Here’s an excerpt from the QOTSA feature that appears in Sentimentalist Magazine issue 25. For the full text, check out the back issue. Enjoy!

“I should have gone to the movies like once or twice before we finished the record. You think you have time to go do stuff then it all just starts up. I like to immerse myself in whatever is going on and I forgot to immerse myself in [going to the movies]. You know like get ready,” says Josh Homme, head honcho of the Queens of the Stone Age.

Era Vulgaris, whatever that means, is the new CD from the prince of cool and his band of merry marauders. Core members Josh Homme, Joey Castillo, Troy Van Leeuwen and sometimes Mark Lanegan have brought forth a eively sweet or (“crunchy,” in the words of Josh’s dad), new CD. Early in the new projects life, Josh had no clue as to what he wanted to do or how he wanted to approach a new Queens CD. “This record was a lot of hard work. It was hard like Deaf was hard. But with Deaf, I knew what I wanted to do. I have never walked so aimlessly with Joey and Troy. It took a while to figure out, I think that is why we didn’t tell anybody either. I think people only knew we were making a record starting this year,” says Homme.

Never one to walk away from a challenge even though 2002’s Songs For The Deaf set the QOTSA bar in the stratosphere, the band hit back, minus founding member Nick Oliveri with 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze. In and of itself, Lullabies was a valiant effort but in the shadow of Songs For The Deaf, it never received it’s proper due. “It was really weird to put out Lullabies, because it was kind of like someone striking the dynamite while you are standing under a snow cap…here comes the avalanche. It felt like everyone was saying, ‘well you lost your bass player, that sucks, but at least you made Songs For The Deaf II, right?.’ I was like ahh, no, no, we didn’t. It felt like that experience freed us up so that we could make [Era Vulgaris].

For Era, Josh wanted to try something new, without people thinking there was any kind of jeopardy associated with the direction. “I personally wanted to fail a little bit without anyone viewing it. A lot of bands try to do something new and if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time, people lose faith in the band pretty fast. That is a great reason to keep people away and let the process involve failure or it will be the same thing you already did last time,” says Homme. Josh failing? I even heard he was great at driving a gear truck for the Ramones. Practice does make perfect, and he is probably the hardest working guy in rock and roll. For his two week vacation this year he is planning on recording an Eagles of Death Metal album. Is that really a vacation? I guess for some people, slowing down is not an option, Josh just happens to be one of those people.

He is also one of the most respected people in the music business. Maybe that’s why everyone wants to work with Josh, from PJ Harvey to Bobby Gillespie, everyone wants a piece of him. This comes from taking his music very seriously and himself less so, which is refreshing in the I-AM-A-GOLDEN-GOD-WORLD of today’s music industry. If Josh’s name was referenced in the dictionary of epitaphs, (I just made that up), years from now, Josh’s picture would be next to the word “respect.” Josh responds, “yeah either that or it’s right next to dickhead.” [totally laughing].

–Chris David, Photo by Jason Odell