Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme Is “Addicted to Risking It All”

The QOTSA frontman discusses the band's new album, trying to "be like Dr. Jekyll" and why "loud is important"

queens of the stone age josh homme interview in times new roman
Queens of the Stone Age, photo by Andreas Neumann, illustration by Steven Fiche

    Josh Homme wants Queens of the Stone Age‘s new album to sound brutal. It’s evident in the first song of new album, In Times New Roman…, where a rattling guitar almost squelches out its opening notes. It’s in the acute paranoia and absurdist rage baked into the lyrics, and it’s in the drama of Homme’s delivery of those very lines.

    According to Homme, it’s all about risk. “Sometimes I feel like I’m addicted to ‘risking it all’,” he tells Consequence over Zoom. “I want to say things that are hard to say, and trust me, it’s hard to sing ‘Voyeurism-jism.'” He’s referring to a line on “Obscenery,” In Times New Roman…‘s opening song, but throughout the album, Homme balances the darkest writing of his career with some of the silliest. The unabashed drama is what helped fuel his creative process. “I don’t think I take myself too seriously because to be vulnerable is mandatory, it’s the minimum obligation,” he says, “and it’s taken all these years for me to get to this point, where I’m in the jungle with a machete, and there’s no one else, and I have to carve my own road.”

    If Homme felt particularly isolated throughout the recording process, it’s likely due to several factors. Not only was there a global pandemic, Homme went through a rough divorce, found himself in a lengthy custody battle for his children, and even dealt with a cancer diagnosis just last year. “It’s not negative to say Rome is burning and the Titanic is sinking,” he tells Consequence. “Some records are made ahead of their time and behind their time, and some are made of their time, and I don’t think you really get a choice on that… I think this record was made of its time.”


    Much of In Times New Roman…‘s lyrics seem to address Homme’s paranoia and disillusionment — whether that be specifically toward his former partner, himself, or the world. Of all the Queens of the Stone Age albums, this one is certainly the most fraught. “I’m so obsessed with wanting it to feel real, which is very vague — so how does it become real?” he asks, “For me, it’s doing things that, frankly, are terrifying or scary or embarrassing or difficult to admit.”

    It’s a major reason why Homme wanted to be back behind the boards for In Times New Roman… after Mark Ronson produced the band’s previous LP, 2017’s Villains. “It was really lovely to work with Mark,” Homme reflects. “Something that reads as strange on paper is something I’ve always loved. But this time around, I knew how raw I wanted this record to be. I tried to write from the third truth — there’s yours, mine, and what actually happened.” Homme divulged that the album’s music was recorded in early 2021, and it took him a full two years to write the lyrics. “The words are really important to me, so I think I kept writing too close to what was happening. I needed to get about 20 feet back from it. It’s a better spot.”

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