Queens of the Stone Age Biography

This highly acclaimed Palm Desert, California, USA-based heavy rock band was formed from the ashes of Kyuss, the stoner rock legends who split up in 1995 after several years of critical acclaim and negligible commercial success. After leaving Kyuss, guitarist Josh Homme (Joshua Michael Homme, 17 May 1973, Palm Springs, California, USA) toured with Soundgarden and issued several singles under the name Gamma Ray. He also found the time to work on the Desert Sessions series for Man’s Ruin Records, recording with a loose aggregation of musicians at the Mojave Desert Studio. Homme subsequently began writing songs with former Kyuss drummer Alfredo Hernandez, and cooked up the provocative Queens Of The Stone Age moniker. They debuted on a split EP at the end of 1997, recording three new tracks to go alongside three Kyuss b-sides. Original Kyuss bass player Nick Oliveri (b. 21 October 1971, Los Angeles, California, USA), who had been playing with the Dwarves, joined up in time to help record the Queens Of The Stone Age’s self-titled 1998 debut album. A minimalist update on Kyuss’ acid-tinged desert rock sound, the album included the US alternative radio hit, ‘If Only’.

Hernandez left before the release of 2000’s Rated R, which was recorded with a fluctuating line-up including drummers Gene Troutman and Nicky Lucero, pianist/lap steel guitarist Dave Catching, and vocalists Mark Lanegan (lead on ‘In The Fade’) and Rob Halford. The album opened with the controversial ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’, the lyrics to which comprised a checklist of the band’s favourite drugs. The hit single ‘The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret’ and much that followd had warmly nostalgic undertones of Spirit and Cream, helping create a melodic and inventive riposte to critics who attacked stoner rock bands for being repetitive and one dimensional. The subtle musical touches and taut arrangements helped create an eclectic masterpiece.

Homme, Oliveri and Lanegan were joined by the Foo Fighters’ leader Dave Grohl on recording sessions for 2002’s blisteringly good Songs For The Deaf, which included the radio hit ‘No One Knows’. Grohl also played drums on the lengthy tour that followed, but prior to sessions for a fourth album it was announced that Oliveri and Lanegan had left the band. Homme busied himself with another side-project, the Eagles Of Death Metal, before completing work on Lullabies To Paralyze with a new line-up featuring Alain Johannes (bass), Joey Castillo (drums) and Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar).

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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