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Queens of the Stone Age

Updated on August 23, 2017

Kings of Desert Rock

Since their formation in 1996, Queens of the Stone Age have made a name for themselves in the world of rock and roll. From their self-titled debut in 1998 to 2007's Era Vulgaris, the band has released five studio albums, one live album/DVD, and toured around the world. With frontman Josh Homme, guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, bassist Michael Shuman, and keyboardist Dean Fertita, the band is set to release their sixth studio album, ...Like Clockwork in June 2013.

Queens of the Stone Age - From Gamma Ray to Rated R

In 1996, after the breakup of Kyuss, Josh Homme decided to form a new band. He chose the name "Gamma Ray", releasing an EP with two tracks on it before receiving a threat from the German power metal band named Gamma Ray to cease and desist using their name.

Back at square one, Josh chose a new direction and rechristened the band "Queens of the Stone Age".

"Kings would be too macho. The Kings of the Stone Age wear armor and have axes and wrestle. The Queens of the Stone Age hang out with the Kings of the Stone Age's girlfriends when they wrestle, and also it was a name given to us by Chris Goss. He gave us the name Queens of the Stone Age. Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls. That way everyone's happy and it's more of a party. Kings of the Stone Age is too lopsided." -- Josh Homme

The band's first live performance was in Seattle, WA, probably in November of 1997. The band released its first studio album, Queens of the Stone Age in 1998 on Loose Groove records. Homme played both guitar and bass on the album (although the latter was credited to Carlo Von Sexron, one of Homme's many nicknames) as well as vocals. Alfredo Hernández handled drums and other contributions were made by Chris Goss and Hutch, who had previously worked with Homme during the Kyuss years.

Just after the recording the album, another former member of Kyuss accepted the invitation and joined Queens. Nick Oliveri took up bass duties, as well as performing vocals on several tracks, when the band recorded their second album, Rated R. Mark Lanegan and Rob Halford also added vocals, with drummers Nick Lucero and Gene Trautmann, guitarists Dave Catching, Brendon McNichol, and Chris Goss contributing various musical tracks.

Rated R was released in 2000 through Interscope and the band began to garner attention with positive reviews and some controversy when Wal-Mart refused to sell the album. The album is considered the band's mainstream breakthrough, with singles Feel Good Hit of the Summer and The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret receiving air play on radio stations around the world. The band also took a position on Ozzfest as well as opening spots for the Foo Fighters, Hole, and Smashing Pumpkins.

Queens of the Stone Age (1998) - Remastered 2011 edition

Queens of the Stone Age - (Censored)
Queens of the Stone Age - (Censored)

Regular John


If Only

Walkin on the Sidewalks

You Would Know

The Bronze (bonus track)

How To Handle A Rope (A Lesson In The Lariat)


Hispanic Impressions

You Can't Quit Me Baby

These Aren't The Droids You're Looking For (bonus track)

Give the Mule What He Wants

Spiders And Vinegaroons (bonus track)

I Was a Teenage Hand Model


You Can't Quit Me, Baby - Live at Phoenix Hill Tavern, Louisville, KY (11/04/2000)

Josh Homme - Vocalist/Guitarist

A native of Palm Desert, Josh Homme has been involved in the desert music scene since his teenage years. Playing in seminal metal band Kyuss until the band's break up in the early 90s, Josh has been a part of multiple bands through out his career.

In addition to being the frontman/vocalist/lead guitarist for Queens of the Stone Age, he has also played in Eagles of Death Metal and the Screaming Trees. Homme also started the Desert Sessions, as well as has worked as a producer for several bands as well as has worked with the Foo Fighters, Mondo Generator, PJ Harvey, Masters of Reality, Millionaire, U.N.K.L.E., Paz Lenchantin, Wellwater Conspiracy, A Perfect Circle, Earthlings?, Mastodon, Tuberonegro, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Death From Above 1979, Trent Reznor, Local H, and Peaches.

His latest sideproject was 2009's Them Crooked Vultures, with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones. In 2012, he teamed with David Sardy to release the song, Nobody To Love, featured in the film End of Watch.

Rated R (2000)

Rated R - Deluxe Edition
Rated R - Deluxe Edition

Feel Good Hit of the Summer

The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret

Leg of Lamb

Auto Pilot

Better Living Through Chemistry

Monsters in the Parasol

Quick and to the Pointless

In the Fade

Tension Head

Lightning Song

I Think I Lost My Headache

Second disc includes B-sides Ode To Clarissa, You're So Vague, Never Say Never (Romeo Void cover), Who'll Be The Next In Line (Kinks cover), Monsters In The Parasol (live in Seattle), Born To Hula (re-recording), and nine live versions from the 2000 Reading Festival.


