Queens of the Stone Age songwriter and frontman Josh Homme is friendly, funny, smart, and talkative. In other words, he's an ideal interview. I knew from the moment I picked up the phone and he said, "Dave, this is your conscience calling" that our conversation would be fun, but I had no idea it would touch on pirates, gravy, raves, jumbo shrimp, and cowbell addiction.
Homme's band has a new album-- Era Vulgaris (Latin for "Common Era")-- coming out June 12 on Interscope, and we talked about that too. It's a long interview, but where else are you going to see the phrase "arcing ropes of jism"? (Nevermind, don't answer that.)
Pitchfork: How much Latin do you know?
Josh Homme: I know that, and then the one that everybody knows, in vino veritas. "In wine is truth," right? And then it stops cold there. But I'm going to try to learn how to say "intercourse" in Latin. I just got to look it up.
Pitchfork: What's the story behind the title?
JH: It sounds like "the Vulgar Era", which I like, because that sounds like something that I would like to be part of.
Pitchfork: So you don't think we're in the vulgar era, just that it's something to shoot for?
JH: I mean, I think we're in it, and I'm stoked.
Pitchfork: Why do you think we're in it?
JH: Because I think our generation is, they don't want to be dock workers or coal miners. They want to delay adolescence and prolong adolescence, prolong thought about what to do, and try to take advantage of life while it's around, take more artistic jobs, like working at Pitchfork, playing rock music. And I totally understand that. And I also think it's an age of disinformation, where it's not like it's being kept from you, it's more like it's being piled on top of you. And so I think every time you go to make a personal decision, it's like more information comes to light. I think it's not really bad, it's more gluttony rad. It's sort of like indecision. And I think while we're all deciding, everyone samples a little bit of everything. And I'd like to play that party.
Pitchfork: So you think these are good things?
JH: I don't think they're either. I think I don't understand what they are, and I think that's how this generation feels. I think it's in the indecision where we're living. What it does is make you focus on trying to make your immediate world seem right to you, and-- until I can figure it out-- I think that's where you focus your attention: on the stuff that you know, and on the attempt to carve a little piece for yourself where you feel comfortable and safe and that you do understand.
I find that the more modernized the world gets, the more confusing it gets. And in some aspects, it's like, how the fuck, in an age of five second blips, how do you fall in love with somebody? Something that takes work and patience, is there room for that shit? Or how do you become a master craftsman? If you're a little kid that grows up in the modern age, you really have to fight to develop the patience and drive to really do something that takes work and endurance.
Pitchfork: Knowing how to filter out some information seems important as well.
JH: Yeah, it's finding a needle in a stack of needles. Like money, "Money is the root of all evils," but I've got to pay my rent, so I don't know if money is bad. Or elitism, is elitism bad? Well, if I'm not included, fuck yeah. If I'm included, I don't know. Elitism is usually associated with "this elitist government group" or something, but it could just be a bar where you know everybody and someone new comes in and you're like, "Fuck this guy." So I don't know, and that's kind of where the record's at: celebrating the indecision.
Pitchfork: So you had all these thoughts in mind when you were recording the record?
JH: Well what happened is, I had nothing to say. And so I started to feel a little bit nervous, because we'd been recording for almost two months. And it's got to be real, or it isn't. I was making this drive through Hollywood from the Valley-- [ditzy voice] because I'm a Valley girl-- across Hollywood and Sunset, and the studio is this really classic studio, Cherokee, where they did Station to Station and all this great shit. But you have to drive through the thick of Hollywood to do so, and it's right off of Melrose and Fairfax, so every day at noon, I would drive through the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles during the day, and see all that. And then I would leave at 5:30 in the morning and see the aftermath, and [it's] just about to start again, on the way home. And that sort of triggered all this stuff. It's not overtly conceptual, but it started to all come together.
Pitchfork: Is this the first record where you've felt like you didn't have anything to say?
JH: Yeah. Definitely. Also, recording live is like-- we had tons of pieces, but we endeavored to take the time and construct these pieces in the studio and look at them and judge them and sentence them.
Pitchfork: When you realized you didn't have anything to say, did you ask yourself how you found things to say before?
JH: That's exactly what it is, and I also think it's like, why don't I have something to say? What is it about this time in my own life where I feel like, "I don't know, you tell me something. Sing me something," and what does it mean? Also, I'm 33, and I've always had something to say, but I think you protect yourself or keep it cryptic or guard yourself and veil it so that sometimes the meaning is more like a maze than anything else. But I don't feel like doing that anymore. I know who I am, and I don't mind being more vulnerable about it. This band has always been in touch with it's softer side. We're like Sears.
Pitchfork: You've said that before, like when you talk about how stupid the pit violence at concerts is. Is it important to you that people know you're not just a macho rock guy?
JH: Yeah, as a guy, I think I stand between the two points, where it's like, I'm not playing music for guys, you know? In a way, I'm playing what I think is right. When I want to rock out to stuff, it's just hard like that, but it also has a groove to it. I want the shows to be like a party that I would go to at someone's house. So I don't want someone to ruin it by displaying how stupid they are. And it's about real thoughts that you have, that involve stuff like love and confusion and despair and paranoia, and all that stuff, where some people would be like, "You pussy."
But at the same time, I don't like the emasculation of America either, and of the world. I fuckin' love Charles Bronson, you know? I love the first couple Mad Max movies. I'm not too interested in taking shit. I'm willing to, as a person, stand up for what it is that I'm believing in. I don't care so much about losing in those situations, because it's not really about whether you win or lose, it's that you stood up for what your thing was. I've had my ass handed to me physically and verbally many times, but it doesn't really matter. That's not the point. It's about being a little bit equaled.
