Posts Tagged ‘ Queens Of The Stone Age ’

Queens of the Stone Age in Gitarist

Though the Queens of the Stone Age are notoriously secretive about their gear, I was given the chance to chat with Troy Van Leeuwen and Dean Fertita about the recordings of their new album ‘Villains’. The article I have written as a result of this interview is published in both Gitarist and Music Maker this month. They still didn’t give a lot of specifics about the particular equipment – though Van Leeuwen was quite happy to share a few things – I was proved with a nice glimpse into their recording process, which makes the article an interesting read, if I say so myself. Both magazines are in stores right now!

Gitarist also contans an interview I had with front man Joe from Belgian speed metal band Evil Invaders about their somewhat surprising new album ‘Feed Me Violence’. Also, if you’re into jazz in all of its forms, make sure you check out bass magazine De Bassist this month, as it contains an article I have written based on my interview with Benjamin J. Shepherd. No, not the Soundgarden bassist, but he is an incredible bass player – on double bass as well as both fretted and fretless electric bass – and a very enthusiastic guy, basically guaranteeing a fun read.


Album of the Week 35-2013: Vista Chino – Peace

With this sort of a half-comeback – several key members of a legendary band reuniting, but another key member missing from the fold – the same questions always arise. In this case: will the reformed version of legendary Stoner Rock band Kyuss (though I personally prefer the term “Desert Rock” the members used themselves) be able to release anything decent now that founding guitarist Josh Homme – who obviously has more lucrative ventures in the shape of Queens Of The Stone Age – isn’t a part of the reunion?

Of course they can! Let’s not forget that original Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork had a great deal of input on his albums with the band. Hell, he wrote ‘Green Machine’, easily my favorite Kyuss song. ‘Gardenia’ is no slouch either. In fact, the material he has written for this album with Homme’s Belgian replacement Bruno Fevery is nothing short of spectacular. Vista Chino sounds exactly like Kyuss. More specifically: like Kyuss’ somewhat more straightforward stuff from Bjork’s era with the band. Fevery’s thick layers of fuzz in his guitar sound make Homme’s absence almost unnoticeable and the icing on the cake is John Garcia, still one of the greatest singers on the planet.

Fevery does a fantastic job here. His impressive work on the Kyuss Lives! tour already proved that he could carry Homme’s parts without much trouble, but his contributions on here are great both in composition and execution. His style is a bit looser than the somewhat more angular playing of Homme and that actually does fit the jam heavy sections of many of these songs (especially bonus tracks ‘Carnation’ and ‘Sunlight At Midnight’) very well. Bjork and bassist Nick Oliveri are clearly comfortable with his style as well.

As said, the songs on ‘Peace’ are comparable with the more straightforward Kyuss repertoire. Even the 13-minute album closer ‘Acidize…The Gambling Moose’ is relatively simple in structure. The song is built upon a couple of monumental riffs that are repeated quite often, yet never bore the listener because of shifting subtleties. My personal favorite would have to be ‘Planets 1&2’, which are almost entirely recorded by Bjork; only the guitars are handled by Fevery and Garcia does the vocals on the second installment. Bjork’s vocals on the first half are surprisingly good as well.

Other highlights include the fantastic opening track ‘Dargona Dragona’, a perfect moodsetter in the sense that it reminds the listener of why these guys were so cool in the first place, and the catchy ‘Adara’, which reminds me of Garcia’s fantastic Hermano a little. Everyone performs wonderfully on the album and Garcia never ceases to blow my mind. Also, the deliberately under-produced sound accounts for a pleasant Desert Rock experience.

There guys really don’t need Homme’s help in order to record a great album. A full-on Kyuss reunion is very unlikely to ever happen, but this is almost as good. This is 75 percent of the original band giving us more than 99 percent of the original quality. And I really can’t see any reason for a Kyuss fan not to like this. Highly recommended to any Rock fan.

Recommended tracks: ‘Planets 1&2’, ‘Dargona Dragona’, ‘Acidize…The Gambling Moose’, ‘Adara’

Album of the Week 26-2013: Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

Queens Of The Stone Age’s mainstream success has always puzzled me. I’m not saying their music isn’t good – au contraire! – but their music isn’t necessarily accessible and Josh Homme is quite obviously the sort of muso yours truly is as well. Having said that, I hope their brand new ‘…Like Clockwork’ will be as successful as ‘Songs For The Deaf’ was over a decade ago, simply because ‘…Like Clockwork’ is quite possibly the best album the band has released yet. It combines the darkness of ‘Lullabies To Paralyze’ with the urgency of the self-titled debut and the eclecticism of their entire discography.

Even though I have always known the band was good, I was quite surprised about the way ‘…Like Clockwork’ turned out. Despite its dark and eclectic nature, the album is probably their most focused yet, which is surprising, given the drummer change in the middle of the recordings and the large array of guest musicians, none of which actually overpower Homme’s vision; would you have noticed Elton John and Mark Lanegan were on this album had you not read it in the credits?

In the end, it doesn’t really matter who is playing on the songs, as long as Homme’s vision is carried out. Sure, I would always love to have John Garcia singing over Homme’s music, but Homme is actually pretty good on this record. He’s never been a great singer, but he comes across very versatile and powerful here. In fact, his fragile approach on both piano ballads (the title track and the fantastic ‘The Vampyre Of Time And Memory’) is nothing less than fantastic. In addition, I doubt if anyone else would be able to match his desperate vocal work on the pitch-black masterpiece that is ‘I Appear Missing’.

As is the case with many Queens Of The Stone Age records, the variation on ‘…Like Clockwork’ is its main merit. Mirroring the epic ‘I Appear Missing’ is the straightforward Rocker ‘My God Is The Sun’ and the brilliant dissonant riffs and desolate atmosphere of album highlight ‘If I Had A Tail’ – which spots the awesome opening line “gitchy gitchy ooh la la, da doo run run” – is contrasted by the sunny California sound of ‘Smooth Sailing’. This keeps the album interesting at all times; those who aren’t sure if they’re going to like the album after the monstrous doom riff of opening track ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ are immediately treated with the lighter, but still powerful Rock of ‘I Sat By The Ocean’.

‘…Like Clockwork’ should have a little something for every fan of Rock music. People frustrated with the fact that there’s not enough of one thing probably never really will understand Queens Of The Stone Age, but I have the idea the band isn’t really concerned about pulling those people in in the first place. The album isn’t by any means the band’s most accessible work, but it definitely includes the focus that ‘Songs For The Deaf’ lacked and that in itself deserves an audience at least the same size as for that record.

Recommended tracks: ‘If I Had A Tail’, ‘I Appear Missing’, ‘I Sat By The Ocean’, ‘My God Is The Sun’