Monsters In the Parasol

Queens of the Stone Age - Songs For the Deaf

Constant touring to support Rated R as well as Foo Fighters/ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl joined the band to record their third studio album, Songs For the Deaf. Mark Lanegan joined the band on a more permanent level, recording several vocal tracks.

The videos for the singles No One Knows and Go With the Flow would become hits on MTV and received airplay on the radio, resulting in No One Knows peaking just outside the Billboard Top 40. The song would also be featured in the video game "Guitar Hero" and Go With the Flow would be a playable track in "Rock Band".

"This record was supposed to sound bizarre-like lightning in a bottle. The radio interludes are supposed to be like the drive from L.A. to Joshua Tree, a drive that makes you feel like you're letting go-more David Lynch with every mile." - Josh Homme

Replacing Grohl during the European leg of the supporting tour was former Danzig drummer Joey Castillo. and guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen joined as a second guitarist for the touring lineup.

During early 2004, it was revealed that Homme had fired Oliveri from the band. Although the nature of the dismissal was speculated, as well as fueled by some of the explanations given by Homme in various interviews, the truth has never been revealed.

Troy Van Leeuwen started playing guitar at age 13, joining local bands such as Jester, 60 Cycle, and Failure. He also worked as session musician, where he would meet Billy Howerdel. Troy would join Howerdel as a guitarist in Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan's band A Perfect Circle.

Troy ended up leaving the band after recording only three songs on their second album, The Thirteenth Step, to accept an invitation to audition for Queens of the Stone Age. After being accepted he would join the band as their second guitarist during the Songs For the Deaf tour.

Since then, Troy has recorded two studio albums with the band, as well as participated in The Dessert Sessions, and recorded tracks with Mondo Generator, Eagles of Death Metal, and the Gutter Twins. Troy has also formed his own side projects, Enemy and Sweethead, during hiatuses.

Songs For the Deaf (2002)

Songs for the Deaf
Songs for the Deaf

The Real Song for the Deaf

You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire

No One Knows

First It Giveth

Song for the Dead

Sky is Fallin'

Six Shooter

Hangin' Tree

Go with the Flow

Gonna Leave You

Do It Again

God is in the Radio

Another Love Song

Song for the Deaf

Feel Good Haha of the Summer

Mosquito Song


No One Knows

Joey Castillo began to play the drums at age 15, when he purchased a drum kit with money loaned to him by his grandmother. He began his musical career in 1984 when he joined Wasted Youth. Joey has played with Sugartooth, Danzig, and Goatsnake.

When he joined Queens of the Stone Age to replace guest drummer Dave Grohl, he didn't even have to audition. Since then Joey has played on two studio albums with the band. He has also played drums for Mark Lanegan's solo album and on Eagles of Death Metal's Death By Sexy.

It was announced in late 2012 that Joey had amicably parted ways with the band. His replacement has yet to be announced.

Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze & Over the Years and Through the Woods

After the departure of Nick Oliveri, the band returned to the studio to record their fourth studio album. Homme recruited friend and multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes to help record tracks.

Mark Lanegan left the band, after recording some vocal tracks and contributing lyrics to Lullabies to Paralyze, moving on to support his own solo album, which fueled rumors Homme had fired him in addition to Oliveri. Fed up with speculation, Homme began to encourage the rumors. Eventually he set the record straight and Lanegan has since joined the band on stage but has not rejoined the group on a permanent basis.

[on the inspiration for Lullabies to Paralyze] "One of the things was that we sort of disappeared a little bit. Sometimes you actually get caught in the web of things where people are talking about... what kind of breakfast cereal you like. Really the topic of breakfast cereal is generally a very boring one. And so the idea of this Grimm Brothers fairy tale where we could kind of disappear into the woods came about. I love the stories of Hansel and Gretel where basically they are meant to scare the s*** out of little kids!" - Homme

Lullabies to Paralyze was released in early 2005, debuting at #5 on the Billboard Music Chart, the greatest initial success of any Queens album so far. The group was the musical guest for Saturday Night Live in May 2005, with host Will Ferrell joining them on stage during Little Sister as fictional cowbellist Gene Frenkle.

In the fall of 2005, Queens supported Nine Inch Nails' on their With Teeth tour as well releasing a live album/DVD of their concert at the Brixton Academy in London, England, entitling it Over the Years and Through the Woods.

Homme has since stated that the Lullabies to Paralyze-era was the band's lowest point.

Lullabies to Paralyze (2005)

Lullabies To Paralyze
Lullabies To Paralyze

This Lullaby


Everybody Knows That You're Insane

Tangled Up In Plaid

Burn the Witch

In My Head

Little Sister

I Never Came

Someone's In the Wolf

The Blood Is Love

Skin On Skin

Broken Box

"You Got a Killer Scene There, Man..."

