Queens Of The Stone Age

Members: Joshua Homme, Mark Lanegan, Troy Van Leeuwen, Joey Castillo, Alain Johannes, Natasha Shneider

Active: 1997-present

Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) is a rock music band from the Palm Desert, California area in the United States, formed in 1997.

Originally formed under the name Gamma Ray by guitarist Josh Homme and drummer Alfredo Hernandez to outgrow the stoner rock label that had begun to envelop previous band Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age developed a style of riff-oriented, monotonous, heavy and repetitious music, which Homme described as robot rock, saying that he "wanted to create a heavy sound based on a solid jam, and just pound it into your head".


Queens of the Stone Age began with Josh Homme in 1996. Originally called "Gamma Ray", Homme changed the name to "Queens of the Stone Age" in 1997 as German power metal band Gamma Ray were threatening to sue. According to Homme and former bassist Nick Oliveri the name origins are thus:

"When we were making a record in 1992, under the band Kyuss, our producer Chris Goss, he would joke and say "You guys are like the Queens of the Stone Age." The band was originally called Gamma Ray, but we got threatened with a lawsuit because someone else had it. So we were Queens of the Stone Age.- Oliveri (2000)"

"Kings would be too macho. The Kings of the Stone Age wear armor and have axes and wrestle. The Queens of the Stone Age hang out with the Kings of the Stone Age's girlfriends, when they wrestle. And also, it was also just a name given to us by Chris Goss. He gave us the name Queens of the Stone Age. Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls. That way, everyone is happy and it's more of a party. Kings of the Stone Age, is too lopsided. - Homme (2000)"

In the fall of 1998, they released their self-titled debut album, Queens of the Stone Age, which was recorded with Josh handling both guitar and bass guitar playing duties, Alfredo Hernandez on the drums, and included several other instrumental and vocal contributions by Chris Goss and Hutch. Soon after the recording sessions were finished for the album, former Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri and guitarist Dave Catching joined and touring commenced. A recording of a phone message which plays the voice of Nick Oliveri stating his decision to join the band can be heard at the end of the album's final song, "I Was a Teenage Hand Model".


Over the next couple of years the line-up changed, something that would happen a lot in the band's future with Homme being the consistent member; Hernandez was no longer in the band.

It really is more of a musical experiment.... It keeps moving and reinventing itself. That way we never get painted into a corner. - Homme (2000)

I'd like to keep it loose, open and free, I just think that if we can expand and contract, then there's nothing we can't do, and even the old songs will never be something like, 'Oh, let's not play that any more.' - Homme (2000)

2000's Rated R featured a plethora of musicians familiar with Homme and Oliveri's work and "crew" of sorts: among others, drummers Nick Lucero (who has gone on to record with Paul Avion) and Gene Trautmann, guitarists Dave Catching, Brendon McNichol, and Chris Goss contributed, and even Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, recording next door, stepped in for a guest spot on "Feel Good Hit of the Summer". The album received positive reviews but found little commercial success, aside from scoring the band notable opening slots with the Foo Fighters, Hole, and at Ozzfest 2000.

Frequent touring for Rated R generated support for the band, and grew with Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl's joining in late 2001/early 2002 to record their third album. Songs for the Deaf was released in August, and also featured ex-Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, a floater since Rated R. Although Songs for the Deaf gained major attention, Grohl returned to his other projects. Former Danzig drummer Joey Castillo filled his spot during the European leg of the supporting tour and joined the band full time. Also featured on "Deaf" was Former A Perfect Circle Bassist Paz Lenchantin filling in on Viola and Piano for the Final Track "Mosquito Song"

Although the ongoing success repeated to lift the band to new heights, it was in 2002 at the Rock am Ring festival in Germany when the band played - according to Homme - "the worst show we've ever played and it was in front of 40,000 people." The band then decided to tattoo themselves with "Freitag 4.15", as it was at that time when they started to play:

Me, Mark [Lanegan], Josh [Homme] and Hutch, our soundman, have the same tattoo, it's from Rock am Ring festival. The time we had to play was 4.15 in the afternoon and it was just a terrible show. It sucked, it was horrible. That's why I tattooed it on my ribs, where it would hurt, so I'd never forget. - Oliveri (interview with Daredevil magazine)

Deaf's popularity peaked when it reached gold status in 2003 and the singles No One Knows and Go With the Flow became hits on radio and MTV. Constant touring continued, culminating with a string of headline dates in Australia in January of 2004, after which Oliveri was fired for what was said to be disrespect of the group's fans and excessive partying. But in July 2005, Homme claimed in a radio interview that Oliveri was fired when he was convinced that Oliveri had been physically abusive to his girlfriend.

