Queens of the Stone Age's Mark Lanegan has deserted the Josh Homme-led troupe with eight dates remaining on its current tour, according to a post on the band's Web site.
This latest development has fueled speculation that there may once again be trouble in paradise, and that Lanegan's leave of absence might be permanent.
But according to a statement from the band, everything's hunky dory — Lanegan, who quit the Queens following the Songs for the Deaf tour just over a year ago, is just dog-tired, is all.
"Mark Lanegan is taking a brief sabbatical from the ongoing Queens tour due to exhaustion," the statement reads. "The band would like to wish a speedy recovery, so that he can return back to the touring Queens circus ASAP. Joshua and Mark have already been in discussions to figure out when Mark will be able to return. The band stresses that all other rumors regarding this subject should be written down, burned and the ashes pushed into your eyes so that you are unable to find your water cooler."
Queens of the Stone Age, a band that rose from the ashes of stoner-rockers Kyuss, was founded, initially, as more of a collective than an actual band — a revolving enclave of musical cronies and utility players, with Homme being the lone fixture. Over the years, the Queens have endured more lineup shifts than Van Halen and Destiny's Child combined.
Lanegan — considered one of grunge rock's founding fathers, thanks to his work with the now-defunct Screaming Trees — left Queens of the Stone Age back in early 2004, but eventually returned to the fold for Lullabies to Paralyze, the latest disc from the band, released two weeks ago. Around the same time that Lanegan left, original wild-man bassist Nick Oliveri — the yin to Homme's yang — also became an ex-member of Queens after Homme handed him a rock-and-roll pink slip (see "Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan Leave Queens Of The Stone Age").
Guitarist and keyboardist Dave Catching, drummers Alfredo Hernandez, Gene Troutman and Nicky Lucero, former Screaming Trees bassist Van Conner, Soundgarden's Matt Cameron, Dinosaur Jr.'s Mike Johnson, and ex-Nirvana and current Foo Fighters member Dave Grohl have all come and gone since the band's inception. The latest incarnation features Homme, drummer Joey Castillo, bassist Alain Johannes, guitarist and keyboardist Troy Van Leeuwen and Lanegan. Chris Goss, Jesse Hughes, Distillers frontwoman (and Homme's girlfriend) Brody Dalle and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons all contributed to Lullabies.
For a feature on Queens of the Stone Age, check out "Queens Of The Stone Age: A Stone Unturned."