold. I don’t know why I did this, I just remember I did. I took my CD Walkman and a blanket, went out to the backyard in the middle of the night and laid back on a lounge chair while I stared at the stars and listened to Queens of the Stone Age.

You know how if you stare at the night sky long enough, everything changes? You can see more stars, or single out stars or planets or see shapes in the stars other than the constellations. The sky is an ever changing canvas and what you make of the stars and planets and even airplanes is the art. That sky I was staring at was the perfect metaphor for what I was listening to.

I played it three times and each time I heard different things, different sounds. This was undefinable because it kept changing on me; the underlying feel was one of a rock album, but there were so many things within, all this spacey, robotic sound piled on top of melodies and riffs that were at turns soothing and then jolting. I’d focus on one sound, one bass line or drum beat and then it would be something else entirely, dragging in all the other sounds around it to make a cosmic constellation of music. The album was a rocket that took me on a ride through outer space, shooting through fiery galaxies and rotating planets and shooting stars. 

And that’s Queens of the Stone Age. Always changing, ever evolving. The band’s lineup is different for every album, with Josh Homme being the only constant. The sound changes, the style changes, the personnel changes yet throughout their entire discography, Queens of the Stone Age maintains the same essence. Each album is a distinct constellation born of the same galaxy.

The QOTSA history is one that is almost incestuous in nature. To make a QOTSA family tree would be to make a forest where every root and branch are connected, where Kyuss and Desert Sessions and Screaming Trees share the same soil as The Dwarves, The Vandals, Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails. What has come out of a seemingly disparate group of musicians is a band that has made a revolving door of artists a feature rather than a detriment. 

Their self-titled debut album featured Josh Homme and Alfredo Herndandez with a myriad of guest musicians (although Nick Oliveri appears on the album art, he didn’t join the band until after the album was finished). 

I chose “Regular John” because it’s the first song on Queens of the Stone Age and pretty much encompasses everything the band is about; the fuzzy riffs, the thick bass lines, the feeling of going along for a ride where the scenery is constantly changing and your destination is unknown. 

[Queens of the Stone Age contributors]

Queens of the Stone Age - Mexicola (Live From the Basement, 2009)

From the UK show “From the Basement” this version of “Mexicola” features the lineup of Josh Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Joey Castillo, Michael Shuman and Dean Fertita. 

The best thing about QOTSA is no matter who is playing in the band at any given moment, whatever the lineup is there remains a cohesiveness, a sound and feel that is an underlying constant regardless of changes. Although “Mexicola” from the debut album is one of my favorite QOTSA songs, this live version with different musicians takes it to a deeper, more complete level. That doesn’t take away from the original; it just gives you the opportunity to enjoy the song in two different ways. 

Track

Spiders and Vinegaroons

Artist

Queens of the Stone Age

Album

Queens of the Stone Age Reissue

Queens of the Stone Age - Spiders and Vinegaroons

In 2011, Queens of the Stone Age reissued their debut album (which had been out of print) with added tracks.

Rather than just include its three bonus tracks as random add-ons, this remastered reissue integrates them into the existing sequence, in a manner that actually enhances the front-to-back listening experience: “The Bronze”— featuring a pair of amazing snakecharmer solos from Homme— deftly mediates between the album’s more streamlined front end and its more whimsical back half, while the DJ Shadow-esque drum-break freak-out “Spiders and Vinegaroons” (salvaged from [a] 1996 split EP [with Kyuss]) provides a more logical set-up for the album’s bizarro-world piano-bar closer, “I Was a Teenage Hand Model”. It’s not often that padding out an already hefty album actually improves it, but in the Queens’ case, the revised tracklist provides a more accurate portrait of how the band molded its mercurial Desert Sessions experiments into chiseled hard-rock monoliths. At the same time, the expanded edition makes the Queens’ debut feel a little less like a time capsule, and closer in spirit to the playful sprawl of their subsequent best-sellers.

- Stuart Berman for Pitchfork

Track

Auto Pilot

Artist

Queens of the Stone Age

Album

Rated R

Queens of the Stone Age - Auto Pilot

The lineup for the second album from Queens of The Stone Age, Rated R.

  • Josh Homme 
  • Nick Oliveri 
  • Nick Lucero
  • Dave Catching
  • Mark Lanegan 
  • Gene Trautman
  • There have been arguments among QOTSA fans about Nick Oliveri, about the band during and after his tenure. Personally, I thought he brought a certain decadence to the music that went missing after he left. But I’m in the minority there; a lot of fans were glad to see him depart. 

    Oliveri does the vocals on “Auto Pilot” “The Quick and the Pointless” and “Tension Head” on Rated R. While the latter two show off the punk side of Nick honed with The Dwarves, his shared vocal duties with Mark Lanegan on this song let us hear his soft side.

