Songs for the Deaf

Songs for the Deaf

You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire
No One Knows
First It Giveth
Song for the Dead
The Sky Is Fallin’
Six Shooter
Hangin’ Tree
Go With the Flow
Gonna Leave You
Do It Again
God Is In the Radio
Another Love Song
Song for the Deaf
Mosquito Song (hidden track)

Band Members:

  • Josh Homme – Vocals/Guitar
  • Nick Oliveri – Vocals/Bass
  • Mark Lanegan – Vocals
  • Dave Grohl – Drums

Other Personnel/Musicians:

  • Alain Johannes – E-Bow, Organ on “Another Love Song”, Piano on “Mosquito Song”, Flamenco Guitar on “Mosquito Song” and “First It Giveth”, Theremin on “Six Shooter”
  • Natasha Shneider – E-Bow, Organ on “Another Love Song”, Piano on “Mosquito Song”, Theremin on “Six Shooter”
  • Dean Ween – Guitar on “Six Shooter”, “Gonna Leave You”, and “Mosquito Song”
  • Paz Lenchantin – Strings on “Mosquito Song”
  • Anna Lenchantin – Strings on “Mosquito Song”
  • Molly McGuire – Accordion on “Mosquito Song”
  • Brendon McNichol – Lap Steel on “Go with the Flow”
  • Chris Goss – Producer
  • John Gove – horns on “Mosquito Song”
  • Kevin Porter – horns on “Mosquito Song”
  • Brad Kintscher – horns on “Mosquito Song

Songs For the Deaf is Queens of the Stone Age’s third full-length record. It started being recorded between October and November 2001 at The Site in San Rafael, CA and, later, at Conway Studios, Hollywood, CA.

The crew of guests was huge like before and this time featuring Dave Grohl on drums and Mark Lanegan doing lead vocals on 4 songs. Both of them toured with the band, but Dave left before the record’s official release (he left the band in July after Fuji Festival).

The album has a concept all over it, which is based on Joshua’s driving through the desert with nothing but a radio playing all kinds of Spanish and religious radio stations.

Because of that, all tracks are linked to each other, the album starts with sounds of an engine running, a car door being shut and a radio being tuned. Then, a bunch of DJs keep talking between the songs during the rest of the record, creating a driving-and-listening-to-the -radio feeling, plus, a dynamic flow between the songs forcing -in a good way- the listener to want to listen the whole thing, like there is no choice to skip a song because we are hearing someone else’s selection of songs.

You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire is a Desert Sessions Vol. 5 song; it was used to be played live since 1999, the original track is sung and co-written by Mario Lalli, but now Nick does the lead vocals. It’s a riff-oriented track with screaming vocals. No One Knows was their first single and video, this track is responsible for a big part of the great reviews and fame the band got, being a catchy, heavy and riff-memorizing song helped a lot; featuring Dave Grohl in the video was the extra-help.

First it Giveth was the third single and video, here’s another characteristically QOTSA song: some fast, groovy, hard instrumental contrasting with falsetto vocals and soft bridges. This drum track is claimed to be one of the greatest work Dave put on the record, the same as Song For the Dead, a riff-drumming song with a genius drumming opening and guitar riffs complemented with licks during the whole song plus some lap steel work. Mark Lanegan does the lead vocal.

The Sky is Fallin’ is maybe one the of the heaviest QOTSA songs, it is consisted in a wall of drums and distorted guitars being repeated until the falsetto chorus breaks in, it is a tight song, with strong subjective lyrics in it; the bridge creates a different atmosphere when the strumming lead comes in and goes into a tense crescendo and breaks to the chorus again. Six Shooter is a kind of a dirty quick screaming punk track, once again with Nick on vocals. Hangin’ Tree comes from Desert Sessions Vol.7 and it is written by Alain Johannes and Joshua. It is remarkable for having a spacey lap steel lead, one of the album’s greatest and biggest; another track sung by Mark.

Go With the Flow was the second single and also had a video, and this time a mind-blowing one! The driving-through-the-desert record concept was put into the video making it really popular; the great success achievement of Songs For the Deaf may be due to this video combined with No One Knows. It is a great rock song, with fine vocal duets between Joshua and Nick on the chorus altogether with solid instrumentals lead by a melodious solo guitar. Gonna Leave You begins with a fuzzy bass and a small lead that pretty much gives the idea of the song, a dancing tune filled with raw guitars and western style solos backed by slightly dark lyrics sung by Nick.

Do It Again is another notable drum track, the percussion gives the ‘march feeling’ building an intense base for the dense and low-tuned sound. The vocals are quite standout and loud, resulting in another outstanding rock track; the verse, the chorus, the bridge, everything is catchy and in its right place. God is in the Radio is a dark atmospheric song covered by a barricade of fuzzy-low-heavy guitars and bass lead by gorgeous deep Lanegan vocals. From the middle of the song until the end a big jam takes place, passing through some breaks and peaks until everything ceases, and the drums keep going. Another Love Song is the last track sung by Nick, the vocals are really melodic but the mood is guided by an omnipresent organ played by Alain Johannes. Everything mixed with a unique lead solo result in a brilliant work.

A Song For the Deaf is the summary of the record, heavy riffage, loud bass, powerful drumming, dark textures and obscure lyrics. The lead vocals are shared between Mark and Joshua, but at some point of the song we can hear all three voices singing together when Nick joins with eventually screams. It’s the end of a trip, the car is parked… but we still have time for some bonuses.

After A Song For the Deaf ends, we can listen to a small redone version of Feel Good Hit of the Summer with laughs replacing the words.

And the last hidden track is Mosquito Song, definitely the ballad of the record, a beautiful song with somewhat funny lyrics and an orchestra.

The DJ’s Are:
Twiggy Ramirez
Dave Catching
Blag Dahlia
Casey Chaos
Chris Goss

It was produced by Eric Valentine, but due to troubles with him, the band decided to redo most of the tracks and record a couple more songs with Adam Kasper. The record was released on August 27th , 2002.

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

  • The demos of the record, by the time Eric Valentine was producing, are plenty different from the final versions, like for instance: No One Knows had a flute playing during the chorus, Do it Again had alternate lyrics, plus some missing overdubs on the rest of the tracks, etc.
  • Even if Grohl was highly credited for playing in this record and doing such a great job, is good to remember that some of the drum lines were written by Gene Trautmann before Dave joined.
  • Joey Castillo replaced Grohl on drums after his departure before the official release.
  • Troy Van Leeuwen joined the band on tour playing keyboard, guitar and lap steel.
  • First it Giveth was first called First it Giveth #1, and even was labeled that way on some early promos.
  • God is in the Radio was first called God. It also had a different version during the tour of the follow-up record, Lullabies to Paralyze.
  • Lullabies to Paralyze had its name taken from a lyrics of Mosquito Song.
  • The Real Song For the Deaf is a hidden track before Millionaire that consists on some balloons being rubbed against mics, creating a frequency that deaf people can feel.
  • The guy printed on the disc, near the cactus, is Dave Catching.
  • Bonus tracks: Everybody’s Gonna be Happy (The Kinks cover) on non-US prints, Gonna Leave You (Spanish Version) on Japanese CD and Interscope vinyl; and Bloody Hammer (Roky Erickson cover) on Ipecac vinyl.

Review & additional information by Daniel Yuri