Pitchfork: And musically, the prettier and more sensitive elements help to put the other stuff in relief.
JH: Yeah, you can't take too much of one thing, or I find that I can't. I believe that people listen to whatever they think is good, once they're past that 13-year-old stage where you're like, "I only listen to punk rock!" You know, I did that 'til I was 20. I was a late bloomer as far as not being a retard is concerned, musically. And it's like, if you can't appreciate Lee Hazelwood or early Tom Waits as much as you can appreciate Reign in Blood, and as much as Roy Orbison and fucking the Stooges. Trying to be as rounded as possible is rad, unless you're talking physically, and then it just looks a little weird.
Pitchfork: You seem to have a bit of the record nerd in you. Is there any old stuff you've only discovered recently?
JH: So much of the time on tour, I've been buying vinyl [albums] and not even getting the chance to listen to them. And so it's kind of rediscovering my own catalogue of stuff. I've been listening to tons of Blind Lemon Jefferson, who I knew just a little. And now it's like, it changes. You know how you put records in a time frame? Everyone puts records in a time frame.
Pitchfork: In what sense?
JH: People go, "Yeah I used to listen to Tears for Fears in junior high," or whatever. And when I listen to the Stooges, I say, "That timeframe could never occur again," where coming out of peace and love, comes this dude with these thug guys that basically everyone hates, and he's like, [deep voice] "Good." And it takes 35 years for the public to understand the Stooges. I've never seen a time release that long before.
And in Blind Lemon Jefferson's case, or some of the early blues guys, they're not playing for any reason other than that's what they understand to play. Because you're not going to get huge as a black guy who's blind in the South playing blues in the 30s. It's just not an option. It's because it's a conduit from God, you know? In your mind, it's a religion. That's what music is for me. It's the way of playing what's hard to say. And I don't fuck with music, as in to say, I don't disrespect it. I don't take it for granted, and I work all the time on it, but not for you, for me. Because I know that if you slouch on it, if you get a huge ego about it, if you think you deserve to play, then it will take itself away from you. You'll write the world's shittiest songs, ad infinitum: "Here come 400 of the worst songs ever! Brace yourselves, people!" And so, I'm not going to toy with the fucking volcano.
Pitchfork: Is there a specific song or record that is your gold standard?
JH: Well the snare sound that I've been chasing for years is actually-- Dr. Dre recognized it too, because he turned it into "California Love"-- but it's a Joe Cocker song called "Woman to Woman". I hear those drums and I'm like, arcing ropes of jism, you know?
When going for a sound, it would be easy to try to fit in. And I've always felt like it's better to be a deliberate outsider. I don't want to be in the center with everybody else. In fact, I want other people's records to put ours in glowing relief. And I don't want to copy myself either. So you kind of take stock in what's out there, and just don't do that. And then cross that up with what you love about what just seems utterly you. I think this record sounds different, even for us.
Pitchfork: It sounds a little less slick, noisier maybe.
JH: Yeah, it's like dirt, clearly seen. For us, this is a modern record, because when the subject matter and the vibe started to turn to, not esoteric things, but right now, then it started to electrically charge what we were doing. Like, the drums go "pcuhcur." Each shot sounds like something just broke.
Pitchfork: Do you get a lot of your ideas from drum sounds?
JH: I'm a beat freak, and I'm a wanna-be drummer. I always have been. I get a lot of ideas from just walking. I walk at the pace of something. So for me, being moving and, like, I love to go dancing and shit like that, to swivel hips and shit like that. There's just certain things that happen when you hear James Brown. No one fights for the last chair. I think I'm obsessed with groove things. I think that's why I like trance and guitar and the guitar world.
Pitchfork: Trance, as in electronic music?
JH: No, trance like repetition, like Brian Eno, and actually, yeah, some techno music. There's some stuff that's just fucking amazing. When I was in Kyuss, I used to set up lights at raves. I used to work for this guy Brad Baker a couple of times, and it was basically just to get in free. That's when you had to call like five numbers and meet some guy in Mickey Mouse gloves walking on his fucking hands in a cul-de-sac, and then you'd be in a warehouse in Watts, and there'd be no alcohol and a bunch of fine-ass chicks and everyone's dancing and tripping on X. And the music was hard and grimy. And I was like, "This is sick!" Because it's like punk rock without the judgment call.
Pitchfork: What do you mean?
JH: Well, I think in every scene there's a timeline: it starts with originators; and the second wave is people who understood those originators and do something that sounds original as well; and then, here come the warm jets, the mimickers and the copiers, and the people that just are fucking derivatives. And here come the rules, like hardcore. "No long hair. Got to look punk, but not that way. Can't play this, only play this style." The rules where you're like, "Fuck you, Nazi!" That's not why you get into something. Like, "It's really great to be in this scene, because it's really great when people tell me what to do. It's awesome."
Pitchfork: I'm assuming you don't consider yourself part of that last category, but have you been able to locate Kyuss or Queens as part of the first or second waves of any scene?
JH: Maybe I look like an arrogant dick, but I don't think I'm in the third. And I really try hard to not be there. There's a whole stoner rock community, and to me that's-- I understand why people congregate in a scene. It's that same, "Elitist: good or bad?" question, because you want to have a turf of your style of folk.
Pitchfork: And if you have the right people around you to filter information through, it helps you make sense of the world.
