“Don’t you want to be the mole that to pops up that doesn’t get hit in ‘whack-a-mole’? To appear where no one expects?” – Josh Homme
In this playful interview with comedian and writer, Bob Delaney* for Vice/noisey, Rock Star Josh Homme has an interesting view on taking ownership, creating a talented team and finding weird chemistry. The history of Queens of the Stone Age is full of examples of different people coming in and out of the band. Each time creating a different dynamic and sound. From the outside, it can look chaotic, especially when there are the inevitable stories of bust-ups with former members. But it’s clear from Homme’s words that a lot of this has been by design in order to keep things fresh and, in essence, deliver something unique each time.
Homme himself is an all-star collaborator having created the super-group Them Crooked Vultures with Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters) and John Paul Jones (Led Zepellin) as well as playing with Iggy Pop and producing Arctic Monkeys. Indeed, for their most recent album Villians, Homme opted to create some “weird chemistry” by employing the production talents of non-other than Mark Ronson who is usually famed for more mainstream, groove-based work like Uptown fun with Bruno Mars. Something that raised eyebrows given that QOTSA is famed for heavier, riff-based rock songs.
On building a band (creative team), Homme shares his view on collaborative leadership and getting out of the way of the ‘thing’ in order to allow it to be its best.
“It never mattered to me the size of the role that I have. If the thing is good… who cares?”
“I would say that it’s kinda like being on a ship on the ocean… If the cook fails you die. If the rigger fails you die. If the captain fails you die. They’re all equally important. The only problem is if the cook wants to be the captain or the captain wants to be… that role envy is a problem.”
Putting the creative stuff aside for a minute. There is also a great band-and-forth about turning 40 and becoming a father (more than once) that really made me giggle. “When I had two kids I have maybe 20 free minutes in a day. Like, not in a row. Now, with three, they’re fucking gone! But, then, it makes me work harder because if I have a free second I’ll write a novel and a half and build a small cathedral.”
Homme and Delaney also touch on the single-mindedness needed to be successful in a creative job, philosophy, trial by fire and how stories (music and comedy) help them understand a confusing world.
This here video, then, is 12 minutes of your time well spent.
*The title of Delaney’s book is comedy gold… Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.