Desert session

Josh Homme’s lullabies of love
By WILL SPITZ  |  December 16, 2008

VIDEO: Queens of the Stone Age, "3's & 7's" (live at First Act Guitar Studio)

The Phoenix's Will Spitz interviews Josh Homme (mp3)
For nearly two decades, Josh Homme has had countless irons in the rock-and-roll fire, from his early days as a stoner-rock pioneer with Kyuss and his ongoing DesertSessions series with the likes of PJ Harvey, Dean Ween, and Mark Lanegan to his lascivious sex-rock side project Eagles of Death Metal and his current bread and butter, Queens of the Stone Age, who play the Orpheum Theatre this Friday. Over the phone from “very weird” Baltimore, Homme talks about Era Vulgaris (Interscope) — Queens’ newest album and the follow-up to 2005’s Lullabies To Paralyze — plus PJ Harvey and Cee-Lo, Dave Grohl’s hair, playing in the “Fantasy Suites” at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, and his baby daughter, Camille.

Last time we spoke, about a year and a half ago, you were in the process of writing what would become Era Vulgaris, and you told me that it was going to be the gnarliest Queens of the Stone Age album ever. Is it?
Honestly, I think it’s the most out there of all the Queens records. We got it wet and rolled it in broken glass. I’m really proud of this record.

You recorded at Cherokee Studios in LA, which has a mind-boggling client list, from MCCartney and Bowie to Shaq . . .
And Nelson. Of all the records they’ve done, they proudly display the Nelson record in the hall. It was a really great place, and it had a really strange vibe to it. It’s also the place where Station to Station was done, and Bowie told them to move out of the office because he was going to put in a bed and sleep there — and that’s rad. It had a very sleazy vibe to it. It was like neon and mirrors, and that just screams, like, cocaine cramps. I think that it helped in the writing process because you were really submerged. I think it was inevitable that I would sort of write from a Hollywood observation because it’s so, you know, like the Eagles said, “lines on the mirror, lines on her face.” And it just had that bad vibe of that whole world. I mean, it was a good vibe — a good bad vibe.

You’ve played Era Vulgaris’s “Make It Wit Chu” with both PJ Harvey [on Desert Sessions 9 & 10] and Cee-Lo [at the 2007 MTV Video Music awards].
I think Cee-Lo probably has the best voice that I’ve ever been around. He has no break in his voice from the bottom to the top. His voice is like silk panties, like something beautiful covering something sweet. PJ’s amazing. [Affecting an English accent] She’s very English and she’s got the proper snarl, you know? It’s been a while since I’ve talked to her, and I miss her because she’s a true character. I respect PJ so much.

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