JH: Absolutely. It's what we do, and it makes 100% sense. It's where you pile your stuff, your thoughts, and your collections of people and all this stuff: your community. But I always felt like it'd be better to be in the sort of situation where you could just hop from scene to scene and be accepted by all of them. And if anything, try to create a jumbo shrimp situation where you have an army of individuals. What they really do is roam from scene to scene, like gypsies. If there's any scene I would associate myself with, it would be pirates or gypsies. Because I'll see the other pirates when I go to port and we're all getting shitfaced together, and until then, I don't expect to see them. But I know I have more in common with them, because they're out doing their own thing too.
Pitchfork: Is that how you feel about Trent Reznor and Mark Lanegan and PJ Harvey and Dave Grohl, and the other people you've collaborated with in the past?
JH: Absolutely, man. Jack White. There's a whole slew of people that I think are following what they have no choice but to follow, and I feel like I understand that.
Our last record, there was so much personal turmoil and stuff that got brought to the forefront, and I was just trying to make it about music again. And at the time, I was like, "Fuck, no one's even listening to this. It's too much about other stuff." And it would have been easy to make Songs for the Deaf 2, which is basically all I heard in my own head. But I can't do that. You've got to shake all that shit away. From my perspective, I've got to have the balls not to do that. And it doesn't really matter if it pisses somebody off, because it's not really up to me. You make the music, and then people do what they need to with it.
But now, with this record about to come out, on the eve of this shit, I'm like, it actually did work, because that last record cut the lead jacket off my shoulders. It wasn't Songs for the Deaf 2, and it felt like we weathered all that shit. And it made it possible to make this record, sounding this way. I'm hyper, man. I'm ready to fucking go play. I'm wired up about it. I wasn't before. The last record, we stopped when that feeling went away, because I felt kind of sick in the head, you know?
Pitchfork: When you're on tour, do you play songs from Lullabies to Paralyze?
JH: Oh, yeah.
Pitchfork: So you still like that music?
JH: I fucking love that record. It's just as dark as that time was. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's just, I got caught in what I've been trying to avoid. Shit happens.
Pitchfork: Is there anyone you haven't worked with yet that you would like to?
JH: Fuck, it's like walking into a record store. Now I don't know what I want to buy. I don't know. I just think working with Julian [Casablancas] and Trent on this-- my own guideline is that it would seemingly not make sense to other people, that it's a strange chemistry set. I would have won the bet of, "Can you guess who it's going to be that we would collaborate with on this record?" Because I think it's from strange areas.
And it's not that we have to collaborate. It wasn't really going to even happen. We weren't going to make any attempt [to collaborate with anyone]. It just sort of happened that way. And I think sometimes a certain to-do gets made about collaborations, when really it's just like, "Hey do you want to do this?" It's not supposed to be a spotlight dance either. It should make sense, and it should be good. Trent's on the title track, which isn't even on the record.
Pitchfork: How is that going to come out?
JH: It's going to come out in other ways. Yeah, it's just going to come out in other ways.
Pitchfork: I read a rumor that you have included bad songs on some of your records on purpose. Is that true?
JH: That was in the Desert Sessions. That's what we did in the beginning. Or stuff that was deliberately annoying. I recognized them as songs that you wouldn't listen to, say, a second time [laughs], just because it's kind of cruel and delicious. It's sort of like what the Melvins or Mike Patton are always doing, a little torture.
But I stopped doing them on Desert Sessions, because a) there was enough material, and b) it's like, "Actually, wait, that's the wrong idea," because I think it's too protective. I don't like that getting-comfortable-in-failure sort of vibe. I'm not hell-bent on winning anything necessarily, but I don't like that, "Oh, I could have done that, so I didn't" or that notion that I used to have that I call punk rock guilt, which is like, "Do well, but don't do too well." You don't understand! I used to say about Nirvana during Bleach, "Holy shit, this is so good, and people should get this, and they won't." It's the reason Songs for the Deaf was the title: here's another great record you're not going to hear!
I just started realizing that, too much of the time, people only know what they don't want. I'd rather just focus on something I'm into and put [my] energies there. It's like being a hippie but showering all the time.
Pitchfork: How have you found the things that you want, as opposed to just knowing what you don't want?
JH: Music is the easy one, because if I start to get that feeling-- like when you date a new chick and you've just left for the night, that feeling of "yeeeah" that's in your guts-- if I get that feeling about a beat or a sound or music, then I know to pursue it. Even if it feels scary or "I've never played that song before," then I really know it's the right direction. Just for life, if something sucks, I don't spend that much time on it. It's about shedding the things that you don't like. Because it's not really worth it, man. Who fucking cares? "This table sucks. It's blue. It's this tall. It's over here, and I don't want to sit around it."
Pitchfork: Are you actually looking at a blue table right now?
JH: No, but I'm looking at a blue line in the street. And I just don't want to be around people that focus that way either. Because I assume that since you can't pick your family, then when you get a chance to pick your friends, you go ahead and give it some thought. It's [not] like, "Go ahead and see if they're dicks or not." And we have a really nice group of people around us. Everyone works their ass off and has a talent in something the other does not. So it's productive.
Pitchfork: With the gut feeling you were talking about, is there ever a middle ground, just a mildly positive feeling that might be worth pursuing? Or is it that if it's not that feeling, then it's not worth doing?
JH: What I do with music is that I don't force music along. I can't tell you how many times a song ends up on a record that has been an idea for me for ten years and it hasn't finished itself. I don't pressure the music that I write. I'll let it sit around, and I don't demo it. I just remember it in my head, and I figure if it's really good then it will stay in there. [I] let it develop, because it's more like I don't understand the song at the time. And pressurizing it isn't going to help: "Why aren't you finished?!" I just wait by the phone for the songs to call me and tell me to come pick them up somewhere.
