With "...Like Clockwork," Queens of the Stone Age's first new album in six years, lodged at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 91,000, Josh Homme is hoping there's a shorter wait for the next one.
"I think we should make a record right away -- but I think we'll know when that is," Homme tells Billboard. "The future is always out there, isn't it? As soon as everyone looks to the left, we'll show up from the right hand side. I mean, that's what we're supposed to do, right? Isn't that the minimum obligation of a band, to try to enthrall and surprise and, with as much mystery as possible, appear to its fans. We're supposed to walk first; we're not supposed to take a CNN poll."
Homme says QOTSA worked on 19 songs for "...Like Clockwork," with 10 making it to the album. As to the potential future for the other nine, however, Homme simply says, "I wish I could tell you that, man."
For the time being, Homme and company are perfectly happy to revel a bit in the "...Like Clockwork's" release. Long in the making and born out of a depression he suffered following complications from knee surgery in 2010, Homme says the albums represents "kind of the tightest, bond-wise across the board, we've ever been. Everyone trusts each other. Everybody has each other's backs, and I think that solidarity really helped to sort of stabilize the sort of more vulnerable moments of the record."
So did the presence of a formidable guest list that includes longtime QOTSA associate Dave Grohl -- who stepped in on drums for five songs after Homme parted ways with Joey Castillo -- band alumnus Nick Oliveri, Trent Reznor, Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears, Alain Johannes, Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan and Homme's wife Brody Dalle. Elton John plays and sings on "Fairweather Friends," which, Homme says, John actually initiated.
"He's obsessed with chasing down new music and understanding what's going on," notes Homme, recalling a phone call he received from John during the recording process. "He said, 'Josh, it's Elton,' and I said, 'I know.' He said, 'No, it's Elton John,' and I said, 'I know.' And literally as I said 'I know,' a text came in from my old roommate, 'Dude, Elton's gonna call you in five minutes,' and I thought, 'God, I really could've used that about 10 minutes ago,' and it really just took off from there. It's one of the few times someone's reached out to us successfully. Usually its a 'We'll ask you if it's OK' situation."
QOTSA has hit the road already to support "...Like Clockwork." The group is in Europe playing mostly festivals through late July, then begins a North American tour on Aug. 2 at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Homme says the group will be out well into 2014, but that the new music merits the activity.
"To be honest, it's actually geared more to be played live," he explains. "It sort of flowers open live. There's songs like 'Kalopsia' that might be confusing to somebody, 'cause I don't know what that is, but love it takes on a grander position. It's meant to be played this way, so it's been going good."