Josh Homme is so great that he can afford the luxury of having a band in which his rhythm section is made up of Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl - and that band is not even the band with which he has become one of the truly essential figures of 21st Century rock, something he has done fronting the fundamental Queens Of The Stone Age, a band of which we want to review our 10 favorite songs taking advantage of the birthday of its absolute leader.
10. The Evil Has Landed
The Evil Has Landed is the best moment of Villains, built on several riffs worthy of Black Sabbath, although played in a lighter way to fit with Homme's falsetto. This song is one of the few where the band allow themselves the luxury of putting in some good guitar solos on their last album to date, to finish with a rock scattering of raw power in the best style of their adored Iggy & The Stooges. Homme and his crew reclaim the dance floor as their own, but they do it not by surrendering to new fashions but by connecting with the spirit of primordial rock and roll. Also the sound of the guitars (for this album they have used a good amount of them like Josh Homme's special nine-string Echopark Esperanto Z, Troy Van Leeuwen's Signature Jazzmaster and several Echopark models customized for them by Gabe Currie) changes pn this album with Homme recording many of the guitar parts directly to the mixing desk, in a method known as 'Direct Input' (DI).
9. First It Giveth
Homme gets biblical to talk about drugs and the inspiration they give and take away, "First they Giveth, then They Taketh away", all amidst brilliant riffs, falsetto melodies and haunting choruses. Another classic on that beast of an album that is called Songs For The Deaf in which Homme was surrounded by more talent than on any other occasion - Mark Lanegan, Nick Olivieri and an on fire Dave Grohl on drums.
8. I Sat By The Ocean
Another incredibly catchy and instantaneous song from the outstanding ...Like Clockwork, of which it was the second single. It features one of the most accessible moments in their repertoire with that little slide solo at the beginning that grabs you and ties the whole song together. Then, the way Homme uses his falsetto again in this song is simply marvelous. It is a fabulous track in which they use a contrast between the music and melody – which is animated - and the lyrics - sad and melancholic - with memorable phrases like: "Time wounds all the heals as we fade out of view".
7. Little Sister
Homme loved the sexual energy of Elvis’s Little Sister, so he decided to make a song with the same name, perhaps his most pop and catchy song, released as the presentation single of Lullabies To Paralyze, the fourth studio album by Queens Of The Stone Age. To round off the song he doesn't forget to give a wink to Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead by adding a riff taken from Ok Computer's Electioneering.
6. Go With The Flow
Another of the great songs of Songs For The Deaf, the best work by the band. If Queens Of The Stone Age can be considered a kind of contemporary mix between the heavy riffs of Black Sabbath and the stark and raw energy of the Stooges, then this song is the one that leans more towards Iggy Pop, mainly because of that pounding piano that accompanies the whole song. It is one of the few songs of that album in which another guitarist appears next to Homme, in this case Brendon McNichol.
5. (I Wanna) Make It With Chu
It is impossible not to talk about the mythical Desert Sessions when talking about Josh Homme and the Queens Of The Stone Age, sessions of improvisation and debauchery in which Homme takes to the Rancho de la Luna studio, located in the middle of the Joshua Tree desert, his musician friends to record with him. People like Billy Gibbons, Les Claypool and Jake Shears have been there, but the one who left the biggest mark was PJ Harvey who participated in volumes 9 and 10 of the same in which one of the great classics of the band I Wanna Make It With Chu was recorded, a song that Homme considered good enough to re-record for one of the Queens Of The Stone Age albums, Era Vulgaris, four years after its first version and with the title reduced to Make It With Chu. If you ask me for my favorite version I'll just say that I always prefer a song with PJ Harvey's voice, even if it's just doing backing vocals.
4. The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret
In 2000 appeared the first of his absolutely essential albums, Rated R. In contrast to the monolithic rock (from the Stone Age) of Kyuss, Homme opened up to a wider range of styles and delivered increasingly refined and better compositions. The opening of that álbum with Feel Good Hit of the Summer and The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret was unstoppable, the latter being a great example of his sound, with menacing, slower verses that break into a majestic chorus in which Homme showcases his falsetto. At this time the singer and guitarist was still using the Ovation, especially live, but his new favorite brand was the Australian Maton, specifically the BB1200, of which he would end up having a Signature model made.
3. If I Had A Tail
...Like Clockwork was the album with which Queens Of The Stone Age returned by the big door in 2013, delivering the third masterpiece of the band, after Rated R and Songs For The Deaf. There they featured several huge songs like this If I Had a Tail, a song full of irresistible hooks, addictive and dangerous, as if Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector had written Da Doo Run Run (to which Homme winks in the lyrics) for Alice Cooper instead of for the Crystals, "Da Doo Run Run, You won't get far".
2. Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
A savagery made song opened Rated R as if Motörhead and Nirvana had decided to join forces to show to the world Josh Homme's diet in his trips to the desert, "nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol.... Co-co-co-co-co-cocaine!". There's not a single other word in the lyrics, which are repeated like a punk mantra. By the way, accompanying Homme on backing vocals at the end is Judas Priest's own Rob Halford who graphically called the lyrics "a very rock & roll cocktail".
1. No One Knows
The most remembered song of the band's career and the one that made them famous, No One Knows, mixes a pounding riff with the magnetic voice of Josh Homme, giving way to the bridge riff that is pure Black Sabbath. It's one of the songs that best describes their sound, with Homme toning the guitar down by ear for a heavier, darker sound. It's hard to guess what is the exact equipment he uses, as he doesn't like to share his secrets about his particular sound, but if we take a look at the video it is a Maton Mastersound MS520, an Australian brand of which he is quite fond, having used several models, mainly a Maton BB1200, although his main guitar during his time in Kyuss and on the first three Queens Of The Stone Age albums is an Ovation Ultra GP. Another of the fundamental elements of this wonderful song, and of all Songs Of The Deaf, is the incredible strength of Dave Grohl's drumming, which is always perfect when he puts the drumsticks in his hands.