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 Bands A-Z: Queens of the Stone Age
 News Archive: Queens of the Stone Age




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'Part of me wishes I could just point over to the stage and be like, 'My answer is this.' '...


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'I tell one guy about it, and then all of a sudden the New York Post gets involved.' ...


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'All the limos and flashbulbs and stuff are all are pretty meaningless' ...




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— by James Montgomery

The entire city of Austin, Texas, smells like barbeque ribs and cigarettes. From Guadalupe Street to Cesar Chavez Street, the air is heavy with hickory and nicotine, the sidewalks overflowing with visiting college radio reps and music-industry execs with sauce on their chins and complimentary American Spirit cigarettes clenched between their lips.

It's South by Southwest season down in the capital of Texas, the time of the year when every suit in the music biz dons shorts and drinks too much free booze at parties sponsored by magazines and hip clothing companies. They talk loudly in the back of clubs while bands attempt to play louder, their complimentary giftbags stuffed with jeans and coupons. And in the mornings, they nurse their hangovers with Bloody Marys and brisket sandwiches.

This goes on for four days straight.

  Queens of the Stone Age: SXSW Photos
And even if you take Interstate 35 out of town — past the sprawling campus of the University of Texas, beyond the well-manicured greens at the Hancock Golf Course — you can still smell the BBQ and nicotine and hear the industry cogs grinding. Even if, like Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, you're standing in the middle of an empty airport hangar, absentmindedly strumming bowel-busting power chords and staring straight ahead, into the darkness.

Even out here — where the lights of Austin glimmer faintly from across an expansive prairie, where ghostly Port-O-Lets sit like buoys in the giant asphalt sea of a parking lot — you can't escape the machine. So even if, like Homme, you're attempting to do a soundcheck, it's a soundcheck for a concert sponsored by DKNY Jeans — for which workers are currently hanging banners and sweeping the floor — and where, later in the night, bartenders will dress like futuristic stewardesses and the VIP area will be guarded by beefy guys in flightsuits.

  "Sometimes I feel that it's better to be anonymous. Riding in a limo every once in awhile is cool, but expecting to have a limo everywhere you go is lame..."
That's probably why the notoriously prickly and press-shy Homme is standing here, half-heartedly crunching out chords, looking like there are about a million places he'd rather be. And it's also probably the reason why the rest of the Queens — which now include guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, drummer Joey Castillo, bassist Alain Johannes and keyboardist Natasha Shneider and frequent collaborator Mark Lanegan — file in behind him. Homme looks at a DKNY banner, closes his eyes and begins repeating the opening lines from his song "Monsters in the Parasol," which go like this:

"The walls are closing in again, oh well/ The walls are closing in again, oh well."

  Queens of the Stone Age: In-store performance at the Virgin Megastore in New York, 3/21/05
"It's cool. I just try to have a good time and smile and dig it here," he says after the Queens have finished soundchecking. "I've worked construction, worked on ranches and orchards, and the suck part of those jobs is way bigger, so I'm not complaining. It's hard to complain about being a musician, because it never comes off well. But sometimes in interviews, when I'm talking about myself incessantly, there's a part of me that wishes I could just point over to the stage and be like, 'My answer is this.' "

There's little doubt that Homme would prefer to do all his talking from the stage. But a little less that three years ago, his band released Songs for the Deaf, an album that would go on to sell more than 900,000 copies and spawn three hit singles. And all of a sudden, more and more of the audience at Queens gigs became comprised of guys in suits and gals toting BlackBerrys. All of a sudden, the circus wasn't onstage, it was in front of it.


NEXT: 'I'm not a fighter. But someone was being a jerk, wouldn't leave and moved towards me — and what are you going to do?' ...
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Photo: MTV News

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  "Little Sister"
Lullabies to Paralyze
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  "First it Giveth"
Songs for the Deaf
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  "Go with the Flow"
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  "No One Knows"
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  "Monsters in the Parasol"
Rated R
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  "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret"
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  "No One Knows" (live)"
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  "Go With the Flow" (live)
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  "First It Giveth" (live)
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