Queens of the Stone Age (Self Titled)

Queens of the Stone Age (Self Titled)

Regular John
If Only
Walkin’ On The Sidewalks
You Would Know
How To Handle A Rope
Hispanic Impressions
You Can’t Quit Me Baby
Give The Mule What He Wants
I Was A Teenage Hand Model

Joshua Homme – Vocals/GuitarBand Members:

  • Alfredo Hernandez – Drums
  • Carlo Von Sexron (aka Joshua Homme) – Bass/Keyboard/Piano

Other Personnel/Musicians:

  • Chris Goss – Bass and background vocals on “You Would Know” and “Give the Mule What He Wants”
  • Fred Drake – Drums and vocals on “I Was a Teenage Hand Model”
  • Hutch – Piano on “I Was a Teenage Hand Model”
  • Dave Catching – Percussion on “I Was a Teenage Hand Model”
  • Mike Johnson – ‘Sofa’ on “I Was a Teenage Hand Model”

After Kyuss’ break up, a couple of years touring with Screaming Trees and a few EPs, Josh Homme joined with Alfredo Hernandez and create Queens of the Stone Age’s first full-length record. Queens of the Stone Age (also referred as Self-Titled) was recorded in 1998, between April 3 rd and 21 st at Monkey Studios (Palm Springs, CA), except for I Was a Teenage Hand Model, recorded at Rancho de la Luna. This record has a strong balance and power. The same way that loud, hard and fuzzy riffs knocks you down; soft vocals, catchy melodies, trippy jams and groovy basses puts you up again.

Regular John is one of the best album examples for solid riffs, and until this very day the band plays pretty long jams live on it. Avon is a Desert Sessions Vol. 3 reworked track, we can taste all the rhythm section Alfredo puts on drums, especially during the drum solo; the guitar riffs create a big fuzzy background, which contrasts with falsetto vocals. If Only is the best sing-along on the record, also was the first single. The two solos shows a catchy side that not just applies on vocals and melodies, as every single note keeps playing on our heads instantaneously after listening. Walkin’ on the Sidewalks definitely stands up for Robot Rock, lyrically and musically speaking. After all the “programming” and “technology”, we get the non-stop-mind-blowin’ robotic riffs until the end; which leads us to You Would Know, another robotic track, with hypnotic guitars, spacey arrangement and a chorus repetition with a great sing-along power.

Even if How to Handle a Rope is played by a happy-catchy beat and guitars, it can’t escape the dark lyrics, this strange mix results in another unique song. As for Mexicola, there’s one thing that WE can’t escape: a big-fat-groovy bass line plus a loud-heavy-distorted guitar added with a tense vocal and punching drums, well, that wasn’t exactly one thing, but enough said. And maybe Josh was right when he said he was trying to give the world some polka, or better than that, a polka rock flavored with aggressive and fast drums in the instrumental track of the record! That was Hispanic Impressions.

Lots of things were said about the bass and drums, but what we got here is the perfect groove background for jamming guitars, You Can’t Quit Me Baby takes the top position of the longest jam QOTSA has ever done live. Maybe the lyrics here are even darker than How to Handle a Rope; also, in the end we can notice a kind of talk between the instruments, top notch robot talk. Give the Mule What He Wants starts in a heavy-distorted bass line and leads to a fuzzy riff that keeps hitting until the melodic chorus break through; it’s a Gamma Ray Sessions reworked track (see info below). And the album closer couldn’t be better than a sweet ballad called I Was a Teenage Hand Model, however, the sweetness turn into bitterness; as soon as the song ends, it breaks into a chaotic spaceship noise sound while Nick Oliveri keeps talking over it.

And lastly, a few interesting (and somewhat obscure) facts about the album:

  • Josh always claimed that Mexicola was about being arrested in Mexico; Mexicola is a name of a drink as well.
  • Nova is also a Desert Sessions Vol. 3 track, it is exactly as Avon, but it has different lyrics and it is sung by Pete Stahl.
  • A very important thing to say is that Nick Oliveri joined the band after the recording was done, that’s why a picture of him with Josh and Alfredo can be seen in the back of the CD version. We can also notice a tape being played a lot of times in the end of I Was a Teenage Hand of Model, where we can hear Nick’s voice.
  • A vinyl edition was released by Man’s Ruin records in November 1998, it is extremely rare to find and if found, it’ll be really expensive. The cover is totally different than the CD version, it features a half-naked chick near a motorcycle. There are 3 pressings of them: black, green and orange wax plus a blue wax version of 198 copies pressed by the band themselves as an official bootleg to sell on tour.

Review & additional information by Daniel Yuri