Josh Homme has kept his schedule packed in recent years, recording and touring with Queens of the Stone Age and the Dave Grohl-John Paul Jones supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. But the singer-guitarist has chosen to revive an old passion project, Rekords Rekords, a once-boutique label that issued releases by Homme’s Desert Sessions projects and Eagles of Death Metal. This time around, Homme’s got the backing of indie label Dangerbird and a stacked lineup of releases, including new Desert Sessions releases, a box set collecting all the Desert recordings, Queen’s guitarist Alain Johannes’ solo debut, plus art books and DVDs. “I want to make Rekords Rekords like the Wolfman Jack of releasing stuff,” says Homme, referring to the iconic 1960s radio jockey. “You listen to him for his taste. I want to build up a trust with the audience. Our slogan is ‘Where the “Shit” Hits the Fan’ — with the ‘shit’ in quotes.”
As a major-label artist, Homme has experience working with A&R executives who are focused more on selling records and scoring radio hits than the aesthetic quality of the music. But he’s taking an opposite tack when it comes to his label’s releases — and he credits the implosion of the label system. “Finally we’re in a time frame where you can make music and art just for the sake of it,” he says. “There’s no tap dance with [a label executive] who just wants to sell stuff. My only rule with Rekords Rekords is that I have to love nine out of 10 songs.” First up? Johannes’ debut Spark (out August 31st), which is a tribute to the passing of his wife (and Queens keyboardist) Natasha Shneider.
Even with work on Rekords Rekords, Homme is also prepping a 10th anniversary reissue of Queens of the Stone Age’s major-label debut Rated R, featuring B sides (like a send-up of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”) and a live performance from the Reading Festival in 2000. “Universal wanted to do a 10-year anniversary and I was like, ‘What the fuck?’ ” says Homme. “I have trouble looking too far forward or back.” Despite his reluctance to be nostalgic, Homme adds that the band has toyed with the idea of performing all of Queens’ albums live in concert. “We’ve talked about how much we enjoyed when Cheap Trick performed their first three records and we’ve thought about doing five nights for each record,” he says. “It’s been discussed — after a few shots — but it’s been discussed.”
Once Queens wrap up a string of European festival dates, the band will get to work on their next record, which Homme hopes to have out in the middle of next year. “I have ideas already absolutely,” he says. “It’s all about wiggling hips. The music is gonna go further down that strange and lovely path of Era Vulgaris.”