Josh Homme wants you to dance

WITH ALL THAT’S HAPPENED IN THE FOUR YEARS SINCE THEIR LAST ALBUM, YOU MIGHT EXPECT QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE TO PRODUCE A DARK, BROODING FOL­LOW-UP. IF SO, YOU’RE IN FOR A SURPRISE.

GQ (Australia) - - BRIEF -

When Queens of the Stone Age an­nounced they would be work­ing with Mark Ron­son on new album, Vil­lains, the in­ter­net – as it al­ways does – re­sponded with many an opin­ion. Granted, the loud­est protests came from diehard Queens fans who still de­fine front man Josh Homme by his for­mer heavy-rock out­fit, Kyuss. Still, the idea that a pro­ducer so fond of big-band brass was work­ing with the stoner rock leg­ends was widely con­sid­ered sac­ri­lege. But Ron­son turned out to be Queens’ se­cret weapon. Lit­er­ally – Homme had pre­vi­ously said, “no special guests will fea­ture” on the album, and the pro­ducer was hid­den from view, right up un­til its an­nounce­ment in June. But the signs were there. 2013’s …Like Clock­work saw cameos from Dave Grohl and El­ton John, among oth­ers, and Homme had only re­cently joined Ron­son for Lady Gaga’s epic sin­gle ‘Per­fect Il­lu­sion’. “I saw how Mark worked and after watch­ing him for about an hour, I knew,” says Homme, whose son in­tro­duced him to the “tight and vac­u­ous” groove of ‘Up­town Funk’, a place close to where he wanted to take Queens. “I knew I wanted to change our sound a lit­tle bit... He’s very beat-cen­tric, like we are; so there was so much over­lap be­tween what he likes and what we like... which I think is part of the cool surprise of it all.” Homme has never cared much for crit­ics when it comes to his band’s dis­tinct evo­lu­tion. “It’s not about try­ing to recre­ate a hit,” he says. “That’s for some­body else. This is about tak­ing a chance that may make all our fans say, ‘I wish you hadn’t done that’.” He co-cred­its this ‘seize the mo­ment’ headspace to Iggy Pop, who he worked with on the icon’s Post Pop De­pres­sion, re­leased last year. “The only thing you re­ally con­trol is let­ting go. If I make some­thing for my­self that I feel is hon­est and real, then I can deal with the worst crit­i­cism in the world. I know not ev­ery­one’s gonna like it. But I need to make some­thing I believe in and that my guys believe in – I’d rather fail out of new mis­takes than make the old ones, you know?” The re­sult is Vil­lains, a beat-con­scious album that – one way or another – just wants to get you mov­ing. “My goal has al­ways been to walk be­tween the rain­drops and not get wet” quips Homme. “This record is about just try­ing to grab peo­ple by their shirt col­lar and say: ‘You can use your feet – to dance or to walk away – but you can’t sleep’.” VIL­LAINS IS OUT NOW.

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