Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme opened up about a variety of subjects to comedian Marc Maron on his WTF podcast yesterday. After some entertaining stories about dodging meth-heads in the California desert during his early days with the stoner-rock group Kyuss, he explained how he coped with contracting MRSA, a staph infection that can resist antibiotics, and being declared legally dead after choking on oxygen tubes during surgery. The incident delayed the making of Queens' latest album, this year's . . . Like Clockwork, which was the band's first since 2007.
"I was stuck in a room for four months and I had all these tubes in my leg," he said. "And it was painful. And after two months in bed you go, 'I've got two months left. How do I do this?' It did the greatest thing it could ever do to me: It zeroed me . . . And I'm really thankful for it because I know what's important."
Homme said it took him a couple of years to recover fully from the experience as he dealt with a number of what he called "rickety" emotions. "The physical scars heal quick," he said. "It's the mental ones that are tougher."
The frontman credited transcendental meditation with helping him get past his mental roadblocks. "There's no dogma," he said of practicing meditation. "No one's telling you anything . . . I didn't want anybody to preach at me, including myself."
Through it, he said, he built up the confidence to invite his bandmates into "the fog" with him, and they commenced work on . . . Like Clockwork.
"Because of that process, we're really tighter as a band and as friends," he said. "I was in the fog and they came in the fog with me, and I came out of it. There's a lot of trust."
Beyond his battle with MRSA, Homme discussed a variety of subjects including his childhood – like the time he got busted for bringing alcohol and a knife to school at age 13 – and how he took inspiration from Iggy Pop's solo material when he started Queens of the Stone Age. But the most poignant moment came when he posited how he developed MRSA in the first place.
"I'm in three bands and I love to produce records of other bands, and I have a family that I love," he said. "I wanted to be everything for everybody and do all of that . . . I think I just really beat myself up until I got really sick and needed surgery, because it was physically manifesting itself."