Queens of the Stone Age have always had a revolving door of members, but at the heart of the band was always the partnership of singer/guitarist Josh Homme and bassist Nick Oliveri. Not anymore.
At a time when the band's lineup seemed more stable than it had been in years, Oliveri has unexpectedly left the band, breaking off a musical relationship with Homme that goes back to their days playing together in Kyuss in the early '90s.
"A number of incidents occurring over the last 18 months have led to the decision that the two can no longer maintain a working partnership in the band," read a terse statement from the band's management. No replacement for Oliveri has been announced.
Singer Mark Lanegan, who toured with the group and sang on several songs from the band’s last two albums, has also left. “Mark is officially no longer playing with Queens of the Stone Age so as to devote more time to his own band,” read a statement from Lanegan’s spokesperson. “His new album, Bubblegum, is finished and will be out in late spring.”
There has been speculation that something dramatic happened while the band was in Australia on the Big Day Out tour, but Ipecac Records co-owner Greg Werckman, whose label has released projects by both Homme and Oliveri, said he talked to Homme on Friday, following the completion of the tour, and had no idea there was any bitterness between any of the Queens bandmembers.
“This definitely took me by surprise," he said. "[Homme and Oliveri are] both extremely talented people, and they seemed pretty much like kindred spirits. They both just love the music and love rock."
Queens of the Stone Age plan to hit the studio this spring to work on a new album. When MTV News talked to Queens in June, the band said it had more than 25 songs written and hoped to have a new record ready by the spring (see "Queens 'Giveth' Third Single, But No New Songs This Summer").
At the time, they had just hired drummer Joey Castillo and said they were looking forward to a long period of stability and productivity. "We've finally found players that want to stay and we want them to," Oliveri said.
Homme is currently on tour in England drumming with side project Eagles of Death Metal. The band's debut album, Peace Love Death Metal, comes out March 23. Oliveri's most recent side project, Mondo Generator's A Drug Problem That Never Existed, was released in July.
(On Wednesday, we mistakenly reported that Van Conner and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees had joined Queens of the Stone Age. MTV News regrets the error.)
[This story was updated at 2:04 p.m. ET on 02.12.2004]