With Queens of the Stone Age, “In Times New Roman…,” simplicity takes on a nuanced complexity that goes beyond surface impressions.
Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, in a recent interview with MusicRadar, delved into the band’s unmistakable rhythms and the intricate simplicity that defines their sonic formula. Discussing the album opener, “Obscenery,” he emphasized the unique groove the band creates.
He said: “There’s an interesting thing that we do, and this is with a lot of our grooves, and a lot of our tempos, you kind of have to dance it a little bit… It’s a strut. You’re just feeling it, and when everyone is in the room, and everyone feels the same as each other, doing the same strut, that’s actually easier for us because if you’re not in the room while it’s happening you are kind of guessing a little bit.”
Acknowledging the potential for misunderstanding, Van Leeuwen addressed the common criticism of simplicity, with people accusing Queens of the Stone Age of merely “playing barre chords.” Responding to Jonathan Horsley’s characterization of QOTSA as the “most difficult simple band,”
Van Leeuwen quipped: “I mean, you are right. We are the most difficult simple band. I’ve often heard guys coming up to us saying, ‘You guys are just playing barre chords!’ [Laughs] ‘I am glad you think it is that simple.'”
This paradoxical simplicity is what has given rise to some of Queens of the Stone Age’s most infectious earworms, exemplified by the enduring popularity of “No One Knows.” Despite being labeled as “simple,” the track has become a live-show staple, and frontman Josh Homme isn’t fazed by that expectation.
“In Times New Roman…” not only reaffirms Queens of the Stone Age’s position as masters of intricate simplicity but also challenges perceptions, inviting listeners to dance along with the subtle complexities that define their musical identity.