Pitchfork: You've said in the past that you had something of a roadmap for the first three Queens of the Stone Age albums. Now that you're on the fifth one, does a master plan for the band and your releases exist anymore?
JH: The funny thing is that it doesn't. After I finished those three records, and then there was all this turmoil, the fourth record was almost an amalgam of all three. It always seemed like we were making music that had a scope, that it could be soft and heavy and all this stuff under the umbrella of our sound. And I feel like now that chapter is closed, and it's even wider now. The reason to do that with the first three records was to make it so that I could be in a band that could play anything that we wanted to play, that had no respect for genre and stuff. And I feel like I'm there. I almost feel like, that I'm sort of swimming in the destination point, which is infinite. This destination point is multidirectional. And so it doesn't feel like I'm in a box. It feels like I'm free of all boxes now. There's a larger gamble in not having any idea, [but] it's more about saying, "We go north and look for the following things, possibly." At least we're going in a direction that has a width to it.
Pitchfork: So everything from here on out is just gravy?
JH: Yeah, but a million different styles of gravy. It's not like, "Everything from here on out is vanilla." I guess I feel cut free from having to play any certain style. Now the limit is your own ability to do something. And I don't ever need someone to tell me to get up and go work on something. I love what I do, and I feel really lucky to still be playing, so I don't want someone to set the bar for me higher than [I do]. That's the way all the people in my family before were too, driven to keep yourself busy, because complacency and all that shit-- too much self -examination, not so good. You're better off digging a ditch because all you can think about is ditch-digging.
Pitchfork: Were you a part of the show where Eagles of Death Metal opened for Guns N' Roses and Axl Rose called them "Pigeons of Shit Metal"? What did you think of that?
JH: I wasn't at that show. I thought, "God, such a job well done." And even earlier than I thought he would. It was the best thing that could happen. Fuck yeah, dude, that was rad. That was so hot. Because Eagles of Death Metal, as a courtesy to Guns N' Roses, were making their show a little sexier, and it was like one of two things was going to happen: either [frontman] Jesse [Hughes] was going to be Axl's guru, or [Axl] was going to shit himself and throw him off the tour at some point. That seemed obvious. He didn't even see the band. It was just a total mental break. It's so par for his course, and the fact of the matter is, Sebastian Bach and Axl Rose-- I was like, "That was awesome, congratulations!" I wouldn't have been there in the first place, as in to say, I was in full support of Eagles going there, but I wouldn't have been there.
Pitchfork: Do you have any thoughts about Chinese Democracy?
JH: I don't even have a casual interest. Best of luck to 'em, because do what you do, man. But I couldn't give two wooden fucks, basically. Do you know what I mean?
Pitchfork: I know exactly what you mean.
JH: It so doesn't concern me in any way, and it's such a circus of a madhouse, it's hard to want to piss on it if it were on fire. It's like, why even get involved? I'm getting involved by talking about it, but because I don't even care, it doesn't matter. And Eagles of Death Metal is a band that-- Jesse is like, "You know what would be rad? If I could be a huge rock star, that would be awesome." I love that dude. He's the fucking real deal. He's like Freddie Mercury's straight nephew. I want to see him fucking unleash his rock 'n roll on the world. I'm proud to be in the Batman and Robin duo of that, and I think one of the most true things that could have happened is that the Eagles should be thrown from that tour, because all that does is do all the work without us having to do any. Kind of like, "Thanks bro, talk to you later! Thanks for making it [to] one show."
Pitchfork: "Thanks for the free publicity!"
JH: Yeah, we sent their management a thank-you card.
Pitchfork: Did you get a response from them?
JH: No, which I think is rude, but that's a whole other story.
Pitchfork: What response would you want?
JH: "No problem," or something. That's not for me to do.
Pitchfork: "No problem, happens all the time."
JH: [laughs] Yeah. I only know my side, which was, "Thank you very much, I appreciate it, and best of luck to you...don't eat meatloaf."
Pitchfork: When we were talking about all the information this generation is exposed to, you wondered if there was room for falling in love. How has that question shed light on your relationships with your wife and daughter?
JH: Let's see how I can not talk about this and talk about it at the same time. I think, ultimately, it's in pursuing the things that you want out of life, and being open enough to see something that's good. I've always been a masochist, because I don't really care what happens to me and not because I don't enjoy my own company. I think you have to risk something to get something, so in line with that, I'm happy to risk something for something that's good. And that's how I feel about that.
Pitchfork: Very good. Very evasive.
JH: Well, I used to take dance classes.
Pitchfork: Have you turned your daughter into a punk rocker yet?
JH: You know what? She listens to everything, and she's one hell of a dancer. She can cut a rug, man.
Pitchfork: Do you ever test your stuff out on her?
JH: What do you mean? Whenever I get medicine from the doctor...
Pitchfork: [laughs] I mean, if you're demo-ing a new song and she's dancing to it, do you know that you've succeeded a little bit?
JH: Tom Waits once said, "Family and music are like two dogs that don't like each other." And what I do is, I just hope for the best. She's willing do dance to Queens stuff, but so far, she's pretty willing to dance to everything. I don't know if she's into the sorting phase yet. But hopefully once she gets there, I'll be in the good pile.
Pitchfork: She could rebel and listen to Celine Dion or something.
JH: That's what you'd have to listen to to rebel from me, man.
Pitchfork: What would you do if that happened?
JH: I guess I'd be listening to fucking "Don't You Know You're My Hero" or whatever that song was ["Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler --Ed.]. That's the thing, you're never wrong with music, that's what I love. And I don't have any guilty pleasures. I know the song "Toxic" by Britney Spears is good. I don't need to feel bad about it.
