Queens of the Stone Age (also known as QOTSA or simply Queens) is an American band from Palm Desert, California.
In 1996 the band Kyuss, pioneer of Stoner Rock and Stoner Metal, dissolved after four studio albums and its former members joined new projects. The guitarist Josh Homme joined Screaming Trees, bassist Nick Oliveri the punk rock band Dwarves, the drummer Brant Bjork played with Fu Manchu and the vocalist John Garcia formed Slo Burn and later Unida.
In 1997 Homme was living in Seattle and was on tour with Screaming Trees when he contacted Matt Cameron, departed Soundgarden drummer, to record some demos under the name of Gamma Ray. However, there was already a German Power Metal band called Gamma Ray, so Homme decided to change the name to Queens of the Stone Age. This came from Chris Goss of Master of Reality and Producer, who said: “Boys, you sound like the queens of the stone age“.
A year later the band began recording their first album and in style defined by Josh Homme as Robot Rock. The album was distributed by Loosegroove Records, an independent record label founded by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard.
With Nick Oliveri and Dave Catching as full time members, QOTSA embarked on a world tour that lasted two years, and in which they supported such bands as Bad Religion, Rage Against the Machine or The Smashing Pumpkins.
The band’s second album “Rated R” was produced by Josh and Chris Goss and directed by Trina Shoemaker. Interscope Records released the album on June 6, 2000. Rob Halford of Judas Priest collaborated on the album.
Album Rated R turned out to be successful thanks to the controversial single “Feel Good Hit of the Summer“, whose lyrics contain only sever words: nicotine, valium, vicoden, marijuana, ecstasy, alcohol and cocaine.
At the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002, Homme managed to recruit Dave Grohl of Nirvana to take over the drums. The third album “Songs for the Deaf” has achieved success at an international level, thanks, in part, to the poster that featured Dave Grohl on the drums. The album sold 900 000 copies in the USA, but despite its success, Dave Grohl left QOTSA to focus on his project the Foo Fighters. He was replaced on the drums by Joey Castillo.
In February 2004 the band lost two of its founding members: Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan. In 2005, Homme, together with the multi-instrumentalist of Eleven Alain Johannes and the rest of the band members – Van Leeuwen and Castillo, recorded the fourth studio album of Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze. The title was taken from the lyrics of “Mosquito Song”, a song from the band’s previous album. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Shirley Manson of Garbage, and Brody Dalle of Distillers (as well as then wife of Homme) contributed to the album.
In November of that same year, the band released a double disc titled “Over The Years and Through The Woods“, which contained a CD and a DVD of a concert that the band played in August at the Carling Academy Brixton in London, UK. The DVD also featured unpublished images of the band from 1998 to 2005.
In 2007, QOTSA released album Era Vulgaris, on which such artists as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and again Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top collaborated.
In November 2012 Josh Homme announced through the BBC that Joey Castillo has left the group, and would be replaced by John Theodore of The Mars Volta.
In June 2013, the sixth album “Like Clockwork” was released. It featured artists such as Elton John, Alex Turner, Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, and the brief return of Nick Oliveri.
In 2017, Queens of the Stone Age released album “Villains“. The Teaser Trailer for the album took the form of a satire comedy with the band performing a polygraph test with Liam Lynch and presented a fragment of the song “Feet do Not Fail Me“. The first single, “The Way You Used To Do” was released the next day along with the announcement of a world tour.
I took pictures of Queens of the Stone Age on April 11, 2005 at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Their opening act was Throw Rag: