Josh Homme and his Queens of the Stone Age pals gussied up in suits and ties for their appearance on Conan last night, when they played “The Vampyre of Time and Memory,” an evocative piano-driven track off their latest, …Like Clockwork. For the occasion, frontman Homme took a page out of the books of Liberace and Prince by playing a nontraditionally colored grand piano; but rather than impinge on His Royal Badness’s proclivity for purple, the Queens mainman chose a red piano, maybe to match his coiffure and tie.
Among the set’s dark shadows, Homme sang of surviving metaphorical vampires, as well as simply surviving and soul searching. It’s possible he wrote the song sometime after he contracted the MRSA infection that nearly killed him. Regardless, the performance is a measured, moody experience that swings into full gear about halfway through when the drums and guitars kick in. It culminates with a post-punkish guitar solo by Dean Fertita and Homme’s ponderings like, “Does anyone ever get this right?” and his morose realization: “I feel no love.”
The touching, very human performance serves as a fitting counterpoint to the teaser the group released this week for a forthcoming interactive video for the song, produced by the Creators Project. In that clip, Homme sits at a grand piano with a leopard-skin print amidst the sort of taxidermy animals who took over in the band’s “No One Knows” video from 2003. That new video was rumored to be coming this week but has yet to appear on its “Vampyre”-specific site.