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"I’m in a band that has Stone Age in the title you know, so I’m kind of behind the times."
——Josh Homme
OASIS IN THE DESERT
Time to turn the dial with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme by Anna Osborn
Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri have previously brought us timeless, gut-wrenching, soul-touching, life-searching rock since the late ’80s in desert bands such as Katzenjammer, Kyuss, Dwarves, Fu Manchu and Mondo Generator, among others. The duo’s latest masterpiece Songs For The Deaf (Interscope), brings their brand of dark-laced metallurgy to a jaded, music-hungry world. Everyone wants a piece of the action with widespread critical kudos, rising record sales and a major headlining tour in progress. Veteran of the rock wars Homme takes a break from a hard day of riding the roller coaster and eating cotton candy at the Texas State Fair to call the HITS cesspool for a few words with our own Queen of the Stoners, Anna "Don’t Call Me Ozzy" Osborn.

After all these years of being a cult band with great critical reviews, how does it feel to be on the brink of commercial success?
Feels like I’ve been hosting a party for about 12 years and now people are showing up. My only advice to them is don’t use the back bedroom, the bathroom’s over there, keg’s over there and don’t drink all the vodka.

Is Dave Grohl still in the Queens? Did you like what he brought to the band?
No, Dave is not in the band anymore. He’s fighting Foo again. I love what Dave has brought to the band; I’m a total spoiled bitch now. But let me clarify that…With Troy Van Leeuwen, Mark Lanegan and Dave helping out Nick and I with the record, the band was so tight that I never want to let the bar drop below that level ever again. Dave and I have been friends for years. He’s always going to be around, and I never like to say never about him returning to play with us, but it was great while it lasted.

You and Nick write the most amazing lyrics and melodies. What inspires you?
Just livin’, you know? There’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened to us in the last year and a half, and it’s tough to make up fiction. It’s better to just change the names of the guilty. Both Nick and I were concerned that the record was too dark, we needed a "feel-good hit of the summer’ or a "quick and to the pointless." And so what we came up with was "Six Shooter," which, well, you know, is not light, though we didn’t scream, "I’ll kill your best friend in it." So that didn’t work so good, but anyway.

Your songs are about deep, dark secrets or the unknown. What’s your deepest secret?
My deepest secret? I feel really comfortable not saying things, and I notice when people hold back. I think it’s really good to know things that other people don’t. I relish having stories or secrets of other people or my own, that I feel comfortable not talking about. It’s sometimes hard when you’re writing lyrics, because you kind of feel like you’re putting your neck out there. And it’s so hard to be vulnerable. It’s kinda like playing the kazoo naked in front of 5,000 people; it’s a silly instrument, you’re standing there and it’s hot…and well, there you go.

Where do you stand with technology issues, like file-sharing?
I’m in a band that has Stone Age in the title you know, so I’m kind of behind the times. At the same time, we allow people to photograph, or audio and videotape the shows. We encourage live music sharing, because for a band that is just starting out, it’s a great way for you to present your music for free. But with something like Songs for the Deaf to have people just come and take it, because we spent so much time and a bit too much money making it, it’s kind of a slap in the face to us. I don’t go into a 7-11, take a couple of dollars out of the cash register, then help myself to a Slurpee and split. If people had the tables turned on them in that respect, they’d understand. So I have a mixed perception. Sharing music is good. Stealing music is bad.

Do you involve yourself in the business side of things?
In Kyuss we were, like, ignorance is bliss. Hey someone just stole 10 grand from us! Oh, well, just keep it. But now with Queens, we are much more on point about everything that is going on. I also have a tiny label called Rekords Rekords, where I get to feel like I’m bucking the system. The only mission of my label is to have a major label offer me dough to buy it, so I can say NO! It feels good to say, "Nope don’t care about you." Right now, we just put out the Desert Sessions and a band called Fatso Jetson, who just play because they love it. My label is dedicated to putting out stuff just for the sake of putting out music. Fatso has opened up for us here and in Europe. But I’m waiting before I get a few more steps ahead before I shove it in everyone’s face. It’s kind of like marking out your own territory, so you can bring everyone else a few steps forward.

What’s the perfect mix of toxins that gets you guys going for your day?
The best habit is no habit. It’s good to have fun, but it’s bad to be a slave to anything. It could be anything from drugs to meat. If you eat bacon everyday, it’ll kill you too. And I don’t want to stop eating bacon, so I don’t eat it everyday. Moderation is the key; it’s the new Queens Eastern philosophy. Our thing is whatever you’re doing, do it really hard when you are doing it, then pull back for a second. That’s what we like to tell people.

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