A couple years ago, I spoke to Nick about a rumor I heard. I said, 'If I ever find out that this is true, I can't know you, man.' (Josh Homme to Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, July 6th 2005 )


Homme, along with Eleven multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes, A Perfect Circle guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, and Castillo, recorded a new album for 2005 called Lullabies to Paralyze (taken from a lyric on the last song of the album Songs for the Deaf, "Mosquito Song").

I also like that the title bridges this record and the last record in that it?s a lyric from 'Mosquito Song'. - Josh (2005)

Despite Lanegan reportedly turning down an invitation to remain with the band, he recorded vocals on new tracks and is appearing with the band on tour as scheduling and his health permit. It was rumored that Homme fired Lanegan, however this was just a rumor:

Basically, if there was a negative rumor that someone brought up to me I would just encourage it... like when someone was saying: Well, Mark got fired, Lanegan, you know. And I was like: Yeah, Mark is fired, too, yeah. But he was just touring his own solo record, you know. - Josh (2005, during the interview)

Lullabies to Paralyze was leaked onto the internet during Feb 2005, and then officially released on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005 in the USA, debuting in the number 5 slot on the Billboard Music Chart. The release featured the appearance of several guests, most notably ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons.

The band released a live album/dvd set called Over The Years And Through The Woods on the 22nd of November 2005.

In fall 2005, the group supported Nine Inch Nails on their North American tour of With Teeth. Aaron North, the current guitarist of Nine Inch Nails, appeared as a guest on December 19, 2005 and performed "Monsters in the Parasol" and "Long, Slow, Goodbye". Though he did not appear on the tour, the connection between Nine Inch Nails and Queens Of The Stoneage may be former Queens drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who drummed for Nine Inch Nails on the album "With Teeth" - most notably on the song You Know What You Are?.

Homme's former Kyuss bandmate John Garcia joined the band onstage on December 20, 2005 when the band performed live at the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles, California. Garcia appeared as a guest at the beginning of a special encore, during which they performed three songs by Kyuss: "Thumb", "Hurricane" and "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop". This was the first time the pair had played together since 1997.

In March 2006, Chris Goss said in an interview with Modern Guitars Magazine that he and Homme are again teaming up to produce the next album.

Recent news has pitted Josh Homme against rhythm guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammet of Metallica. Homme reportedly claimed that some of the riffs appearing on Metallica's most recent album, St. Anger were remarkably similar to those Homme had written for Kyuss.


1998 - Queens of the Stone Age

2000 - Rated R

2002 - Songs for the Deaf

2005 - Lullabies to Paralyze


2005 - Over The Years And Through The Woods


1996 - If Only Everything (under the name Gamma Ray)

1997 - Split EP (Kyuss / Queens Of The Stone Age (Gamma Ray Sessions))

1998 - Split EP (Queens of the Stone Age/Beaver)

2004 - Stone Age Complications (Rarities, Lmtd. Edition)


From Queens of the Stone Age:

1999 - "If Only"

From R:

2000 - "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret" UK

2000 - "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" (EU and Australia only, released in Australia in 2001)

From Songs for the Deaf:

2002 - "No One Knows"

2003 - "Go With the Flow"

2003 - "First It Giveth"

From Lullabies to Paralyze:

2005 - "Little Sister"

2005 - "In My Head"

2005 - "Burn the Witch"


2005 - Over The Years And Through The Woods (Live)


2004 - The Punisher soundtrack - "Never Say Never" (Romeo Void cover)

2005 - Saw II soundtrack - "Burn The Witch (Unkle Variation)"

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