of the Stone Age
Last summer, when Queens of the Stone Age mounted the Green
Stage at the Fuji Rock festival, at least as much attention
was on guest drummer Dave Grohl (formerly of Nirvana) as was
on frontman Josh Homme. With Grohl now out on tour with his
Foo Fighters (due in town February 8), Homme and co. will
have the spotlight to themselves this Tuesday at Akasaka Blitz.
QOTSA are one of the odder acts on the arena circuit at the
moment. Neither completely of the grunge scene with which
they have been most closely associated, nor party to the rap-influenced
nu metal orthodoxy of the moment, QOTSA's sound has been described
as "desert acid rock."
This appellation comes out of the band's roots in Palm Springs,
California, where Homme and bassist Nick Oliveri used to be
members of the cult band Kyuss. After the break-up of Kyuss
in 1995, Homme relocated to Seattle, where he spent two years
touring with the Screaming Trees.
In 1997, Homme formed Queens of the Stone Age, with Oliveri
joining in the following year for the band's self-titled debut
on Loosegroove records. The album defined QOTSA's sound, which
matches crunchy, metal-hard riffs to Homme's slightly gothic,
deadpan vocal approach.
The band were subsequently scouted by Interscope, with whom
they signed for their year 2000 major label debut, Rated R.
The album's heavy, arty pop saw it do well enough for QOTSA
to stick around for a second album with Interscope, this fall's
Songs For The Deaf.
One of the better-selling rock albums of the fall, Songs For
The Deaf confirmed the band's quirkiness, with steely guitar
riffs giving way all of the sudden to an accordion or string
line. QOTSA were convincing enough in performing their new
songs amid the crowded field at Fuji Rock to cause this listener,
without having heard the album before, to sit up and take
Of course, half the attention was on Dave Grohl behind the
drum kit, and it was clear that the members of QOTSA were
as pleased about having him behind the drums as the audience
was about being treated to an unannounced appearance by the
Bassist Oliveri spoke about playing with Grohl in a recent
Rolling Stone interview. "He's one of my favorite drummers
of all time," he gushed. "He's got a signature beat,
and I don't know many drummers that have that, you know, the
'Teen Spirit' beat. That's Dave Grohl's beat as far as I'm
concerned...It's fucking amazing, dude. He's from one of my
favorite bands of all time and I'm fucking counting my blessings."
Queens of the Stone Age play Akasaka
Blitz on January 14. See listings for details.