    There are very few albums that can do for me what Rated R does. Listening from start to finish, it takes me to places that mind altering substances used to. It’s strange, it’s trippy, it’s a meandering ride through a funhouse tunnel, filled with twists and turns and sights and sounds that make you wish the ride would never end. Everything is unexpected; one minute you’re traveling at the speed of light and then suddenly you’re slowing down, you get a chance to collect your thoughts and breath before the ride whips up to speed again. There’s everything on this ride – highs and lows, love and pain, hallucinations and a mean reality.

    There’s so much going on here that the album left my head spinning the first time I listened to it. The musical influences are so myriad – punk, metal, jazz, pop, psychedelic – that you have to completely open your mind in order to listen to and appreciate everything within. “Better Living Through Chemistry” is trippy fuzziness. “Auto Pilot” is melodic and soothing. “Tension Head” and “Quick and to the Pointless” are metal influenced punk. There are very few bands who could take so many sounds, put them on one album and make it all sound seamless. Queens of the Stone Age are masters at that. They can go from a singable pop number like “Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” to the strange funk of “Leg of Lamb” and it all just flows together like it was meant to be.

    "Rated R" is a long, strange trip. While QOTSA are so often referred to as Stoner Rock, the beautiful thing about them and this album in particular is that you don’t need to be high to enjoy it; the music is the drug.

    Track

    Better Living Through Chemistry

    Artist

    Queens of the Stone Age

    Album

    Rated R

    Queens of the Stone Age - Better Living Through Chemistry

    I’ll sit in the parking lot after a particularly trying day at work, hands shaking, fighting tears of exhaustion and frustration and I’ll put this on. There’s an immediate feeling of soothing. It’s a feeling of being hugged by sound. A calmness washes over me. I feel everything from the day drain from my body. My hands unclench, I breathe easier, my mind runs free. 

    I can’t just listen to the song, which is why I spend the few minutes after work sitting in the parking lot instead of screeching out of the lot like everyone else. I have to feel the song. I have to be the song. It becomes a transcendental experience; a drug, if you will. It’s my equivalent of lighting up a blunt and releasing those beautiful chemicals in your brain that say “Hey, everything is chill, man. Everything’s beautiful.”

    There are so many singular parts to this song that hit you somewhere in your soul or your heart or brain that to list them all would just be saying hey, listen to the entire song, people. From start to finish. Especially that part where it breaks down and you almost hold your breath waiting for it to start up again and when it does, it’s like you’re being carried away on a wave of colors and sound.

    This song is tactile; you can feel it around you, it envelops you and closes you in, not in a claustrophobic way, but in a way that makes you shut out everything else that’s around you until there’s just you and the music and this incredible jam that feels like riding through Space Mountain on acid. It’s fuzzy, it’s clear, it’s loud, it’s soft, it rises and falls, it’s a hook that grabs you around the neck and pulls you closer and closer and closer until you are one with the song. It becomes you. You have merged with this tune and it will live inside you forever and you are the better for it.

    There’s no one here 
    And people everywhere 
    You’re all alone

    Track

    Never Say Never

    Artist

    Queens of the Stone Age

    Album

    Rated R Deluxe Edition

    Queens of the Stone Age - Never Say Never

    Rated R was reissued in 2010 as a Deluxe Edition. The album included remastered versions of the original tracks, some B-sides and live tracks from the 2000 Reading Festival. 

    This is their cover of Romeo Void’s 80s classic, “Never Say Never.”

    Queens of the Stone Age perform “In the Fade” live on WFNX Radio at Boston’s First Act Guitar Studio. For more videos and mp3s from this set,

    "In the Fade" is my favorite Queens of the Stone Age Song. 

    Sometimes people will ask you “What song do you never get tired of hearing?” There are quite a few songs that fall under this category. Not many, but quite a few. I think everybody has a breaking point with a song eventually. You fall in love with it, you listen to it for hours on end and then at some point, probably in the middle of the song right before the breakdown, you hit the stop button and say, enough. Oh, you’ll go back to it because it’s that kind of song but for now, enough. 

    This. This is a song. This is the song.  It’s the song I’d live to, the song I’d die to, the song I want played when my family is gathered at my death bed and I have finished telling them I know how hard it will be to go on living without me to brighten each and every moment of their lives and right before they break out the balloons and cake when I flatline. It’s the song that helps me fall asleep, that keeps me awake, that soothes me and comforts me and wraps itself around me like the favorite childhood blanket I never had because my mother didn’t believe in comfort objects which is why I became a hoarder later in life and why I cling so tenaciously to that Boba Fett figure as an act of rebellion against my mother. 

    So, this song. I’ll listen to it all day and never get tired of it. 

    Even this live version - stripped down, naked and raw - doesn’t lose any of the original’s luster. In fact, it makes it more poignant.