It's an occurrence that has been happening since the early
days of rock and roll, and probably long before that: two artists are
unknowingly recording at the same studio. Upon discovering each other, they say
(a la Spinal Tap's David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel), "Why not join up?"
That's how Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen got together to write "Because the
Night," and that's how an untold number of other rock and roll pairings before
and since have taken place.
It's also how former Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme
ended up playing with Screaming Trees for this summer's Lollapalooza and the
club dates before it. Well, their conflux was actually one step removed. Trees
bass player Van Conner recounts the tale by phone from his home in
"When we did Dust [the new Screaming Trees album, out
June 25], Chris Goss from Masters of Reality, he produced a couple Kyuss
records he was next door. And our producer George Drakoulias was
friends with him. And we were huge fans [of Goss]. He came over and we had him
sing some back ups. We were so excited to have him on the record because he's,
like, a legend to us. He sang, and he told me about this thing he was doing
with Josh Homme up here in Seattle, 'cause Josh moved up here."
was Homme's new project called Gamma Ray. "Josh gave me a call a few days
before [going in to record]," Conner continues. "He said, 'I have no idea what
we're gonna do. Come down to the studio at this time.' I said OK. I didn't even
know Josh. I came down there, and Vic the Stick as they call him [Victor
Indrizzo of Samiam], was the drummer. He's a great drummer, I've always wanted
to play with him. He's also in Magnificent Bastards, that band with [Stone
Temple Pilot] Scott Weiland, and [Circle Jerk] Zander Schloss. So I went down
there and we just started playing these songs, and they turned out really good.
I had a good time hanging out with Josh and playing on his songs. I think one
of them is gonna be on a benefit album of some kind, and I think he's gonna
release some of them on his own record."
Fast forward some time later.
Screaming Trees were unsuccessfully trying out second guitarists for touring.
As Conner tells it, "None of 'em worked. They just didn't click with the band,
musically or personality-wise. We were sitting around talking, and our friend
Mike Johnson, we were calling him up, he's the bass player for Dinosaur Jr. We
were talking to him, and he suggested Josh. And we were like, 'Oh yeah, Josh,
he's a cool guy.' Called him up, and he was into it. He came down.
just like I don't know why this always seems to happen with us,
the few times that we've had other people in the band. We do hook up with
somebody, and it's just like, before we even practice, we kind of know what's
gonna happen. We called [Josh], everybody was just kind of, like, he'd be cool.
He showed up and he was cool."
The rest is history waiting to be made.
Screaming Trees hit the road with Homme in tow next week for a series of 11
pre-Palooza club shows beginning in Boston. Will Homme be part of the band
after this summer? "Right now, you know, it's kind of up in the air about
everything," says Conner. "Basically, he's on the tour, he's not a member of
Still to come: Conner anticipates the Lolla tour and proves that
he's no computer geek.