It may be Josh Homme’s “effortless cool,” a key lyric or the “driving energy,” but KOYO’s Huw Edwards has Queens Of The Stone Age in his blood. Here he explains his passion for Josh’s gang:
Queens have pretty much been a constant for most of my life and they still seem to be on their game even now. They don’t have a bad album, and each album expertly goes off in its own unique direction while still remaining strictly QOTSA. My Dad introduced them to me in the car once as a kid.
I remember he was talking about how good the band name was, which it is, and we were listening to Rated R. Apparently that album came out in 2000, which is pre 9/11 – it does not feel like that long ago! I remember liking it at the time, and particularly remember The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret”(absolutely cracking title – and even more true now), but it wasn’t quite love at first sight.
You could say I had a crush, but that was about it. Maybe I was too young at the time to fully appreciate it. It wasn’t until a few years later when they released Songs for the Deaf that I became more of a fan. I remember the music videos for Go With The Flow and No One Knows making a really strong impression on me and being at my uncle’s house and him pointing out how effortlessly cool Josh Homme is, and then it kind of sunk in even more. I couldn’t deny it. These guys were the bomb. Maybe that was the moment it all clicked for me, but I’m not too sure? I think it could have been a few years later still. They’re one of those bands that kind of grew on me more and more as I got older.
By the time I was a teenager, playing in bands, and meeting more friends who loved Queens, I think I realised, again, that they were even better than I thought they were at the time I realised they were better than I thought they were the time before that. I think that’s when I went in and really dug deep into the albums myself, and I had the education by that point to appreciate the gravity behind the fact that Songs for the Deaf is Mark Lanegan, Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and Dave Grohl? I mean…what? And it sounds exactly how you would want that to sound. It doesn’t fall short. Mark, Nick and Josh’s voices compliment each other so unbelievably well. It’s rare you get three voices in one band that are all so strong and unique. It makes that album so exciting to listen to.
It’s definitely influenced me melodically and vocally, and backing vocally. It’s backing vocals are insane. The “ah’s” in No One Knows are so effective. I kind of wish Dave Grohl had given the vocals a blast as well. But the click moment for me has to be hearing Dave’s drum intro to A Song For The Dead” and fully realising its brilliance. Anyone who thinks Dave Grohl is overrated needs to listen to that album. I’m not even a huge Foo Fighters fan, but that album is where my respect for him comes from. Yes, I adore Nirvana. But his drumming on that album is second to none.
This live version of A Song for the Dead is awesome…
I’d say they influence me in so many ways. They’re one of the last bands that seem to truly have that rock n’ roll attitude, which sadly in this age of people being so easily offended and up and coming bands kissing the butt of the industry because it seems like the only way to make it now rather than genuine talent, makes them a dying breed.
Obviously, Josh’s guitar and vocal work is a huge influence, his sense of melody and harmony are so distinct. The best place to hear what I mean is probably Era Vulgaris, one of their lesser-known albums. It’s probably the most QOTSA album they’ve ever done, which kind of makes it less accessible, but if you already know you love them, then that album goes deeper. It goes a lot deeper. Songs For The Deaf is like the first date, and Era Vulgaris is like marriage. You might not be ready for it straight away but if you’re in love, this is the ticket. It’s everything they suggested they were gonna do on other albums. And it’s Josh’s harmony and ear for those angular chord patterns that define the sound so much. And their roboticness and driving energy. That definitely influences me. And the super laidback approach they have to vocals over such energetic music. It just oozes attitude.
My favorite songs from throughout their catalogue are probably Song For The Dead, Make It Wit Chu, Better Living Through Chemistry and If I Had A Tail. Recently there’s a song from Era Vulgaris that I’m loving called Run, Pig, Run. So good. That’s what I mean by the most Queens version of Queens. Best album cover? Has to be Songs for the Dead. I remember the album coming with no liner notes. Such a piss-take but brilliant.
Favorite lyric? “Nicotine, valium, vicadin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol”, of course!
Many thanks to Huw for taking the time to share his thoughts.
KOYO are currently at work on the follow up to their eponymous debut album. The first single Circles, hints at a new direction, while we take a listen to the second single, Ostracised, here.