After sweating out the summer with Ozz fest and headlining their own club tour early this fall, heavy rock monsters Queens of the Stone Age are preparing to hit the road with longtime fans the Foo Fighters, beginning Friday at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
"I threatened [Dave Grohl] with a Smith & Wesson nickel-plated 9mm," says Queens singer/guitarist Josh Homme regarding the origin of the Foo Fighters/Queens union. "I've known Dave for a while. He's always been a big supporter, and he's afraid of heavy firearms."
For Homme, playing in front of a receptive crowd will be a welcome change of pace. "I think some of the young, radio-friendly Foo Fighters fans will be scared, but overall I think it'll be a much warmer embrace from an audience for us," says Homme. "I think we have more in common with Dave and his past than any of the bands at Ozzfest, thank God. Ozzfest was nothing but mullets, Budweiser, and free sunburns for everyone. I've never seen so many devil horns in my life."
As for their next single from their newest album, Rated R, the Queens plan to release the drug anthem "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," but "we're getting this feedback that lots of people won't even play it," says Homme. The song's lyrics consist solely of the chant "nicotine, valium, vicatin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol" followed by the triumphant chorus of "No. C-c-c-cocaine," and several radio stations have refused to play it. "There's no cuss words, and there's no endorsement -- in fact the only other word is a 'no,'" says Homme. "They don't look at it in a very positive light."
Wal-Mart initially refused to stock Rated R unless the band removed "Feel Good Hit of the Summer." Then they insisted on a warning label, until Homme successfully argued that the album was already called "Rated R." "After that, they agreed to carry it," he says. Best Buy threatened to pull the last Queens of the Stone Age album from the shelves because of the cover photo of a woman's crotch. "There's no nudity, but we got banned all over the place," says Homme. "Of course, then the album started to sell, and then they were like, 'forget it.'"
Queens don't mind all the controversy. In fact, they thrive on it. "It's fun to push buttons," Homme says. "If you're not making someone pick sides, it's not art." Furthermore, he adds, there's a fine art to messing with somebody. "It's only really good if they don't know until it's too late."