Life threw everything it had at Josh Homme, and he faced it head-on with an unwavering spirit. The Queens of the Stone Age frontman endured a tumultuous ride, from rehab to a successful cancer surgery. But the blows kept coming as death claimed one friend after another – a devastating loss that shook him to his core.
He was faced with death upon death upon death within his circle of friends: Mark Lanegan, his longtime musical right-hand man in QOTSA and the Screaming Trees; chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain; Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins; and “Treme” actor Rio Hackford among them.
He’s lost 11 people close to him in recent days. He actually missed our first scheduled interview because he was shaking off the news that his pal Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens had just died, too.
In the midst of this turmoil, Homme’s ex-wife, Brody Dalle, leveled allegations, blaming his alcoholism and drug use for their breakup. But amidst the darkness, a glimmer of light emerged through the memories of his dear friend, Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens. Reubens managed to touch Homme’s heart with heartfelt videos, lifting his spirits and reminding him of the man he truly is.
Music became Homme’s sanctuary, a channel for his raw emotions. With Queens of the Stone Age’s latest offering, “In Times New Roman…,” he delivered a blistering, no-holds-barred beat-down, reminiscent of the band’s fierce sound from “Era Vulgaris.” From ataxic locked-on grooves to mordantly funny lyrics, the album packs a punch that leaves listeners in awe.
Within the chaos, Homme’s vulnerability surfaces through tracks like “Negative Space” and “Emotion Sickness.” He bares his soul as he grapples with the breakdown of a relationship, echoing the introspective brilliance of “…Like Clockwork.”
In these trying times, “In Times New Roman…” stands as a testament to resilience. Homme embraces the reality of life’s turmoil, acknowledging the fall of the Roman Empire as a metaphor for our precarious present. The album rejects the facade of perfection prevalent in modern rock, daring to be brutal, imperfect, and unapologetically real.
Homme’s honesty shines through, as he confesses, “I don’t have anything else to write about but what my life is.” Gone are the days of eccentricity for the sake of it. He seeks authenticity, not to be mean but to be genuine – a duty he holds as an artist.
Musically speaking, Homme wanted to mirror the chaos within and around him, reflecting the uncertain times we live in. The plan was to embrace the friction, the imperfections, and the out-of-tune aspects of life, rather than pretending everything is picture-perfect.