If there’s one thing that can be said about Queens of the Stone Age, it’s that they are a true rock band.
QOTSA’s stuff is 12-bar blues-based songwriting, glam-rock extravagance and a heavy dose of “boys-will-be-boys” irreverence. But boys’ being boys — let’s face it — has never excused the behavior of a lot of boys.
Nevertheless, the Queens are one of the biggest bands on the planet right now. They play motorcycle rock cut with an edge of hotrod boogie: not exactly heavy metal yet much harder than pop.
What separates QOTSA from the classic rock bands they emulate is a chronic flatness in their production. T-Rex, Queen and the Stones all sounded like bands playing together in a room with all the messy and beautiful glory that comes along with that.
Listen to QOTSA on record, and they’re airlessly compressed. If rock ’n’ roll is a feather boa that can be put on and taken off, a pose or an attitude, then the Queens have it down.
With all that out of the way, I can’t talk about the Queens, in this moment of #MeToo and Time’s Up, and not talk about QOTSA front man Josh Homme’s recent kicking incident.
On Dec. 9 just this past year, Homme was caught on camera violently kicking a female photographer in the face while performing at Los Angeles radio station KROQ’s acoustic Christmas concert. In a statement, he called it an accident, an unfortunate side effect of some kind of rock ’n’ roll Ur state he’d reached while performing. She called it intentional.
I don’t know which is true.
What I do know is that I love rock ’n’ roll, and if Josh Homme is the face of rock ’n’ roll, I’ll be having a long hard look at what rock music means in 2018.
Promoting their latest release Villains, Queens of the Stone Age plays with Eagles of Death Metal 8 pm Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Hult Center; $39.95 to $58.70, all-ages.