Queens of the Stone Age

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This highly acclaimed Palm Desert, California, USA-based heavy rock band was formed from the ashes of Kyuss, the stoner rock legends who split up in 1995 after several years of critical acclaim and negligible commercial success. After leaving Kyuss, guitarist Joshua Homme toured with Soundgarden and issued several singles under the name Gamma Ray. He also found the time to work on the Desert Session series for Man's Ruin Records, recording with a loose aggregation of musicians at the Mojave Desert Studio. Homme subsequently began writing songs with former Kyuss drummer Alfredo Hernandez, and cooked up the provocative Queens Of The Stone Age moniker. They debuted on a split EP at the end of 1997, recording three new tracks to go alongside three Kyuss b-sides. Original Kyuss bass player Nick Oliveri, who had been playing with the Dwarves, joined up in time to help record the Queens Of The Stone Age's self-titled 1998 debut album. A minimalist update on Kyuss' acid-tinged desert rock sound, the album included the US alternative radio hit, "If Only". Hernandez left before the release of Rated R; which was recorded with a fluctuating line-up including drummers Gene Troutman and Nicky Lucero, pianist/lap steel guitarist Dave Catching, and guest vocalists Mark Lanegan (lead on "In The Fade") and Rob Halford. The album opened with the controversial "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer", the lyrics to which comprise a checklist of the band's favourite drugs. The hit single "The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret" and much that follows has warmly nostalgic undertones of Spirit and Cream, helping create a melodic and inventive riposte to critics who attacked stoner rock bands for being repetitive and one dimensional, with the subtle musical touches and taut arrangements helping create an eclectic masterpiece. Homme and Oliveri were joined by the Foo Fighters' leader Dave Grohl on recording sessions for their blisteringly good third album. Grohl also played drums on tour with the band.