Queens of the Stone Age is an American hard rock band from Palm Desert, California, United States, formed in 1997. Since its inception, the band’s line-up has included founding member Josh Homme (lead vocals, guitar), with its current line-up including longtime members Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar, lap steel, backing vocals) and Joey Castillo (drums, percussion), alongside Michael Shuman (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Dean Fertita (keyboards, guitar).
Formed after the demise of Homme’s previous band, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age developed a style of riff-oriented, heavy music. Their sound has since evolved to incorporate a variety of different styles and influences, including working with ZZ Top member Billy Gibbons and steady contributor Mark Lanegan, both of whom have contributed influences from genres such as blues and grunge.
Plans of recording a follow-up to Era Vulgaris were mentioned in 2009 and 2010, but recording ended up not starting until January of 2011.
During 2009 and 2010, band members worked on side projects during the down time. Troy Van Leeuwen started up a new band, Sweethead. Joey Castillo played for Eagles of Death Metal on their Heart On tour. Bassist Michael Shuman became the new drummer and singer in the band Mini Mansions, while Dean Fertita became the guitarist/keyboardist for Jack White’s side project, The Dead Weather. Lastly, Josh Homme helped form the new supergroup Them Crooked Vultures with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin.They released their debut self-titled album on November 17, 2009.
The band was active somewhat in 2010, doing some touring and releasing a two CD deluxe edition of Rated R on August 3, 2010. This edition featured the original CD along with six B-sides and live recordings from the band’s Reading performance in 2000.
According to keyboardist Dean Fertita, Queens of the Stone Age are set to begin recording their new album in January 2011. There is also to be a remastered version of their first self titled album early 2011.They have also stated that they will be playing the Australian festival Soundwave in 2011.Musical style.
Throughout its career the band has been described as hard rock, alternative rock, art rock, heavy metal, and several other genres. Queens of the Stone Age have also been labeled as Stoner Rock,but Homme himself rejects the term, saying, “If I had a choice, I would take that away. Stoner rock, to me, is like saying the crucial element is drugs. And I don’t believe that that’s the case.
I’m not an AA guy or anything, but at the same time I don’t need any of that to make music.”.He also often describes the band style as “robot rock” referring to the band’s solid and repetitive riffs in the band’s song structures. Homme has described the band’s self-titled debut album as driving music, angular and recorded dry.
Rolling Stone magazine also noted a “connection between American meat-and-potatoes macho rock of the early 1970s, like Blue Cheer and Grand Funk Railroad, and the precision-timing drones in German rock of the same period”.The band’s following album – Rated R – contained a wider variety of instruments, several recording guests and lead vocals shared by Homme, Oliveri and Lanegan.
Homme has also commented that “Our first record announced our sound. This one added that we are different and weird.” The band continued to experiment on their third album Songs for the Deaf, which also featured a line-up including three lead vocalists, many guest appearances and wide range of instrumentation including horn and string sections.
Lullabies to Paralyze was in comparison to the band’s previous releases a darker record, lacking the band’s distinct “driving” sound, much due to the departure of long time member Nick Oliveri,with lyrics inspired by The Brothers Grimm folk and fairy tales. The band also almost exclusively used semi hollow body guitars during the recording of the record.
With Era Vulgaris the band continued to evolve their signature sound with more dance-oriented elements and electronic influences, while Homme has gone back to being the only vocalist in the band and uses more distinct vocal melodies.
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