Queens Of The Stone Age On Working With Elton John, Dave Grohl, Alex Turner & More

How familiar faces helped Josh Homme & co. bounce back in a big way.
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Scott T. Sterling
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In the lead-up to the release of Queens of the Stone Age’s …Like Clockwork earlier this month, much ado was made about the album’s abundance of high-profile guest stars.

Following the sudden firing of drummer Joey Castillo, Foo Fighters frontman (and former QOTSA drummer) Dave Grohl handled percussion duties on a number of songs. The album also boasts appearances from Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, the band’s former bassist Nick Oliveri, and Sir Elton John, who plays piano on the song “Fairweather Friends.”

The collaborations, many of them with familiar faces, start to take on a different meaning when one knows the back story: Frontman Josh Homme had a near-death experience during routine knee surgery before the band went to work on the album. When asked if the cameos were a way of surrounding himself with friends, Homme replied, “Yes, absolutely.”

“It dawned on me after we did the first interview [for the new album], people were so kind of like entranced by the marquee value of all these [guest artists],” Homme told “I didn’t think about that, you know? We forget that for you it’s Dave Grohl, Nick Oliveri, Alex Turner, but for us it’s just Dave, Nick and Alex. There comes a time when you need your friends, and so you call them. You don’t really know somebody until everything around you goes wrong. So what was great was to realize in these tougher moments who is really there.”

Related: Queens Of The Stone Age, The One Rock Band We Can All Agree On

“We’re not trying to dry-hump someone’s name,” Homme continued. “It was really casual. I like to think that’s the way you’re supposed to do it. At the end of the day, it’s gotta sound like Queens of the Stone Age. It’s not America’s Got Talent or something, which is cool TV but not good music.”

…Like Clockwork is QOTSA’s sixth studio album, and the first with independent label Matador. It’s the first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart for both the band and the label.

Queens of the Stone Age have a slew of North American tour dates through the summer and into fall, including stops at Lollapalooza, Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival and both weekends of Austin City Limits.

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