September 13, 2007

Josh Homme looks so foxy in spangly Christmas tree knitwear. Who knew?

Admittedly it is way too early for anything related to Christmas, but that photo was so priceless that I couldn’t resist. I’ve always been strangely drawn to the alarmingly lame allure of Christmas sweaters. I often want to walk up to people wearing them and just say, “Why? WHY?” [*see footnote]. When I find myself in JCPenney in November, I enjoy threatening my husband that I will start wearing them every year when I get old, along with elastic-waisted polyester pants in a complimentary tone. Sometime we even pick put the best sequined seasonal confection for my coloring (I’m a Winter).

So Queens of the Stone Age have proven themselves to be men after my own holly-jolly heart during a show they recently taped in Berlin with Travel Channel chef/music-loving mofo Anthony Bourdain. On his show No Reservations (which I’ve never seen because I prefer watching Rachael Ray eat pie), the QOTSA played their own special version of Silver Bells (“Turkey Bells”), as well as a few of their own songs to set a festive mood for cooking.

So that you can decide whether or not to set your TiVos come December, here’s the plot: “While Bourdain cooks a traditional holiday feast at his Connecticut home, the Queens are rocking tracks including ‘Sick, Sick, Sick,’ ’3s & 7s’ and ‘Make It Wit Chu’ at an ungodly volume in the basement rec room. When the band emerges, they’re sporting appalling Christmas sweaters.”

“QVC graciously sent us the worst sweaters of all time,” Homme explains. “I think someone Googled the word ‘horrible’ and that’s how we found them.” Bourdain, ever the arbiter of good taste, hasn’t recovered: “Those Christmas sweaters were just the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen in my life. Beyond Sandra Lee on some really awful hallucinogen.”

The idea was apparently hatched as a semi-dare over crazy amounts of alcoholic beverages in Germany’s cosmopolitan capital city. Homme says of Bourdain; “Most of the time, if you tried to suggest that we get into sweaters like that we would probably just drink you under the table and leave you for dead, but this is a special case. That bastard.”

I am assuming this gem will air in December, and it gives me a reason to post this early version of one of the songs they played for the fête. A few months ago, Homme was interviewed by Rolling Stone and they asked him:

RS: You included “I Wanna Make It Wit Chu,” from one of your Desert Sessions compilations, on “Vulgaris.” Why?

Homme: Because it’s the best song I’ve ever been associated with that’s about screwing.

Maybe not so much if you wear that sweater, Josh, but I do like this early version a little bit more than the what ended up on this year’s Era Vulgaris. They’re obviously similar, but this one is looser, sultry.

Make It Wit Chu (Desert Sessions version)

*Footnote: The Christmas sweater interrogation I dream of reminds me of a passage from Dave Eggers’ 2003 book that I am currently reading, You Shall Know Our Velocity. I laughed out loud in public on this one:

[I argued with strangers constantly, if only in my cloudy skull]
Passing a middle-aged couple in matching jackets:
–You two need to change
–What? Why? the middle-aged couple said, to my head, in my head.
–Because you are wearing the same jacket.
–We bought them while on vacation in Newport.
–You must be hidden from view.
–The jackets are nice.
–They are not nice. Think of the children.

August 24, 2007

Dave Grohl’s raw drum tracks for Queens of the Stone Age

This is something a little different today. Instead of perfectly polished tunes, I’ve got some raw and awesomely primal fodder for my drummer/aspiring-drummer/beatbox readers courtesy of Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) during his stint in Queens of the Stone Age.

I’ll be transparent here as always: I’m not gonna pretend to be all “Oh, yeah, I’ve always loved Queens of the Stone Age.” In fact, I was initially totally turned off to them for something as stupid and shallow as their band name. I know, right? But then I was reading up on them, and I saw this interesting quote which explained the name, so it makes more sense to my too-literal brain:

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 [producer] 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.”

– frontman Josh Homme (2000)

I can dig that. Plus, I didn’t realize that their first album, the self-titled 1998 debut, was released on Loosegroove Records, operated by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, and their very first show that they played as a band was at the OK Hotel in Seattle (which you and I would, of course, want to call The Java Stop, from Singles). So those two things alone are enough to make me wonder what my problem was.

My friend who sent me these said that they are “perfect headache relief.” Ha! He obviously digs percussion as I do, and loves it fast and furious as Grohl delivers it here. These are the raw tracks from the 2002 album Songs for the Deaf, and most are either just drums or drums with guitar. I agree that for me they are oddly soothing, a bit hypnotic. Definitely fascinating.

for QOTSA Songs For The Deaf sessions
late 2001/early 2002

Do It Again (drums and guitar)
Do It Again (drums only)
Song for the Dead (raw mix)
Song for the Dead (drums only)
Unknown Track (drums and guitar) (Little Sister)
Unknown Track (drums only) (Little Sister)


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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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