(Listen to the full show above. The QOTSA interview starts at 1:40:00)
On Sunday, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Dean Fertita took to CBC Radio 2’s “Strombo Show” to talk about their recent encounter with Jay Z and their experience making their 2013 album, …Like Clockwork.
While discussing QOTSA’s performance at Jay Z’s Made in America festival, Homme directed some harsh words at the rapper/entrepreneur. “That guy’s a kook you know,” Homme said, “he has his security frisking the bands on the way in.”
This frisking, which Homme said he had never experienced at any other concert, prompted some outrage in the QOTSA frontman. He refused to play the festival if his bag was searched, and addressed Jay Z saying, “You shouldn’t frisk my guys, you should fuck off.”
On top of Jay’s security practices, Homme also lashed out at the rapper’s attempt to use the band to market a brand of champagne. Jay Z apparently presented the band with a bottle of bubbly as a “present,” only before asking them to take a picture with it for social media. “I said, ‘that’s not a present — that’s a marketing tool,'” Homme fumed, “I destroyed it, ’cause I thought it was rude overall.”
Though these accusations could be valid, they come as a shock because of who they are directed at. As Homme asks in the interview, “People never say anything bad about Jay Z, do they?” Aside from a beef with Nas in the early ’00s and MC Hammer’s pitiful “diss track” from a few years ago, Homme is right, Jay Z’s career has been remarkably free of criticism.
Elsewhere in the interview, Homme and Fertita talked about their new album. According to both of them, QOTSA was in a very low spot at the beginning of the …Like Clockwork sessions, but that actually ended up inspiring most of the album. The theme of the album, according to Fertita, is “you don’t really know someone until something goes wrong,” and from the sound of it, QOTSA had many things going wrong during the recording process. Beginning with several years of failed recording sessions, and escalating with interpersonal drama within the band, Homme admits that the band was “in hell” when they began making …Like Clockwork.
Fortunately, the band members’ personal struggles brought them closer, and even allowed them to joke with each other. As Homme eloquently put it, “You start finding out your way to do comedy in hell. And in the end that’s all you remember, the good jokes in the hell club.”
The fun continued when QOTSA brought some friends in to help with recording, including Dave Grohl and Elton John. On the subject of Elton’s appearance on …Like Clockwork, Homme elaborated. He told the band, “I got this weird phone call on a Sunday afternoon… Elton John wants to jam,” and they agreed to invite him to the studio. Particularly for Fertita, the band’s keyboard player, this was a dream come true. He received an Elton John songbook at the age of seven that “changed everything” about the way he played piano, and thus “freaked out” when Elton showed up. According to Homme, having Elton in the studio “was a chance to take one of our heroes and do something weird with him.”
Listen to the rest of the interview above, in which Homme and Fertita discuss their band’s relationship with radio stations, their reverence of Iggy Pop and why they think Andre 3000 should win an Oscar for his recent portrayal of Jimi Hendrix. Check out a video preview of the interview below.