Long Slow Goodbye


Little Sister

Over the Years and Through the Woods (2005)

Over The Years And Through The Woods: Live (CD/DVD)
Over The Years And Through The Woods: Live (CD/DVD)

Recorded live at Brixton Academy, in London. Includes a bonus DVD with 3+ hours of footage from the concert.

Go With The Flow

Regular John

Monster In The Parasol

Tangled Up In Plaid

Little Sister

You Can't Quit Me, Baby

I Wanna Make It Wit Chu

Leg Of Lamb

I Think I Lost My Headache


Burn The Witch

Song For The Dead

No One Knows

Long Slow Goodbye


Over the Years & Through the Woods - Segement 1

Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris

On Valentine's Day 2007, a love note from the band to their fans revealed their fifth studio album would be released in June 2007 and entitled Era Vulgaris, Latin for "common era". The album was said to be inspired by Homme's daily drive through Hollywood. The album's title track, Era Vulgaris, was not released on the album but separately as a gift to fans. The track also included guest vocals by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. In addition to Reznor, the album also included special guests Billy Gibbons, Julian Casablancas and Mark Lanegan.

Era Vulgaris also marked the departure of Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider. Bassist Michael Shuman and keyboardist Dean Fertita joined the band for touring duties. The band did a small tour, nicknamed "The Deluth Tour", and played many small towns and cities they would normally not play.

"We basically started a year ago. And like I said, we didn't really have anything written. So it was a long process. It was the longest I've ever taken to make a record, frankly. I've made records over the process of a year but this was the first time it's ever been my total focus for that long. This was the first time I've ever done focus for 10 months." - Troy Van Leeuwen

The album was a success but did not find the critical success of the band's previous releases. The band toured to support the album through 2008. In July of that year, keyboardist Natasha Shneider passed away from cancer. In a tribute and celebration of her life, Queens performed a concert in her honor at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. The band was joined on stage by Alain Johannes, Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Matt Cameron, Brody Dalle, Jesse Hughes, Chris Goss and PJ Harvey. They played a variety of QOTSA and non-QOTSA songs, with proceeds from the concert going to defray the costs associated with Natasha's medical care.

Since then, the various members of Queens have been busy with their various side and solo projects. Homme recorded an album with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones under the name Them Crooked Vultures and toured to promote it. Van Leeuwen haas been playing with Sweethead. Joey Castillo played drums with Eagles of Death Metal during their tour for Heart On. Dean Fertita joined Jack White's side project The Dead Weather. Michael Shuman started his own band Mini Mansions, who opened for Them Crooked Vultures.

Queens played several festival dates during the 2010 summer and re-released a 10th anniversary edition of Rated R. The re-release of their self-titled debut fell through before being switched to Domino Records, based in the UK, and subsequently was hit with more delays resulting in the release of the remastered self-titled album as MP3s to fans with pre-orders. The band announced a US tour to coincide with the re-release, playing the US in the spring of 2011, as well as some dates in Europe, before heading back to the US to play more shows. The shows consisted of the band playing the entire self-titled release as well as some "oldies but goldies".

Through-out 2012, speculation ran rampant about the band's sixth studio album. While Homme & co. worked on their various side projects, they also spent their time living out their personal lives. In late 2012, it was announced that the sixth album, still untitled at the time, would be released in 2013, along with the bombshell that drummer Joey Castillo had parted ways with the band.

Dean Fertita is a multii-instrumentalist who was the lead singer and guitarist of The Waxwings from 1997 to 2005. He joined Brendan Benson as a keyboardist/guitarist and also toured with The Raconteurs as a keyboardist until he joined Queens of the Stone Age to replace Natasha Shneider.

During downtime, Dean plays guitar, keyboards, and organ with The Dead Weather in addition to releasing his solo debut under the moniker Hello=Fire in 2009. He has also taken up bass duties for Eagles of Death Metal while their bassist Brian O'Connor undergoes treatment for cancer. He is expected to be a part of the studio recordings for Queens of the Stone Age's sixth album.

Era Vulgaris (2007)

Era Vulgaris
Era Vulgaris

Turnin' on the Screw

Sick, Sick, Sick

I'm Designer

Into the Hollow

Misfit Love

Battery Acid

Make It wit Chu

3's & 7's

Suture Up Your Future

River in the Road

Run, Pig, Run


Sick, Sick, Sick

Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

In early 2013, hand-drawn notices began to pop up in music magazines. Mojo, Uncut, Kerrang, and NME all received these "messages" from the band. All featured artwork with prominent clocks pointing to the hours of 9.