Pitchfork: Yeah, but everyone knows that song is good. That's not a guilty pleasure. Let's dig deeper.
JH: Where's the fucking true dirty guilty pleasures?
Pitchfork: I think if you're an Incubus fan that might work.
JH: [laughs] That was classic.
Pitchfork: Well it's true, there's not a lot of very credible Incubus fans, not that there couldn't be.
JH: I did Ozzfest, and they were on the tour as well. I really couldn't stand it, and I decided that I was going to get us kicked off.
Pitchfork: Is this a recurring theme with bands you're in?
JH: No, hardly. We just happen to be touching on these subjects. And those guys were great guys, and they actually saved my bacon, because they were the voice of reason [laughs]. I felt that we were invited on this tour to be the ginger on everyone's palate, and I don't mind dealing with hecklers. Making fun of stuff is a hobby, because I don't have any other hobbies. [I] come out and hear "Faggot!" and we haven't even played yet, so I passed the time by dealing with those people and hanging with Incubus [laughs], shooting baskets with them. Nice guys.
Pitchfork: Might they be the next choice for a surprise collaboration?
JH: [laughs] Yeah, that's in the works.
Pitchfork: Is there a full Queens of the Stone Age tour in the works? There just seem to be a few festival dates right now. You guys actually alerted us to one of my favorite festivals I've written about, the Hove Festival. It was listed on your tour dates as "H to the Izzo". It's a strange bill. Have you seen it?
JH: No, I didn't see who else was on it. Who is it?
Pitchfork: It's like, the Arcade Fire and Interpol but also Clipse and Paul Wall and Chamillionaire and then Slayer, My Chemical Romance, the Killers, and Damien Rice. I think Incubus might actually be on there as well. A lot of Norwegian metal bands as well. It's like a strange--
JH: Like a weird hometown buffet. I like that, that's good. Because that's where you get to see what everyone's really like, if they can do it or not.
Pitchfork: What do you mean?
JH: Festivals are like, "Can you just set up and do it, or not?" And I like that. Plus, I get to see bands.
Pitchfork: Is there anyone particularly impressive or unimpressive that you've seen in the festival circuit?
JH: I love Primal Scream, fuckin' rad. I saw them on the Evil Heat tour, and... Let's see, just tons of bands. I got to see Björk at Roskilde, and I almost broke down and cried like a little baby. Seeing Radiohead play along a lakeside under a full moon in Sweden, shit like that. Also, seeing GBH play at the festival in Birmingham. Just going to see shows, I'm easy man.
Pitchfork: Is there a U.S. tour in the works?
JH: Yeah, it starts in Bakersfield [California]. We're playing Bakersfield, Medford, Oregon, Duluth, all the cities that we never have gotten to. We're just going to play to the kids that don't often get shows.
Pitchfork: Will that be before the summer festival dates or after?
JH: Right after those. We go to Europe first, and then we're going to do what we're calling "The Duluth Tour".
Pitchfork: Are you really the biggest Mastodon fan, like you say in that message at the end of their new album?
JH: I was just fucking with them. Then they asked if they could put that on the end of their record, and I was like, "Yeah." I did the vocal and sent it back to them, and that message was before the song started.
Pitchfork: Where is the cowbell on Era Vulgaris?
JH: You know, it's like that old saying: "Drink one beer, but you're not an alcoholic. But play one cowbell, and you're a cowbellaholic."
Pitchfork: So you're trying to wean yourself off?
JH: Yeah man, because you know what? [I was] strung out on bells for a while. Shit hurts. At first you think it's really cool, and it makes you feel good about yourself. But the next thing you know, you're hitting wood blocks instead, just because they're close. So it's something that every young teen out there should be aware of: Just stay in school. Say no to bells in your face.
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Voxtrot Add Dates to Summer Tour
Fri: 04-13-07: 12:30 PM CDT
Cat Power Powers Up Tour With July Dates
Fri: 04-13-07: 11:30 AM CDT
"Massively Disappointed" Sov Scraps Rest of UK Tour
- Beck's Information Limited Art Prints on the Way
- Prinzhorn Dance School Open for LCD Again
- The National Join Arcade Fire for U.S. Dates
- Photos: Kaiser Chiefs / The Walkmen [New York, NY; 04/12/07]
- The Faint Tour, Make People Dance
- Flaming Lips Bring U.F.O.s to the Zoo on DVD
- Photos: Klaxons [Boston, MA; 04/11/07]
- Sub Pop Signs Grand Archives and Sera Cahoone
- Conor Oberst Costco Guitar Explained!
- Ryan Adams Won't Play Stonehenge After All
- The Books Kick Off Spring Tour
- Boredoms Tour Europe, Do One-Off in Canada
- David Bowie Reissue, Best Of Due
- Minus the Bear's Snider Reveals New Album Details
- Lily Allen Adds Even More Tour Dates
- Pavement, Death Cab, Wilco, Shins in Photo Book
- Final Fantasy Casts Spells on Europe, Canada
- Modest Mouse Keep Ship Afloat With Video Contest
- Sonic Youth Reveal Deluxe Daydream Nation Details
- Jesus Lizard Release Live DVD
- Nick Drake's Early Jams Resurface on Family Tree
- Costco Hawks Autographed Conor Oberst Guitars?!
