Dave Grohl Tries to Reinvigorate Queens of the Stone Age
Ten years ago, Queens of the Stone Age seemed poised to be one of the best bands of their generation; instead, they’ve become just a good band, which isn’t fall of Hans Gruber proportions, but is obviously less exciting than being one of those bands people would give their lives for. Their self-titled debut had some catchy shit on it, but was marred by Josh Homme’s inferior vocal performance, giving the album a sense of sluggishness, like it needed to snort a line of cocaine.
That cocaine arrived in the form of Homme’s former Kyuss bandmate, Nick Oliveri, who joined QOTSA in time for 2000’s Rated R, which was instantly about a billion times more intriguing than its predecessor.
And then there was 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, which featured drums by Dave Grohl, and is, in my opinion, a goddamn masterpiece. There’s not a weak song on it, and the energy level is just the right balance of a guy who has a wife and kids and a guy who was in an hours-long standoff with a SWAT team. And, fuck yeah, Grohl’s drums helped a lot. Songs for the Deaf is actually one of my favorite Grohl drum performances on anything ever; it certainly feels like, on that album, he has a lot more swing than he did in his Nirvana days.
But then Homme and Oliveri pointed ways and touring drummer Joey Castillo meant that Grohl wasn’t coming back, either, and so Lullabies to Paralyze and Era Vulgaris, although both good, are flies on the ass of Songs for the Deaf. They sound like the band that made Queens of the Stone Age has evolved a little and obtained a far more confident vocalist, which makes sense, because, once again, Homme was now the sole star of the show. Oliveri was, to some extent, a necessary part of the band’s overwhelming awesomeness, as opposed to just whelming goodness.
I think it would take Oliveri returning to the fold for QOTSA to make anything even close to being as truly excellent Deaf — but the news that Dave Grohl will once again be recording with the band for their new album is certainly encouraging! I mean, the Homme/Grohl team couldn’t save Them Crooked Vultures. But maybe that band’s entire problem was John Paul Jones? I dunno, but I’m choosing to be optimistic about Grohl working with QOTSA again, at least until I hear music that tells me all my hope is for naught.
Queens to the Stone Age’s new album should be out next year. While you wait, here’s an enticing photo: