By Brian Ives
“If you’re going to be different, you’re going to be hit by rocks. So you need to learn to like rocks.”
During a recent interview with Radio.com, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme quoted his grandfather. It was good advice, and it has probably served him well over the years, because Homme is, if nothing else, different. Too sexy for the grunge scene, which was in full swing when his band emerged in the 1990s; too clever for an everyday metal band; and too macho for the twee indie-rock crowd. He and his band don’t really fit in anywhere.
Queens of the Stone Age may not be easily categorized, but that didn’t stop last year’s …Like Clockwork, the group’s first album in six years, from being welcomed by fans and critics alike. It became the band’s first No. 1 album in the U.S., and it was listed as one of 2013’s best albums by numerous outlets including Rolling Stone, Spin and New York’s Village Voice.
Homme is pretty funny in person, as most of his fans know, but he’s also serious and sincere was discussing his work (and his work ethic). “I’m a believer in hard work: You want to make something classic that could be somebody’s favorite record,” he said. Later in the conversation, when referencing his friendship with celebrity chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain, he notes one of the things they have in common: “I’ve always had a love for restaurant workers, and the nuts and bolts of anyone that’s working, because I love to work, and he digs that, too.”
Like Bourdain, a celebrity chef with a love for street food, Homme is also tough to put in a box. Although his band draws a lot of metal fans (one of his other bands is called Eagles of Death Metal, although it pokes good-natured fun at the genre), he bristles at being classified.
“I’m not a metal guy at all, I was raised on Black Flag,” Homme said. “I never thought of myself as a metal guy. I’ve never felt like I was in a metal band. I like eerie, and beautiful, and sex to all be combined.”
He paused for a second and then cracked a smile. “Which I guess would be an Enya record, ultimately! Sade? That’s my karaoke jam! Being a ‘Smooth Operator’ has always been the goal. Because I never really cared about playing to the guys, because, who cares?”
“No offense!” he then said, turning to his interviewer with a smile. None taken!
Queens of the Stone Age kicks off a U.S. tour on April 15 in Portland, Oregon.