- Lolla Gets Daft Punk, Modest Mouse, LCD, Stooges
- Bright Eyes, Tilly, Faint Members Help out Coyote Bones
- Jena Malone Kicks off Social Registry Singles Club
- Photos: Magnolia Electric Co / Bottomless Pit [Chicago, IL; 04/10/07]
- Walkmen's Leithauser Talks Spidey Soundtrack, Arrest
- Exclusive: Caribou Signs to Merge
- Interpol Expand Tour, Still No Sign of Album
- Blur Drummer Rowntree Running for Office in London
- Kanye, Pumpkins, Beasties Save World With Live Earth
- Rufus Wainwright Tours, Releases Stars
- Exclusive: Illinois to Open for the Hold Steady
- Of Montreal's Barnes Talks Nudity, Karaoke, New Tunes
- Frog Eyes Add Dates, Openers to Valedictorian Tour
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Kick Off Tour, Just Miss T.I.
- Chemical Brothers Are the Night on New Album
- A-Trak and Catchdubs Launch Fool's Gold Label
- Stripes' Icky Thump Release Date, Cover Art Revealed
- Monks Tribute Comp [ft. Gossip, Fall, Faust] USA-Bound
- Long Blondes Coming to America Thanks to Beggars
- Xiu Xiu Subject Us to Old Recordings via 7"
- Sanctuary Records to Cease New Releases in U.S.
- Man Man, Oakley Hall, Buckner on WUAG Comp
- The Robot Ate Me Tour North America
- Xiu Xiu, Matmos, Erase Errata Judge XBXRX Contest
- Cursive Extend U.S. Tour
- M.I.A. Reveals New Album Name, Release Date
- Roky Erickson Reborn With Documentary, Tour
- Tokyo Police Club Tour Some More
- Indies Launching Compilation Attack on Mainstream?
- Animal Collective's Weitz Seeks Parkinson's Donations
- Jeezy, USDA Talk Album, Slang, Street Team
- Jason Isbell Leaves Drive-By Truckers
- Lily Allen, Kanye, Dilla Help Common Find Forever
- QOTSA's Era Vulgaris Tracklist Revealed
- Constantines Line Up U.S. Dates
- T.V. Eye: April 9-15, 2007
- Photos: Patrick Wolf [Brooklyn, NY; 04/06/07]
- Spank Rock DJ/Producers Step Into the Spotlight
- Björk, SY, JAMC, Modest Mouse Up For Electric Picnic
- Magazine Reissue Studio LPs
- M. Ward on Fire: Soundtrack, Reissue, Zooey D. Collab
- Hold Steady Add Dates, Finn Jams With Springsteen
- Klaxons Launch North American Invasion This Weekend
- ACRN Week Gets Magnolia, Vanderslice, St. Vincent
- Oasis, Killers Remake Sgt. Pepper's, God Knows Why
- Arbouretum Back Cass McCombs on Tour
- Iha Definitely Out for Pumpkins Reunion
- Ulrich Schnauss Shares Heartfelt Goodbye
- Photos: The Gossip [Portland, OR; 04/04/07]
- Low to Open North American Wilco Shows
- Art Brut Just Talking to the Kids on DVD
- Thermals Combat The Machine on World Tour
- Fridge LP Details, Four Tet/Sunburned Collab Revealed
- Mirah, Mudhoney, Timony on DeSoto Kiddie Comp
- Apostle of Hustle Move Quickly Through U.S., Canada
- Lifetime Poised for Spring Tour
- Dungen's Gustavsson Releases Solo Debut
- Elf Power Tour, Make More Records
- Jenny Lewis Wins L.A. "Pioneer Woman" Honor
- Low Kick Off Tour, Rock NPR, Postpone June Shows
- Architecture in Helsinki Plot World Tour, New Single
- CocoRosie Expand Tour Adventures
- Lips, Rapture, CYHSY Come Back for Indian Summer
- Gui Boratto & Michael Mayer Team for Tour
- Arcade Fire, Wilco, Rapture, Jarvis Rock Latitude Fest
- Superchunk Return With Aqua Teen Single
- Reunited Simply Saucer Record First Album in 29 Years
- Exclusive: Wooden Wand Modifies Monikers on Tour
- Acid Mothers Mount "Crystal Rainbow Pyramid Tour"
- Velvet Underground Celebrated With Art Exhibit
- Blonde Redhead Kick Off World Tour
- 1990s Treat U.S. to Cookies, NYC Gigs
- Peter and the Wolf Pack Tour CD for Spring Journey
- Exclusive: Pharoahe Monch Bumps Desire to June
- Knife Unveil Deluxe Silent Shout Details
- Carl Newman Reveals New Pornographers LP Details
- John Vanderslice Hits the Road
- Iron and Wine Set Single for July
- Mono Tour With Grails, World's End Girlfriend
- Wilco Expand World Tour
- O'Death Sign to Ernest Jenning, Deluxe-ify LP
- El-P Announces Spring Tour
- Bright Eyes Add Pre-Order Goodie
- Pitchfork Seeks Full-Time Web Developer
- Bumbershoot Bundles Shins, Wu-Tang, Devendra, Lupe
- Mike Patton and Fennesz Tour Together
- Handsome Furs Pelt Audiences with Handful of Dates
- Good, Bad & Queen Play Fests, Drop iTunes EP
- Lady Sov Gets Sick, Cancels Gigs, Plays Go-Kart Track
- YACHT Releases Two Records, Tours
- Plaid Mount U.S. Tour With Video Artist Bob Jaroc
- Deerhoof, Battles Drummers Contribute to Drum Site
- The Sea and Cake Let Everybody See Them Live
- Les Savy Fav, Wilco, Yo La Tengo Join ATP vs. Fans
- Photos: Rock Plaza Central [Chicago, IL; 04/01/07]
- Death Cab, R.E.M., Leo, Wrens Rock for Net Neutrality
- Rapture, Wu-Tang, CYHSY, Autechre Do Dour Festival
- Get Him Eat Him Offer Tour EPs for Download
- Art Brut, CSS, Bonde, Voxtrot Make Great Escape
- Hold Steady Revamp "Ballgame" for the Twins
- Bestival Boasts Bonde, Fujiya, Robyn, Gossip, Figurines
- Cloud Cult Tour, Let Us in on Meaning of 8
- Lily Allen's Perpetual Tour Rolls On
- Andrew Bird Leaves Armchair for U.S., European Dates
- Gear Theft Brings Dears Guitarist to Tears
- EMI Dumps iTunes DRM
- Photos: Battles [Chicago, IL; 03/30/07]
- RZA, GZA, Dead Prez Play We the People Fest
- Bjork Reveals Volta Artwork, Tracklist
- Photos: Bloc Party [New York, NY; 03/30/07]
- Photos: LCD Soundsystem [New York, NY; 03/30/07]
- Ashlee Simpson Working With Robert Smith?!?!
