Queens Frontman Takes Passenger Seat In Eagles of Death Metal

Josh Homme drums up some garage rock on Peace Love Death Metal.

Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme may have lost one of his best friends when he booted bassist Nick Oliveri out of the band, but he hasn’t lost his sense of humor, as demonstrated by side project Eagles of Death Metal, whose debut album, Peace Love Death Metal, comes out March 23.

“We shot ‘Lord of the Rings’-style videos for the songs ‘I Only Want You’ and ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ ” Homme said, with his own tongue planted firmly in cheek. “They’re directed by this new guy named Peter Jackson, and they’re gonna come out a year apart from each other, every December. I’ve got my fingers crossed for that golden statue.”

Although Homme (a.k.a. Carlo Von Sexron, Baby Duck) handles most Eagles interviews, the band isn’t the drummer/backing singer’s baby. His friend J. Everrett Huge (a.k.a. Jesse “The Devil” Huge, Mr. Boogie Man) fronts the band, which also features guitarist Timmy “Tipover” VanHamel, who has played with Millionaire, Deus and Evil Superstar. The band specializes in loose, bluesy, repetitive garage rock driven by high tenor vocals, straight-ahead beats and rib-sticking riffs reminiscent of the Rolling Stones and Bachman Turner Overdrive (see “Queens Of The Stone Age To Release Four Side-Project Albums This Year” ).

“It’s the perfect experiment for people who really shake their ass and dance to rock and roll,” Homme said. “It’s just an unpretentious bad-ass record. That’s why I’ve been doing it so much lately.”

Eagles of Death Metal first appeared on three tracks on Homme’s 1998 Desert Sessions Vol III/IV collaboration, and while Homme has been instrumental in getting the band noticed, he willingly takes a back seat. “I just sit behind the drums and play rock and roll, which is a great change of pace for me,” he said. “J. Devil writes everything, every lyric and riff, and he’s a fantastic songwriter. He and I go through and arrange them, and I lay down harmonies, but it’s really his thing. It’s the antithesis of the bloated rock-attitude bullsh– I’ve had to deal with recently” (see “Queens’ Homme Casts Emotional Eye On Bassist’s Firing” ).

In April, Eagles of Death Metal will spread their evil seed during an East Coast tour, then Homme will return to the studio with the remaining Queens of the Stone Age members — guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and drummer Joey Castillo — to work on the band’s next album.

Homme started writing for Queens last year, this time without collaborator Nick Oliveri. “I gotta be honest,” he said. “I knew this [showdown with Oliveri] was coming, so I wrote everything by myself. And it’s the best sh– I’ve ever written. My tank has been fueled by people saying I couldn’t do it, and I’m gonna show them they’re dead wrong.”

When Queens start recording, they’ll work with 16 finished songs. Homme said 10 will likely be on the album, and the others will be B-sides. He added that the album will be heavier and more psychedelic than the band’s previous disc, Songs for the Deaf.

“It reminds me of the same, trancey emptiness of the first Queens record,” he said. “It’s no accident everything has come full circle. There’s lots of repetition with falsetto melodies over the top. I want people to shake their ass and shut their eyes and just trance out. I want to move people and get the hairs on their arms to stand up.”

Homme will play all the bass parts on the album, as he did on the group’s self-titled debut. “I don’t want to rush into anything with another bassist, so I’ll deal with that when the time is right,” he said.

That doesn’t mean the world’s homeless bassists aren’t trying to track down Homme. “Oh man, I’m fielding all these crazy phone calls from people I’ve never met,” he said. They’re like, ‘Hi, I’ve got long hair and the look, and I can tear it up.’ These guys say things like, ‘I got your number through Joe Sh– the Ragman and Gravel Gerty.’ Man, I just don’t care right now. Queens has had lots of members, and I don’t mean to suggest that Nick was just a casual member, but because the music has always been made with love we’ve always sorted ourselves out. And I don’t expect that part of it to be any different. We’ll find someone who loves music.”