Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme was a little under the weather last night as he and his bandmates played a private show at Santa Monica’s Apogee Studios, set to air on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” next week. But thanks to some tequila during a very entertaining interview with the station’s Jason Bentley, Homme wasn’t going to let a little cold slow him down.
It also helped that the group was amped and ready to showcase material from their new . . . Like Clockwork album. “It’s nice to be here,” Homme said from the stage. “We’re excited to play.”
And it showed in the superb new material. Opening with the album’s first track, the catchy, groove-laden “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” the group played eight of the 10 songs from the record (omitting only “Kalopsia” and “Fairweather Friends”), then closed with a two-song encore of “Little Sister” and “Make It Wit Chu.”
Among the standouts from the new album were the hypnotic title track (which Homme described as “a little strange”), the funk heavy “Smooth Sailing,” the twisted arrangement of “I Appear Missing” (which stretched from an extended jam vibe to a nursery rhyme sound) and the methodically outstanding “The Vampyre of Time and Memory.” Despite Homme’s claims that the group was out of practice, they did an outstanding job of pacing, following “The Vampyre of Time and Memory,” for example, with the more rocking “I Sat By the Ocean.”
Typical of the KCRW sets, the show was performed in two halves, with Bentley’s interview serving as a brief respite. But there was no lull, as Homme was quick with the one-liners and interesting tidbits about the making of the new album. One particularly entertaining bit occurred as he talked about the process of collaborating on the album, and how the band invited friends like Dave, Nick and Trent over to come hang out, have a drink if they wanted, and then make some music. Only when the promotions department began noting the collaborators, including Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor and former QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri, did Homme think about having such high-powered guests on the record. Sir Elton John – “I didn’t know he was a Sir,” said Homme; “I thought he was just a Mr.” – also appears on the record. How did that come about?
“We both like capes,” Homme quipped.