- Dizzee Rascal Reveals New Album Details
- Photos: Sufjan Stevens [Grand Rapids, MI; 03/30/07]
- T.V. Eye: April 2-8, 2007
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah to Europe
- The Rapture Announce Spring/Summer Tour
- Hold Steady, M. Ward Pay Tribute to Bruce Springsteen
- New Pornos, Malkmus, De La Soul Added to P4K Fest
- Dan Deacon Spazzes Across America Some More
- Jana Hunter Sets Home Free, Tours
- Gonzales Enlists Feist, Jamie Lidell for DVD
- Interpol's Sam + Swervedriver's Adam = Setting Suns
- Man Man to Open Modest Mouse Tour!
- Newsom, Deerhoof, Bloc Party Play French Fest
- Blue Cheer Tour With An Albatross
- Maximo Park, Bonde do Role, Patti Smith Do Evolution
- Parts & Labor Trek with Mapmaker in Tow
- Seefeel's Quique Remastered, Reissued, Awesome
- Yoshimi Heads Smalltown Superjazzz Charge
- Fairport Convention Celebrate 40th With Box, U.S. Tour
- Hot Chip Tour Expands, Band Adds DJ Dates
- Donaufestival Gets Boredoms, Deerhoof, Gang of Four
- LCD Soundsystem Do the Festival Thing
- Interpol, Arcade Fire, TVOTR Play Hove Festival
- Exclusive: Rosebuds Tour Behind Furies
- Soulwax Take Nite Versions, 2ManyDJs Across America
- Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom Plots U.S. Invasion
- Human Giant Talk Ghostface, MTV, YouTube
- Photos: Explosions in the Sky / The Paper Chase / Eluvium [Chicago, IL; 03/28/07]
- Bjork Trickling Out Volta Teasers
- Thurston Moore, Jim O'Rourke Turn Noise Into Silence
- Peeping Tom Tour, Spy on People
- Jarvis Wants YOU to Open His North American Shows
- David Vandervelde and Richard Swift Tour
- Boom Bip Releases EP, Tours
- Konono No.1 Tour, Release Digital EP
- St. Vincent Signs to Beggars
- Queens of the Stone Age Announce Short Tour
- New Pornographers Tease With Shows, Album Details
- Smashing Pumpkins Schedule Lone Non-Festival Date
- Final Fantasy, Isan Added to Montag LP
- YYYs, Flaming Lips, Walkmen Rock Spiderman 3
- Beirut Get Crazy in "Elephant Gun" Video Stills
- Exclusive: Mooney Suzuki to Have Mercy in June
- Art Brut Complete Complicated, Announce Release Date
- Young Jeezy Unveils Cold Summer Mixtape, Adds Dates
- Belle & Sebastian, Delgados, Pastels on Scot Comp
- The Stooges Add Spring, Summer Dates
- Spoon Record With Jon Brion, Party With Flavor Flav
- Metric Write Songs, Tour; Haines Plays Festivals
- Shellac Reveal Excellent Tracklist
- Xiu Xiu, Sunset Rubdown Shock Indiana University
- Modest Mouse Crash Charts With No. 1 Debut
- Pere Ubu Offer Fontana Reissues, Tour
- Ted Leo Kicks Off Tour, Rocks NPR
- Jack White to Play Elvis in New Film?
- Arcade Fire Announce New Single
- Patrick Wolf Bound for New York, Europe
- Hold Steady Announce Red-Blooded American Dates
- Dr. Dog, Spinto, Bardo Pond Play Philly's POPPED!
