Queens of the Stone Age

  • Alternative hard rock band formed in 1996 from Palm Desert California. The current line-up is Josh Homme (lead vocals, guitars, piano, bass guitar), Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Michael Shuman (bass guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals), Dean Fertita (keyboards, guitars, percussion, backing vocals) and Jon Theodore (drums). Major past contributors include Nick Oliveri (lead vocals, bass guitar), Mark Lanegan (lead vocals, keyboards) and briefly, Dave Grohl on drums. All members contributed to songwriting, with Homme as the primary lyricist.
  • In 1987, Homme formed a heavy metal band at the age of 14, named Katzenjammer. Eventually, it was changed to Kyuss. By the early 90s, Kyuss had attained cult status, playing concerts in the desert, plugging into generators to perform. They also became infamous for brawls with other bands when they performed in Los Angeles. A record producer liked them, and signed them to a record label. Four albums were released by Kyuss between 1991 and 1995, with Homme playing guitar.
  • In 1995, Kyuss split up, and Homme quit music briefly to attend college. He reconnected with some musician friends, and joined Screaming Trees as a touring guitarist for a summer tour. He disliked the band’s sound, and he decided to form a new band, called Gamma Ray. In 1996, Gamma Ray released an EP. The following year, after Homme was threatened with a lawsuit by a German band also named Gamma Ray, he changed the name to Queens of the Stone Age, taken from a nickname for his old band Kyuss. Homme explained that “Kings would be too macho….Queens of the Stone Age hang out with the Kings of the Stone Age girlfriend’s when they wrestle…Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls.”
  • In 1997, they contributed a song for a compilation album Burn One Up! Music For Stoners, and the band performed their first gig in November, with Homme and other musicians pulled from other groups. They were signed to an independent record label, and their self titled debut album was released in 1998, with ex-Kyuss members making up the entire group. Over the next 9 years, numerous artists joined and left the band, with Homme as the common denominator for all versions of the band.
  • QOTSA’s had a minor commercial success was with their next album, 2000’s Rated R. The album did not chart in the U.S., but the song The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret managed to break into the top 40 of the Mainstream Rock and the Alternative Songs charts. Another song, Feel Good Hit of the Summer, was judged by Walmart to promote drug use, almost causing the album to be pulled from store shelves.
  • Their most successful album was released in 2002 – Songs for the Deaf. It was certified gold in the U.S., and reached platinum certification in other countries. The single No One Knows topped the Alternative Songs chart, and Go With the Flow was a top 10 song on the chart. These songs were featured in the Guitar Hero video game, which increased the exposure of the band. Both received Grammy award nominations in the Hard Rock category. Dave Grohl was the drummer on the album.
  • Two more albums followed in the 00s. The song Little Sister reached #2 on the Alternative Songs chart, while other releases landed in the top 40 of that chart. The band performed Little Sister on Saturday Night Live, with guest-host Will Ferrell joining the band on cowbell during the performance.
  • In 2010, Homme almost died during a knee surgery – his heart stopped briefly, and he was revived with a defibrillator. He also suffered from a staph infection, keeping him bedridden for 4 months, and driving him into depression. His recovery contributed to his songwriting for the group’s next album, 2013’s …Like Clockwork. My God Is the Sun and I Sat By the Ocean from the album were top 20 songs on the Alternative Chart, and the group received 2 more Grammy nominations.
  • Their most recent album, Villains, was released in 2017. They continued to be popular with alternative rock fans – The Way You Used To Do reached #11 on the Alternative chart, their highest since Little Sister 12 years earlier. That year, they headlined a show at Madison Square Garden for the first time – a sure indication that they were a legitimate act in the alternative metal rock genre.
  • Everybody thinks of Dave Grohl with Nirvana and Foo Fighters – yet here he is with QATSA. Check him out in the video of No One Knows – a great song, with or without Mr. Grohl. Pretty catchy song for alt/metal!

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