The messages spoke of the new album's songs recording "depictions of what we are going through in real time." Every message contained the word clockwork, the final message containing the phrase, "As you may have already guessed, it's going like clockwork".

On Friday, March 22, 2013, the official website was updated to reflect the new album's version of the Q logo. The white Q, shattered and slashed with a blue line, was accompanied by seven short clips of sound, each a piece of a song on the new album. The album's title, ...Like Clockwork was announced via A new label, Matador Records, and a June release were also revealed.

Michael Shuman - Bassist - Mikey Shoes

Michael Shuman co-founded the band Jubilee in late 2008, where he played bass and released two albums with the band. He also plays base for the band Wires On Fire, as well as on the 2009 self-titled release for Mini Mansions.

He was hired as a touring bassist after Alain Johannes chose to focus on his own projects. Mikey has played with the band since just before the release of Era Vulgaris and will be a part of the recording for the sixth studio album the band is set to record soon.

You Tell Us!

Which is your favorite album?

See results

Although Queens of the Stone Age has its core members, with Josh Homme at the helm, the band also has a revolving-door policy of involving family and friends as collaborators and co-conspirators.

A large list of names have at one time or another joined Queens in the studio, on tours, joined the band onstage during concerts, or contributed in other shapes and fashions. While this list is incomplete, here are just a handful of who have joined the Queens' family:

Billy Gibbons, Julian Casablancas, Brendon McNichol, David Catching, Mario Lalli, John McBain, Chris Goss, Dean Ween, Alain Johannes, Dan Druff, Mike Johnson, Van Conner, Milo Beenhakker, Chris DiNoia, Gene Trautmann, Dave Grohl, Nick Lucero, Barrett Martin, Alfredo Hernández, Matt Cameron, Aaron North, Vic the Stick, Eva Nahon, Jack Black, Natasha Shneider, Mark Lanegan, Cee-Lo, John Garcia, Pete Stahl, Brody Dalle, and Shirely Manson.

Nick Oliveri - ex-Bassist/Vocalist

Having been friends with Josh Homme since high school, Nick Oliveri would play with him in Katzenjammer and during the early years of Kyuss. He would leave the band for good in 1992, after losing his father in a car accident.

Oliveri would perform off and on with the Dwarves under the stage name of "Rex Everything" before reuniting with Homme in Queens of the Stone Age in 1998.

He would play with the band as well as record two studio albums with them, Rated R and Songs For the Deaf. In addition to playing bass, Oliveri also sang vocals on several tracks.

True to fashion, Oliveri was arrested after playing naked on stage in Brazil during the Rock in Rio festal.

In 2004, before the release of Lullabies to Paralyze, a fall out would occur between Homme and Oliveri, the result being Oliveri's dismissal from the band. Although both have commented on the nature of the fall out, what really happened is only known to them.

Post-Queens, Oliveri has focused on his own band, Mondo Generator, as well as playing with Brant Bjork, Winnebago Deal, Masters of Reality, The Dwarves, and Turbonegro.

Oliveri has commented several times that he wishes to rejoin Queens but nothing has happened that would appear that Homme is ready for that to happen. Although the two appear to be friends, it is unlikely that they will work together in the same band again.

This has caused a rift between Queens fans, whose opinions on Oliveri's departure cause heated debates. Some call for his return to the band, while others are okay with leaving the past in the past.

Which Side Are You On?

Do you wish Nick Oliveri was back in the band?

Anthony Bouardain No Reservations Holiday Special 2007 - Feat. Queens of the Stone Age!

If you've enjoyed this lens, as a fan or someone who's never heard Queens, leave a comment!

Thank You for Visiting!

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great and informative lens about one of my favorite rock band ever. At first time I had the opportunity to hear them 8 year ago, when they have a concert in our country. And it was amazing!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent band, great to see a lens about them

    • jaimepuxxle profile image


      8 years ago

      What an awesome lens! You really crammed everything in there! I got to see QOTSA last year when they visited Madrid as part of the "Electric Weekend". They followed RATM, but on a different stage: decided to give RATM a miss and be in the front rows to watch this kick-ass concert. Awesome!

    • TheBestGadgets profile image


      8 years ago

      lullabies to paralyse may be my favourite ever album.

    • missbat profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @Kiwisoutback: Yeah, I could be classified as "knowledgeable" about desert rock, that's for sure! And that's regardless of the fact that I have a massive Them Crooked Vultures tattoo. Thanks for being my first visitor!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      You know your desert rock! I've actually been to Palm Desert quite a few times. I haven't heard much from Queens of the Stone Age lately since Josh Homme joined Them Crooked Vultures. Hopefully we'll hear new music soon.


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