- Flying Lotus Signs to Warp Despite Silly Name
- Beach House Release Debut on Limited Vinyl
- Mission of Burma, Jawbreaker, Travis Morrison Contribute to Callum Robbins Benefit Comp
- Nas, Public Enemy, the Roots, MF Doom Rock the Bells
- Connect Fest Links Up JAMC, Björk, Beasties
- Mint Reissues Cub, Maow [ft. Neko Case] Classics
- Faust/Nurse With Wound, KTL, J Spaceman Play Venn
- Andy Partridge Floods Marketplace With Albums
- Happy Mondays Back at It With New Album, Tour
- The Pack Talk Album, Vans, Parents, the Misfits
- Fennesz Reprises Sakamoto Collaboration with LP, Tours
- Spoon Announce New Album Title
- Herren Talks Prefuse, Savath, New LPs, Collaboration
- Pioneering Producer Joe Meek Reissued Thrice-Over
- Stephen Marley Talks Mind Control, Family, Jail
- Sonar Fest Grabs Beasties, Dizzee, Mogwai, Junior Boys
- Photos: Amiina / Tom Brosseau [Chicago, IL; 03/23/07]
- Trio of Dolly Parton Reissues Due
- T.V. Eye: March 26-April 1, 2007
- Stiff Records Reissues Five Forgotten Gems
- Photos: Dean & Britta [Atlanta, GA; 03/23/07]
- Bjork Talks "Earth Intruders", Volta's First Single
- Bloc Party Extend Never-Ending Tour With U.S. Shows
- Daft Punk Is Playing at More Festivals
- Bonde do Role Add Dates, Share Bills With Klaxons, CSS
- Deerhoof, Air, Spree Added to Bowie-Curated Fest
- Spoon Reveal New Album Details
- Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker Debuts New Songs, Covers
- Arcade Fire to Play Bowie's Highline Fest
- The Wedding Present Release Six-Disc Peel Sessions
- White Stripes Reveal Icky Thump Tracklist
- Exclusive: The Books to Release DVD
- Of Montreal, Apples, Tullycraft Do Twee Singles Club
- Horrors, BRMC Team Up for North American Tour
- Hot Chip Compile DJ-Kicks
- Neko Case Puts DJ Skillz to Work, Adds Summer Dates
- Rock Plaza, Tilly, Arbouretum Play Mission Creek Fest
- ? and the Mysterians Play Fire Relief Benefits
- Xiu Xiu Launch Tour Tomorrow
- T.I. Nabs Timbaland, Timberlake, R. Kelly for New LP
- Fujiya & Miyagi to Open Peter Bjorn and John Tour
- Exclusive: Shapes and Sizes to Tour With the National
- Digitalism Advocate Idealism on World Tour
- ATP Bringing Slint's Spiderland to America
- Photos: OOIOO / Lichens [Chicago, IL; 03/21/07]
- Decemberists, Thermals, Daniel Cover Classics on Comp
- Photos: The Decemberists [Jersey City, NJ; 03/21/07]
- Of Montreal Add Tour Dates, Do Karaoke
- Ghostface, Diplo, Hot Chip Judge Plastic Little Contest
- Clipse Head Up Seagram's Live Tour
- Exclusive: Postmarks Tour with Smoosh, Memphis
- Morrissey Extends U.S. Tour
- Eddie Argos Talks Art Brut LP Details, Missing Mustache
- Sonic Youth Take Daydream to More Nations
- Jennifer O'Connor Tour Headed Across the Valley
- "Human Giant" Gets Air Date, Ghostface Cameo
- Bishop Allen's Rice Wears Pigeon Suit in New Movie
- Amiina Release Debut LP Online, Tour North America
- Pumpkins, Arcade Fire, NIN to Rock Reading/Leeds
- Panda Bear Preps "Pills", Pitch LP, Plays Portugal
- Hold Steady to Release Live Acoustic EP
- Tiefschwarz Celebrate 10 Years With Best Of, Tour
- Flaming Lips' Yoshimi: Broadway Bound!
- LSF/Wolf Parade/Islands Supergroup Delays Debut
- Decemberists to Kick Off Tour Tonight in Jersey City
- Jeff Buckley Greatest Hits Comp, DVD in Works
- Ellen Allien Tours, Compiles New Camping Mix
- Roll Deep Roll Out New Album(s)
- Walkmen's Leithauser Responds to SXSW Arrest
- Sub Pop to Offer "Loser Scholarship"
- Subtitle Calls It Quits
- Waits, Watt, Langford Guest on Book of Knots LP
- Shins, Rapture Raise Darfur Awareness With mtvU
- Tokyo Police Club Tease Us with New EP
- Laura Veirs to Release Saltbreakers, Tour UK, US
- Isaac Brock Self-Mutilates at South Dakota Gig?
- Battles Kick Off Tour
- Björk, Interpol, Pumpkins Play Virgin Festival
- TV on the Radio Transmit Amoeba Live EP
- Pretty Girls Make Graves Head to China on Final Tour
- Bjork Announces Tour Dates, Talks Timbaland Collab
- The Field Prepares to Go Sublime on Kompakt Debut
- SXSW Report [Zach Vowell]
- The Go! Team Announce Shows
- Rob Crow, Ex-Heavy Veggies Reunite as Other Men
- Modest Mouse Announce North American Tour
- Blackalicious, Lif, Cage, Sage Francis Head Paid Dues
- T.V. Eye: March 19-25, 2007
- Exclusive: Grizzly Bear Announce European Dates
- Dinosaur Jr. Announce Spring Tour
- Watt, Hurley, Thomas, Pettibon Play on Second Unknown Instructors Album
- Liz Phair, Ryan Adams Grace Minnie Driver Album
- WHOOPS! White Stripes DON'T Announce North American Tour
- Sufjan Pens Essay on "Friend Rock"
- Shellac Announce Album Title, Release Date
- SXSW Report: Saturday [Amy Phillips]
- SXSW Report: Saturday [Matthew Solarski]
- SXSW Report: Saturday [Jessica Suarez]
- SXSW Report: Saturday [Dave Maher]
- SXSW Report: P4k Music Festival/Windish Agency Party
- SXSW Report: Friday [Amy Phillips]
- SXSW Report: Friday [Jessica Suarez]
- SXSW Report: Friday [Matthew Solarski]
- SXSW Report: Friday [Dave Maher]
- Sonic Youth to Play Daydream Nation at Pitchfork Fest
- SXSW Report: Thursday [Matthew Solarski]
- SXSW Report: Thursday [Dave Maher]
- SXSW Report: Thursday [Jessica Suarez]
- SXSW Report: Thursday [Amy Phillips]
- SXSW Report: Wednesday [Dave Maher]
- SXSW Report: Wednesday [Matthew Solarski]
- SXSW Report: Wednesday [Amy Phillips]