“I’ll be your villain, doesn’t bother me…”
Josh Homme talks to Keith Cameron.
Do we hear residual traces of your Iggy Pop album [Post-Pop Depression] on this one? “Feet Don’t Fail Me was one of the songs we began to work on for the Iggy record. We just felt we had enough songs [done] in enough time, it didn’t ever get fully formed. In fact, Iggy wrote the lyrics, ‘feet don’t fail me now’. So I said, Is it cool that I use that song and take that lyric? He was like, ‘Go for broke’. So, in that respect there is a baton passed from the Iggy record to this.”
Mark Ronson produces – were you looking to do something decisively new with the Queens sound? “Yeah, because if you’re lucky enough to have found a sound for yourself that’s individual, you need to be careful by the time you have seven records, you could easily become a parody or a cartoon character. Not everyone is blessed enough to be AC/DC or the Ramones. It was time to look hard at what was important about how we sound. In the beginning, I thought if all else fails Ronson could just serve as a talisman to remind me to be modern, our way.”
How did you hook up with him? “I knew him casually and I knew he was a fan of the band. If nothing else, I thought, This will confuse and dismay people. My son was really into the song Uptown Funk, it’s so tight and vacuous and beat-centric. I thought, Man that could be a really good idea.”
Where you surprised to discover nobody had yet taken the title The Evil Has Landed? “(Laughs) It was a temporary title. The other titles were: Going On A Living Spree, Near Life Experience, The Last Float On Parade. For some reason we kept coming back to The Evil Has Landed, which is never mentioned once in the song. Those other titles are not half bad but they didn’t encapsulate it. That song is like you’re on a bus that someone hijacks and takes you somewhere else. Somehow it all makes sense.”
It seems very apt that you’ve made Villains 40 years after Bowie released “Heroes”. “Ha! I guess there were no villains after “Heroes”, right? We’ve always been a band that revolts and unites a lot of different scenes together – we’re not alternative or metal or mellow or rockabilly but we’re a little bit of all that shit. If you have a mohawk guy and his chick with her liberty spikes next to a bunch of hippies, you have a Queens show. We’ve always been the villain to someone else. I’ll be your villain, that doesn’t bother me.”