Today, Josh Homme and Iggy Pop are like two peas in a pod, a dynamic duo who share a kindred rock ‘n’ roll spirit – but it wasn’t always this way. Homme’s outlook on life changed instantaneously after listening to one album by the former Stooges man, a record that helped unlock his inner-devilish side and forged a character that Homme then let off the leash as part of Queens of The Stone Age.
The two men famously worked together in 2016 on the triumphant album Post Pop Depression. Iggy Pop has always had a canny ability to pick out the right artists to work with at the crucial time in his life, most famously using this skill with David Bowie during the ‘Berlin period’ and, with Homme, his collaborative attempt effort created one of his finest albums to date. He and Homme had sparked the idea of a possible collaboration after exchanging lyrical ideas and, with the vital introduction of Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, the album was solid gold.
However, if it wasn’t for Iggy’s greatness, the chances of Josh Homme making an important life decision to end his old band Kyuss in order to form Queens of The Stone Age are thin. While QOTSA offered him the perfect vehicle for his talent, it wasn’t until he stumbled upon The Idiot by Iggy Pop that Homme finally had a rethink about his approach to music.
In 1987, he formed Kyuss, the metal outfit was relatively successful and even opened for Metallica on tour in 1993. The group then penned a major label deal with Elektra Records a year later in 1994. However, something happened that very same year that would be much more important than any record deal; he discovered Iggy Pop.
“The Idiot is the most important album of my life because it almost made me give up music forever. I have to explain this,” Homme explained to VinylWriters. “It was 1994, I was 21 and still playing with Kyuss. Back then I almost completely refused to listen to anything else than Kyuss. I was young and stupid, and I thought that it would make me write better songs if no other music than our own influenced me. A fallacy. I came across The Idiot by chance and it was the beginning of the end for Kyuss.
“For almost a year I listened to nothing else than this record, because for me it embodied everything that I wanted to express myself, but could not quite yet. The final track alone, ‘Mass Production’, gave me sleepless nights. There is this keyboard that is stumbling through the track drunkenly until Iggy shouts: ‘By the way, I’m going for cigarettes!’ A song like a Looney-Tunes-Cartoon, exactly my kind of humour. I listened to him and thought to myself: ‘This is exactly what I wanted to do, but Iggy has already done it, and I will never manage to do it any better.'”
Homme then concluded: “The Idiot was a revelation and a punch in my face at the same time. I disbanded Kyuss and stopped making music for a long time. Reset to zero, all open again. It took me two years to overcome this first big crisis of my life, and to get ready for a new challenge: to try out this mixture of forceful rock-music and crude humour myself, taking its lead from Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. I was ready for the Queens Of The Stone Age.”
Remarkably, the power of one record made Homme reevaluate his entire life. Whilst he could have had a comfortable ride sticking it out with Kyuss, after hearing The Idiot, he’d had a calling to switch up his art and represent the man he’d grown to be. He was no longer the 15-year-old metal obsessed kid who formed Kyuss all those years ago, and The Idiot made him realise he had to reflect his real personality, alas, Queens of The Stone Age was born.