With their rotating lineups, multiple side projects, shifting sounds and irreverent attitudes, the members of Queens of the Stone Age have become some of the most perplexing figures in contemporary alt-metal/post-stoner rock. Perhaps their record label has been most confused of all.
Interscope execs think the band's upcoming Songs for the Deaf is artistically and commercially impressive, but they've had a hell of a time agreeing on the disc's first single.
A few weeks ago the label informed the band that the raucous "Millionaire" would be the leadoff radio cut, then it became a tossup between that song, the tumbling but melodic "First It Giveth_#1" and the less rugged, hook-saturated "No One Knows."
"We were gonna get everyone with decision making power at the company to wear a T-shirt with one of the song titles on it," joked singer/guitarist Josh Homme. "Then we'd have them all fight in a big steel cage and whoever was left standing, the song on their shirt would be the single."
The label ultimately opted to avoid such physical confrontation and go with "No One Knows."
"It's a mystery what that song's about. No one knows," Homme joked. "It's kind of almost Beatlesque with a driving beat, and it's kind of jumpy."
"It kind of makes you feel like you're driving really fast down an empty road," added bassist and vocalist Nick Oliveri.
"Yeah, but then you're hit [by another car]," interrupted Homme. "But then you're driving again."
Queens of the Stone Age are in the middle of filming a video for the track with director Michel Gondry (White Stripes, Radiohead). They shot the first half June 26 and 27 and are scheduled to finish it July 15.
"Michel Gondry did all those videos for Björk, and we're huge fans of Björk and those videos, so we're excited," Homme said.
Songs for the Deaf comes out August 27 (see "Queens Of The Stone Age Flex Their Star Power"), and the Queens are eager to begin another tour. But the band is far from the only thing on Homme's and Oliveri's plates. The pair recently penned music for the soundtrack to "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" (see "Queens Of The Stone Age, Rage Members Make Music For 'Altar Boys' "), and they're stoked about Headband, a side project they're in with Amen's Casey Chaos (vocals) and Shannon Larkin (drums) and former Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez.
"It's the head band. It's songs for your head, basically," Homme explained. "It's all really, really heavy stuff, and because Casey is in it, there's a lot of yelling and anger going on."
Homme plans to release Headband's yet-untitled debut album, which will
include the track "Medication for the Whole Neighborhood," in the late fall on his Rekords Records label. Homme will follow by releasing albums by Fatso Jetson, the Eagles of Death Metal, Mondo Generator and new volumes of his Desert Sessions stoner-rock collaboration series.
"As you can see I'm a busy, busy man," he said.